Samsung is leading the way to foldables less than two years after the launch of the original Galaxy Fold. Its closest rival in the foldable segment, Huawei, is now following in its footsteps with a new flagship that’s shaped almost exactly like the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Samsung has set the tone for the emerging foldable segment and other OEMs are borrowing the Galaxy Fold form factor, but this doesn’t mean that Samsung’s formula is perfect. It only shows that Samsung has developed the most optimal form factor for foldable display technology thus far, but we’re thinking Samsung can do better, and we think we know how.
I’ve been using the original Galaxy Fold ever since it was released in 2019. The first-generation phone-tablet hybrid impressed me enough to want to continue supporting Samsung’s vision, and several SamMobile team members, myself included, have purchased the Galaxy Z Fold 2 a year later. Needless to say, we’re all fans of the book-like form factor and the internal flexible display, but we’ve also discovered that we all share one common gripe, namely the aspect ratio.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the most adaptable mobile devices on the market. It can be used as a smartphone or a tablet, and the flexible display together with the clever hinge and Flex Mode allow users to push mobile multitasking to a new level. In theory, at least…
The one gripe about the Galaxy Z Fold 2 we all continue sharing after using it for nearly six months is that it has an unusual aspect ratio in two of the three modes in which it can be used. As a tablet, the 7.6-inch, HDR10+ certified Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with support for 120Hz works well enough, though it has a somewhat odd 22.5:18 aspect ratio. As a phone and / or a multitasking machine, though, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 could’ve benefitted greatly from a more conventional aspect ratio.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2’s Cover Screen has a 25:9 aspect ratio and it’s too narrow and tall to use comfortably as a phone. As for multitasking, splitting the inner display in half to run two apps simultaneously leads to a similar problem. The 22.5:18 flexible screen now has a relative aspect ratio of 22.5:9, which isn’t really that helpful for serious productivity work. Once again, the two halves of the flexible display become too tall and narrow, hindering the experience.
Samsung’s Galaxy Fold formula offers enough screen real estate for users to get productive or creative, and we don’t think the phone-tablet hybrid should be getting any bigger or have a different form factor. But after using the Galaxy Fold and its sequel for more than a year combined, we all agree that these phone-tablet hybrids would’ve been far better if they had a more conventional, squarer aspect ratio. And funnily enough, one of Samsung’s software partners, Microsoft, might be holding the key to a better Galaxy Z Fold of the future.
The Galaxy Z Fold design team should take note of the Microsoft Surface Duo
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 and the Microsoft Surface Duo have very little in common aside from the fact that they run Android OS and have a hinged design, though even the hinges are very different in both functionality and execution. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 has a foldable display, whereas the Surface Duo has two screens separated by a hinge. And even though Samsung’s ambitions for the foldable scene may have inspired Microsoft to think outside the box, these two devices aren’t in the same class.
So, why do I bring up the Microsoft Surface Duo then, and why am I suggesting that it might hold the key to Samsung creating the best Galaxy Z Fold and foldable yet? You guessed it: it’s the aspect ratio! Each of the Surface Duo displays has a 4:3 aspect ratio, and when unfolded, the two screens combined have a 3:3 aspect ratio.
As a fan of the Galaxy Z Fold 2, it may be difficult to admit this, but the conventional aspect ratio of the Microsoft Surface Duo opens up a lot more opportunities for creating apps and tools for productivity and multitasking. A squarer display allows for more conventional UIs, and it’s also a much better fit for the S Pen once it will be added to the Galaxy Z Fold.
Perhaps Samsung shouldn’t borrow the exact same aspect ratio from the Surface Duo, as it could make the Galaxy Z Fold too unwieldy for a smartphone, but we’re thinking that the sweet spot is somewhere in-between and Samsung has yet to hit it.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Are you a Galaxy Fold or Galaxy Z Fold 2 owner? Would you agree with us in saying that Samsung’s flagship foldable could benefit from a squarer shape? What has been your experience with Samsung’s foldables so far?