Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G is one of the most interesting smartphones to ever arrive in South Africa.
Its most innovate feature is its unfoldable display and the highly-advanced hinge mechanism that drives it.
It has a separate single display on the front cover, too, which you can use when it is folded.
This front display is uniquely slim but still easy to use, and it means the device looks fantastic in any configuration.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G comes at a price, though – it costs around R2,799 a month on a mobile contract in South Africa, or you could buy it outright for a cool R49,999.
Luckily, Samsung shipped us a brand-new Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G to try out.
After emerging victorious from the brawl that ensued over the smartphone as soon as it arrived, I had the opportunity to use it for the next two weeks and find out what it was like to use a foldable phone as my everyday device.
Eager to join the exclusive club of foldable phone users, I migrated my data over and dived in.
Confidence and attention
Once you get used to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G, it is impossible to go back to the smaller, single-paned displays of standard smartphones.
Folding and unfolding the device also becomes second nature as you become accustomed to doing so for different applications.
On my first day with the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G, I would tentatively fold the screen like its hinge was made of glass, but by the end of the two weeks, I was snapping it shut with the same confidence I used to exercise on the last Samsung foldable phone I owned.
While you will get used to folding mechanism and the sleek Android interface that makes it easy to switch between configurations with no interruption, the attention that comes with it will follow you around for a while.
It is difficult to ignore somebody who casually folds up their handset and puts it in their pocket when their Uber arrives, or who unfolds their phone to read a book in the waiting room.
I received a few curious glances over the two weeks I used the smartphone and was often politely interrogated about it.
It’s more a conversation piece than subtle, but you won’t find yourself unfolding and folding it just for the sake of novelty – there are many great applications enabled by the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G’s unique design.
The first thing you miss about the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G when you go back to a normal phone is its display.
Unfolded, the size of the Fold 2 5G’s main screen enables many new applications outside the capabilities of standard smartphones.
These include providing a comfortable mobile reading experience, using the smartphone half-folded like a laptop to participate in a video call or watch YouTube, and work across multiple windows without things becoming cramped.
Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G taught me that I mostly use my smartphone in two ways: to quickly check messages, enter short replies, and navigate notifications in an unfocused and habitual way; and to focus on the content of the device by typing longer messages, watching videos, or reading longer content.
The smartphone is designed to suit this behaviour perfectly. The smaller front screen is sleek and well-sized for single-handed operations, making it perfect for the regular checking and quick replies we subject our devices to throughout the day.
Opening up the smartphone provides an interface that delivers double the display size of standard smartphones, and it is great for engaging in more detailed content such as Netflix or mobile gaming.
These screens can also be used simultaneously – a feature which is best shown off when taking pictures of other people.
When you take a picture with the device unfolded using the primary camera, you can toggle an option to use the front screen as a mirror for your subjects to see themselves as you shoot.
Whether it is wireless reverse charging or high-quality photography, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G never failed to deliver on my expectations. More often than not, it exceeded them.
One of the most impressive features of the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G is its battery life.
Despite having two screens to drive as well as a 5G-capable chipset, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G easily lasted the whole day on a single charge.
This great battery life is due in part to the smartphone’s dynamic refresh rate, where it adapts the frequency at which it refreshes the primary display based on the application being used.
The processor, storage space, RAM, and other internal components all deliver great performance, and the 5G modem is capable of excellent speeds, provided you are in a coverage area on a compatible network.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G’s triple-lens rear camera system is also great, delivering the picture quality you would expect from a high-end flagship smartphone, and the two front-facing cameras (one on the foldable display and one on the front) mean you can use it for selfies and video calls in any configuration.
It offers Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, too, which is great if you have a high-speed home Wi-Fi connection and compatible router.
Most impressive, however, is the design of the smartphone’s folding mechanism.
We put it through two weeks of heavy use, folding and unfolding the smartphone regularly without any problems.
There are small covers over the top and bottom of the OLED display itself which protect the rear of the display from anything which could otherwise enter the device, and the entire contraption feels much sturdier than the previous-generation Galaxy Fold.
With a price tag of R49,999, it is understandable that there is little fault to find in the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G.
My experience with this smartphone has been among the best I have had, and it has only made me more excited about foldable smartphones and their applications in future.
The full specifications and images of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G provided to us for review are below.
|Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G|
|Operating System||Android 10|
|Main Display||7.6-inch 1,768 x 2,208 AMOLED 120Hz Foldable|
|Cover Display||6.23-inch 816 x 2,260 AMOLED|
|Rear camera||12MP + 12MP + 12MP|
|Front camera||10MP (Cover), 10MP (Main Display)|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, USB Type-C|