Technophile

Galaxy Z Fold2 5G: Phone outside, tablet inside

Mala Bhargava | Updated on September 30, 2020 Published on September 30, 2020

Many a fold The Fold can unfold at many stop points for versatility   -  Pics: Mala Bhargava

Samsung’s delectable third category-defining foldable is a total object of desire

The original Galaxy Fold, Samsung’s first foldable phone, really captured the world’s attention. Even those who weren’t particularly interested in phones had heard of it. Now, we’re on to Samsung’s third foldable device and yes, it’s even more irresistible because a big bunch of things have been fixed, refined, polished. It’s expensive at ₹1,49,999, but then so are some ‘regular’ phones.

The Z Fold2 5G is the second take on this format (one of the foldables was a smaller fashion-forward phone) and I don’t know whether it’s my imagination, but it instantly feels much better in the hand. I’m not sure why, but it just has a sturdier feel.

One reason, I suspect, is because the front screen on the device, when it’s closed up, is now a full-fledged usable one. Earlier, the front screen was just too squished. You could still use it, but it had a very temporary make-do feel to it. Now the 6.2-inch display feels like a regular Android phone screen — only just a bit narrower than usual. It’s no longer just cosmetic but makes sense, specially if you’re a frequent one-hand user. In closed mode, you’ll immediately notice that the device is as thick as a sandwich because, after all, it is like two phones.

You really have to figure out the ergonomics of how you want to handle the device. It will strain a thin cotton pocket, but be ok with a thicker one. A case will make it a bit thicker still but it’s far better to buy one because it’s all too easy to get it scratched up.

Unfold the Fold and you have yourself a tablet — just a square-ish one. But the first thing I really did when I took it out of its modest packaging was gasp. Because it’s really a beautiful-looking gadget. If you turn it around, it’s like one side is the back of the Note20 Ultra and the other its screen. The unit I got to check out was the one in Samsung’s signature Mystic Bronze and I have to say that the metallic glints in the same tone that are around the edges make the Z Fold look extremely elegant and premium.

I’ve only seen photos of the Fold in Mystic Black, but without those shiny metallic accents, it didn’t seem to look as good.

Gently does it

With Samsung having worked on the hideaway hinge, there are no creaks or reluctance to move and that’s another thing that makes the device immediately feel better. It’s nice to open up, and it closes with a nice snap. You can now open the screen at any angle and lay it down on a surface to see some apps, such as the camera and Google Duo, divide into top and bottom screens very elegantly indeed. But there’s another thing to be very careful about: as you close it,, you’ll find your fingers (and god forbid, nails) press into the screen on either side to push it out of flat position and bring it into two halves. The material this screen is made of is soft and can’t be treated the same as you would glass. A friend who was checking it out came up with a good method of closing it by pressing at the bottom at the crook of the two halves of the screen. That works much better, though one still has to be cautious and conscious of where one’s fingers are placed on this device.

On the inside, the 7.6 -inch screen is as gorgeous as ever, though it’s not glass and doesn’t feel like glass. You really have to be a bit careful not to scratch it with your nails or let it be in any position where something sharpish will jab at it. That would damage any screen, but with this one, the damage could be catastrophic because of the softer pliable material.

The screen is a 1768x2208 pixels display and it has the 120Hz refresh rate that everyone now wants because of how smooth and fast the device feels to use.

On the inner screen, the ugly notch has now quite gone. That‘s really quite a relief and adds to how much nicer this device is now. The fingerprint sensor is now on the power button, which is a good choice.

No one is being given a chance to complain about the specs on this phone not being up to the mark given that it’s so premium and pretty expensive. There’s the Snapdragon 865+ SoC with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage. Obviously it feels fast and liquid. There’s Android 10, though I don’t know if and when it will move up to Android 11 because the software is so particular to this device. The software is quite a bit of magic. You can use three apps on that square screen and they really handle themselves very smoothly. It remains to be seen whether users can really make use of this feature and whether the multitasking is perhaps not just a bit too much of a mental strain.

The battery on the Z Fold 2 is a 4,500mAh, which seems about right as anything more would make the very nicely balanced weight of this phone-tablet tilt into uncomfortable territory.

The primary cameras are 12MP and are standard Samsung. On this device they’re not necessarily stellar, but they certainly are very good. There is a bit of a camera bump that makes me nervous. The 10MP front camera can be used in an interesting way when you use the device to act as its own tripod, with the screen folded like a laptop and then shoot by holding up a palm.

Overall, the Z Fold 2 is quite irresistible for someone who loves tech. Personally, I have to keep reminding myself I don’t have the money to spare, but I do live in fear that the Fold will win out one of these days.

Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
  • Price: ₹1,49,999
  • Pros: Beautiful looking, folds more easily now, innovative, amazing use of the screens by the software, a total head-turner
  • Cons: Needs to be handled with care, new ergonomics need to be figured out, crease in the middle of the screen is still seen and felt, no case provided

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Published on September 30, 2020
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