After testing out the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, see our full review, I ordered my own Mystic Black one with the Metallic Red hinge and the experience has been incredible. However, after picking up a new Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max a couple of weeks ago and using it I realized the Z Fold 2 just isn't right for me at this time.
Samsung made significant improvements in the Z Fold 2 this year with both hardware and software enhancements. The engineering behind the Fold 2 is incredible and there is a lot to like in the device. Apple also made some significant improvements in the iPhone 12 Pro Max, especially in terms of the camera technology and software.
Regular readers know I've been very happy with the Z Fold 2, but here is why I put it up for sale on Swappa.
- COVID-19 and remote work environment: The original Fold worked well for the more than two hour daily train commute to and from the office, but now my office is in my house so there is no commute. The utility of having a phone that serves as a small tablet has been significantly impacted by remote work. I am also not traveling as much for business so find using a typical slab phone satisfies my communication needs. When I am back to commuting again, the Z Fold 3 may again be the device to try.
- Dust/water resistance: Winter in the Pacific Northwest means lots of chilly running in the rain and I found myself taking out the T-Mobile SIM from the Z Fold 2 whenever I ran. The device is too large, too heavy, and not optimized for use in inclement environments.I tried a Galaxy Watch 3 with LTE, but it wasn't reliable enough for phone calls so I need to run with my phone for work and emergency needs.
- Rare use of dual screen apps: Samsung improved the multi-tasking capability of apps and it is as good as it can be on a foldable phone. However, even with a 7.6-inch display I found it is still a bit too narrow to be useful enough to justify the $2,000 price. I gave it a couple of months, but rarely found the need to have two apps open side-by-side. The LG V60 with Dual Screen Cover or the Surface Duo are better for true multi-tasking.
- Not the best Samsung camera setup: The Z Fold 2 is Samsung's most expensive phone, but it does not have Samsung's best camera setup. The Note 20 Ultra has the best camera setup and while it may not have that much of an impact on typical daily usage I feel that paying the ultimate price should bring with it the ultimate in all experiences.
- Timeliness of updates: Samsung has done a great job of releasing Android security updates just over a month past the Google release and I'm pleased to see the company have one of the fastest responses in the Android world. However, Android 11 was released a couple of months ago and the Z Fold 2 is still on Android 10. I'm not sure there will be anything absolutely critical in this release for the device, but when you pay a premium for a phone you should expect more timely software updates. It's been almost four months since the Android 11 release and I have no idea when the update is coming to the Z Fold 2.
The reasons listed above became more apparent to me when the seasons changed and I started using the iPhone 12 Pro Max. That phone has a large display and has met my needs in terms of productivity. I also am thoroughly enjoying the camera experience and iOS still has more refined apps.
The fact that I can use DeX with something like the NexDock Touch is a great feature of the Z Fold 2, but working remotely again makes this less of a productivity use case in 2020 and 2021. The Z Fold 2 is one of my favorite phones ever made, but unfortuntely the timing of a global pandemic isn't helping Samsung justify its usefulness for business.