Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Mobile Phones: Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 what we want to see?

Making it tougher and cheaper would be a good start

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has been a long, long time coming, yet after years of rumors followed by months of delays, the finished product is, well, distinctly first-gen.

It’s for those who want the cutting-edge of smartphone technology no matter what it costs and how unpolished it is. But while we can’t recommend the Galaxy Fold to most, it is an exciting look at one possible future of phones, and the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 is sure to come closer to realizing its potential.

We don’t know much about Samsung’s second foldable yet, but you’ll find what we have heard below. And below that, you’ll find a list of all the main things we want from it, because as you may have gathered, there’s plenty of room for improvement.

Don't need it to fold? The Samsung Galaxy S11 may be for you

Cut to the chase

  1. What is it? Samsung's second foldable phone
  2. When is it out? Probably sometime in 2020
  3. What will it cost? Far more than even most flagships
  4. Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 release date and price

The latest Galaxy Fold 2 release date rumors point to a launch in the first half of 2020. That’s a little vague, and given that the original Fold didn’t ultimately go on sale until September 2019 is probably also a little early, especially as we haven’t heard much about it yet.

That said, the original Samsung Galaxy Fold was announced way back in February, it only hit stores so late due to delays, so it is possible that we’ll see the Galaxy Fold 2 that soon.

An earlier rumor also seems to agree, stating that Samsung could launch a new foldable in late 2019 or early 2020 – though notably, this rumor is from all the way back in March, so plans may well have changed given the Fold’s delay in hitting stores.

There’s no word yet on exactly what the Galaxy Fold 2 might cost, but the Galaxy Fold is $1,980 / £1,800 (around AU$3,350), so expect the Galaxy Fold 2 to be very expensive, even if the price is lowered, as one source claims it might be.

Samsung Galaxy Fold 2(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 news and rumors

One Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 rumor suggests that the phone will have a 6.7-inch screen that folds across the horizontal axis (where the original Fold has the hinge on the vertical axis). When folded shut, the screen is hidden on the inside as with the original, and there’s once again said to be a secondary display, but this time one of just 1-inch.

For reference, the original Galaxy Fold has a 7.3-inch main screen and a 4.6-inch secondary one, so if this is accurate then both screens would be smaller on the Fold 2. As such it sounds like a bit of a downgrade – so we’d take this with a pinch of salt, though in making a smaller foldable Samsung might be able to reduce the cost.

Plus, “people familiar with the product’s development” speaking to Bloomberg have echoed much of the above, pointing to a 6.7-inch horizontally folding screen, along with a punch-hole selfie camera and a slimmer build than the current model.

These rumors followed an earlier report that Samsung was working on two new foldable phones, one of which is said to be a “clamshell-like device”, which could make it the device above.

The other is said to have a vertical fold like the original handset, but one that folds outwards, so the main screen is on the outside and always visible – it’s just either big or small depending on whether the phone is folded or unfolded. This sounds similar to the Huawei Mate X.

Samsung has also patented numerous foldable phone designs. Many of these may never get used, but some might provide clues of what to expect.

Samsung Galaxy Fold 2(Image credit: Samsung / LetsGoDigital)

We’ve seen for example the three possible designs above, one of which is a clamshell design, while the other two are closer to the current model.

Another patent meanwhile talks about a folding phone that works with a stylus, which could bring a future Fold closer to Samsung’s Galaxy Note range.

Shipping with a stylus would make sense in order to make the most of the big screen, and this patent specifically describes a stylus that can even work on the curved part of the screen while the phone is partially folded.

What we want to see

There are always ways phones can improve, but that’s truer of the Galaxy Fold than most high-end handsets. Impressive as it is in some ways, it’s rather lacking in others. With that in mind, here’s what we’re hoping for from the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2.

1. A lower price

The Samsung Galaxy Fold costs $1,980 / £1,800 (around AU$3,350), making it twice the price of a typical flagship. When you consider that this is one of the very first foldables and offers around twice the screen of a typical flagship, the price starts to make sense, but it still puts it out of most peoples’ reach.

So for the Galaxy Fold 2, we want to see a substantial reduction in price. It’s still likely to cost more than, say, the Samsung Galaxy S11, but being a second-generation product it’s possible that Samsung will be able to push the price down below its current level. It will need to if it wants foldables to become remotely mainstream.

2. A more durable design

Samsung Galaxy Fold 2(Image credit: Future)

While the Galaxy Fold is more durable than it originally was before Samsung had to delay it and make some alterations, it’s still even more fragile than a standard phone.

With a folding screen, a hinge, and a secondary smaller display, that’s perhaps inevitable, but we’d like to see Samsung do everything it can to make the Fold 2 tougher, especially if it’s going to be this expensive.

Basically, we want a phone that doesn’t need an entire care video created for it.

3. A better secondary screen

Samsung Galaxy Fold 2(Image credit: Future)

While the Galaxy Fold’s 7.3-inch main foldable display is impressive, its 4.6-inch secondary screen is less so. This is the screen you interact with when the main display is folded shut. This one doesn’t fold, is small, and has very large bezels above and below it.

For the Galaxy Fold 2 we want it at a minimum to have less bezel and be a bit bigger, but by designing the phone to have the main screen on the outside (so that the main screen folds down to half the size but is always visible), Samsung wouldn’t have to worry about building an extra display in at all. Though this might make the Fold 2 more fragile.

4. No more crease

One issue with the Galaxy Fold is that the crease down the middle is always noticeable. You’ll get used to it, but on a phone this expensive we don’t want to have to get used to things or make compromises, so for the Galaxy Fold 2, we’re hoping Samsung can do a better job of minimizing the crease when the screen is open.

5. An even refresh rate

The Fold’s display also suffers from an uneven refresh rate in our tests, meaning for example that if you scroll through a text-heavy webpage, the words will shift unevenly across the screen.

This isn’t the sort of thing we expect from a premium product, especially from a company with as much screen experience as Samsung, so we’d like to see this fixed for the next model.

6. A microSD card slot

A small point this one, but the Samsung Galaxy Fold, big as it is, hasn’t found space for a microSD card slot. Given that it comes with 512GB of storage this isn’t a big deal, but it’s still something we’d like to see offered in version two.

7. A bigger, faster-charging battery

The Fold’s 4,380mAh battery (or 4,235mAh in the 5G version) is fairly large by smartphone standards, but this isn’t a standard smartphone, and while battery life is very solid, there’s always room for improvement.

So for the Galaxy Fold 2, we’d like to see Samsung squeeze an even bigger battery into it, making the most of that large size for a very long life.



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