Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 Quick Review: Closer to Practicality
November 25, 2020 Andrew Cheng

The original Samsung Galaxy Fold was a unique, eye-catching device, but it had some pretty major shortcomings. Naturally, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 aims to solve all of these issues with an improved design, a more robust hinge, and a fast screen that’s actually made of glass now.

However, retailing at RM7,999, the Z Fold 2 is still a very costly device that’s tough to recommend. But if you’re willing to part with that kind of money, the Z Fold 2 will be able to serve you much better than its predecessor, though there are still a number of shortcomings.

What It Is

Display7.6-inch QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X (2208 x 1768), 120Hz
6.2-inch HD+ Super AMOLED (2260 x 816), outer screen
ChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 865+ 3.09GHz octa-core
GPUAdreno 650
Storage256GB, non-expandable
Camera (rear)12MP f/1.8, Dual Pixel AF, OIS
12MP f/2.2 (ultra-wide angle)
12MP f/2.4 (telephoto), PDAF, OIS, 2x optical zoom
Camera (front)10MP f/2.2
10MP f/2.2 (cover)
Dimensions159.2 x 128.2 x 6.9 mm
159.2 x 68.0 x 13.8-16.8 mm (folded)
OSOne UI based on Android 10
Bluetooth 5.0
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4/5GHz)
USB Type-C

Without a doubt the Galaxy Z Fold 2 features flagship-level hardware. Not only is the main screen a fast 120Hz panel, it’s also powered by Qualcomm’s best chipset yet, the Snapdragon 865+. On top of that, it has a reasonably large 4,500mAh battery as well, which can return very good battery life.

That being said, there are some oddities here and there. The Z Fold 2’s storage capacity, for one, is limited to only 256GB. Granted, this isn’t exactly a small capacity, but you’d expect to get a more generous storage space out of a RM7,999 device. Aside from that, the triple camera system isn’t quite as sophisticated as Samsung’s other 2020 flagship smartphones either, though it can still take some good-looking shots.

The Good Stuff

Compared to its predecessor, the most noticeable upgrade the Z Fold 2 received is a sleeker and bigger 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X main display. The weird screen cutout is no longer here, and in its place is a minimal notch. The result? More screen real estate that offers better utility.

Of course, the screen quality itself is also top-notch with deep blacks, vibrant colours, and wide viewing angles. The 120Hz refresh rate lends to a very smooth user experience as well with excellent motion clarity. All in all, it’s a fantastic screen, and thanks to the use of Samsung’s Ultra Thin Glass (UTG), the panel itself feels more rigid and less “spongy” than the original Fold’s all-plastic screen.

Speaking of which, the Galaxy Z Fold 2’s cover screen is also much more usable now. It’s been upsized to a 6.2-inch 2260 x 816 Super AMOLED panel that covers almost the entire front of the phone, and I can actually use this display quite comfortably for my day-to-day tasks. Whether it’s replying to a message or reading an article, I don’t find the cover screen all that cumbersome to use, though I do wish it’s a tad wider.

Performance is also one of the Z Fold 2’s strong suits. After all, it’s powered by the latest Snapdragon 865+ chipset, which can keep up with any tasks I throw at it. Complemented by the 120Hz screen, gaming on this foldable phone is quite a joy, especially on such a big display.

And then there’s the hinge of the Galaxy Z Fold 2, which feels far more solid than its predecessor’s. It unfolds in a smoother, more reassuring manner, and it can even hold itself up at different angles. The size of the gap when the phone is folded has been reduced as well, so it’s ever so slightly less awkward to hold in this position.

Just like its predecessor, the Z Fold 2 has excellent battery life too. On average, I was able to get around six hours of screen on time throughout the review period. Needless to say, this is very impressive battery life, especially for a device with such a big screen.

Well, now that we’ve got the good stuff out of the way, let’s talk about the shortcomings of this foldable phone.

The Bad Stuff

My biggest qualm with the Galaxy Z Fold 2 has to be its screen; more specifically, the plastic protective layer. Now, even though this foldable phone does have a glass screen, it is only one of five layers. The topmost layer is still (as mentioned) a plastic protective layer, so you’re not actually physically touching the glass layer.

Now, I’m not against screen protectors, but the one applied on the Z Fold 2 is…not great. It does not offer the same smooth surface as a glass panel, and it’s much too easy to leave fingerprints on it. To make matters worse, it’s difficult to clean as well.

Besides that, even though the Galaxy Z Fold 2’s cover screen is much more usable now, the phone itself still feels awkward to use in its folded position. It’s much too thick to comfortably hold for long periods of time, and the sheer heft of the phone – it weighs 282g – doesn’t help either.

Next is the camera performance of the Z Fold 2. It features a triple camera system made up of a 12MP f/1.8 primary sensor, a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide angle shooter, and a 12MP f/2.4 telephoto lens. Overall, these sensors can take good-looking shots, but they are by no means fantastic.

Given the price point at which this foldable phone sits, it wouldn’t be unrealistic to expect (at the very least) the same level of camera performance as, say, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra or Note 20 Ultra. Yes, the Z Fold 2’s camera system isn’t bad by any means, but it’s still not quite on the same playing field as the best in the market now, which isn’t great for a device that commands such a high asking price.

And that brings us to the biggest shortcoming of the Galaxy Z Fold 2: it’s expensive. Retailing at RM7,999, it’s not meant for the mainstream market, and you’ll be paying that amount of money simply for the fact that it is a smartphone with a foldable screen. Phones that cost half as much will still be able to offer the same level of performance minus the foldable display.

Is It Worth It?

It’s tough to recommend the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 to the general public, given its steep asking price and niche nature. But that doesn’t take away the fact that it is a very eye-catching, technologically impressive device. If you’re absolutely sure you want the utility of a foldable screen, the Z Fold 2 may just be the device for you.

More importantly, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is a marked improvement over the original Fold in almost every way. With every iteration of this foldable phone, Samsung makes some meaningful changes. Hopefully, the day will come when Samsung releases a foldable phone that is just as practical as a conventional smartphone.

And maybe not cost as much.