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- The front display is way bigger.
- The inner display loses the notch, opting instead for a hole-punch display.
- The bottom edge has a USB-C port and speaker.
- The two-handed opening procedure.
- The spine of the phone, which is still very thick.
Samsung Unpacked 2020 is happening today, but the star of the show, the Galaxy Z Fold 2, only got a light teasing. We got official press pictures, one or two specs, and a promise of more info on September 1. The good news is that there was also a full spec sheet leak today from XDA’s Max Weinbach, and it fills in most of the blanks.
Samsung’s second-generation foldable is officially the “Galaxy Z Fold 2,” a slight name change from “Samsung Galaxy Fold” that puts it in the same class as Samsung’s other foldable, the Galaxy Z Flip. The smartphone/tablet hybrid is very much in the mold of the Galaxy Fold 1 from last year, but it has a ton of iterative yearly upgrades and refinements.
The most noticeable upgrade is that the outer screen now fills the front of the phone. XDA’s specs list the display as a 6.2-inch, 2260×816 OLED display with a crazy 25:9 aspect ratio. This is dramatically bigger than the 4.6-inch display that shipped on the Fold 1, which looked really out of place, with somewhere around a 50-percent body-to-display ratio. The new display is still very tall and skinny, but the “phone” part of the Fold 2 now looks more like a smartphone.
At a glance, the Fold 2 might look like the same shape as last year, but it’s actually a tiny bit wider. You can get a rough idea of this from the official pictures, but XDA’s specs put the Fold 2 at 159.2×128.2×6.9mm when open, while the original fold was 160.9×117.9×7.6mm. That means, when folded, the front is a bit wider, too: 68mm wide compared to 62.8mm wide on the original Fold. The primary problem with the Fold1’s outer display was that it was very skinny, limiting things like the size of the keyboard and its ability to display a normal home screen with four columns of icons. The wider body and thinner bezels should help the Fold 2 approach a normal-sized smartphone screen.
XDA lists the big, inner Fold display at 7.6-inches with a 2208×1768 resolution. It’s now a 5:4 resolution instead of the iPad-like 4:3. Samsung confirmed the inner display is 120Hz, which is a big upgrade, but it did not mention the refresh rate of the outer display. XDA’s leaked spec sheet lists the outer display at 60Hz, which would be an odd proposition for users. It seems most people who try a higher refresh rate screen say something like “I could never go back to 60Hz,” but if these specs are right, the Fold 2 will ask you to do just that every time you close the phone.
Like the Galaxy Z Flip, the Fold 2 now officially has Samsung’s “ultra-thin glass” display cover, a glass-and-plastic sandwich that should be a huge improvement over the foggy, squishy, plastic cover that was on the original Fold. Like we learned on the Z Flip, ultra-thin glass is not as nice as Gorilla Glass, since the top-most layer is plastic reminiscent of a stick-on screen protector. While you still won’t be touching glass, Samsung’s display cover gives you a firmer surface to swipe around on and better optics compared to an all-plastic cover. Be warned that the flexible glass isn’t that firm, thoughthe Z Flip still had a big crease over the hinge, which would sink down when it was open, creating a trough across the middle of the display.The other interior improvement is the hole-punch camera, a big upgrade over the gigantic notch that was fitted to the original Galaxy Fold. The Fold 1 notch took up most of the status bar area on the right side of the display, making it tough to swipe down the notification panel with your right hand. The hole punch will leave a lot more of the display in a usable state.
Another Fold 2 feature borrowed from the Z Flip is what Samsung called a “completely reengineered” hinge, which can stop at the halfway point, in an “L” shape. This hinge wasn’t a great idea in a flip phone form factor since it stopped you from flipping the phone open, but nobody wants to flip open a tablet-style device, so this seems more appropriate here.
A Qualcomm press release lists the Fold 2 with a Snapdragon 865 Plus and says “appearing commercially for the first time, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 features the latest Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 mobile connectivity system.” This means the Fold 2 will be the world’s first Wi-Fi 6E device, supporting the new 6GHz Wi-Fi band for better performance in crowded environments (provided you also have a Wi-Fi 6E access point).
XDA lists the phone as having 12GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, wireless charging, and a 4500mAh battery. The cameras don’t seem like they’re up to the level of the Note 20 Ultra, with 12MP sensors for the main camera and ultra-wide angle and telephoto lenses. The selfie cameras on the cover and inner displays both live in a hole punch cutout, and they are 10MP sensors.
Samsung says it will reveal more details on September 1, which is also when pre-orders start.