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Watch: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review: Admire it, Don’t Buy it

samsung galaxy z flip review

The Galaxy Z Flip is different, of all the foldables phones since last year, this is the first one that seems to tick all the boxes: Excellent performance, great cameras, and even decent battery life all packed into a flip-phone-style body that honestly think makes the most sense for most people.

Pros

  • Flip phone form factor is practical and fun
  • Great all-around performance
  • Solid camera quality
  • It feels like a standard smartphone when open
  • It’s the least expensive foldable out there

Cons

  • Inherently more fragile than other phones
  • External screen is too small to be helpful
  • The main glass screen is still prone to scratching
  • Flex Mode is pretty limited
  • Less future-proof than more traditional rivals

The main draw here is the design: The Z Flip feels like a perfectly normal smartphone while open and folds down to half size when closed. But unlike Motorola’s Razr, which also embraced the classic flip phone look, the Z Flip packs a flexible dual camera system, a high-performance processor, the latest version of Android and a slightly better battery. If you can’t help yourself and need a foldable in your life, this is the best you’ll find.

Key specs

SAMSUNG GALAXY Z FLIP
ProcessorOcta-core Snapdragon 855+
RAM / storage8GB/256GB
MicroSD card supportN/A
Main Display6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED Infinity Flex
Display resolution2,636 x 1,080 (21.9:9)
External Display1.1-inch Super AMOLED
Display resolution300 x 112
Rear cameras12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide angle camera, 12MP f/1.8 wide-angle camera with Super Speed Dual Pixel AF and OIS
Front-facing camera10MP f/2.4 camera
OSAndroid 10 with One UI 2.0
Battery3,300mAh
ChargingUSB-C, supports QuickCharge 2.0 and Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging
Dimensions73.6 x 87.4 x 17.3-15.4mm (closed), 73.6 x 167.3 x 7.2-6.9mm (closed)
Weight183g
Fingerprint sensorYes, side-mounted
WaterproofingN/A
NFCYes
Headphone jackNo

Design and Durability

When Phone is closed, you’ll find the volume keys and fingerprint sensor/power button on the right side, the nanoSIM slot on the left, and the main dual camera up front, next to a tiny, 1-inch external screen.

Samsung’s design can be open the phone halfway and set it down on a table for photo shoots or video calls. The only immediate downside is that it isn’t as easy to flip open with one hand as, say, the Razr, but you’ll get the hang of it soon enough. (Pro tip: It’s all in the wrist.)

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review

Samsung says there are nylon “brushes” inside the Z Flip to help keep dust and debris out of the phone’s all-important hinge you can actually hear those fibers moving around if you press your ear up to the phone while opening or closing it. This “brushing technology” Samsung actually calls it that may sound effective.

With more careful use, Samsung says the Z Flip is rated for about 200,000 folds or about five years of actual use

The star of any foldable is its screen, and the one on the Galaxy Z Flip looks great. It’s a 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED panel, with the same vibrant colors and great viewing angles you’d expect from a Samsung display. Unlike the Razr, the Z Flip’s screen is also bright enough to be usable outdoors it would’ve been nice if Samsung had bumped up the display’s maximum brightness a notch or two, but what we get is perfectly serviceable.

The glass here is 30 microns, or 0.03mm thick that’s probably thinner than a sheet of paper you have sitting in your printer right now. In day-to-day use, the main benefit of this ultra-thin glass is that it just feels better. Apart from the crease, which is both mildly annoying and currently unavoidable for foldables the Z Flip’s screen feels just like a regular smartphone.

There’s a Snapdragon 855+ inside, along with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Samsung tried to sweeten the deal a bit with its customized version of Android 10. It’s mostly clean, albeit painted over with Samsung’s updated One UI 2.0, but the most interesting tweak here is what the company calls Flex Mode — a feature that allows certain apps to reconfigure themselves as you start folding the phone.

Google says it worked with Samsung to develop Flex Mode in the first place, and that it’ll eventually become available on other foldable phones. 

There are two batteries inside that collectively offer 3,300mAh of juice to put things in perspective, even the smallest of the new Galaxy S20s has a 4,000mAh battery.

We can’t just leave things there, though. Because of its great performance and comparable price, the Z Flip also faces direct competition from the rest of 2020’s premium smartphones. For about the same amount of money, you could also invest in Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra, a device that packs a much better screen, a much bigger battery, even more cameras and full 5G support.

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