Let’s face it. Phones have become pretty boring. Aside from the candy bar form factor of various sizes, nothing really ground-breaking has happened over the past couple years. The foldable phone (in the past they were simply called flip phones) aims to change all that. First out of the blocks commercially was Samsung last year, with its Galaxy Fold. Things didn’t exactly go to plan.
The second iteration was better, and then came the Motorola Razr, which turned things on its head. Suddenly, there was a seemingly better foldable phone—of a different execution and touting a more robust folding mechanism.
Well, today at its Unpacked event in San Francisco, Samsung unfolded a head-turning statement piece—the Galaxy Z Flip alongside the new Galaxy S20 series.
Codenamed Project Bloom before its name was officially revealed, the Galaxy Z Flip, while embracing the foldable device paradigm, isn’t of the same factor as the Galaxy Fold. It isn’t a phone that unfolds into a tablet-sized device.
Instead, it takes on a Razr-inspired form-factor—it folds down into a more compact, pocketable device.
Like the Galaxy S20, the Galaxy Z Flip has been leaked to bits. And Samsung took the liberty to unveil it officially during the Oscars.
From the offset, the Galaxy Z Flip looks pretty, offered in Mirror Purple and Mirror Black. It’s minimalist with the rear plain Jane with only the camera module, LED flash and unobtrusive speaker grille.
On the front is a tiny 1.1-inch Super AMOLED display, designed for notifications.
Flipping the top cover open, you’ll be greeted with a 6.7-inch FHD+ Infinity Flex Display—an immersive Dynamic AMOLED screen with a 21.9:9 screen ratio that features a punch-hole camera. Unlike the Galaxy Fold, Huawei Mate X or Motorola Razr which feature plastic pOLED panels, Samsung ups the game with a revolutionary flexible glass display.
Samsung can lay claim being the world’s first smartphone maker to make and deliver a foldable glass display, thanks to its proprietary bendable Ultra Thin Glass (UTG).
This solves a couple of pain points with plastic displays—creases, bumps and lumps. Of course, I’ll reserve my comments until a proper hands-on with the device. In theory, though, a flexible glass display should be way better.
What’s clearly different from the Galaxy Fold is also the Galaxy Z Flip’s Hideaway Hinge, that not only improves on the Fold’s weaknesses, but also introduces a couple of handy features as well.
The hinge is backed by a dual CAM mechanism that ensures ever flip (and fold) is smooth and stable. What more, the hinge integrates Samsung’s new “sweeper” technology which uses nylon fibres crafted by micro-height-cutting technology to repel dirt and dust.
This new hinge system enables the Galaxy Z Flip to stay open at range of angles, like a notebook screen.
Samsung worked closely with Google to design Flex mode–a custom-built user experience for the device’s unique folding form factor. For instance, when the device is free-standing, the display automatically splits into two four-inch screen so you can view images or watch videos on the top half display, and control them from the bottom half. You can also multi-task and use different apps on either screen at the same time.
Another interesting bit of engineering is in the battery department. The Galaxy Z Flip purportedly features two batteries that function as one, one on each slab; something we’ve seen on the Galaxy Fold. This already betters the Motorola Razr’s paltry 2,510mAh cell by a mile. The battery is rated at 3,300mAh that fast charges via USB-C.
Under the hood, the Galaxy Z Flip doesn’t disappoint, packing a Snapdragon 855+ chip with 8GB RAM and 256GB of onboard storage.
The dual-camera setup on the back consists of a 12MP f/1.7 wide-angle with Super Speed Dual Pixel AF and OIS, and 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide angle cameras, while the front camera is a 10MP f/2.4 unit.
The phone is dual-SIM 4G LTE capable, and integrates a side-mounted fingerprint sensor. Unfortunately, there’s no headphone jack and it only comes with a mono speaker.
Pricing and availability
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip retails for USD1,380 (~MYR5,709) and will go on sale in limited quantities in Mirror Purple and Mirror Black, as early as 14 February 2020 in the US and Korea. Mirror Gold will be offered in select countries.
Samsung is also pushing the Galaxy Z Flip as a fashion piece, working with luxury fashion brand Thom Browne with a series of limited edition Thom Browne designed pieces including the Galaxy Z Flip, Galaxy Buds+, Galaxy Watch Active2.
For official specs and info, visit https://www.samsung.com/global/galaxy/galaxy-z-flip/