Z Flip Review: A Foldable Smartphone
When I first started testing the Galaxy fold a little less than a year ago I said it felt like I was using something that came straight out of the future a little dramatic I know but I meant it. I am here about a year later using a new breed of foldable phones that feel an awful lot like devices made over a decade ago.
The flip phone is a phenomenon again. Thanks to the razor and the subject of today’s review. Samsung’s new $1400 galaxy Z flip now at the risk of spoiling. I haven’t enjoyed a foldable phone as much as I’ve enjoyed the Z flip.
It’s the one, I’d recommend to anyone who’s really curious to see what all the foldable hype is about. But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect or for that matter that it’s even worth the money for actual people yet now. If you’ve spent any time in the nerdy your corners of the internet this week you know that the Z flip is the subject of plenty of drama.
Read more about Samsung Galaxy S20 Series Review and Comparison here, S20 Ultra Review.
Display and Screen
Thanks to its ultra-thin glass display we will get to that I promise for now though let’s run through some of the basics. The joy of a flip phone style foldable is that you get the full smartphone experience when you need it and then slam it shut and slide it into a tight pocket or a tiny purse. When you don’t, this is pretty intoxicating to the point where I’ve sort of absent-mindedly try closing all of my other phones before putting them away.
The Z flip is good for one long day of use and really not much else. Though I should mention that I’ve been getting a solid 5 to at five-and-a-half hours of screen on time here that is a notable improvement over the razor.
This design is bland looking as it is may well spoil other smartphones for you. More importantly and unlike the razor, the Z flip is better equipped to justify its price.
Processor and Motherboard
There is a Snapdragon 855 chipset inside along with eight gigs of RAM in 256 gigs of storage putting it right up there with the absolute best of last year’s Android flagship phones. What can I say I mean it runs just as well as the Galaxy S10 which means super smooth navigation and multitasking plus very strong gaming performance.
It is very little you can throw with the Z flip that it cannot handle which I definitely couldn’t say about the razor to be absolutely clear. The Z flip is not as full-on fast as this year’s premium smartphones and that doesn’t feel great considering this thing cost $1400 and speaking of speed there is no 5g support here either way.
Samsung is pushing pretty heavily in the rest of its high-end phones. This year, those omissions might be deal-breakers for people who don’t want to worry about splurging on another smartphone in two years but let’s face it.
If you were thinking about dropping for $1400 on one of these things in the first place, there’s a pretty good chance that the wow factor is more important to you than having a fully future-proof device. Thankfully the cameras don’t leave me with too much to complain about Samsung went with 212-megapixel cameras around the back or on top or in the front phone geometry is getting really weird anyway.
Camera and Sensor
This camera setup isn’t nearly as ambitious as what we’ve seen on the galaxy s the 20s but both sensors produce eye-catching images as always. Samsung’s aggressive HDR processing means the pictures you take almost always look more vibrant or more dramatic than real-life.
You’ll spot plenty of detail too though that kind of quickly get blurred into oblivion once it gets too dark out neither camera does particularly well in low light.
The ultra-white is noticeably worse all in all. Though we are looking at pretty standard Samsung photography here. I will say though that the lack of a dedicated telephoto camera is a bummer but it’s nice that the C flip inherited.
The S20 single take mode once you switch into that. The phone will capture multiple video clips and still so you get a pretty nice variety of content without any actual work on your part. I’ve grown pretty fond of this feature even though no telephoto camera means you’re looking at a less varied selection of shots overall.
The battery life is just fine but certainly not great by $1,400 phone standards. There are two batteries in here that collectively offers 3300 milliamps hours of juice just to put things in perspective even the smallest of the new galaxy s20 has a four thousand milliamp-hour battery in my experience.
This isn’t the kind of phone you should forget to charge overnight. Because if you do you’re in for some mild panic come the morning now I wanted to talk about all of that first because the few other foldable we have seen hit the market.
We’re so great at the whole being a smartphone thing the galaxy fold was mostly meant to be used as a small tablet and the razor was so compromised that I can’t imagine any decently practical person finding its blend of disappointing battery life and bland cameras and mid-range performance worth it.
The C flip really is the first foldable I’ve used that makes sense from regular people price tag notwithstanding the problem is foldable as a whole still don’t feel quite ready for primetime and some of the choices Samsung made here aren’t exactly inspiring much confidence. Look at its screen, it’s a six-point seven inch twenty one point nine by nine dynamic AMOLED and as you would expect from Samsung.
Colors and Glass
It is beautiful vivid colors deep blacks excellent viewing angles. It ticks all of the requisite boxes sure it only runs at the super tall equivalent of 1080p but eh that’s still more than enough detail for daily use. It’s dramatically better than the screen found in the razor.
So far so good what’s a little more concerning is the stuff covering its display. The C flip uses a very thin layer of flexible glass and Samsung has been playing it up a lot. And of course, they have it sounds like a material science miracle but what does it actually do for us.
Well, the main benefit is that it feels better apart from the crease which is both mildly annoying and currently just unavoidable for foldable easy flip screen feels just like a regular smartphone. There’s no screen flexing or plastic squishiness here that’s important for sure but that doesn’t mean you should expect this screen to handle daily life as well as a traditional smartphone.
Might Samsung display which by the way is a separate company from Samsung Electronics says, the glass layer here is 30 microns or point zero three millimeters thick that is far thinner than the daintiest sheet of printer paper. You probably have to lay around and to put that in even more perspective Corning’s widely used guerrilla glass ranges from the zero points four to two millimeters.
No matter how you look at it the Z flip is giving you less glass than you’d get in a typical smartphone and some throw teardowns by zack of jerry-rigged everything suggests that this glass layer may not stand up to drops or axes damaged very well for what it’s worth.
I have accidentally dropped this thing a few times and haven’t noticed anything apart from a few scratches, that’s right. This class won’t save you from those either mostly because there’s a protective plastic layer on top of the glass that gives the screen extra support but also really easily picks up scratches long story short the glass you get in this $1400 phone isn’t as durable as you might expect.
More From Galaxy Z Flip Review: Z Flip Rating
Samsung should have been much clearer about that upfront then here’s the Z flips hinge which just might be the most complicated component here in fairness to Samsung. This hinge feels much sturdier than basically any other I have ever used it gives the flip a sense of stability that the fold didn’t really have.
It also means you can hold the phone halfway open and set it down for a quick video call or selfie the only immediately apparent downside is that this thing isn’t as easy to open with one hand like a razor but just with your wrist you’ll get the hang of it pretty soon what’s more interesting is the stuff around the hinge.
Samsung says, there are nylon brushes inside the Z flip to help keep dust and debris out and prevent things from mucking up the phone when you’re folio that’s said.
I fixed it tests reveal that there are limits to how much cleaning those fibers can do after tossing the phone in a plastic bag full of purple sand or something the Z flip started making a truly horrendous crunching sound like the fold.
You should definitely not take the Z flip to the beach, oh and there’s more, unlike the razor which closes completely. There’s still a gap between the Z flips 2 halves when it’s shut. It’s not hard to imagine some pocket debris squeezing in there and potentially scratching that internal display even if the odds of serious damage occurring.
As a result, seems pretty unlikely Samsung also used the same t-shaped caps that we saw in the redesigned Galaxy fold to help seal the display around the hinges that should help keep larger bits of four of material out of the phone but it is important to remember that the Z flip is not rated for water or dust resistance at all.
There are other bits I don’t love here that I like a 1.1-inch external display. That’s too small for any real practical use you can use it to frame up selfies and control your media. But the screen usually shuts off before you can read a whole notification and that just silly that stuff though pales in comparison to the larger issue here long-term durability.
Samsung says, the Z flip is rated for about 200 thousand of these things or about five years of actual use and that sounds great but I would caution you to take that figure with a grain of salt or sand.
In this case lab, testing is one thing but the fact that foldable phones like the Z flip just have more points of potential failure. It’s up to you whether taking Samsung at its word is the right move even with all that said the Galaxy SIII flip is still the best foldable.
I’ve ever tested and if you promise to treat it with kid gloves I think you’ll really enjoy what this throwback form-factor has to offer. But if you’re looking for a phone you know will last for the long haul well you’re still better off looking elsewhere that was our galaxy Z flip review thank you as always for reading the foldable craze shows no signs of stopping at and we’re expecting to see some really weird new form factors this year too. So if you want to learn more and stay up to date with all of that stuff be sure to subscribe to and gadget.
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