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Samsung’s second Fold is still a bit uneven

Running several apps at once on the giant, unfolded 7.6-inch screen is great, because I can have email, messages and Chrome open at the same time while coordinating an event.

The battery is also very impressive. I’m a heavy phone user and play a lot of games, but still haven’t seen a low battery notification. That’s very surprising, given how bright both screens are and that it’s 5G compatible.

However, while all of that is exciting and great, it’s nothing I couldn’t have done better and more comfortably using a phone and a tablet. $3000 can buy both of those things.

Back in the before times, when we could go places, and I was frequently flying to and from Sydney with just a phone, headphones and keys, this would have been great. But we won’t be able to do that again for a while, so there’s time to wait for the third generation when the problems are ironed out.

For starters, this phone is bad at handheld phone calls. The thickness and fold make it very uncomfortable to hold to your ear, and the speaker is on the top of the phone, so it can be difficult to find the sweet spot. I know actual phone calls are hardly a selling point for phones anymore, but phones should at least pretend to be phones. And you can’t even hang it up by folding it.

The two screens fall either side of comfortable in terms of size and aspect ratio. The front is too narrow to read on for very long, but having to always open the phone to do something substantial adds time and a friction point, meaning everything takes that little bit longer. Meanwhile the inside screen can be too big to comfortably hold in bed. Neither make for a good typing experience. As you might expect almost no apps are designed for these screen shapes, and few adapt well to them.

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The shape and hinge mean you can’t put a full case on it either, which is why it’s baffling that Samsung has made the phone out of what feels like the most slippery material known to humankind. So, not only is it not overly comfortable to hold, but it is unprotected and could slip and smash at any second. Plus, it’s not water or dust proof, so you can’t use it to read a recipe near flour.

Maybe if the phone was just a little bit wider, so the front screen had the same aspect ratio of a regular phone, there would be more apps that were compatible and the inside screen could house a full-sized keyboard? That could be nice.

Overall, the folding phone technology is extremely exciting, and this time with the Z Fold 2 has me torn. I want to love this phone so much, because I can see that this technology will change the way I use my phone and be much more convenient in the future. But, while the 2 will be perfect for a specific group of people, we’ll need to wait for at least the third generation before it’s ready for the masses.

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