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| April 19, 2021

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REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy Fold2 5G

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy Fold2 5G
David McGinley

The Samsung Galaxy Fold2 5G, quite the mouthful and quite the phone. You probably already knew this from the immense amount of hype the phone saw over the last few months and for good reason – have Samsung fully realised the dream of a folding phone but should you actually buy one? Find out in our review.

Samsung has fully realised the dream of a folding phone – almost to a mind-bending degree. It’s a party trick that never stops putting a smile on your face and no, I wasn’t worried about breaking it. The Galaxy Fold1 had… quite a few issues but this time around – the numerous improvements into its screen protection and hinge make this phone feel remarkably solid. The hardware also saw a lot of other improvements with a greatly reduced in size camera module when unfolded and a much bigger outer screen that makes it easier to use the phone for things like quick messages. The screens themselves are top of the line (as you’d expect for a phone at this prize) with beautiful 120hz OLED displays This basically means that scrolling is super smooth and the screens look beautiful thanks to their ability to turn off pixels when not in use so blacks look black. 

However, the hardware still feels like an early generation in some ways. Neither screen feels like it’s the right size just yet. Thanks to the large hinge that’s needed, the outer screen feels cramped to type on and thanks to it’s very tall aspect ratio – not something you enjoy doing much on, bar responding to notifications which makes it feel slightly redundant given the technology that goes into it. In comparison, the inner screen is so wide that typing is awkward. It’s a fantastic media consumption device, but for getting work done It isn’t a device I particularly enjoyed typing on. Now, I could half fold it and use the device like a tiny laptop but that’s only possible in one orientation thanks to the humongous camera bump on the phone and without any kind of kickstand, typing and tapping felt uncomfortable. A stylus and a kickstand would greatly help here I think but thanks to the screen technology, I don’t foresee a stylus like we see in the Note series coming any time soon but I am happy to be wrong! Here’s hoping Samsung continues to play around with the dimensions of the device with different aspect ratios in future. Personally, I’d love Samsung to make the Galaxy Fold2 smaller in height and wider (like the Surface Duo) to make folded typing and use easier and the front screen more enjoyable to use.

The Galaxy Fold2 nails many of the basics you’d want a phone to. Its (five!) cameras are not lacking with a wide, ultrawide and telephoto on the back and two selfie cameras (one inside and one outside the phone for all your zoom calls).  I’m happy to report the phone did exceptionally well with a fast and impressive night mode and great high dynamic range in its photos. The piste de resistance? Because the phone folds, you can show the back cameras on the front screen while the phone is fully unfolded. While a bit unwieldy, this means you can get incredible selfie shots on this phone because it’s not limited to small hole-punch sensors in the front of the phone. Audio quality was flawless with loud and clear speakers that help you enjoy that large inner screen to the maximum and battery life was never an issue – consistently getting through more than a full day on a charge.

Galaxy Fold2 Camera Sample

Galaxy Fold2 Camera Sample

Galaxy Fold2 Camera Sample

Galaxy Fold2 Camera Sample

Software also never skipped a beat with its processor handling multi-tasking incredibly well, Samsung’s ‘One UI’ making one handed use much easier also helped here too. Samsung’s touches to make using a foldable device were also welcome with multi-app multitasking and a handy side panel to put commonly used apps.  The Galaxy Fold2 also comes with a nifty feature called ‘Dex’ which turns your phone into a desktop PC when plugged into a monitor or now when casted to a TV.

It was seriously cool being able to multitask on my home TV. I’m sure if you wanted to, you could make this your main device if you had a monitor, keyboard, mouse and were happy to live off browser and app versions of your favourite apps. 

If the first Fold felt like a proof of concept, the second feels like a vision of the future and we’re here for it.

I really really love this phone and genuinely felt sad sending this back to Samsung. So, would I buy one? I think I could probably justify it if I really wanted to. If you think, you’re getting an incredibly high performance phone that’ll last you years no doubt and a great media consumption tablet bundled in too. I’m an iPhone user and I’ve comfortably spent more than the price of this device on an iPhone 11 Pro Max and iPad Pro 11” so you could in theory save a bit of money by choosing a device like this. I think with a bit more polish and design work, the Fold 3 or 4 could provide a compelling option to combine those devices. For many though, I could already see this becoming the one device they might need and I think that’s where Samsung is bringing this device. I’m excited to see this convergence of devices – a PC and tablet in a phone is quite the idea and in time I think it could get there. If the first Fold felt like a proof of concept, the second feels like a vision of the future and we’re here for it.

The Samsung Galaxy Fold2 5G is available from Samsung Ireland at €2,099.00

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