(CNBC) – Samsung on Tuesday announced that its new folding phone launches on Sept. 18 for $1,999. It will be sold by all of the major U.S. carriers: Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is Samsung’s third folding phone, following the original Galaxy Fold that had durability issues last year and was delayed for fixes before launch, and the Galaxy Z Flip. It looks a bit like a normal phone from the outside, with a new 6.2-inch screen on the front that replaces a much smaller one on the older version. It opens up into a tablet with a 7.6-inch screen, larger than last year’s 7.3-inch inner display.
Samsung is using a redesigned hinge on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 that should help it prevent some of the problems found in the first version that allowed debris to get under the screen, causing it to malfunction. The hinge design is based on the Galaxy Z Flip, a more traditional clamshell-style phone that hasn’t run into any issues. Samsung also says the display is a bit stronger than the original, though it’s still not as strong as glass used on regular phones. You’ll want to be careful about applying too much pressure to the screen.
Samsung says that its focus moving forward is on 5G and foldable displays. At its price, it’s a luxury item for people who either really like new technology, such as foldable screens, or who have a lot of disposable income. But, it’s a forward-looking product that shows what may be the standard in phones. They’re smaller in our pockets but have big tablet-sized screens when we need them.
It will also launch around the same time as Microsoft’s Surface Duo, another folding phone due to hit the market on Sept. 10. That device doesn’t have a screen on the outside, but has two screens on the inside that you can use to run multiple apps side by side, or to see more information inside of a single app designed to run across both displays. But, unlike the Galaxy Z Fold 2, the Microsoft Surface Duo has a big hinge in the middle of those screens.
Samsung added in pretty much every top-end feature available right now, including support for 5G networks, Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 865+ processor, several cameras for wide-angle and zoom photos, wireless charging and more. It’s also built with new multitasking features, including options to automatically launch three selected apps at the same time, which means you can open your email app, YouTube and Spotify, and have all of them running next to one another in little windows on the main screen. A new “Flex Mode” lets you do more while the phone is propped halfway open, like view photos while taking pictures.
Finally, Samsung says the Galaxy Z Fold 2 will launch with a new VIP experience called “Z Premier Service” that provides first-in-line customer support, 1:1 tutorials, a prepared meal from a Michelin star restaurant (Samsung hasn’t said which restaurants are part of the program), a Founders Card membership and more.
Preorders for the Galaxy Z Fold 2 start on Wednesday.