Samsung has officially unveiled its new foldable phone, the Galaxy Z Fold 2, with a bigger 7.6-inch display, 27 per cent smaller bezels and a ‘smoother’ folding mechanism, retailing for a whopping £1,799.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2, unveiled at a virtual event today, is the Korean company’s third foldable phone and an update of the original Galaxy Fold, released last year.
When unfolded, the phone’s screen is bigger and more square in shape than its predecessor, and provides a more cinematic and ‘immersive’ viewing experience thanks to thinner bezels – the borders between the display and the frame.
The device, which supports 5G, also comes with a Infinity-O display, which covers the entire face of the phone and features a small ‘hole punch’ style camera.
Samsung revealed a sneak peak of the Galaxy Z Fold 2 at its virtual Unpacked event for the Galaxy Note 20 smartphone last month but has only just released full details.
The phone goes on sale on September 18, with pre-orders starting on the Samsung website from today.
The new Galaxy Z Fold 2. The outer cover screen, which acts as the display when the phone is folded, is 6.2-inches, while the massive main screen when unfolded is 7.6-inches, making both larger than the original Galaxy Fold
Samsung has already released two foldable devices – the Galaxy Z Fold and the Galaxy Z Flip, which flips open like a retro 90s phone thanks to a hinge through the middle of the screen.
‘Last year Samsung pioneered a new mobile category with the launch of the Galaxy Fold,’ said Gina Suk, manager of Marketing Relations at Samsung Electronics.
‘Now, our innovation journey continues with the Galaxy Z Fold 2.’
The new Galaxy Z Fold 2 has been redesigned based on consumer feedback and smartphone user behaviours, according to Samsung.
The company surveyed 476 Galaxy Fold users in the US and Korea late last year and found a 71 per cent surge in watching video clips and a 35 per cent increase in gaming compared to on their previous smartphones.
The device’s ‘free stand’ capability allows it to stand from anywhere between a 75 to 115 degree angle for hands-free use, such as watching videos while exercising
The biggest difference between the original Galaxy Fold and the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the two screens – the outer screen and the larger main screen that’s revealed when unfolded.
The cover screen is 1.63 times the size of the cover screen on last year’s model – 6.2 inches across compared with 4.6 inches on the original.
The main screen, meanwhile, is an impressive 7.6 inches across, bigger than the original Galaxy Fold’s 7.3 inches.
Dimensions of the device when unfolded measure slightly larger in width than the original – 5.04 inches, compared with 4.64 inches – and around the same length.
But the extra screen space for enjoying content is also thanks to smaller bezels and the Infinity O display.
Infinity-O, which is the closest thing to an all-screen design, has a tiny circular cut-out at the top of the display for the front camera.
Comparison with the original Galaxy Fold (left) released last year and the new Galaxy Z Fold 2 (right)
Galaxy Fold (left) and Galaxy Z Fold 2 (right). Despite the larger screen size and bigger dimensions generally, the new phone is slimmer in the user’s pocket thanks to a less chunky body
The main screen on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 now also features a 120Hz default refresh rate for smoother scrolling and better gameplay – twice that of the Galaxy Fold.
Dual speakers on either side of the screen also provide a balanced stereo effect for a more immersive sound experience without the need for Bluetooth speakers.
Both the main and cover screen have 10 megapixel cameras designed for selfies, while the back of the device features a triple camera system – 12 megapixel ultra wide, 12 megapixel wide-angle and a 12 megapixel telephoto camera with up to 10 times digital zoom.
The device’s ‘free stand’ capability allows it to stand from anywhere between a 75 to 115 degree angle for hands-free use, such as watching videos while exercising.
By placing the phone on a level surface, users can record video clips without ‘ever having to worry about the effects of shaky hands’, Samsung said.
When completely folded, the new device is also slimmer than its predecessor for a better fit in the owner’s pocket, thanks to less chunky components.
Samsung has touted more ‘seamless transitions’ when users want to switch between folded and unfolded mode while using apps.
‘Multi-active window’ lets users open multiple files from the same app at the same time, viewing them side by side on the main screen when the phone is unfolded.
Galaxy Z Fold 2 also has a 4500mAh dual battery, fast wireless charging, 12GB RAM with 256GB internal storage and runs Android 10.
One industry expert has praised the larger exterior screen and the phone overall – despite its sizeable price tag
Industry expert Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, said the new phone addresses all the major shortcomings of its predecessor, most notably the 6.2-inch external display.
‘On the last version, it was extremely tricky to use the device as a one-handed smartphone so you ended up having to constantly open the phone to do simple tasks such as send text messages,’ he said.
‘The Galaxy Fold 2 is a significantly refined version of this flagship device.
‘The larger external display lends itself to one-handed use in a similar manner to a normal smartphone but you still have the benefit of the tablet-like 7.6-inch internal screen which is only marginally smaller than an iPad Mini.
‘Add to that the new hinge which allows you to have the screen open at different angles and it’s a major step forward as the previous device was only really viable when it was fully open or closed.’
Galaxy Z Fold 2 is available in two colours – mystic black and mystic bronze – although customers can pick the colour of the hinge
The original Galaxy Fold was released in September 2019, following technical troubles that held up its worldwide launch, including reports of broken displays after only a few days of use when the device was released to reviewers in April.
Some of the damage was caused by impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge, the company said.
Among the issues were dust and particles finding their way underneath the display and causing bumps and blemished in addition to interfering with the hinge mechanism.
The phone initially appears similar to the original Galaxy Fold. Both devices feature an outer screen and a giant inner screen that appears when unfolded
The main screen now features a 120Hz default refresh rate for smoother scrolling and better gameplay, twice that of the Galaxy Fold
Galaxy Z Fold 2 overcomes these issues with sweeper technology that makes it more difficult for dust to infiltrate the folding mechanism.
Its design is ‘anchored’ by a new ‘hideaway hinge’ mechanism, which fits into the device body and makes standing the device upright easier.
The hinge has two components that lock into each other like a jigsaw, allowing it to keep open at various angles.
Galaxy Z Fold 2 is available in two colours – mystic black and mystic bronze.
But consumers have the option of customising the colour of the hideaway hinge to fit their tastes – either metallic silver, metallic red, metallic blue or metallic gold.
The phone also comes as a limited edition as part of a partnership with American clothes retailer Thom Browne, which goes on general sale in the UK on September 25 for a mind-numbing £2,999, exclusively on Samsung.com and Harrods.
Each Thom Browne Edition Package also includes the Galaxy Watch3, Galaxy Buds Live and customised accessories.