Monday, September 21, 2020

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 Review


We need to start with price, asking people in 2020 of all years to pay $2,000 for a smartphone is ludicrous. You could buy an iPad Air and the Galaxy S20 fan edition and still have a thousand bucks leftover for, you know rent. Samsung could have taken the edge off by bundling accessories like a Galaxy watch or Buds Live, but it didn't. So I'm not gonna try to justify the expense because frankly, I can't. That being said, I can at least understand the price point. I mean it's not like 2012, when $2,000 would buy your pointless flexes like a rhinestone wrapped Verto or a Porsche design Blackberry. Spending that same money on the Fold 2 get you a top shelf smartphone that transforms on demand into a very capable tablet.

I'm not gonna go over all the benefits of the form factor again, I'll point you to my, into the Fold series if you'd like to learn more about how a pocketable tablet has served me through 2020. From the day I bought that first Galaxy Fold on new year's Eve. - It's right there. It's 400 feet away. So why do I have such an apprehension about walking in? Why am I doing this? I don't know, I'm doing it because I wanna be a part of the conversation? I'm doing it because I want a gadget that I was taken away from me? Am I doing it because it's a useful tool? Am I doing it because it's easier than working? You already came this far, sunk cost fallacy. Great, decision made. Through that final month of constant travel followed by a hospital, stay sheltering in place. And the tentative, cautious reopening that followed. Through all the chaos of 2020 I always found the Fold useful despite its compromises. Compromises the Z Fold 2 has substantially reduced. Everything here carries the satisfying refinement you'd expect from a second generation product. The fast fingerprint sensor has been merged with the power button. The earpiece grill is so tiny. I had to break out my best lens even to show it to you. But you'd never know it based on how good it sounds on phones. - No, the folding phone. And your mother.

And by replacing last year's compact cover display with a properly sized panel, Samsung has promoted it from afterthought to fully fledged phone. While part of me does miss how oddly narrow the first Fold felt. It's nice to be able to use the Fold 2 like a more typical Android device. And importantly, it isn't so wide as to be difficult to use with one hand. In fact, the only app that's given to me scaling trouble out here is Instagram, but that's par for the course since Instagram seems to only want to exist on an iPhone. Let's talk about this new main display. The Z Fold 2 inflates the primary panel to 7.6 inches over seven diagonal millimeters larger than Fold 1. And it feels larger even than that. Thanks to the deleted notch and narrower radius corners compared to last year's model. There are whole punch selfie shooter you're getting exchanges, kind of goofy looking but the trade-off is still a good one in my view. And by leaning into that larger footprint Samsung makes everything just a little easier. From flex mode typing to new TV discoveries. It's perfect for reliving ye olden days of the PC with Windows simulator or reliving famous Naval battles.

In my gaming go-to World of Warships. I love what's possible when a manufacturer decides it doesn't need to build the thinnest or lightest phone. Even when I go full bore on World of Warships settings with max resolution and frame rate that's Snapdragon 865 plus will just crank away with no complaints. At the same time, the side firing speakers have big enough chambers that they can kick out full rich and loud sound. Just keep an eye on how many games you download. 256 gigs isn't paltry, but it is only half the storage The first Fold offered. Samsung tries to explain this by saying it's customer data indicated that people weren't really using the Fold's full 512, and also that the inclusion of 5G somehow makes the cloud more accessible so you don't need as much storage. You know, in my view, that's nonsense. At this juncture 5G doesn't provide a meaningful enough benefit to enough people to justify this corner cutting. And I feel the same way about this that I do about the lack of complimentary accessories. When you're spending used car money on a phone any compromise feels like a kick in the face.

I was planning on segwaying here into the other notable compromise, the camera. But there's still so much to say about this device. I'll try to keep it quick. - [Narrator] Battery, full day, full stop. I usually drop it on my wireless charger after 16 hours and it's got a little less than half left. But keep in mind that's without the kind of heavy use that comes with traveling all the time. On one of his real world tests, my buddy David Kogan demonstrated basically a full day in his case. So, you're my little fairy. Software, I personally don't like Samsung's custom interface too much. So I'm using Nova Launcher. It's a little hanky with animations but it gives me much more freedom with regard to icon packs and layout. Oh, and as with the previous Fold I expect Android updates to take a longer to come to this one than most phones. Frustrating if perhaps unavoidable speed bump. Display, yeah we're not done talking about the screen. It gets more than bright enough when you need it and dims down to almost nothing when you need to not wake your partner while reading 'Calvin and Hobbes' on Kindle in bed.

The 120 Hertz adaptive refresh rate makes the thing incredibly silky. And in fact, you can amplify if you're brave enough to remove the rubbery fingerprint screen protector. And that takes us to durability. I've spent 10 months carrying foldables as daily drivers, and they're not as fragile as you might think. But they're also very expensive. So, cheap and greasy as it feels I'll be leaving that screen protector on for a while to protect it from my fingernails if nothing else. And I'd actually be more worried about the glass outer casing where it not for this skin from channel sponsor dbrand. You're tired of hearing it, but I'm not tired of telling it. A matrix style skin saved my first Fold from certain shattering on the corner of my coffee table. And the texture, and look at lens to my Fold 2 only sweetens the deal. dbrand your device at the link in the description. Finally, I promised you a camera classification. The bad news first, due to its release schedule the Fold usually sports hardware that's a half generation behind Samsung's most recent flagship. Which means the Fold does lack the high resolution and ultra Zoom capabilities of the Note 20 Ultra. And I do miss that zoom. The good news, this trio of 12 megapixel cameras is good enough that most of the time, you won't care.

Gone as the cartoonish over-saturation of the first Fold replaced by balanced, mature color processing and a night mode that's surprisingly effective. Remember the Fold 2 conserves as its own tripod, thanks to flex mode. So long exposures like this 22nd capture are no problem. And just look at this, Star field, a properly exposed subject and a lit house interior whose highlights haven't been blown out. I did not expect that from a folding phone. And being able to preview the main camera on the outer display opens up new possibilities for higher quality selfies. Again, you shouldn't expect miracles of using the ultra wide and low light is not a good idea. If you've got pets or fast toddlers or whatever, the shutter speed isn't the greatest. And these dedicated selfie cameras aren't gonna win any awards. But if you have those specific needs there are other phones out there for you. If your main priority is a folding phone that happens to have serviceable sometimes good. Sometimes even very good cameras. Yeah, that's the Fold 2. Folks I've talked enough about foldables this year that I probably don't have to remind you that the benefits of a pocketable tablet to me, have always been many. Foldables are the true realization of the old ultra mobile PC concept that fizzled because of the technology of the mid aughts just wasn't there yet.

But even I, never would have expected execution this excellent after only two generations. I stand by what I said at the top, two grand is too much for most people right now. And even though you don't have to baby this thing, the fact that it's fragile enough to make you feel like you should. Yeah, that's a challenge that needs to be solved. - Well, you know, so often in mobile tech, it feels like we're forced to choose between a futuristic gadget that's fun. And one that actually helps us get work done. And the Galaxy Z Fold is your device that accomplishes both. - [Narrator] More than a decade after Samsung decided to name an entire mobile portfolio after a wine brand because it had a premium ring to it. I'm raising a glass of that Galaxy to this Galaxy. One that redefines what premium means by re-imagining what's possible with a smartphone. (upbeat music) This review is based on a production build Galaxy Z Fold 2 purchased by MrMobile and running retail software with additional footage from a Samsung provided review unit that has since been returned. As always, the manufacturer didn't provide any compensation for this coverage nor was it given any copy approval or early preview of same. Samsung is seeing this for the first time, right alongside you.