The Galaxy Z Fold 2 does not fold under pressure from critics
The first folding phone that actually works in its versatileness — but it comes at a hefty price.
18 Sep 2020

Today, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is released globally. By being foldable down the middle, the phone is meant to bridge the gap between smartphones and tablets and still fit in your pocket. The average smartphone user likes a big screen, but we usually draw the line at around 6 inches in order to not lose portability. To cope with this dilemma, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 screen can be both 6,2 inches and 7,6 inches depending on what mode you use it in. But its foldable design is far from revolutionary.

In a lot of ways, 2020 has been a big indicator that time is out of joint. Putting the unforeseeable economical and biological circumstances aside, the tech world has also showcased itself in an unoriented fashion with the return of the folding phone. Technically, 2020 is 2002 all over again. Two decades ago the hottest and most notable new cellphones were foldable as well. In the mid-2000s, phone manufacturers like Motorolla, Sony Ericsson and Samsungs had refined the mechanics and design of the ”flip phone” to dominate the cell phone industry for the next couple of years.

Jump ahead a decade and a half, and the smartphones of today are seeing a similar evolution. The first foldable smartphones that dropped in 2018 were exciting, but not versatile and well-functioning enough to attract the mainstream user. But tech is moving fast, and merely two years later, the thought of a functional and versatile folding phone has become a reality thanks to the Galaxy Z Fold 2. It means business, and it might be the first proper folding smartphone to actually catch the attention of the mainstream user.

Tech critics are praising the Fold 2 in unison, with many saying that the new Flex mode (that intelligently switches and adapt both pre-installed and third-party apps for the two different screen modes) is not only promising, it actually works. The big unfolded screen improves the experience of video streaming, writing emails or reading PDF files, while the small screen still works as the daily driver for texting or scrolling through your favourite apps. Not having to light up the big 7,6-inch screen all the time won’t be too hard on the big 4,500mAh battery, as well.

The Fold 2’s camera is equivalent with the Samsung standard that we have come to known. If you’re into the bright, HDR laden and vibrant look that works best in good lighting, you won’t be disappointed with the Fold 2. In line with the 2020 smartphone trend, the camera is built out of three lenses to offer telephoto and widescreen modes.

Naturally, the phone has its fair shares of cons as well. The hefty starting price of around 2000 Euros is engineeringly understandable, but high enough to scare off many average smartphone users that might not look for a tablet/phone hybrid.

And then there is the build. Like Stephen Harris writes for The Conversaton, there’s an ongoing tussle between consumers and manufacturers. Consumers want a large, viewable surface as well as an easily portable and rugged device. But from an engineering point of view, these are usually competing requirements. The phone is big and chunky, and the mechanical hinge still looks a bit awkward and unsymmetrical with a noticeable crease. Time will tell if this version of the hinge can sustain daily usage, moving parts in technology will eventually trap dirt or dust, or simply break. Nonetheless, it is a hinge that works even if it doesn’t feel or look perfect, and that makes for a bright future.

The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the first folding smartphone that functionally works just as good as its forerunners from the mid-2000s, and it could arguably be the first of its kind to actually introduce a new era of smartphone design. The foldable flexible phone screen is here to stay for real this time.