Review: Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 2 is an extraordinary phone, but only for a select few people

The second edition of Samsung's premium foldable phone is upon us.

The Galaxy Z Fold 2 has an undeniable wow factor and is sure to impress anyone who uses it or sees it in action - but its starting price in New Zealand is an eye-watering $3400.

Is the hefty cost worth it and does the functionality extend beyond novelty? I've been using the Galaxy Z Fold 2 for the last few weeks and here are my thoughts.

The good

This is a beautiful phone and most of the time, using it is a pleasure.

Unfolded, the 7.6 inch screen with its 120Hz adaptable refresh rate is great for watching videos and playing games, but it makes using any apps a more aesthetically pleasing experience than other phones.

All that screen space sure does come in handy, especially with the multi-tasking functionality. The ease with which you can do two or three things at once - particularly tweeting or chatting about a video while watching it - is really cool.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 NZ price, review.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, unfolded. Photo credit: Newshub.

Using it for work, I found it particularly useful, too. I could use part of the screen to partake in a video conference while using another to display website traffic data tracking, interchanging the third with my email and the notes app.

That level of functionality for something that fits in your pocket is pretty amazing.

The design of this thing is ceaselessly impressive. Every time I popped it open it was satisfying, as was the hinge holding it in place at any angle I like. And I love how Samsung hides the fold in the middle of the screen.

It's also super handy how things pop from the front screen to the internal screen and back again. That might not be as handy for other people as it is for me - fortunately, you can customise which apps do it and which don't, so everyone's happy. 

All of Samsung's trademark camera tricks are included which means anyone should be able to easily take really great photos and videos. Using the front screen as a large monitor for the subject being photographed is also a brilliant feature - especially for people sick of having poorly framed pics taken of them, no matter how many times they explain it.

However, the Fold 2 doesn't have Samsung's best camera tech - more on that later.

The luxurious, unique look of this device will have huge appeal for a lot of people, too. If you want your phone to turn heads and start conversations, this is an ideal choice.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 reviewed in New Zealand.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, unfolded. Photo credit: Newshub.

The bad

There's no getting past that enormous $3400 price point - you could buy more than 30 brand new cheap little Nokias for the cost of one Galaxy Z Fold 2. That's not a very fair comparison, but damn, this is expensive.

It's also a little unusual that this is Samsung's priciest phone, but its camera capabilities are dwarfed by many other phones on the market - including in the company's own catalogue.

The primary camera of the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is a triple camera, each of them 12 MP. A few years ago this would have been amazing, but in 2020 it is not.

What the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra packs blows the Fold 2 away - it has a triple camera offering a mighty 108 MP, 48 MP and 12 MP. 

Don't get me wrong, even the 10MP selfie camera on the front of the Galaxy Z Fold 2 can take great pics, let alone the triple camera on the back - but if you're forking out this much for a Samsung's most premium phone, surely they could put their most premium camera in it?

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2's three 12MP front cameras.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2's three 12MP front cameras. Photo credit: Newshub.

Oppo and Huawei also offer higher Megapixel cameras in lower priced phones. They don't offer most of the functionality nor luxury feel of the Galaxy Z Fold 2, however.

But just as all that functionality is great for some people, it's definitely not for everyone. The Galaxy Z Fold 2, when it's closed, has a lot of heft to it for a contemporary smartphone with a normal shape, and when it's open it's clunky to use as a phone.

Once you start getting into the multi-tasking, a few limitations reveal themselves too. It's a really brilliant feature that no other phone is doing as well - so it's weird to complain about what it's not doing - but I do wonder why they limit it to three apps.

Maybe the Fold 3 will allow four, with one in each corner, and that would be nice. Some apps only allow being minimised to a half of the screen, too, rather than a quarter, which did leave me confused. 

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 has a beautiful display screen.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, half open. Photo credit: Newshub.

The verdict

For the relatively small group of people it's targeting, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 will definitely deliver what they want.

It's not the sort of phone you'd buy on a whim unless you're a billionaire. But if you like the sound of the features it offers, you can rest assured they'll be just as pleasing and convenient as you imagine.

For many of us, buying a cheaper phone along with either a tablet or laptop will provide the functionality this offers and more, just in two devices instead of one.

Neither will have the unique wow factor of Galaxy Z Fold 2, however, which for some will be priceless.