Let’s get one thing out of the way. The new Galaxy Fold is not meant for everyone. Those who love convention will turn their noses up at the idea of a candy bar phone opening up to reveal a bigger screen (never mind the Nintendo DS or the Nokia Communicator). Those who love radical change on the other hand might just find it trying to be too conventional and not breaking truly free of its shackles. The stylists will tut-tut over its design quirks. And of course, there will be the usual crowd screaming “take our lungs and kidneys” and “at that price, we can get a bike” (how they will make calls and browse the Web on a bike, they know best!).
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G (henceforth simply called the Fold 2 to convince our editors we are not just trying to boost word counts) is not for the doubters. It is for the believers. If you do not believe in it, you will not like it. If you are on the fence about foldables, however, it might just help you make up your mind. Though in what sense depends on what you are looking for.
Open it, and magic unfolds!
If what you are seeking is the most distinctive device out there by a country mile and money is no restriction, then the Fold 2 is definitely the device to go for. There is nothing quite like it in the Indian market. The front is a 6.2 inch Super AMOLED display, but the real magic comes when you flip the phone open and get a 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display made of Samsung Ultra-Thin Glass. The fold out moment is THE magical moment of the Fold 2. It literally makes one gasp, and suddenly what you were viewing on a phone seems to spread out to occupy a tablet-like area.
The Fold 2 sees Samsung further refine its “two screens in one device” formula, blending a tablet and a phone into a single unit. It is not the smallest device when folded – it is 16.8 mm thin and at 280-odd grams is on the heavier side for a phone. But open it, and suddenly you do not mind the weight one bit. When it works, the inside screen is a huge benefit – it has a 1768 x 2208 resolution and a 120 Hz refresh rate. It is like literally opening a whole new world. There are some nice touches too – a stand-like mode where if you bend the display a little, the lower part can become a keyboard allowing you to type on it while the upper part acts as a display. It is a neat touch, giving a distinct laptop feels, although not supported across all applications when we tested it. Speaking of the bending process, it is very smooth and totally noiseless. Yes, you can see and feel a “dividing” line where the bend is on the display but it is more of a distraction than a dealbreaker.
Happy with the hardware, but some appy quirks exist
The hardware is all there – Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ processor, 12 GB RAM, 256 GB storage, tripe 12-megapixel cameras at the back, and a 10-megapixel selfie camera in the tiny punch hole in the front, 5G connectivity, Android 10…but the Fold 2 is not really about the hardware. It is about the experience. In fact, it is about software.
And this is where it hits a few roadblocks. While apps open into larger versions of themselves when you open the Fold 2, they tend to shut down when you close it shut. And again, some apps like Instagram do not really look good on that big tablet. We also had the odd case of apps crashing when we opened the device. But we had it for barely a day, and we are sure these are minor bumps that can be ironed out. A slightly bigger irritant is the positioning of the fingerprint scanner on the side where it also acts as a display lock/unlock button – we often accidentally locked the display while opening the device because the button would get pressed accidentally. It would also be interesting to see how long a 4500 mAh battery can last when it is pushing two displays, one of which is rather large.
Shut it and the magic becomes mortal
It is in its opened form that the Fold 2 is at its best. It is utterly slim and magnificent. Snap it shut and mortality kicks in. It does seem rather thick and one side seems discernible thicker than the other. And there is a clear gap between the sides even when you shut the device. The 6.2-inch display in front is good enough for basic tasks but not for extended use. Its 816 x 2260 pixel resolution is an odd one, and is not the greatest for viewing content. In the short while we had the device, we found ourselves opening it again and again for most tasks. It was only calling and very basic texting that was left to that front screen. We would even suggest shrinking it further to make it a sort of slightly large and more interactive notifications space. Right now, it is akin to a slightly less than the classy cover on a magnificent book.
In terms of the overall design, the Fold 2 mimics the Note 20, with a mystic bronze shade that looks beautiful and a similar-looking camera arrangement. No, we did not get time to use the cameras but well, given Samsung’s track record, we expect it to deliver a lot. The hardware of course is top-notch and the displays are of great quality. Even the sound is awesome. There is no dust and water resistance and you do get a number of instructions on how to be careful with the internal display but we do not think those are major issues.
If Steve were there for Sam
At Rs 1,49,999, the Fold 2 is hardly super affordable – in fact, you can get an iPad Mini and a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra for around that much. But then THAT is the whole idea of the Fold 2 – to make sure you do not NEED a separate tablet and a phone. Right now, it plays the tablet game a bit better than the phone one, in our opinion.
It is not perfect.
It is expensive.
It can be eccentric.
But it is eclectic too. It tries to blend the best of many worlds into a single device. And for that itself, it deserves to be applauded. Richly.
Is the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G the future? It is too early to say. But we can definitely say it makes the present very interesting indeed. If you have the money and want the most unusual phone in the world, get this.
To paraphrase the Legend of Cupertino:
“This is for the crazy ones.
The square pegs in round holes.
The ones who believe that the tablet and the phone should not be different devices. Who think that one device can alone be enough.
We might think they are crazy.
But they could end up changing the world.
One Fold at a time…”