Reviewing flagship slabs like the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has been fun, but I can't remember the last time I was more excited to get into a phone than when the Z Fold 2 showed up at my doorstep this morning. After getting to spend a short time with the original Galaxy Fold last year (and subsequently hearing my friend Michael Fisher sing its praises year-round), I've been anxiously awaiting my chance to daily drive one.
Sadly, this review unit comes to me on just a two-week loan, so I shouldn't let myself get too comfortable with it, lest I start to think up ways to justify its prohibitive $2000 price tag. But in the mere hours since it's arrived, the Galaxy Z Fold 2's myriad of design improvements over the original Fold have me feeling extremely optimistic about the future of foldables.
It's hard to quantify what makes a product's packaging feel "premium," but the Z Fold 2's box is nice. There's a sleeve over the box that displays the new Z branding that Samsung bestowed on its foldables starting with the Z Flip, and underneath is a bisected package that opens from the center, revealing a small sheet welcoming you to "the new mobile era."
Deeper into the box, you also get a USB C-to-C cable, along with a 25W Fast Charging brick and a pamphlet explaining Samsung's Z Premiere concierge service (which entitles Z Fold 2 owners to premium perks like Michelin meals pre-packaged and delivered to your door, along with one-year memberships to ClubCore and FoundersCard). It's a little like the bonuses you get with a premium credit like the Amex Centurion, and speaks to Samsung's positioning of the Fold as a luxury product — though I have to wonder if they could've shaved a Benjamin or two off of the total price by ditching those perks.
The phone itself comes wrapped in a plastic label containing some care instructions; namely, don't press too hard against the inner screen or front-facing camera, don't try to close the phone with objects sandwiched between the screens, and don't get the phone too wet (since it isn't IP-certified).
We've already written plenty on the Z Fold 2's specs and features, but it's good to finally have the phone in hand to be able to comment on its hardware. This is a massive improvement over the original Galaxy Fold in just about every meaningful way. The hinge is remarkably more sturdy and rigid than on the previous generation, and it holds its position at nearly any angle. This means you could use the Fold as a sort of mini-laptop, or have it act as its own kickstand while you take photos.
The new displays also look fantastic, thanks in no small part to the massively reduced bezels on the cover display, and the shrinking of the ultra-wide-notch-turned-hole-punch camera cutout on the inner display — both very welcome improvements. Moving between the cover and inner displays also means moving between 60 and 120Hz, which can be a little jarring if you're paying close attention but otherwise doesn't really bother me.
One thing I'm quickly realizing is that I already have to reevaluate how I use certain apps on my phone, and when it's advantageous to use them in large or small formats. Social and messaging apps work just fine on the cover display, but for info-heavy apps like Google Sheets or StreetEasy, having the massive inner display is delightful.
Most of my apps can switch between form factors seamlessly, but I'm a bit annoyed at Instagram and Adobe Lightroom, neither of which scale up to the larger screen and instead resort to pillar boxing.
There's so much to talk about with the Galaxy Z Fold 2, and I'm excited to spend more time with it. In the meantime, you can pre-order it on Samsung's website starting tomorrow, September 2nd, and nab up to an $800 discount if you're willing to trade in your existing phone, with the highest incentives for Samsung's previous foldables like the Galaxy Fold and Z Flip.
A massively refined take
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 improves on a number of the original Fold's design traits, and includes modern specs and 5G support. Its hefty price won't appeal to most buyers, but it could be worth the money to foldable enthusiasts and multitaskers.
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Hayato was a product reviewer and video editor for Android Central.