What just happened? Samsung unveiled five new additions in its Galaxy family of products at its annual Unpacked event on Wednesday. The Galaxy Note20 and Tab S7 lines made an appearance, as did the Galaxy Watch3 and Galaxy Buds Live.
People tuning into Unpacked were arguably most curious about Samsung's fifth device, the Galaxy Z Fold 2. The first-generation Galaxy Fold was a bit of a fiasco. Several delays, shoddy review units, and an apparent rush to launch, ruined customers' already high expectations of the much-hyped foldable smartphone. Many users wonder if Samsung can redeem itself after its miserable showing last year.
This time around, the Korean tech giant went with slightly larger screens for both the cover and interior display—6.2-inch and 7.6-inch, respectively. Samsung says it has reworked the Z Fold's hinge, which was a major mess for the first iteration.
The 2019 Fold's hinge was a disaster. For one, it had a gap that allowed dust and debris inside the interior screen, which damaged the delicate folding display. It also was not as reliable as the engineers claimed. During post-release stress tests, the Fold's hinge failed far sooner than the 200,000 openings and closings the phone was supposed to endure.
Samsung claims it has ironed out those problems for the second-generation foldable. Indeed, the "hideaway hinge" does look sturdier and tucks away nicely behind the casing when opened. Whether the gapping issue that allows dirt in was addressed is hard to tell from the press images.
Interestingly, Samsung did not release a spec sheet for the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Fortunately, XDA Developers was able to get its hands on one. The specifications are not drastically different from last year, but there have been some changes.
A Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus is under the hood of the Galaxy Z Fold 2, so it's 5G-ready. The previous Fold had 5G and LTE models with a Snapdragon 855, but Samsung did not mention having a separate model this time. It comes equipped with 12GB LPDDR5 RAM. It also has a 256GB storage capacity, which is half of last year's model.
The Z Fold 2 packs a 4,500mAh battery, which is slightly larger than last year's 4,235mAh powerpack. It supports 25W wired fast charging and 11W wireless charging. It also has reverse charging for those times you have a second device that needs a little pick-me-up.
The rear-facing camera has an array of three sensors. All are 12-megapixel with the first having an f/1.8 lens with optical image stabilization. The secondary is an f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle sensor, and the third is an f/2.4 telephoto. The front-facing camera is a 10MP, f/2.2 fixed-focus lens. The camera setups are on-par with last year's model except for the ultra-wide-angle sensor—previously 16MP.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 looks pretty much like a do-over for Samsung. The upgraded processor is a slight improvement, as is the somewhat larger main screen and significantly bigger cover screen. Whether the hinge issues are truly fixed remains to be seen until the company releases some review units.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 comes with two color options—Mystic Black and Mystic Bronze. There will also be a "limited" Thom Browne Edition, which will undoubtedly go for a premium.
Although Samsung is not ready to list the price, the downgraded storage capacity and lower resolution camera sensor might hint at a possibly lower MSRP. Last year's Galaxy fold was an eye-watering, wallet-emptying $1,980. Perhaps it can get the price a couple of hundred dollars lower to give the foldable a broader appeal, but if the alleged price leak is anything to go by, don't hold your breath. The company said it would provide more information and launch details next month.