Samsung’s first attempt at foldables was at the receiving end of a lot of criticism, mainly due to a fragile build, which even catalyzed the recall of review units, as well as a luxury price tag that deterred potential buyers. Despite some initial hiccups, Samsung got very close to the half-a-million worldwide sales figure—a milestone to marvel at for a first-gen novelty. This bumpy ride taught Samsung some critical lessons and helped it double down its efforts on the follow-up Fold. The result, rumors say, is a foldable phone that better fits your pocket—both physically and pecuniarily.
With its unveiling expected less than a month from now, the rumor mills have picked up the pace. We’ve compiled all the leaks and rumors that have surfaced around the Galaxy Fold2 so far in this easy to parse roundup. Let’s begin!
What’s with the name?
To get it out of the way, the upcoming foldable phone from Samsung will carry the model number SM-F700F (international, likely) versus SM-F900F of the original Fold, indicating its lower position in the hierarchy. One of Samsung’s African sites (via GalaxyClub) restated the model number on a support page that has since been taken down. The Bloom codename is being thrown around for internal use, including at a recent closed-door meeting at CES (pictured above).
According to a not-so-cryptic tweet from noted leaker @UniverseIce, the Galaxy Fold2 that we’ve been talking about may end up coming out as the Galaxy Z Flip—also spotted on an Indonesian certification site. The new branding actually makes sense for Samsung, which seems resolute at blending the foldable handset into its mainstream lineup while still maintaining the Fold’s distinct top-shelf footing with a visibly premier Z label. ‘Flip’ in the rumored name suggests a redesigned form factor that we’ll discuss in the following section.
Are we getting a flip phone from Samsung? Like the Moto-Razr flip?
Yes, and yes, but with a Samsung-esque physique, of course. With this design pick, the company is making a normal-sized smartphone that folds into a pocketable square, instead of a flexible tablet that can only fit a jacket pocket. ET News reported back in June that such a device is indeed underway, to which Bloomberg later added that Samsung has partnered with American designer Thom Browne to get the design right. The South Korean giant didn’t take long to make the upcoming clamshell form factor kind of official in a developer-oriented video.
Around mid-December, the Galaxy Z Flip leaked in a bunch of photos that reiterated what we had already heard, including a display that folds horizontally along the X-axis. What caught our eye was the lack of a headphone jack (unsurprising at this point) and more importantly the absence of a fingerprint scanner. Chances are we may get to see a capacitive sensor embedded in the recessed lock key yet again, as opposed to an in-display one that last year’s $2,000 Fold also eschewed. Other than that, these images, and the set of new renders, give away quite a bit about the unannounced foldable, which we’ll dive deep into in the sections below.
Samsung will also equip its second-gen Fold with a “Hideaway Hinge,” as pointed out in a trademark filing spotted by LetsGoDigital. Max Weinbach of XDA remarked that the new hinge is designed to hold the Z Flip at any angle you leave it at, instead of just two—wide open and closed, enabling a variety of use cases. He separately said that Samsung hasn’t made strides in hiding the crease, which shall remain as noticeable as ever. You can see the hinge in action as it snaps the phone shut in the video below.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip - First Hands On Video pic.twitter.com/4b8Uzt5kRB
— Ben Geskin (@BenGeskin) February 2, 2020
If you'd like to cover your flexible possession, Samsung may also bring a £100 ($130) premium leather case for the clamshell phone, which is expected to come in a new purple color, apart from the standard black and white options, and a couple of glaring finishes—gold and silver.
Will the display fold? Oh, wait.
All the criticism and release delays that the Galaxy Fold faced were nothing but a result of its display failing left and right. Samsung may have taken a more cautious approach this time to address at least a few of the initial concerns, if not all. The Galaxy Z Flip may ditch the plastic layer, which made the Fold’s display prone to scratches, in favor of a more resistant glass material. Working closely with its partners for developing an ultra-thin glass, Samsung should soon have the first-ever foldable glass display—something Ice Universe also corroborates.
Left: Foldable main screen. Right: Secondary display on the back.
We know that the handset’s 1080p screen will measure 6.7 inches with the 22:9 aspect ratio when unfolded, apart from the fact that it’s a flexible Dynamic AMOLED panel. In the leaked images, the display stretches from edge to edge, albeit with a noticeable bezels. If you look closely, the bezels are sitting over the display, possibly for additional reinforcement, so you won’t be getting that seamless feel of 2.5D glass melting into the metal frame we’ve come to expect. Neither should you await fancy stuff like a higher refresh rate.
Charging animation for the second display.
Much like the Motorola Razr, the Galaxy Z Flip will also have a secondary display, although a tinier one, as shown in one of the leaked images. The one-inch external display sits right next to the rear cameras allowing you to glance at time and notifications without having to flip the phone open. Weinbach spotted a couple of charging animations designed for the capsule-shaped, color mini screen. In the renders above, the display camouflages itself by matching the device color, also shown in the video Ben Geskin tweeted (above). Samsung's Oscars commercial for the Z Flip gives a little peek at what the screen is capable of.
Samsung just showed off its new Fold during an Oscars commercial. That’s one way to announce something. pic.twitter.com/rtSJ3jvkif
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) February 10, 2020
What kind of performance is in store for us?
It should be pretty good, actually. The Snapdragon 855 processor (or the 855+), which still holds up well, is expected to power the device in all markets, if MySmartPrice’s sources are to be believed. Though not the latest one around, the high-end Qualcomm chip should handle most tasks without effort, at least through a couple of years. Nevertheless, Samsung’s choice appears to be a cost-cutting measure, unless a design constraint forced it to opt for that particular SoC. Either way, the phone is expected to ship with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, down from 512GB on the 2019 Fold. It may even get a pair of stereo speakers, according to a known tipster.
Mocked up interface: A screenshot from the Samsung video above
In terms of software, you should expect nothing short of Android 10-based One UI 2.0, although the OS should be much less taxing on the hardware this time around. App Continuity—a feature that enables the seamless app experience when switching between screens on the Galaxy Fold—shouldn’t be required on the Z Flip, considering its secondary display will have far limited functionality. Moreover, developers will find it easier to adapt their apps for this clamshell form factor than for a phone with two functional screens—both with different resolutions and aspect ratios. The video below (via SamMobile) gives a little walkthrough of the software, which doesn't look all that different from a regular Samsung phone running One UI, besides confirming some of the specifications.
How does the camera roll?
Once bitten, twice shy: That’s perhaps the present state of Samsung, which is playing safe with its cut-price foldable. The Galaxy Z Flip will get a pair of rear-facing sensors, as shown in the leaked photos above, in lieu of going overboard with a quad-cam setup like the S20 line. The two cameras were previously said to match the S20 Ultra’s main 108MP and 5x zoom sensors, but a new report claims lower-res 12MP sensors instead, possibly the ones found on 2019 Samsung flagships. Given the whole cost-cutting situation here, the latter fits the picture better.
Over at the front, you’ll get a hole-punch selfie camera—also visible in the leaked shots—brushing off some early reports of Samsung introducing an under-display cam with the clamshell model. When last we checked, the cutting-edge tech hadn’t matured enough to debut on a mass-market handset, at least in early 2020. MySmartPrice believes that the front camera will have a more traditional 10MP sensor borrowed from the Note10 series.
Adaptable camera UI: A screenshot from the Samsung video above
What’s the battery status?
The flip phone will come with a pair of battery packs, one of which weighs a measly 900mAh, totaling a middling 3,300mAh capacity. With this lopsided battery arrangement, weight distribution may be a bit of a challenge, especially on a phone that will be flipped tens of times a day. Apart from that, the Z Flip was first said to support charging speeds of up to 45W, but a Chinese certification site leads us to believe that Samsung may cap it at 15W, most likely to either cut costs or better handle heat dissipation on this compact form factor. Hopefully, the company won’t skimp on wireless (and reverse wireless) charging, given the predecessor supported it.
The 900mAh battery pack.
When can I grab one and flip over it?
For its unveiling, we’re looking at the Unpacked event set for February 11, where the Galaxy S20 series will also go official. Reports say that the Z Flip will see a much wider availability than the first Fold, though Samsung might kick off the rollout process from its home market. It’s safe to assume that major markets, including the US and those in Europe and Asia, will be a part of the initial sales phases, considering it has already bagged the FCC certificate (via SamMobile). Samsung is looking to combine this global availability with a more approachable price tag to push 6 million units of the Flip before 2020 ends.
Speaking of approachable, the Galaxy Z Flip was originally thought to be more of a bargain with a popular price of around 1 million won (~$860), which is remarkably lower than the original Fold’s $1,980 tag. But our hopes of getting an affordable foldable were soon dashed when the amount of €1,400 (~$1,550) was floated around, bringing the Samsung handset closer to the Motorola Razr. If you ask us, we’d put our money on a figure somewhere between these two.
|OS||Android 10-based One UI 2.1|
|Display||6.7-inch, 2,636 x 1,080, 22:9 flexible Dynamic AMOLED + 1.06-inch, 300 x 116, secondary display with Gorilla Glass 6|
|Battery||3300mAh, 15W charging|
|Cameras (front)||10MP, f/2.2|
|Cameras (rear)||12MP, dual-pixel, f/1.8 (main) + 12MP, 123-degree, f/2.2 (ultra-wide)|
|Biometrics||Side-mounted fingerprint reader|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, 4G LTE|
|Dimensions||87.4 x 73.6 x 15.4 - 17.3 mm (folded), 167.9 x 73.6 x 6.9 - 7.2 mm (unfolded), 183 grams|
|Colors||Black, white, purple, gold, and silver|
At this point, it should be plenty clear that the Galaxy Z Flip wouldn't be a direct follow-up to last year’s Galaxy Fold, but a cost-effective alternative to a novel device that has remained out of reach for most. This also means that both Folds can co-exist without stepping on each other’s toes, and we might even get to see a more premium foldable from Samsung to cater to the niche market at the upper end of the spectrum.
- Roland Quandt