Galaxy Z Fold2 first look, unique features in detail
Smartphones with flexible screens have been shown at various exhibitions for many years, only one thing stopped them from being produced - the cost of such screens is prohibitively high. At the time when prototypes of smartphones with flexible screens first appeared, the retail price of the flagship was about $700, and the estimated cost of a smartphone with a flexible screen could be $2500-3000. But the main thing is that there was simply no software for such smartphones. It was possible to release a piece of iron at a sky-high price, but it was impossible to offer real use cases for it. And most of the partners, operators and distributors from around the world who watched these curiosities in the secret rooms agreed that they needed a platform that would turn smartphones with flexible screens into something new. I needed software.
In 2018, the stars aligned so that Samsung's collaboration with Google allowed the company to develop new software that focused on flexible screens, which was the first step to create a whole category of devices. The second important point was that the cost of ordinary smartphones has risen sharply, flagships have broken through the $1,000 mark and continued to grow. Why this happened can be read in our materials.
Samsung spent about ten years to develop the technology of flexible screens, to bring to mind not only the quality of the matrices themselves, but also their cost. Until now, flexible screens remain prohibitively expensive, such a matrix in the prime cost is about $500. For third parties who want to buy these screens, there is no market to do so. The same BOE provides small quantities that can be called ridiculous. And the prices for matrices are even higher than those of Samsung, and they are worse in a number of ways. It is impossible to create commercial devices without access to the main component of a flexible smartphone. Therefore, today we see that this market is very narrow, where there is one player who occupies at least 90% of sales. Huawei's closest competitor is the Mate X, which is only sold in China. According to Chinese media reports, domestic sales of this model amounted to 200,000 units since November last year (the price is $ 2,400, for comparison, the Fold costs $ 1,980). Unfortunately, it is not very clear where the number of 200 thousand pieces comes from, if BOE supplies 10 thousand matrices per month, the production volume is very limited. In addition to Huawei, these matrices are acquired by a number of other companies, they are trying to create their own devices. The sales figures for the Mate X can be seen as a good PR that shows Huawei's success in the domestic market. But it is hard to believe in these figures.
The first Galaxy Fold became an experiment, the high cost of the model did not allow us to assume that the model would be popular. It was reconnaissance in every sense. Therefore, the model was released with the Z index, which has always denoted experimental devices within Samsung. But the perception of the $2,000 smartphone was such that the company quickly sold out the first batches in major markets. Feedback from real owners of the Galaxy Fold was positive, the device succeeded. In fact, this forced us to reconsider the very approach to the category, it turned from an experiment into a commercial story for many years, the internal Z index became the external name for the entire family of smartphones with flexible screens. The next model after the Fold was the Z Flip clamshell, which came out in a large circulation, since its cost was lower, it was aimed at a female audience.
And that explains why the second generation of the Fold is named Z Fold2. The letter Z stands for the category of smartphones with flexible screens. And now it's time to talk about the positioning of this device.
This is an innovative model for the wealthy public, which is ready to spend about $ 2,000 on a smartphone (in our realities, plus / minus the same). You can consider the Galaxy Fold as a status device, plus a model that has no de facto analogues. This unit plays in a league of its own. Sometime in the future, other companies will be able to offer their counterparts for this line, but today they are virtually non-existent. Sales of such devices are far from single, only in Russia it is several tens of thousands of pieces. In the world, the account goes to the millions of devices sold. But because of the cost, they are not available to a wide mass of buyers, and there is no such task to make them massive.
Compared to the first Fold, a lot of things have changed in the new model - screens, case mechanics, software. The model has matured and evolved, so if the first Galaxy Fold offered a large screen and obvious use cases, then the second one has unique features that will delight its users. And this device focuses on both men and women, although the first Fold turned out to be a purely male smartphone. Let's talk about each aspect of the model in detail.
Design, dimensions, controls
The Fold form factor has not changed, the dimensions of the device have remained almost the same. The second Fold is more tightly packed, measuring 159.2 x 68 x 16.8 mm and 159.2 x 128.2 x 6.9 mm when opened (the first Fold measures 160.9 x 62.9 x 15.5 mm and measures 160.9 x 117.9 x 6.9 mm when opened).
The camera block protrudes from the case, so you will need a cover for the back panel (it's difficult to call such an overlay a cover). In bronze, the case is similar to that of the Note20 Ultra, it uses satin finish glass, so it is wearable, there are no marks from the hands.
The device is available in two colors - black and bronze (Mystic Black, Mystic Bronze). When buying a smartphone in a Samsung branded store in 22 countries, including Russia, you can also choose your color for the rotary module. This is a very nice customization feature.
The thickness of the device in the open form has not changed in any way, as well as the height has remained approximately the same. But at the same time a little thicker when closed, a little wider. As for me, this will not be a problem, in theory it will fit better in the hand.
It is better to open the device with two hands, but you can slam it shut with one.
The external screen has become almost the entire front surface, the edges are minimal.
The hinge has been redesigned, it has become simpler and more reliable, but the self-cleaning mechanism has remained. The device opens differently, the movement has become clearer, since the mechanism, on the one hand, has been strengthened, on the other hand, it has been made smoother.
Pay attention to how you can close the device with one hand.
It is also now possible to fix the device in a half-open state, for example, from 75 to 115 degrees (within these limits, the interface turns on, which divides the application into two zones - the upper and lower screens).
The apparatus lying on the table can be opened with two hands, but the movement has also become easier.
The fingerprint sensor was placed exactly in the same place, on the right side surface. But it is more convenient to unlock the device with your face, and you can do this by looking at it in the closed state and then opening it, or opening it and looking, as it suits you. It works this way and that.
On the two ends there are not only microphones, but also speakers. They have been redesigned, they have become louder and at the same time the sound quality is very, very good. Samsung claims that these are the best speakers in the entire Galaxy lineup, and it's easy to believe they sound so good.
There is a USB Type C connector on the bottom end, there are no surprises here. The smartphone has several microphones, which perfectly cope with noisy environments to give you a good call quality (more precisely, your interlocutor).
Display - external and internal
The external screen is 6.23 inches, with an unusual geometry - 25 by 9. The larger physical size makes it more convenient for quick answers, typing, when you don't want to open the device on the go. The resolution is 816x2260 pixels, it remains narrow, and it's still a compromise. Just like before, this is a SuperAMOLED screen.
The internal screen has grown in size - 7.6 inches (7.3 inches before), there is no camera block, the front camera is hidden under the screen. The resolution is actually the same - 1768x2208 pixels (317 ppi), the geometry also remains almost the same, which will be unusual for beginners. But you will not get any noticeable shortcomings. The screen supports a frequency of 120 Hz and it is 2X Dynamic AMOLED, that is, the latest generation of technology from Samsung. There is only an adaptive mode in which the refresh rate changes from 1 to 120 Hz. For example, in the program for reading it can be 1 Hz, in games 120 Hz. The device itself adjusts to the content and applications.
The screen brightness has been slightly changed compared to the first Fold: in manual mode - up to 450 nits (was up to 420 nits), increased brightness - up to 700 nits (was 600 nits), peak brightness - up to 900 nits (was 800 nits) . This suggests that in bright sunlight, the internal display of the Z Fold2 will be more readable.
Now the fun part. In Z Flip, the screen has a coating that makes it somewhat similar to glass. Feelings are not the same as in ordinary smartphones, but the screen is not plastic under the finger as in Fold. The technology has been tested in the Z Flip and is now in the second Fold. There are many changes here, this is the next generation of Corning UTG (ulta-thin glass), first of all, the emphasis is on tactile perception (differences from the first Fold are noticeable, but it's still not glass like in ordinary smartphones).
Samsung has tested the screen glass and mechanism to ensure they last at least five years, based on 100 openings/closings of the mechanism per day. That is, it turns out that the device is designed for 200 thousand opening / closing. This is an impressive number that is almost twice as high as the declared characteristics for the first Fold. But almost a year of using the first Fold showed that there are no problems with the mechanism, it works like a clock. The improved Z Fold2 mechanism therefore raises no questions.
The quality of both the external and internal screens is excellent. These are some of the best screens among all devices, a strong point for any smartphone from Samsung. We will talk about new interface features in the corresponding section. But looking ahead, I’ll say that a setting has appeared that allows you to change the display of content on the screen. This can be a standard display (as in smartphones, but the elements are larger - 480 dpi, by default), there are also 420 and 540 dpi. That is, more content like in a smartphone, but also a tablet option. For the first time, you can choose settings that are more interesting and important to you. This is one of the key changes in the new model. It merges two classes of devices - smartphones and tablets, allowing you to choose the option that is interesting for you.
The battery capacity has changed - 4500 mAh (4380 mAh in the first one), it also consists of two elements. But the most important thing is that USB PD support has appeared, which guarantees fast charging from any supported charger. It's a big story, as the first Fold was lagging behind in this area (having 45W or 25W charging everywhere, had to wirelessly charge the Fold, it was faster!).
You can charge the battery to 100% in 65 minutes (charging time depends on ambient temperature). In half an hour you will get 62% of the charge. A 25W charger is included, enough for most use cases.
There is no point in buying a 45W charger, since the charge speed increases by the first 50%, but the total time remains plus or minus the same. The company does not strive to create the fastest smartphones in terms of charging time, as Chinese manufacturers do. It's a balance of speed, battery life and charging cost in the kit. Charging, which is in this device, is quite sufficient for most cases.
Wireless charging supports power up to 15W, which allows you to charge your smartphone in 100 minutes. It is also very fast and extremely comfortable. For several years, I forgot what overnight charging is, always charging my devices on the go, in between times. And I never have problems with the fact that they are discharged at some inopportune moment. It takes 10 minutes to get a charge for several hours of non-stop work. And this is a convenience that is hard to overestimate.
Reverse reverse charging allows you to recharge accessories or another smartphone, up to 9 W.
One working day on this machine is easily achievable. I will say this, the Note20 Ultra has a similar battery, and the devices are largely similar in terms of filling, the screens are different. The battery life of the Z Fold2 adjusted for the larger screen is about 15% lower. But, of course, a lot depends on your settings.
There is support for Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), as well as maximum aggregation of LTE frequencies. Of course, this is a 5G device with maximum support for all frequencies. You should disable 5G in the settings if you do not plan to use this technology.
Support for payment systems Samsung Pay, Google Pay, the work does not raise any questions. There is full NFC for everything imaginable.
Bluetooth version 5.0, there is support for sending an audio stream to multiple devices. A branded QuickShare feature has appeared, which allows you to quickly send large files to other Samsung devices (a sort of combed Wi-Fi Direct).
Memory, chipset, performance
The model comes in a variant with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal memory, but memory cards are not provided. In some countries, a model with more internal memory may appear later, but for now these are only plans that may not materialize.
Snapdaron 865+ chipset, performance is unquestionable in any aspect, everything is very fast and even faster than you might expect. When people talk about some mythical brakes, I always wonder what needs to be done with the device in order to achieve this. My Galaxy Fold works great, just like the first day.
There is a selfie camera both on the outside of the device and inside. These are the same 10 MP modules you saw in the latest generation of Note20. A good camera and nothing special can be said about it.
But the main block of three cameras is somewhat similar to what was in the first Fold. All cameras with a resolution of 12 MP (there are three of them - wide angle, main and x2 zoom). At the same time, the modules have changed, they have been improved in a number of characteristics. This is the second branch of development in relation to devices named Ultra, and here the image processing algorithms are interesting, and the result is frankly good.
Sample photos of Z Fold2:
However, I do not complain about the first Fold either, the pictures are excellent.
Fold photo examples:
Z Fold 2 Software Features
I decided to gather the features of the new Fold in one place so that you can see the amount of changes that have been made to it. The model is built on OneUI 2.5, but in addition to this interface, there are several more add-ons that are associated with its unique design and develop separately from the main interface. The first thing to note is App Continuity, the ability for apps to run on both the external and internal screens, automatically adjusting their content. Initially, all built-in programs from Samsung can work this way, but it is also a full package of standard applications from Google (everything that is included in GMS) and pre-installed Microsoft applications, including office.
When you close or open the device, you will see exactly the same window in which you worked, but it will change according to the proportions of the screen and its capabilities. Is it convenient? Definitely. Just like before, you can prevent applications from moving from one window to another, restrict their capabilities. For example, browsing the gallery on a larger