24 hours. For so long, we could be allowed to test Samsung’s new folding mobile, the Galaxy Z Flip. And it’s not just about us. No tech media in the world has been allowed to keep their test copy of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip for more than a couple of days, and there is a reason for that if you ask Samsung. The new folding mobile is in fact intended and will also be marketed, as a genuine “influencer mobile”.
When the Galaxy Z Flip was recently launched, Samsung wrote in its press release that “the compact and stylish design of the Galaxy Z Flip is designed for the expressive and social users who see technology as a natural part of life.”
And when selected media were invited to London to see the giraffe just after the official launch, there were more young YouTubers and Instagrammers on the trip, than middle-aged, male tech journalists who otherwise tend to be the standard on this type of trip.
In other words, it is the new form factor and the many new and different ways of using the mobile that will be at the center, according to Samsung, and the old tech journalists go too much into specifications and technology, according to the Korean electronics giant.
If you look back at the hard times the company’s first foldable mobile, Samsung Galaxy Fold, got from a unified tech press, you can perhaps understand that the Koreans are a little tired of us journalists. But all the childhood diseases that put sticks in the wheels at the launch of Galaxy Fold have also been cured, Samsung assures, and after our 24 hours with Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is will tend to give them right.
Appearance and construction
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip feels and feels significantly more robust than Samsung Galaxy Fold. Even though it with its 183 grams is a lot lighter than Fold, which had a combat weight of 276 grams. It also makes it significantly more comfortable to have in your trouser pocket, where it does not take up more space than a money clip. Yes, the folding mobile also fits in the chest pocket of your shirt.
When the Galaxy Z Flip is folded, it is protected by Gorilla Glass 6, while the hinges come with double mechanisms, which both protect against dust and ensure that the movement feels smooth and stable every time the phone is opened and closed.
In addition, the Galaxy Z Flip as a laptop can stay open at several angles between about 70 ° and 130 °. On the other hand, it makes the hinge so “resistant” that it can initially be difficult to open and close the Galaxy Z Flip with a single hand movement. This is otherwise one of the cool features of a folding mobile, but with a little practice it goes well.
Samsung claims that the hinge can withstand being opened and closed up to 200,000 times, which is equivalent to almost 110 times a day for five years. For good reasons, we have not had the opportunity to test it, but at no time did we experience the Galaxy Z Flip as fragile, which is reassuring. Because if you are constantly afraid of ruining it.
Is the foldable screen flip or flop?
The foldable screen is almost the whole point of the Galaxy Z Flip, and fortunately it is a lot more robust than the screen on the Galaxy Fold. It was made of a flexible polymeric material, which resulted in it giving in very easily if you were too hard-handed.
The Z Flip screen, on the other hand, says Samsung, is actually made of glass. Ultra Thin Glass (UTG) they call the material which is almost a kind of glass alloy with a thin layer of plastic as a protective layer and flexible glass underneath. Of course, it is also not as robust as a “proper” glass screen (and the reason why Samsung warns against being too harsh with the screen when starting with the setup of the phone).
But it does not give in to normal use, and although the Galaxy Z Flip, like the Galaxy Fold, has a physical fold that goes across the screen when unfolded, it does not interfere with the user experience in practice. However, one must be aware that the mobile is neither dust nor water repellent.
Large screen and small screen
In fact, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip has not just one, but two screens. There is a tiny 1.1 “S-AMOLED screen on the front next to the camera module, but we will come back to that.
The primary screen is 6.7 “when unfolded, and of the Dynamic AMOLED type. The resolution is Full HD +, but like the Sony Xperia 1, the folding mobile has an extremely elongated screen format, in this case 21.9: 9, somewhat which means that the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is almost a kind of fold-out cinema you can carry in your pocket, and it also provides more vertical space for the feed in the Facebook app as well as in the Twitter app, on Instagram and on websites.
The 21.9: 9 screen format provides more vertical space for feed in the Facebook app as well as in the Twitter app, on web pages or, as here, in the Instagram app. (Photo: Peter Gotschalk)
Fortunately, there is a lot of streaming content and many games that support the long format. On Netflix, for example, this applies to two thirds of the available films, while the vast majority of TV series are only in 18: 9 format. As the screen supports HDR10 +, the image quality is excellent with clear colors and a lot of contrast.
Since Samsung has found space for the front camera by punching a small hole in the top center of the screen, the screen goes almost to the edge all the way around. The fingerprint reader, on the other hand, has been relegated to the side of the mobile phone, where it is integrated in the on / off button.
The aforementioned small front screen is used primarily for messaging, and it displays the clock. But in fact, it also has some of the same features as the 4.3 “large front screen of the Samsung Galaxy Fold. For example, you can answer phone calls and switch between melodies in the selected music app without opening the phone, and some apps also support app continuity so you go directly to the relevant app when you open your mobile, if you have clicked on a specific message beforehand.
But even though the small front screen is very smart, we wished it was bigger. It is as a help screen when you take pictures and video recordings that it really comes into its own.
Quite objectively, it is not the best camera on the market that sits in the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip. Preserved, it’s not the worst either. Far from. With optics of 12 Mb (wide angle with optical image stabilization) and 12 Mp (123 ° ultra wide angle), respectively, and the possibility of HDR10 + video recording, the camera is largely identical to the camera module in Samsung Galaxy S9 from the beginning of 2018, although it must be without optical zoom. In return, it has received the same updated camera app as the Samsung Galaxy S20, including features such as Single Take that take both video and multiple still images of the same situation at once. Smart.
But the smartest thing is the form factor itself, and this is where the front screen comes into the picture. And all YouTubers and Instagrammers!
For the mobile phone can not only be folded, but since it can also remain open at angles between 70 ° and 130 ° due to the special hinge, it can be placed open on any surface and function as its own camera tripod. You just open the mobile 90 ° and set the primary camera against itself. The small front screen works as a camera display so you can see what you are photographing or filming, and thus it is very easy to take really good pictures of yourself, for example using the self-timer or to record video to any social media platform.
With the built-in enhanced night mode (which exposes the image a full 14 times), even images in low light are quite good, and although the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip as mentioned does not have the world’s best camera, it is clearly among the funniest on the market right now. Mission accomplished, Samsung!
Services and features
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is not the Koreans’ absolute top model, and it is definitely not the intention that the new foldable mobiles will replace the usual Galaxy S and Galaxy Note flagship series. But having said that, Samsung has still equipped the Galaxy Z Flip from at least the second top shelf. For example, the phone comes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 + processor, which is the best processor from the Americans that does not come with 5G, and then the Galaxy Z Flip has both 8 gigabytes of RAM and 256 gigabytes of built-in storage capacity.
The biggest weakness is the battery of only 3300 mAh. Since we have only had the mobile available for 24 hours, it was not possible to make a full Benchmark test of the battery life, but after a few hours of testing it was quite clear that the battery can have difficulty lasting a whole day with more intensive use .
But that said, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip can easily handle the biggest apps and games, and the built-in multitasking that takes advantage of the elongated screen also runs smoothly.
In the other Benchmark tests, Samsung’s folding mobile performs just as well as last year’s speed monster OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition, so there is no danger that the Galaxy Z Flip will become obsolete immediately.
In addition to multitasking, the Galaxy Z Flip also has a couple of other rabbits in the hat, which utilize the folding mobile’s special form factor. This applies, for example, to the small detail in the user interface that moves icons in the camera app from the top of the screen down to the lower part, when you leave the folding mobile half-open to take selfies. The same thing happens if you use the Gallery app. Then you can use the lower part of the screen to swipe between the images, which are then displayed on the upper half.
When we tested the Samsung Galaxy Fold, we wrote that Samsung had not quite reached the finish line with its first foldable mobile. But those are the ones with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip. It is slimmer, lighter and more elegant than the Galaxy Fold, and then it folds the right way!
The form factor means that the mobile takes up less space in the pocket, and together with the excellent camera, the Galaxy Z Flip gives users completely new creative opportunities that we have never seen before in the mobile market.
The only complaint is the price, which is a camel many consumers will have a hard time swallowing. For 16,000 kroner, you get the market’s absolute best and latest smartphone without any of the compromises you after all have to accept with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip.
But it is also a product that may define a completely new product category, and for many it will be worth the price of being part of the first wave.