Samsung took a very bold step when it went all-in on the foldable phone, dropping three devices, and slowly but surely, it’s starting to pay off.
When Samsung first introduced its bold new device, the Galaxy Fold, in 2019, people were impressed but on the side of skepticism and understandably so. The first Galaxy Fold served as Samsung’s testing phase for a phablet (phone/tablet) and a teachable moment. While it was impressive that Samsung could bring the Galaxy Fold to fruition, there were some issues that the company rectified with the Galaxy Z Fold2 and its smaller companion, the Galaxy Z Flip.
Ahead of the company’s upcoming Unpacked event, we finally got our hands on both devices cause we have been dying to see if the idea of a foldable smartphone was as gimmicky as it sounds. After spending some time with both the Galaxy Z Fold2 and Galaxy Z Flip, it’s safe to say when it comes to the foldable phone market, Samsung is well ahead of the curve in this department.
Here are some of the pros and cons we have with the devices.
Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
At launch, this phone was nearly $2,000, now can be copped for $1199.99. At that price point, you better be getting a premium smartphone experience and with the Galaxy Z Fold2, and we are happy to say that is the case. Like the Galaxy Note20 Ultra, the Galaxy Z Fold2 is the perfect phone for someone who uses their smartphone for EVERYTHING. Multitasking is not an issue for this beautiful device at all.
So here’s what we liked about the Galaxy Z Fold2:
Bigger external screen: Like every Samsung smartphone, the screen is ON POINT. The Galaxy Z Fold2 features two beautiful screens. The external screen is narrow but is still crystal clear and is bigger coming in at 6.2 inches. You can still use the device without fully opening it utilizing the cover screen.
Apps optimized for tablet mode: The Galaxy Z Fold2 in tablet mode shines thanks to apps like Gmail and Slack truly taking full advantage of it. Some apps like Instagram still refuse to get with the program, but that’s okay when you see every other app in tablet mode.
Multitasking: The Galaxy Z Fold2 is made for the multitasker. We really appreciated how easy it is this time around to create app pairs giving you the ability to launch three apps together. We also like the fact you can drag and drop windows into certain apps. Very clutch.
Flex Mode is fire: Samsung’s Flex Mode feature where the hinge allows you to utilized the Galaxy Z Fold2’s internal display at various angles is very dope. For example, if you use the camera while in Flex Mode, the top screen will give you the live display while the bottom screen display’s the camera controls.
High-quality selfies: The Galaxy Z Fold2 gives users the unique ability to great selfies because you can use the 12MP rear camera instead of the selfie camera, thanks to Fold2’s cover screen doubling as a viewfinder when the camera is activated. It’s honestly a gamechanger, and something iPhone can’t do, that is until they drop their rumored foldable device.
Decent battery life: The Galaxy Z Fold2 is packing a 4,500 mAh battery, a slight bump from the Galaxy Fold’s 4,380 mAh battery. Battery life on this device is pretty solid, being that it does so much, you can get a decent 10 hours of use out of the Z Fold2, and that’s if you’re using it on the minimum side just for web browsing, occasional video watching, and app use. But if you bump up the display output to 120Hz (adaptive), the battery’s life drops to about 9 hours.
What we didn’t like:
Fingerprints everywhere: Both screens can rack up fingerprints, but it looks even worse on the main screen, particularly because of the screen protector that YOU SHOULDN’T remove, but we have seen many take off the phone. You will find yourself wiping down the screen, even the external one, a lot.
The camera is just okay: It was rather disappointing to get just an okay camera on such a groundbreaking smartphone. It only has 2X zoom but, compared to the Note having 10x. We are sure this is a shortcoming Samsung will rectify in future fold devices.
This bad boy is heavy: While this shouldn’t really surprise anyone because the Galaxy Z Fold2 turns into a tablet, it’s still rather burdensome carrying this device around at times. The first Galaxy Fold was 9.5 ounces, the Z Fold2 is 9.9 ounces, possibly due to the new hinge.
Please handle with care: The Galaxy Z Fold2 is a very delicate device for its price. Hence, you have to be careful not to drop it or get it wet because it lacks any water resistance capability, which is disappointing, especially because most smartphones today can be submerged into water. Another shortcoming we would like to see Samsung fix with the next iteration of the fold.
App restart: Another annoying feature is that if you’re using an app in tablet mode, you will have to restart it when closing the device or vice versa. It’s a nuisance when you’re doing things like listening to music via your favorite music streaming app and have to restart it because you are either opening or closing the device.
The fingerprint sensor is hit or miss: The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has an amazing new ultrasonic fingerprint reader from Qualcomm. It makes it easier to unlock the smartphone because our faces are covered now because of face masks because of the pandemic. Sadly the Z Fold2 does not use this tech and instead puts the fingerprint sensor on the side of the phone, and it is a hassle to use, forcing you to unlock the phone using your passcode.
Galaxy Z Flip
The Galaxy Z Flip isn’t as big as the Galaxy Z Fold or Z Fold2 and isn’t as advanced as those two devices, but for what it lacks in those departments, it makes up in the cool factor. Geared for more the hip crowd who likes their smartphones to match their swag, the Galaxy Z Flip was a very ambitious undertaking by Samsung, allowing them to do what Motorola unsuccessfully tried to do with the updated RAZR delivering a pretty decent flip phone.
When it was first launched, the Galaxy Z Flip was on the pricey side as expected, costing $1,200, now you can scoop one for $600, a clear sign that Samsung is about to hit us with something new. While initially, we felt the phone was punching above its weight with such a high price, but we were left pleasantly surprised at just how good this phone is. Here are some of the things we loved about the phone:
Attractive design: The Galaxy Z Flip is a beautiful and well-designed device. It features a glossy finish that easily helps it stand out, and the hinge in the foldable screen isn’t an eyesore like on the RAZR. We also loved the fact that the 1.1-inch Super AMOLED panel on the’s phones exterior is big enough to show you notifications and serves as a mini viewfinder to help you take selfies when the phone is closed.
Solid camera: Unlike the Galaxy Z Fold2, the Galaxy Z Flip comes with a primary camera that pairs two 12-megapixel sensors — one with an ƒ/1.8 regular wide lens, and the other with ƒ/2.2 ultra-wide optics that takes some excellent photos despite having half the number of lenses the Galaxy S20 Plus and Galaxy S20 Ultra offered.
It also can multitask: Like the Galaxy Z Fold2, the Galaxy Z Flip can also multitask by utilizing the Multi-Active Window feature. But there is a small caveat. You can only pair two apps compared to the Galaxy Z Fold2’s three, which makes sense because of the smaller design of the Galaxy Z Flip.
Smaller is better: The Galaxy Z Fold2 is a pretty big device. With the Z Flip, you get a much more compact experience that comfortably fits right in your pockets.
Flex mode: The mode exclusively made for Samsung’s foldable devices works very well on the Galaxy Z Flip and provides the same features for apps that have been designed to utilize the Flex Mode feature.
Now for the cons:
Battery life: The Galaxy Z Flip features a 3,300-mAh battery, which is understandable for a phone this size. While it’s significantly larger than the Razr’s tiny 2,510-mAh power pack, it still takes a hit in the battery life department, giving users about 8 hours of battery life. While that’s 2-hours better than the Razr’s battery life, it’s 90 minutes less than the average smartphone. But thanks to fast charging, you can quickly get back in the game if you desperately need some juice.
Those damn fingerprints: Like the Galaxy Z Fold2, the Z Flip also has an annoying fingerprint problem. The glossy finish on the phone makes it attractive to look at and makes the phone slippery and will be littered with fingerprints while you use it.
The fingerprint reader is unreliable: Just like its big brother, the fingerprint reader is hit or miss and had us asking why didn’t Samsung build the reader into the screen. This is definitely something we hope Samsung does with its next foldable devices.
Samsung is not the only company making foldable devices. Apple is rumored to have a prototype foldable phone, and other companies like Huawei are offering decent foldable phone models to customers. But thanks to the Galaxy Z Fold2 and Galaxy Z Flip, Samsung is well ahead of the curve in the foldable market and will increase its hold on it with new devices that are rumored to be announced sometime this summer.
With that said, if you have been considering getting a foldable phone, you can’t go wrong with either Galaxy Z Fold2 or Galaxy Z Flip, especially now that each device has seen a significant price cut.
Photos: Bernard Smalls / @PhotosByBeanz83