Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 first impressions – all hail the king of foldables

Z Fold 2 - Mr. Phone

So, here’s the lowdown. Samsung sent across the Galaxy Z Fold 2 for exactly a day. Obviously, I can’t tell you much about the battery life or test the cameras in excruciating detail like we generally do here at Mr. Phone. Having said that, I did use the Fold 2 for all of my waking hours to see what has changed drastically from the first generation Fold. I also investigated quickly to see if the Fold 2 has any pertinent pain points that hamper the usage experience. It is a whole new category of products you see. 

 

Instagram woes

Anyway, the first thing I noticed on the Z Fold 2 is the upgraded front display. The puny 4.6-inch front panel on the Galaxy Fold makes way for a tall 6.23-inch FHD+ display with an aspect ratio of 25:9. And, you thought the 21:9 aspect ratio in Sony and Motorola phones was freakishly long? Anyway, this is a welcome move from Samsung and one that was expected. If they didn’t do it then that would’ve been a problem. 

So, this external cover display has a refresh rate of 60Hz and the internal 7.6-inch square-ish display. Interestingly, Samsung hasn’t revealed the aspect ratio for this display but some enterprising souls on Reddit think it could be 5:4. Why am I harping so much about aspect ratios? Well, because there are some issues with scaling that you will have to deal with. For example, when you open the cover display, you will notice that Instagram doesn’t work in full screen mode and showcases a vertical letterbox on either side. I ended up using Instagram on the outer display, by the way. Which wasn’t the best experience either as Insta Reels and IGTV videos were cropped in to look warped. 

So, if you are a heavy Instagram user, don’t by the Z Fold 2 until the aspect ratio issue is fixed. 

High refresh rate beauty

As for the outer display, videos will have massive letterboxing considering 25:9 is definitely not a standard aspect ratio. So, is the case with the 5:4 ratio of the inner display as well. So, video watching in a non-standard aspect ratio, on both the displays, slightly dampened the whole experience. But, if it is any consolation, you can perch the front display up at any angle thanks to the upgraded sturdier hinge. I did enjoy that while eating lunch. 

I am sure most you know by now that the inner display has a refresh rate of 120Hz. Let it be known that it is an LTPO panel and therefore you get only an adaptive refresh rate, just like you did with the Note 20 Ultra. This is not really a problem, to be honest. Also, I did notice that the front display has more use now and I was using it for quickly browsing Twitter and Instagram. Or, to change tracks on Spotify. For tasks such as playing games, watching videos, or to write scripts, I moved to the inner display. Because yes, the keyboard on the cover display is too cramped for my pudgy fingers. 

By the way, all the hue and cry about being disoriented when moving from the 60Hz cover display to the 120Hz inner display was slightly exaggerated. I tried very hard to get disoriented but nothing changed. The transition looked fine. 

Before I forget, the 7.6-inch oozes colours from its gorgeous AMOLED pores. It is absolutely stunning to look at. Furthermore, the crease right down the middle didn’t really bother me much when the screen was on. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 – 14
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 – 15

Behemoth

What did bother me slightly was the increased weight of the phone and the larger overall size. This is a behemoth and definitely a two-handed device. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking otherwise. And, the camera bump is a very big one unfortunately. 

Also, the phone has a total of 5 cameras. Three 12MP units – wide, ultrawide, and telephoto – on the rear, a 10MP punch hole shooter on the front display, and another one on the inside display. 

I am really glad that Samsung removed that massive notch from the original Fold and now it is just a tiny punch hole that doesn’t really distract you. But pray tell me why was there a need for one more camera on the inside? There is a selfie camera on the outside no? Users would get a completely uninterrupted experience. A full screen display on the inside without any distraction. I really cannot think of a single reason why the 10MP selfie shooter on the inside needs to exist. Tell me if you can think of a solid reason. Will they remove it in Fold 3 and then we’d all collectively go – wow! 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 – 6
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 – 5
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 – 12
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 – 13

And, the funnier thing is – you can actually use the Z Fold 2’s camera app to see a picture of yourself on the cover display while shooting. Yes, this means you can use the rear camera to shoot selfies or selfie videos, or heck, ultrawide video. Seriously, I don’t know what Samsung was thinking. Also, imagine if it had S-Pen support? You could use it as a shutter button. I hope someone from Samsung is watching this. 

Usable cameras

Anyway, the camera app can also be used in Flex mode. Which means, you can use one screen as the viewfinder and the other one as the gallery. YouTube also works in Flex mode and feels useful in daily use as well. 

I didn’t have time to take a lot of pictures really, but here are a few samples for you to see. They look pretty compelling but I definitely need more time with this Mystic Bronze beauty to give you guys a concrete verdict. One day won’t cut it. 

I am glad Samsung didn’t swap out the SD865+ inside the Fold 2 for an Exynos 990. Therefore, you don’t have to face any thermal throttling or heating after 30 mins of COD. Games look pretty good on the inside display and play well too. If you want performance, the Fold 2 has plenty of it. Oh, and by the way, the fingerprint scanner is on the side and it works fast. No problem. 

Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 3
Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 4
Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 6
Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 7
Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 8
Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 16
Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 21
Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 22

 

Here’s a fun tip while gaming, hold the Z Fold 2 right side down. This will ensure that you are not blocking the dual stereo speakers, and are blocking the hole punch camera, which is ideal. Talking about the speakers, these can get really, really loud. While it is too soon to talk about battery life, I managed to charge it once from 0 to 100% using the bundled 25W charger and it took me 1hr and 24mins, which is good enough.

Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 20
Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 19
Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 18
Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 17
Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 16
Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 15
Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 14
Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 9
Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 13
Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 12
Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 11
Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 10
Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 5
Galaxy Z Fold – Camera Samples – 1

One final thing, I am glad that Samsung has made multitasking easier on the Fold 2. It is very similar to what I showcased on the Tav S7+. You can either have two apps open side-by-side and create app pairs for the same in the edge panel. Or, you can have up to three apps apart from pop-up windows for certain supported apps. And, let’s not forget, there’s Wireless Dex mode as well for the productivity magicians. 

Closing thoughts

So, that’s all that I have to say about the Z Fold 2 for now. Now, to answer the question in the title – does it make sense to buy the phone in India? Here’s the thing: the twist in the tale is Samsung has actually priced the Z Fold 2 competitively in India at Rs 1,49,999. Don’t get me wrong, that is still pretty expensive and most of us shouldn’t even consider buying it. 

That said, in context, for those who actually can afford to buy it, the price in the US for the Fold 2 is $1999, which comes up to roughly Rs 1,47,000, without taxes. Now, that’s almost a price match and surprising considering the extra tax for smartphones in India seems to have been absorbed. Plus, the Z Fold 2’s launch price is actually lower than the launch price of the original Galaxy Fold in India. Which is not the case in other countries. 

This tells us one thing, the prices of foldables will only go down as it becomes more mainstream. And, mid-range foldables with sub-1 lakh prices shouldn’t be far away either. Exciting times ahead for foldables. 

The Z Fold 2’s biggest advantage is the competition is sparse. Huawei’s Mate X is nowhere to be seen. The Moto Razr 2 is not a worthy contender. Microsoft’s Surface Duo looked promising for a hot minute and then the lukewarm reviews started pouring in. The only real competitor is Samsung’s very own Z Flip and that’s a different form factor, making it a win-win for Samsung. So yeah, as far as foldables are concerned the Z Fold 2 is the undisputed champion. What do you guys think? 

Do type your thoughts in the comments below. Until next time, this is Ershad from Mr. Phone signing off. Goodbye and Godspeed my friends. 

Our Latest Videos

Prev 1 of 128 Next
Prev 1 of 128 Next


Ershad Kaleebullah
ershad.kaleebullah@u2opiamobile.com

When Ershad isn't writing, he spends time killing virtual zombies on his PS4. Having worked with a slew of renowned publications like PCWorld, Channelworld, CIO, NDTV Gadgets (now Gadgets360), MySmartPrice, The Inquistr, and 91Mobiles, Ershad brings a whole world of experience to Mr. Phone. He is trying hard to convert all the team members into Apple fans but is facing a lot of resistance. Is anyone willing to help?