If you’ve read Gizmodo for a while, you’ve probably realized that I’m a bull on flexible screens, in large part because of their ability to expand or enhance the capabilities of smartphones, laptops, and even smartwatches (Okay, the latter is a bit uncertain). Well after reviewing Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 Last year I decided to put my money where my mouth was and buy myself one of the super expensive folds. Now that Samsung is expected to introduce a few more folding devices Galaxy Unpacked This week, I wanted to explain what kind of devices one should actually live with.
Before we move on to certain ups and downs, I would note that I have never used a phone case in these 10 months as long as it is owned, and the only safeguard I took was to replace the factory screen protector with an outer cover about six months after has become too worn out for my taste.
Admittedly, while the pandemic almost certainly resulted in less phone spending than would otherwise have been the case, I took my Z Fold 2 on a handful of trips and plane flights after the vaccine.
As I said before, what I like most about folding devices, especially Z Fold 2, is that their design allows gadgets to adapt to my needs in a number of situations, which is more a release than traditional glass-brick smartphones. So let’s dive.
Using the collapsible in the real world
If you’ve gone eating in our post-pandemic world, you may have noticed that many restaurants are switching to digital menus powered by QR codes. And while virtually every modern phone has an easy way to read QR codes, most of these menus are simply not set up in a way that is easy to read on a typical smartphone screen. But with the Z Fold 2 this isn’t a problem, as its large flexible 7.6-inch screen offers plenty of on-screen real estate, with the added bonus of giving you the feeling of looking at the right menu instead of the screen.
The situation is somewhat similar with airplanes, where you are either forced to rely on any screen that your airline could (or may not) have installed in the seat in front of you, which is most likely a small screen with terrible resolution and touch sensitivity which the original Nintendo DS touchscreen seems like a triumph (it’s not). But with Z Fold2, not only do I get a sharp and vivid screen, but I have the freedom to load it with any content I want. And if you still want to watch some of the airline’s movies about flying, there is usually an app for it.
Even when I’m at home just wasting time online or playing games, Z Fold 2 can instantly switch between casual browsing and watching movies. Recently my wife and I succumbed to fever Catan, and although she says she doesn’t mind her smaller screen, I absolutely love the ability to see the whole board at once without even feeling the need to squint or scroll. However, one of the drawbacks of the Z Fold 2’s design is that many phone accessories, from simple cases to gamepad accessories, are simply not compatible. It’s a shame.
Let’s talk about the fold
While the Z Fold2 is definitely a bit on the thicker side, I’ve found that its narrower dimensions are actually easier to hold when folded in half, and as long as you use a belt or wear matching pants, the extra weight doesn’t really make that much of a difference.
Samsung has managed to include a hefty 4,500 battery that lasts even longer than its capacity can imply – to the point that it has changed the way I charge the battery. Since I often watch movies that help me fall asleep, I stopped charging my phone at night and simply relied on wireless charging to charge it during the day. The end result is that I don’t have to deal with wires. In fact, I can barely think about battery life, which is a small but appreciated weight. A few times I even rolled over on the Z Fold 2 while it was open in the middle of the night without causing the slightest damage.
So, what about that crease? Honestly, I don’t even see it anymore. It’s like Cypher of the Matrix“I only see the content behind it.” In low light, the crease is not visible anyway; only in bright light and when viewed from a sharp angle, the crease is actually noticeable. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like that, and I hope that future gadget manufacturers will make folds on flexible screens a thing of the past, but for me it’s hardly even a scam.
In reality, this biggest problem with me Z Fold 2 is not the crease, but the protective screen that is pre-installed on its main flexible screen. I called it back when I inspected the Z Fold 2, and as expected, the screen protector began to detach from the screen, causing bubbles to form between the screen protector and the screen itself.
Now I should note that although the screen protector was not a problem at first, after 10 months, the fight against bubble expansion has become an almost daily battle – sometimes even a challenge by the hour. The problem is that after thousands of bending, the dust managed to break under the edge of the screen protector where it bends, which weakened the glue and eventually let the bubbles run wild.
I have now spoken to some other Z Fold 2 owners who have said they have removed the screen protector (very carefully, that is), and say they have not encountered any problems, unlike what happened to a large number of people who did not read the instructions that were attached original Galaxy Fold. The problem is that Samsung strongly recommends that anyone who wants to remove the screen protector or replace it should go to an authorized service center to do so, which is genuinely annoying (especially during a pandemic).
This means that the least durable component on the entire phone is the pre-built screen protection designed to protect that classy screen, and at the moment it seems like a mean joke. It’s embarrassing, and trying to follow Samsung’s guidelines almost makes me feel like I’ve been punished for not having time to get down to the nearest Samsung service center (which, depending on where you live, could be time consuming).
It’s also a shame because in other respects that flexible screen still looks amazing, and I still get a spark of joy every time I open it. And if I hadn’t planned to visit Z Fold 2 again to talk about its durability, I’m almost certain it would have replaced the screen protector a few months ago. So even though it is a problem that can be solved relatively easily, it is still a problem that should not exist at all.
Improving screen protection on next-generation devices would be the biggest improvement Samsung can make. The Z Fold 2 behaved great despite my holster-free lifestyle. The only noticeable stain is a small scratch on the hinges.
What do folders need to succeed
Z Fold 2 has other drawbacks. The indoor selfie camera still hurts, and the lack of water resistance is a big drawback compared to typical premium phones. Although the flexible screen of my Z Fold 2 has endured, it is still really soft, to the extent that I become more self-aware if I don’t trim my nails for a while. Fortunately, if all the leaks we’ve seen so far turn out to be correct, it looks like Samsung may have upgrades on sale that address many of these issues.
But perhaps my main conclusion is that apart from its price (which is undoubtedly overly expensive), when used with a little caution, Samsung’s foldable phones can really withstand the trials and tribulations of everyday life. And if they get extra durability, they will be competitive with traditionally leading phones.
Foldable phones are certainly not for everyone, but for me, living with one has combined the best aspects of phones and tablets in a device that is easy to carry and use, which I think many people can appreciate. Now we just have to wait for prices to fall, which could happen before we think.