Samsung only recently made the Galaxy Z Fold 2 fully official, and I’ve been using the device for a couple of days. The Galaxy Fold has been my daily driver for almost a year, and I’ve made it clear several times that Samsung’s foldables are the future and that the Fold has made it nigh impossible for me to go back to using a non-folding smartphone again.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that I was incredibly excited for the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Samsung is addressing some of the Fold’s shortcomings with its successor – the larger cover display, for example, is a substantial upgrade, and 120Hz refresh rate makes the inner display a lot more fluid and fun to use. However, it’s not all perfect, and there are three things in particular that have left me underwhelmed.
Battery life not as good as the Galaxy Fold’s
The Galaxy Z Fold 2’s battery life is shorter than the Fold’s. That’s to be expected, as the Z Fold 2 has a larger inner display with double the refresh rate and 5G connectivity is included as standard but the battery has received less than a 5% increase in capacity. Still, it feels like a downgrade.
Disabling the high refresh rate and sticking with 4G (my carrier doesn’t have the best 5G coverage anyhow) should make the Z Fold 2 match or exceed the Fold’s endurance, but it would have been so much better if Samsung had found a way to equip the phone with a 5,000 mAh battery. It would probably be easy, too, seeing as how Samsung’s foldables have two batteries that combine to offer the total advertised capacity.
2x zoom camera is not enough
My colleague Abhijeet has already expressed his displeasure over the Galaxy Z Fold 2’s three-year-old zooming capabilities, and while I’m not as demanding of a phone’s cameras as he is, I have to agree that not having 2020 levels of camera zoom is just not done. Given the price point and how good the overall specs of the Z Fold 2 otherwise are, it should have, at the very least, launched with camera hardware that matches the Galaxy S20 or S20+.
The 64MP camera on the S20 and S20+ isn’t as great as the periscope zoom camera on the Galaxy S20 Ultra or the Note 20 Ultra, but it can take very useful pictures at up to 10x magnification. It also enables 8K video recording, although I won’t say that’s a feature that I care about.
The punch hole is more of a distraction than the notch
You would expect the punch hole on the Z Fold 2’s foldable display to be a massive improvement over the Fold’s notch. Well, it isn’t. The punch hole is more visible than the notch, especially when you’re watching a video. Also, the punch hole is in the wrong place. Naturally, it can’t be placed at the center of the inner display, because that’s where the folding wizardry takes place. But it still feels off, and a corner punch hole would have been a better alternative to the notch instead of the no-man-land placement Samsung has gone with on the Z Fold 2.
I should note that these are only my initial thoughts on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 after a very short time of using it as my daily driver. I will have to test the device more to find out how the battery copes with a variety of use cases and whether the punch hole will continue to be a distraction. Our full review will have all the answers you seek, so stay tuned!