Galaxy Z Fold 2 first look: 5 features that make it a good business phone and two that are missing

There's a lot for business users to like about the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, but there are also two missing features enterprise buyers will wish it had.

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Credit: Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 has lots of features business users will like, including upgraded hardware, a new multi-position hinge, deeper integration with popular Microsoft apps, and 5G support. There are also two areas where the Z Fold 2 is lacking when it comes to being a work device.

The $1,999 Z Fold 2, has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ processor, 12 GB RAM, 256 GB storage, 10MP front camera, 10MP cover camera, 12MP rear triple camera setup, 4,500 mAh battery, and side fingerprint sensor. There's a 7.6-inch main display and 6.2-inch cover display. The Z Fold 2 supports both millimeter wave and sub-6 GHz 5G .

The Z Fold 2 comes in two main colors, Mystic Bronze and Mystic Black, but buyers can also customize the hinge cover with a once of four different colors, Metallic silver, Metallic Gold, Metallic Red or Metallic Blue. Samsung will also offer a Thom Browne edition of the Z Fold 2, which will also include Thom Browne versions of the the Galaxy Buds Live and Galaxy Watch 3 , for a total of $3,299.

SEE: Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2020: Galaxy Z Fold2, Samsung Galaxy S20, and more (free PDF)

1. Better, bigger displays

Samsung gave both the cover screen and main screen significant upgrades on the Galaxy Z Fold 2, which business users should enjoy.

The Z Fold 2's outer, cover screen is 1.63 times larger than the one on the original Galaxy Fold, going from 4.6 inches to 6.2 inches (diagonally). That's a big increase and makes the outer screen feel more like the display on a regular smartphone than it did on the first Fold. The inner, main screen is 1.12 times larger, going from 7.3 inches to 7.6 inches (diagonally). The bezel has also been reduced by 27%, which gives the inner display a more edge-to-edge feel.

Both the cover and main screens on the Z Fold 2 feature Samsung's Infinity-O Display design, which uses a hole-punch for the camera (like on the Galaxy S20 and Note20) instead of the notch seen on the original Fold.

Not only are the displays bigger, but they are also better. Samsung used Corning's  Gorilla Glass Victus  (the 7th generation Gorilla Glass) for the cover screen and the company's own ultra-thin glass (Samsung UTG) for the main screen. The main screen uses a QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a resolution of 2,208 x 1,768 pixels and has an adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz.

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 in Flex mode playing a video on the top half of the main screen with the controls on the bottom half.

Credit: Samsung

2. Multi-position hinge: Great for video calls, more dust resistant

Like the  Galaxy Z Flip , the Z Fold 2 has a redesigned "hideaway" hinge with a CAM mechanism that allows the halves of the device to be positioned at multiple angles. The original  Galaxy Fold  only worked in either the open or closed positions. The new hinge also uses the same internal "sweepers" found on the Z Flip to help it repel dust and dirt.

With the new multi-position hinge, the Z Fold 2 will support Samsung Flex Mode (also available on the Z Flip), which allows apps to sense whether the device is closed, open, or somewhere in between and adapt their UI accordingly.

For example, with the Z Fold 2 half-way open, you can watch a video on the upper half of the main screen while the lower half shows video controls. Likewise when using the Video call app, each participants image would be shown on the upright half of the screen and call controls on the lower half. Currently Flex Mode is supported by Samsung native apps like, Camera, Video call, Gallery, Video player, Clock, and Calendar as well as third-party partner apps such as YouTube and Google Duo.

3. Better multitasking

For knowledge workers, it's not uncommon to have multiple apps or browser windows open at the same time. Thankfully, multitasking has been improved on both the Z Fold 2's main and cover screens.

On the main screen, the Multi-Active Window feature lets you have up to three apps open on the screen. You can choose the size and layout of the apps by splitting the screen either horizontally or vertically. You can also view multiple files from the same app side by side. For example, you could have two Internet browser windows open side by side or be looking at a PowerPoint presentation while writing and email.

On the cover screen, Multi-Active Window allows you to view two apps split horizontally. Multi-Active Window only works with specific native and third-party applications.

With the App pair feature, you can group apps and a particular layout so that you can open them simultaneously from the Edge Panel. This is a very convenient feature if you routinely use multiple apps together.

The Z Fold 2 supports drag and drop between apps, letting you transfer text, images, and even documents from one app to another.  For example, you could drag a Word document from the Myfiles app on one side of the screen and attach it to an email in Outlook on the other side. You could drag a chart from Excel open on one half of the screen into a PowerPoint presentation open on the other half.

With Split Screen Capture, you can also capture the screen of one app and transfer the captured image to another.

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Multi-Active Window running 3 windows on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2. 

Credit: Samsung

SEE: Photos: A first look at the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (TechRepublic)

4. Deeper integration with Microsoft

Ever since Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella took the stage at Samsung Unpacked 2019 , the hardware maker has worked to deepen its partnership with the business software giant.

Like the Galaxy Note 20, the Z Fold 2 supports the Link to Windows feature that lets users access messages, notifications, photos and calls directly from a Windows 10 PC. You can also control certain apps from a PC.

And as previous mentioned many Microsoft Office applications like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook are some of the first third-party apps to fully support multitasking.

5. 5G support

In the COVID-19 world of increased remote work, a fast internet connection is essential. Unfortunately for many telecommuters, their residential broadband connections may not be up to the task hosting an important video call or uploading large work files, when their being shared by a house full of people stream videos, playing video games, or just doing online school work.

As 5G is available in more areas, it could provide a fast, secure connection for remote workers that could be used on the Z Fold 2 or even shared to a laptop or desktop. As the Z Fold 2 supports both supports both millimeter wave and sub-6 GHz  5G , buyers will be able to take advantage of 5G if/when it's available in their location.

Missing business features: No S Pen support, foldable phones still aren't laptop replacements (yet)

The Z Fold 2's large main screen seems made for the S Pen, found on the Samsung's  Galaxy Note 20 and  Tab S7 . Unfortunately, the Z Fold does not have S Pen support. Given Samsung positioning the Z Fold 2 as a device that helps today's professionals bridge work and play, S Pen support would be a worthwhile addition. And as someone who has used and really likes the S Pen support on both the Note 10 and Tab S7 Plus , I hope Samsung adds it to the next version of the Fold.

The biggest missing "feature" on the Z Fold 2 however, isn't really a feature. It's that fact that for most knowledge workers, foldable devices like the Z Fold 2 are still secondary devices. Now, I still believe foldable phones, like the Z Fold 2, Huawei Mate Xs, and Microsoft Surface Duo could finally push office workers away from the PC, but we're not there yet.

Even with the many improvements in  Samsung DeX , which lets you connect your mobile device to an external monitor with a cable or Samsung smart TV (wirelessly) and gives you a PC-like UI, it's not quite ready to replace the laptop for many knowledge workers. Don't get me wrong, I love what Samsung is doing with DeX and the Note 20, Tab S7 Plus and the Z Fold 2. And, in the very near future, I believe these device will (okay, not could) be a 100% laptop replacement for most business users...just not today.

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By Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the ...