There's a new version of the Galaxy Fold coming, and from the looks of it, Samsung has learned from its missteps with the original. But you're in for a little bit of a wait before you get the full picture of what's changing.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is this year's follow-up to Samsung's original foldable with a design that opens up to reveal a larger display inside. And while the Fold 2 looks a lot like its predecessor, Samsung promises a number of changes, particularly when it comes to the phone's durability.
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Here's what we know about the Galaxy Z Fold 2 after Samsung previewed the device during its August 5 Unpacked event, and what we're still waiting to hear about. We've also gone through the latest Galaxy Z Fold 2 rumors to fill in some of those missing details.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 price and release date
The Galaxy Z Fold 2's appearance at Samsung's August 5 Unpacked event was merely a preview for the folding phone sequel. Samsung plans to release more information about the Fold 2 on Sept. 1.
That's also when preorders begin for the phone, which would likely mean that the Z Fold 2 will ship later that month.
What price the Galaxy Z Fold 2 will cost is still a mystery, though we wouldn't expect much of a discount from the $1,980 that Samsung charged for the original fold. At Unpacked, Samsung billed the new fold as a "game-changer for premium high-tech experiences" and that use of the word "premium" would seem to confirm a still-lofty price for the phone.
Back in the spring, display expert Ross Young suggested the Galaxy Fold sequel would cost between $1,780 and $1,980, with $1,880 to $1,895 likely being the price Samsung settles on. A more recent rumor out of Korea listed a price of 2.39 million won, which translates to around $2,000.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 design
While Samsung has yet to talk pricing for its new foldable phone, it did spend a lot of time on August 5 talking about design changes introduced to the Galaxy Z Fold 2. That will likely reassure foldable phone shoppers who remember the original Galaxy Fold and some of the design issues that affected its screen, delaying the launch by several months. Samsung is looking to avoid that this time around with a re-engineered experience.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 features a new hinge — this one can stay open at multiple angles, much like the Galaxy Z Flip Samsung introduced earlier this year. Samsung also says the hinge on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is more resilient and that it uses fibers underneath the hinge to sweep away any dust and debris that gets into the device.
The original fold had a plastic screen, but the Fold 2 will incorporate a layer of ultra thin glass, again a feature lifted from the Galaxy Z Flip. That should make using the Galaxy Z Fold 2 more enjoyable to use, while also making the screen more durable.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 has gotten thinner — it's now 6mm. And the device will be available in Mystic Black or the same Mystic Bronze introduced with the Galaxy Note 20.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 display
There's a lot more screen to the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Inside, Samsung has gotten rid of the notch housing the interior cameras, opting instead for an Infinity-O display with a punch-hole cutout for the camera. That increases interior screen size to 7.6 inches from 7.3 inches on the original. That screen will have the same 120Hz refresh rate technology that Samsung introduced with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
But the bigger screen changes are on the outside of the phone. The original Fold featured a small 4.6-inch display on the outer cover, letting people use the phone without having to open it up. However, users told Samsung they turned to that screen as much as the interior one, so Samsung increased the size to a full cover display that offers 6.2 inches of screen real estate.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 cameras
The only official details we know about the Galaxy Z Fold 2's cameras are that Samsung is using a punch-hole cut-out to house the single front camera on the phone's interior display. We also saw an exterior camera array with three lenses, though Samsung didn't provide specs. We'd assume that's a main lens augmented by an ultra wide angle and telephoto lens, similar to the setup on Samsung's premium phones like the Galaxy Note 20.
There’s a good chance the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 could see a notable improvement to its cameras, however. Max Weinbach claims that the Fold 2 will use the Galaxy S20 Plus’ camera array, which would be a 12MP main sensor, a 3x optical zoom 64MP telephoto sensor, a 12MP ultrawide sensor and a time-of-flight camera to aid the others. Ross Young tweeted similar camera specs, adding that those lenses are likely to have dual optical image stabilization. ETNews repeats those same camera specs.
That already sounds pretty good, but we’ve also heard rumors of the Fold 2 using Samsung’s enormous 108MP camera, which appeared on the Galaxy S20 Ultra. Given that everyone else seems to think that Samsung will go with a 12MP main lens, though, we'd dismiss that particular rumor.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 processor and 5G
Samsung also hasn't told us what processor will power the Galaxy Z Fold 2, though all signs either point to the Snapdragon 865 or the slightly improved Snapdragon 865 Plus. Those are Qualcomm's top-of-the-line chipsets, and last year's Fold used the then cutting-edge Snapdragon 855.
Either variant of the Snapdragon 865 would likely include 5G compatibility. This is exactly what Max Weinbach has said too, so there’s little doubt there will be at least a 5G-compatible Fold 2 model you can select.
My dudes... we got Galaxy Fold 2 software builds starting! VZW is here too which probably means the Fold 2 supports mmWave, unlike Z Flip 5G. Wonder if it'll be unlocked only for Verizon or if they'll carry it. pic.twitter.com/0aFkDIoy89June 8, 2020
In a tweet that offers evidence of Galaxy Fold 2 software builds, Weinbach noticed that Verizon is specifically listed. That could mean the Galaxy Z Fold 2 will specifically support Verizon's mmWave-based 5G network, which requires specific antennas in a phone.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 battery and charging
Due to the Fold's design, Samsung actually puts two smaller batteries inside its foldable phone, drawing on power from both sources. And while it's promised all day battery life for the Galaxy Z Fold 2, Samsung hasn't told us how big of a power pack it plans to use in the new phone.
After using a 4,380 mAh battery on the first Fold, we hope that Samsung finds room to squeeze in a little more capacity on the Fold 2. With an even larger display, it’ll need all the power it can get. That's why we're a bit puzzled by an ETNews specs report, which claims the Galaxy Z Fold 2 will have a smaller battery at 4,365 mAh.
What we definitely want to see improved is the charging speed. The Galaxy Fold charged at a mediocre 15W, but the Fold 2 really ought to make use of Samsung’s new 25W and 45W charging protocols. Rumor mongers are divided on whether Samsung sticks with 15W charging for the Galaxy Z Fold 2 or upgrades charging speed.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 outlook
The key issue with the Galaxy Z Fold 2 will be to avoid the troubles that dogged the original Fold when it tried to launch. From the sound of Samsung's focus on improving the design and resilience of its foldable phone, it sounds like Samsung is making strides in that regard. Now we just need the phone maker to fill in the rest of the details by Sept. 1.
Richard Priday contributed to this report.