September 26, 2020
Galaxy Z Fold 2's hinge lets it do something only one other foldable phone can do

Galaxy Z Fold 2’s hinge lets it do something only one other foldable phone can do


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The Galaxy Z Fold 2 phone folds out into a tablet and boasts a talented hinge.


CNET/Samsung

I remember my exact feeling of excitement the day Samsung announced its first foldable phone. A year and a half after the Galaxy Fold’s dramatic reveal and subsequent fall from grace, I was surprised to feel the same sense of anticipation when Samsung unveiled its third foldable phone, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G, during a virtual launch hosted online to showcase the new Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra.

I had followed the leaks for months, but something clicked when all the pieces came together on screen, official for the first time. There’s the larger 6.2-inch outer screen, the 7.6-inch inner display with no eyesore of a notch like the first time and just a pinprick of a front-facing camera instead. There’s the mystic bronze shade (to go along with basic black) and a heady mount of cameras on the back that will certainly turn heads if using a foldable phone doesn’t do that first. 

There’s also the sheet of ultrathin glass on the inner screen, which debuted with the Galaxy Z Flip and which — hopefully unlike the Fold’s first rodeo — won’t be an essential screen component that peels off and renders the device unusable.

All of these are nice and good, maybe even great, for the next iteration of a futuristic device outside the reach of mere mortals. But the one feature that’s most likely to be a game-changer is the hinge. Or rather, the fact that the hinge is sturdy enough to hold itself upright, like a corset, so you can bend it at any number of angles before its magnetic corners snap shut or the hinge springs open.

Nothing has sold the promise of a foldable phone to me quite like that freestanding hinge, first seen in the Z Flip. Every day I used it, I found myself naturally propping it partially open to read the news while eating (yes, I splashed it with soup), take a selfie or stabilize the phone and act as a viewfinder for a typical photo. Partially open, the phone was also terrific at becoming its own stand for video calls. Samsung calls this Flex Mode.


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Just one problem: The Z Flip, being a clamshell shape, has a tall, narrow 6.7-inch screen that feels small when folded in half. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 (and mind you, there never was a Z Fold 1 to begin with) could change that perception of smallness. Not only is its full size 7.6-inch internal display reminiscent of a tablet, you’d be able to use Flex Mode in both landscape and portrait configurations and at enough angles to either partially bend it enough so it can stand upright while you read a news story or scroll your social media feeds, to acting as its own stand during your Zoom meeting in the park.

I’ll admit that right now this is purely conjecture. Samsung dribbled out enough information to stir up enthusiasm, but not enough to rile critique before the device has a chance to breathe. The company says it’ll share more information, including the Z Fold 2’s price and preorder details, on Sept. 1. Until then, here’s a little more we know about the Galaxy Z Fold 2.

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The Galaxy Z Fold 2’s 7.2-inch inner screen, with a front-facing camera, but no notch in sight.


Samsung

Galaxy Z Fold 2 screen, camera, more

For me (though I haven’t yet seen it in the flesh), the Z Fold 2 is off to a stronger start, using the same ultrathin glass as on the Galaxy Z Flip, a large-enough cover screen that could make typing and using apps more practical than it was on the cramped Galaxy Z Fold and two Infinity-O displays that make the eyesore notch of the original Fold a shudder from the past. It also has a thinner body than last year’s model, with fewer gaps, which is to be expected.

The Galaxy Z Fold 2 looks like it has the same camera setup as the Note 20 Ultra, which features a main camera capable of taking 108-megapixel photos, 5x optical zoom (and 50x Space Zoom) and 12-megapixel sensors for ultrawide-angle and telephoto shots. It has two front-facing cameras as well, one on the inner screen and one on the cover display, which should each be 10 megapixels, same as on the Galaxy Note 20 phones.

You’ll find the fingerprint reader on the right spine, so it’s on the bottom of the screen sandwich when the phone is folded up. 

Although you can reserve the Galaxy Z Fold 2 right now on Samsung.com, it isn’t clear from Samsung’s site how much it costs. For reference, the first Galaxy Fold cost $1,980.

Consider this announcement one big tease. 


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