The Galaxy Fold was one of the standout phones of last year, for better and for worse. After reviewers found fatal flaws in the design, Samsung went back to the drawing board, and eventually released an improved phone that has earned fans and sparked competition. You might say that updates and improvements are part of the Galaxy Fold’s DNA. So, we’re excited to see how Samsung steps up its game with the sequel, a phone that’s now being called the Galaxy Z Fold 2.
In our review of the original Galaxy Fold, we advised waiting for the sequel, hoping it would add some necessary improvements. The Galaxy Fold is so delicate that Samsung includes a free screen repair in the first year. It has no ingress protection (IP) rating against water or dust. None. At $2,000, it launched as the most expensive phone Samsung ever sold, and it arrived in obvious need of improvement.
Here’s what Samsung might have planned for the follow-up.
When will the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 be available?
According to the latest rumors, we won’t actually see a “Fold 2,” as Samsung is more likely to fold the larger devices into the Galaxy Z Fold family. The next device to launch in early August will be the Galaxy Z Fold 2, according to a report from reliable Samsung leaks site SamMobile. If you check out the Galaxy Z page on Samsung’s US website, the original Galaxy Fold joins the family unofficially at the bottom.
Samsung will announce the Galaxy Z Fold 2 with the Galaxy Note 20 during a streaming event on August 5, according to rising leaker Jon Prosser. We usually expect only a brief interlude between announcement and sales, but it’s hard to say how coronavirus has changed the supply chain.
How much will the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 cost?
The new Galaxy Z Fold 2 will cost less than the original, at least for the base model. Rumors suggest Samsung will offer a 256GB version at a lower price point. The original Galaxy Fold sold for almost $2,000, but Samsung saw even more success with the Galaxy Z Flip, which sells for around $1,400 itself. The more affordable Galaxy Z Fold 2 could retail somewhere between those figures, maybe around $1,800.
There have been murmurs about an “entry-level” folding phone that could cost $1,100. These rumors suggest a device with a much smaller external display – more like a thin strip showing notifications and basic information. The device function would be moved entirely to the internal screen.
What will the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 look like?
The biggest change on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 will be the front display. On the original Galaxy Fold, the outer screen was dinky with a huge border around it, giving the phone a decidedly last-gen look. The new Galaxy Z Fold 2 will sport a display that nearly covers one side of the exterior, so the new phone will look more like a modern smartphone when closed.
New photos from leaker @iceuniverse seem to be renders from Samsung’s marketing for the upcoming device, and confirm the new design. We’ve retouched the original leaked image a bit to reveal more detail.
Please note the image source is blurry, which is why it appears so here, as well.
The original Galaxy Fold launched in snazzy colors, but after its first delay, a few of those options didn’t make it to market. Most of the leaks we’ve seen present the Galaxy Z Fold 2 in a metallic copper finish. Rumors have previously suggested the original Martian Green and Astro Blue colors will be launch options this time. Colors vary by region, so you may see different colors available depending on the country where you live. Color options we’ve heard so far also include blue, silver, gold, pink, and black.
Samsung is somehow managing to make the phone larger yet lighter, as we’ve heard the Galaxy Z Fold 2 could be 40 grams lighter than its predecessor. The original Galaxy Fold was announced with a ceramic option in addition to the steel frame. That luxury addition was nixed when the Galaxy Fold went back to the drawing board, but we’re hearing ceramic could make a comeback as a luxe Galaxy Z Fold 2 amenity, according to a (now deleted) tweet from Max Weinbach.
The original Galaxy Fold had an entire corner cut out of the interior screen to make room for selfie cameras. The next Galaxy Fold should use a punch-hole design, not only on the interior screen, but also on the larger exterior display.
What new features will the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 have?
The next Galaxy Fold will have a larger display than the original. Rumors suggest the Galaxy Z Fold 2 will use a 7.7-inch screen instead of the 7.3-inch foldable display on the original device. The external display will also be much larger, a respectable 6.2-inches instead of last year’s dinky 4.6-inch display. This new display will refresh at 120Hz, so it should look sharp and smooth.
There’s a Samsung patent that covers waterproofing a Galaxy Fold device, but it would seem a technological leap for Samsung to jump from a device with no ingress protection whatsoever to a water-resistant phone. Hopefully, there will be some level of splash resistance, and of course, dust is the great bugbear of the folding lineup, so better dust protection would be welcome (but is not confirmed).
What hardware will have the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 have?
Given its price, it’s all but certain the Galaxy Z Fold 2 will use the most capable Qualcomm chip available – the Snapdragon 865. It will also support 5G connectivity.
It’s likely the new Galaxy Z Fold 2 will have 12GB of RAM, just like the original.
As mentioned earlier, rumors suggest an entry-level model will have 256GB of internal storage, with more expensive models upgrading to 512GB of storage.
What’s the bad news?
It’s looking like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 won’t be able to use the S Pen, a staple on Samsung’s Galaxy Note series, as well as on a number of Samsung tablets and laptops. This was a widely expected feature, but rumors say that Samsung is trying to shed weight, so S Pen support was nixed this go-round.
Other rumors suggest that Samsung was not able to make the S Pen sensor layer durable enough to meet its high standards, and that the sensor began to deteriorate after excessive use.
Instead of using a plastic screen that folds, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 will bend using ultra-thin glass (UTG), which would be a huge improvement over the scratch-prone Galaxy Fold, a device that could be permanently marked with a sharp fingernail. However, Samsung may slap a layer of plastic on top of the UTG, which would improve durability but give the device a cheaper feel.
Don’t hope for a major battery upgrade, either. The original Galaxy Fold did fine with its 4380mAh battery, and the new device will get a battery somewhere in the 4500 to 5000mAh range. It’s a respectable bump, but not a huge expansion.
Disclosure: Philip Berne worked for Samsung as a Product Review and Crisis Communications Lead from 2011 to 2017.