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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 Review Roundup: ‘An Extravagant Success’

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Samsung is getting ready to launch its third foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Z Fold 2.

Samsung’s $2,000 USD foldable phone is trying to prove its worth as an innovative, luxury device. Here’s a roundup of some of the latest reviews for the foldable device:

CNET praises the phone’s useful screen, as well as the ease of multitasking due to its quick and seamless screen switching:

An external screen you can actually use. A larger, 6.2-inch display that takes up the entire outer screen looks great in closed position and makes the phone easier to use when you want to type quick replies one-handed or snap and immediately share a photo. I’ve already used it a lot this way in one day. Since the dimensions are tall and narrow, typing on the keyboard is still a pain, but it works.

Switching screens is fast and seamless. Maybe it’s the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset or some tighter software controls, but switching from apps on the outer screen to the inner screen happens in a snap. I’ve tried it fast and opened the phone slowly to see at which angle whatever I’m viewing leaps off the outer screen and appears on the inner screen. When watching Netflix video, audio and visuals didn’t skip a beat. It’s great that Samsung lets you choose which apps you want to carry over on the outer screen when you snap the phone closed (e.g. to move to another room), but you have to dig into the settings to select them. Works like a charm. 

Input is a big fan of the bigger screen — even with the crease — but says there’s still a lot lacking software-wise:

Getting a bigger screen to read and play games (the Fold makes a great retro handheld with a gamepad) is a joy no other phone can provide. Everything — crease be damned — is better with a larger display. Reading, watching videos, games, video calling — it’s all more immersive. Even though 6-inch phones are now the norm, they still feel restrained by their 16:9 aspect ratios. The Fold 2’s massive screen sets your content free and liberates your eyeballs.

That said, there’s still a lot more that needs to be done software-wise. Samsung’s brought over Flex Mode from the Z Flip, which allows certain apps to split into two sections at the crease. For example, if you fullscreen a YouTube video and then bend it into clamshell/mini-laptop mode, the video displays on the top and comments on the bottom. I found Flex Mode useful for making Google Duo video calls.

The Verge‘s Dieter Bohn both loves and hates Samsung’s two-screen system:

SSamsung’s system for making Android work on two screens — one of which is more like a tablet than a phone — is both impressive and irritating. It’s impressive because once you understand Samsung’s concepts for multitasking, there’s virtually no limit to what you can do.

It’s irritating because it’s Samsung’s system. I don’t mean to denigrate the system Samsung created, but instead to note that it feels like an entirely different operating system on top of Android. On its own, Android doesn’t have the pieces necessary to make a good tablet OS, so Samsung had to tack them on top.

He’s not a fan of the price, either:

Spoiler alert: no. It’s $1,999, which is way too much to spend on something like this phone unless you truly love extravagance. It’s not worth the money, but it’s worth looking at as the new foundation for a category of device I expect to stick around for a long time.

Hayato Huseman from Android Central love’s the Fold 2’s camera, especially when combined with the phone’s form factor:

Photo and video capture is actually one of the areas where I found the Z Fold 2’s form factor most useful. It’s absolutely remarkable shooting with the massive inner display, which gives you a larger viewfinder to frame your shots than virtually any other phone, and Samsung’s camera software has been optimized for Flex Mode to show a preview of your last shot on the bottom half of the screen when partially folded.

Combined with the stronger hinge, this allows the phone to act as its own tripod, which is perfect for capturing long exposures, shooting static video, or just getting a low-to-the-ground angle.

There’s also a small button in the upper left corner of the software that lets you show the camera viewfinder on the cover screen while shooting with the inner display, giving your photo subject a preview of your shots in real-time. When launching the camera from the cover screen, that button sits in the upper right corner, and allows you to take selfies using the phone’s main cameras, rather than the lower-quality front-facing camera.

USA Today‘s Mike Feibus praises the convenience of the Fold 2, saying it can replace lugging around a tablet:

Lugging fewer devices is almost always better. And it’s nice having the capability of both phone and tablet in situations where I’d normally just have a phone. Like answering an important email at dinner. Even now that I’m not traveling, carrying two devices in one gives me a whole lot more capability in more situations, for both work and play. And I find myself reaching for the laptop a little less often.

Two-in-one would have been a great moniker for the category, had the PC industry not co-opted the term for laptops with detachable keyboards and 360-degree hinges. Likewise, phablet would have worked well, except it already describes big-and-tall smartphones.

For now, I guess, we’ll have to settle for a smartphone with a tablet tucked inside. But if that’s what you are looking for, know this: With the Fold2, you won’t be settling for anything.

Finally, Trusted Reviews‘ Abbas Jafar Ali thinks that the Fold 2 is a fantastic upgrade to its unfortunate predecessor:

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 looks like a significant and impressive upgrade over the original fold, with Samsung taking on board feedback from both users of the original Galaxy Fold and critics to deliver improvements across the board.

The phone is slightly wider, with a much larger front screen that makes using the outside display a lot more convenient, while the larger size and faster refresh rate mean that when the device is unfolded the main display is a joy to use.

The hinge – a key area where the original device fell down – feels dependable and smooth in use, and along with a slightly refreshed design it means the Fold 2 feels like a genuinely premium device. The specs are about as high-end as they come.

Samsung has also done good work when it comes to software optimizations, which among other things means the phone is more useful than the original Fold in flex mode, while many of Samsung’s built-in apps, along with those from the likes of Google and Microsoft support the folded,unfolded and flex states.

All of this combines to make the Galaxy Z Fold 2 feel more like a distinct, extremely versatile, and genuinely useful device, rather than just another phone that happens to be foldable.

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