Samsung has tackled one of the biggest criticisms of its original folding-screen smartphone by giving the new version a much bigger external display for use when it is closed.
The original Galaxy Fold’s “cover screen” was a relatively small 4.6in, leading to claims it was fiddly to use.
By contrast, the Galaxy Z Fold 2’s external screen is 6.2in – the same as the best-selling Galaxy S20.
Even so, one expert said its high price would mean sales remained limited.
But he noted it would at least serve as a better “halo device” to generate excitement for the firm’s wider line-up, which also includes updated versions of its stylus-enabled Note handset, as well as a new smartwatch, tablet and wireless earphones.
“Samsung has addressed the biggest shortcoming of the Fold. Its external display was extremely small, which made it difficult to use as a one-handed smartphone,” commented Ben Wood from the CCS Insight consultancy.
“With a larger external display you really do get the best of both worlds with regards to being able to use it closed as a traditional phone and then having the benefit of a mini-tablet when unfolded.
“That said it’ll probably be priced as a super-premium product, so will only have a niche market.”
The Ultra offers the benefits of a larger screen – 6.9in versus 6.7in – which is also capable of showing up to 120 frames per second, double the rate of the basic model. Samsung suggests this should make it more attractive to gamers.
Other changes centre around the stylus and include:
- faster response times when using the S Pen, to help make writing and drawing feel more natural
- the addition of five S Pen off-screen gestures to control the device, including flicking to the left in the air to go back a page and a shake to take a screenshot
- handwriting recognition that automatically straightens scribbled text
Additional new features include the ability to stream video to a compatible TV while continuing to let the handset be used for other tasks – similar to the AirPlay function on Apple’s iPhone.
And files can now be transferred wirelessly by pointing one of the phones at another “ultra-wideband-enabled” device, similar to the way Apple’s AirDrop and Huawei’s Share OneHop work.
The Note 20 will start at £849 and the Note 20 Ultra at £1,179 when they go on sale on 21 August.