After multiple folds a day for a month, the screen is fine, the hinge is smooth, and it’s still as pristine as when we got it.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is the brand’s answer to the Motorola Razr and Huawei Mate X in the new era of foldable smartphones. It’s new, it’s fun, and it’s fresh. I had fun playing around with this phone over the past month, especially when I notice people looking at this in my hands and I don’t blame them because this phone is a beauty to look at.
But let’s push how pretty this phone is aside for the moment and dive down to what it offers.
What’s cool about it?
Definitely the form factor. That ‘snap’ that you get when you are done using the phone is oddly satisfying (and quite alien to some if you didn’t grow up with a flip phone). It may take some getting used to, but after a day with the phone it became second nature to me. I loved how the phone is half the size of current ‘chocolate bar’ style phones nowadays and fitting it in my pocket was quite easy. Holding it in the palm of your hand whether folded or unfolded is quite comfortable too.
However, yes the phone is small once it’s folded but the super glossy finish is a fingerprint magnet! If you’re like me and hate to see fingerprint marks then you’re going to have a hard time keeping your sanity with this one. Luckily you do get plastic sleeves when you buy the phone and this will keep unwanted finger prints off the glossy finish.
Do you need the front screen?
Having a folded phone means your main screen will not be visible until you open it up. Samsung has installed a secondary screen on the front that is a 1.1-inch Super AMOLED display that is 112×300 pixels. You can use it to check how many notifications you have, the time and date, how much battery you have left, and change your music.
Aside from that, being able to take a selfie can be done without opening the phone too. However, given that it is a small display you will not be able to completely see what you’re getting in your shot, but it’s great when trying to line up your shots. So I would say it is useful but up to a certain extent.
Form factor aside, does it work well as a phone?
Now let’s talk about the specs of the phone. To be honest it’s not the most state of the art when compared to other flagship phones out there. You get a fold-able Dynamic AMOLED capacitive touchscreen which is made of ultra-thin glass but there is a plastic layer on top. Colors do still pop out and it looks great. You will definitely be able to see the crease of where this phone folds which to be honest didn’t really bother me but it doesn’t look flush.
To protect this screen you will get quite a thick bezel surrounding it. The bezel does lower the beauty of the screen but I think it’s necessary to protect it in case of any accidents.
On the side of the phone you will get 3 buttons (volume up, volume down, screen button) with the screen button having a built in fingerprint sensor. Putting the fingerprint sensor at the side of the phone is genius because when you grip your phone your fingers will immediately align with the scanner.
Let’s talk about internals. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip comes with a Snapdragon 855+, Android 10, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal memory. Yes it may not be the most powerful device out there, but when using the phone I felt that it was quite smooth to use and the massive amount of internal storage was very useful.
Now how about sound? You no longer get the headphone jack as per previous Samsung phones and you only have speakers at the bottom half of the phone. I played music out loud and compared it to my own personal Samsung S10+ which does come with stereo speakers and I have to say my own phone sounded better than what the Z flip brought to the party.
Viewing apps especially in split screen is fantastic and for apps that do support split screen, the Z flip will actually open it up on its own without being prompted which is a nice feature. I tried opening Youtube and Google Chrome at the same time and it looks great. If you’re out and don’t have a phone stand you can just fold it and plop it on the table as you have your meal while watching your favourite Youtube videos (don’t forget to subscribe to the All Cars Channel Youtube while you’re at it).
Build quality and durability
Given that it is a fold-able phone, a lot of people will be wondering will the hinges break. We’ve heard stories about Samsung’s first attempt of a fold-able phone, the Samsung Galaxy Fold breaking and one user even claimed that it broke within a week!
Learning from this, Samsung redesigned the hinges with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and they claim that the hinges will be able to handle 200,000 flips, but of course mileage will vary. Overall build quality is expected of Samsung and it feels like this phone will be able to brush off short falls and bumps. The phone feels solid and robust, even though it may not look like it. And before you ask, not this phone is NOT water-resistant.
How’s the camera?
The biggest (or maybe smallest) feature of any modern smartphone is the camera. The Z Flip comes with two 12MP cameras at the back (12 MP, f/1.8, 27mm (wide), 12 MP, f/2.2, 123˚ (ultrawide)) and 10MP camera at the front. It may not be the best out there but it does the job and then some. You can record 4K videos at 60fps for the main and 30fps at the front. The front camera is tidily stationed at the top of the phone and it actually looks good.
Taking pictures or videos with the Z Flip is surprisingly satisfying thanks to the software. However, shooting indoors with minimal light may make the picture look darker than it is. If you’re thinking of shooting it in dark areas, switching it to night mode will do wonders for the picture as you can see.
The form factor comes handy again here. Let’s say you forgot your selfie stick at home or you want to take a picture. No problem, just fold the phone into an L for vertical shots and V for a horizontal shot and you got yourself a selfie ready camera.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is an interesting phone to have and it is a great throwback to the flip phone generation. It’s not the most desirable phone out there for techies, but if you’re obsessed with flip phones then there aren’t too many options at the moment. It’s still Samsung’s trial and error phone after the Galaxy Fold and there’s still a long way to go for the market leader and the Chinese contenders like Oppo and Huawei. Samsung doesn’t expect much from the Galaxy Z Flip as they’re already highly regarded with the flagship S20/S20+ and the mid-range A Series.
If you want to see more of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip in the real world, checkout our two videos at the end of this article where we used the phone in our review cars!
The phone is now on sale at RM5,888 and comes in three choices of color. Mirror Gold (in this review), Mirror Purple, and Mirror Black. Go and check the phone out at your nearest Samsung authorized dealers.