The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 (opens in new tab) is in a class of its own due to its foldable design and price. But this fall the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max will be the closest rival from Apple.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max should beat the Galaxy Z Fold 2 when it comes to sheer performance, thanks to the A14 Bionic chip that's likely to power the phone. And Apple also looks to up the photography ante with a new LiDAR sensor (opens in new tab) that should also enhance augmented reality applications.
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But when it comes to sheer versatility and productivity, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 will have the iPhone 12 Pro Max beat. Here's three big reasons why.
A bigger screen with optimized apps
The iPhone 12 Pro Max will reportedly feature a 6.7-inch display, while the Galaxy Z Fold 2 sports a much bigger 7.6-inch foldable screen on the inside and a serviceable 6.2-inch panel on the outside.
So what can you do with this extra real estate? The Z Fold 2 behaves like a tablet when using some apps, which the iPhone 12 likely won't match. Once you turn on the "See more content at the same time" option in the display settings, you'll get a dual-pane view in several apps on the Galaxy Z Fold 2.
For example, in Gmail, you can see your inbox on the left and message contents on the right. And in Slack your contacts are listed on one side of the screen and messages for the current room are on the other. Granted, you need to flip the phone to landscape mode to see this view, but it goes a long way toward providing more info at a glance — and making your laptop less relevant.
Flex mode delivers laptop-like productivity
I can't tell you how freeing it feels to conduct a video call on a phone without having to literally hold the phone. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 let me do just that in the Google Duo app, allowing me to chat with a colleague while keeping my hands free.
The bottom half of the screen when folded presents various controls, from engaging the wide-angle lens to activating low-light mode. The camera app on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 offers similar versatility, with the controls and recent photos appearing on the bottom portion of the screen and the live preview appearing up top.
If you're recording video in Flex mode on the Z Fold 2, you can activate an auto-framing feature that will follow the subject around even as the phone stays still.
Multitasking with three apps at once
Before you think "overkill," let me tell you that I found it pretty empowering to use the Multi-Active window feature on the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Not only can you run three apps at once on the 7.6-inch display, you can quickly create app pairs so you can launch that trio with just a tap any time you want.
For example, I had Twitter running in one window, Slack running in another and Spotify running in yet another window. And it's a cinch to re-arrange the apps in case you want one of them to take up the biggest pane on the left side.
It gets better. The drag and drop functionality of the Galaxy Z Fold 2 enables you to take a photo from your gallery and just drop it into an outgoing text message. There's only a small number of apps that support this feature now, but more should be on the way.
Apple is reportedly working on an iPhone Flip (opens in new tab) of its own, but it remains to be seen when (or if) such a foldable phone will come to life. In the meantime, the iPhone 12 Pro will be the most direct competitor to the Galaxy Z Fold 2. And now that I've been using Samsung's foldable phone for more than a week, it's hard to see how Apple's new flagship will top this effort.
The $2,000 asking price for the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is very high. But assuming the iPhone 12 Pro Max costs about the same as its predecessor, you would pay about $1,249 for a 256GB version of that phone, plus $399 for an entry-level iPad mini. At that point you would be looking at a total of $1,648.
Is getting a tablet and phone in one device worth another $350 more? If you like the idea of having one device that can do it all, I would say yes. And you can bet that Apple is studying the Galaxy Z Fold 2 to see how it can outdo Samsung should it decide to go the foldable route. For now, though, Samsung has the most innovative and productivity-enhancing phone around.
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