When I first bought both Microsoft’s Surface Duo and Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2, I was open to the possibility of keeping one of them. It’s not easy to drop $1,400 to $1,850 on a device that won’t be my primary smartphone. However, I do get paid a small amount to do this and I have always had an undying interest in new technology. For all of their weirdness and flaws, dual-screen devices and foldables are definitely on the leading edge.
But new alone isn’t enough. I enjoyed trying out these two devices, but neither one was compelling enough to part with all that money over. Not yet, at least.
I will say that I found the Fold 2 to be the more interesting of the two new form factors. I didn’t think that would be the case going in, but you never can tell how a new device will work for you until you use it for several days. After doing that, I found the Fold 2’s large unfolded display to be more compelling than the Duo separated screens with that distracting gap between them. The Fold 2 offers a unique user experience that you really do have to try to fully appreciate.
That said, the creative design, good build quality and solid feel weren’t enough to get me to part with my money yet. To be honest, this isn’t even an iOS vs Android thing. If the Fold 2 hardware was available today running iOS in some alternate reality, I still wouldn’t be ready to make the jump. This form factor needs to cook a little more before I’ll be ready to move.
One big assurance I need is a bit more security in the durability of folding screens before I feel comfortable enough to own a foldable device long-term. To comfortably invest this much money, I need to KNOW the hardware can hold up for a year of hard use. I use my phone for work all day, every day, so if my I ever want to use a foldable as my primary device, I have to be sure it can hold up. There’s just no way to know that quite yet.
The other hang up that I have is that the Fold 2 is a bit too small for me. That may sound crazy, because it certainly isn’t a small or lightweight smartphone.However, I would be more interested if each half was a big as my iPhone 11 Pro Max. The extremely narrow outside display is really limiting and a wider “Max” model would fix that. Also, while the main display has ample room to run a single app comfortably, multitasking would be more compelling and a little more useful if the screen was a bit wider.
If Samsung releases a new wider version of the Fold next year that has larger displays and some new enhancements, I might change my mind. The reports on the durability of the Fold 2 in six months to a year will definitely play into that, as well. If Apple releases a similar device with large displays by 2021, that will definitely have me interested. I don’t think they will enter the market until they prove to themselves that a foldable can reliably last more than a year.
The Fold 2 is a really cool and interesting device. I’m certainly not taking any parting shots at it. While I wouldn’t recommend it to most smartphone buyers, that has more to do with price and the unknowns associated with durability than anything that I believe the device lacks. If I were an Android user, maybe my outlook would be a bit different, but I still don’t think the Fold 2 would change my mind.
The primary issue is still the same- $1,850 is just too high of a price for not quite enough return. I knew that would likely be the outcome, but the Fold 2 still made a more positive impression on me than I expected and I will definitely keep my eye on future versions.