Galaxy Z Flip ongoing review: Battery life, weird design choice, star features so far

The Galaxy Z Flip is the primary foldable phone to have a glass display screen and a hinge that may get up by itself.

Juan Garzon/CNET

Battery life. Screen sturdiness. Camera high quality. Coolness issue. These are a number of the prime questions I’ve got down to reply this week whereas testing the Galaxy Z Flip, Samsung’s new flip phone with a foldable display screen. At the beginning of my fourth full day, I’m beginning to actually just like the novel and fascinating flip phone. It’s totally different, however in lots of respects, the design works. The Galaxy Z Flip is beginning to show that foldable telephones need to live on to the next generation.

My colleagues have already compared the Z Flip to the Motorola Razr (not the ultimate evaluation, in fact), and pit the 2 towards one another in a cringey but irresistible drop test. The Galaxy Z Flip prices $1,380 whereas its greatest competitors, the Motorola Razr, is available in at $1,499. By the time my rated evaluation is in, we’ll have a fair clearer thought the place each wins and loses and the place foldable telephones ought to go in 2020.

Here’s what you could know earlier than we dive in. The Galaxy Z Flip makes use of ultra-thin glass for its 6.7-inch show and has a hinge that is stiff sufficient to face up by itself, so you should use the system hands-free when it is on a tabletop. It has two batteries that mix to offer you 3,300 mAh of capability (the smallest Galaxy S20 5G has 4,000 mAh), and there is a 1.1-inch pill-shaped display screen on the surface whenever you shut the phone.

Read on for what the Galaxy Z Flip is like to make use of and what’s good and unhealthy about it to this point.

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Galaxy Z Flip is the primary phone with foldable glass


New perception: Battery life

I’ve been retaining a hawkish eye on battery life since powering up the Z Flip for the primary time. My remaining battery score will mix my real-world statement with battery drain checks within the lab, so keep tuned.

Yesterday, I acquired about 13 and a half hours of use out of the Z Flip (it held on an additional 25 minutes on 1% battery, which suggests it is not calibrated but).

Thirteen-ish hours could be appallingly dismal for the standard phone that prices $1,400. By comparability, the $1,100 Galaxy Note 10 Plus can simply take me from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and nonetheless have 20% to 30% remaining in energy reserves. I by no means fear about it, even when I’m going out till the wee morning hours. So far I can not say that concerning the Galaxy Z Flip. 

However, I do really feel that you might use it usually throughout a typical workday and prime it up later if you happen to’re planning to burn the midnight oil. Note that phone batteries sometimes weaken over time. The Z Flip comes with a 15-watt charger.

Quick ideas

  • One-handed use: It works, however takes some muscle to flip open this fashion. The unlock/energy button is on the highest half of the phone, which is not preferrred for one-handed use. At least not with my fingers.
  • Huge fingerprint magnet: Because of Samsung’s care warning, I’m somewhat involved about my capability to maintain the internal display screen clear with a microfiber fabric. Pressing too laborious may trigger harm to the glass and elements beneath.
  • Watching Netflix and YouTube: You get thick black bars on both aspect in panorama mode. It’s a spot to place your hand with out messing with the display screen. You can pinch and zoom to fill the display screen, however you may crop off the highest of peoples’ heads.
  • Free case: It’s ok and provides me peace of thoughts in case I drop the phone.
  • Pocketability: The Z Flip has felt comfy and safe in any pocket I’ve put it in, in contrast to the unwieldy Galaxy Note 10 Plus and even the folded-up Fold, each of which have toppled out.
  • Typing on the keyboard: No complaints about my smaller fingers. I want Google’s Gboard keyboard over the default.
  • Holding whereas exercising: I efficiently jogged and hiked with the Z Flip by cupping the hinge finish in my palm. I did not really feel I used to be going to drop it.

Star characteristic: A phone that may stand by itself

I am keen on the Z Flip’s capability to carry itself upright. While watching video, studying a information story, taking selfies and even operating efficiency checks, propping the Z Flip’s display screen up or turning the entire thing on its aspect meant I did not have to carry it. It made my selfies higher (when utilizing a timer). It’s outstanding what number of angles the hinge will help earlier than snapping totally open or closed (sure, there are magnets on all 4 corners). 

That rigidity means you may have to actual a bit extra strain to shut the phone and snap it or pull it open, however I have never felt like I’m straining towards it. Yet the result’s you could prop the Z Flip on its base and tilt the display screen at any variety of angles to take a selfie photograph with a good friend — or a portrait shot — watch a video, or do any variety of issues. 

The similar goes for barely bending the phone in half whereas watching a video so it will probably turn into its personal stand. When you bend it, some apps dynamically shift right into a split-screen mode so that you see the motion on the “top” and the controls or feedback on the “bottom.” Not sufficient apps make the most of the characteristic straight out the gate, however it’s one I hope to see Google and others embrace for the sheer comfort issue.

Three cameras in all

The Galaxy Z Flip has two 12-megapixel sensors (wide-angle, extremely wide-angle) and a 10-megapixel inner digital camera. So far, they’re all fairly good, and what I count on from a Samsung phone. Image high quality already appears higher than on the Razr, which took “just OK” photographs on its 16-megapixel digital camera, in keeping with my colleague Patrick Holland.

I’ve been pleased with the images I’ve taken to this point, particularly in plentiful lighting. They’ve all been ok to share, and a few are ok to print. Testing continues…

The Z Flip has a brand new photograph mode that it shares with the Galaxy S20 trio of telephones: Single Take. This photograph mode captures as much as 10 totally different nonetheless photographs and 4 totally different movies. So far I’m much less enamored with this one. I have never found out what sort of state of affairs to make use of it in and once I tried it out on a road performer, I wound up deleting a number of the haul as a result of I wasn’t that pleased with the standard and composition.

That stated, there have been some usable pictures I acquired too, and it did not take a number of time or obsessive focusing to get them, which can be good.

Selfie digital camera is nice, however taking selfies is not all the time

I’ve gotten fairly good selfies from the Galaxy Z Flip to this point, particularly when opening the system so it sits up by itself and utilizing the timer so I haven’t got that awkward “selfie arm” that reveals up within the typical handheld shot. 

What is not so good is attempting to take a selfie when the Z Flip is closed. You can double-press the facility button to launch the front-facing digital camera when the phone is closed. You know it is prepared for you whenever you see your self on the tiny 1.1-inch cowl show. Swipe the realm to modify to a wide-angle selfie, then press the volume-down key to take the shot.

All that’s nicely and good, however the diminutive cowl display screen makes for a brief, pill-shaped viewfinder that is not really helpful for positioning your self within the bigger context of the picture. It’s additionally so small you could’t actually see your self.

If you take an image of one other particular person, you possibly can press an on-screen digital camera management to show that cowl display screen right into a viewfinder for them, however now they’re so removed from the digital camera that it does not do a lot good.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

There are two these 12-megapixel cameras. When the phone’s closed, they take your selfie shot.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The outer display screen: Smaller than it must be

The selfie viewfinder scenario is the obvious symptom of the Z Flip’s comically small show, however I’m at a little bit of a loss with the remainder of its options.

It’s good for seeing the time and battery proportion (although I’m going to poke round for an always-on setting). It’s not nearly as good at different issues. You can faucet for Wi-Fi networks and to see missed calls and alerts. For instance, I scrolled to see a Slack notification, tapped it, and noticed my co-worker’s Slack message roll throughout the display screen like a ticker. You can open the phone to open the app.

Motorola is heading in the right direction giving the Razr the power to ship canned sensible replies and voice messages, which supplies the phone extra to do from the outer display screen with out having to open it up.

Is the Z Flip’s display screen simple to scratch?

So far, so good for me. Torture checks are in progress across the web (together with at CNET), however my purpose is not to attempt to break the Z Flip. It’s to authentically use it. 

I do not see any fingernail scratches or divots on my display screen at this level, or some other blemishes. It’s one thing I’m keeping track of as I check the system. 

The Z Flip’s ultrathin glass display screen is supposed to defend the show from the extra raucous components, whereas additionally offering a smoother floor that extra convincingly conceals that telltale crease the place the display screen bends in half. That doesn’t suggest it is hardy. Samsung nonetheless warns that the Z Flip is fragile sufficient to interrupt if you happen to press too laborious on the display screen, shut it round keys or drop it into water or an enormous pile of mud.

The Z Flip is topic to Samsung’s one-year guarantee within the occasion of injury, in addition to Samsung’s premier concierge help for foldable phones


The purple shade, specifically, is alluring, however to this point all colours are susceptible to horrible smudging. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The Z Flip’s hinge has nostril hairs, form of

The Galaxy Fold’s first design prompted some fairly public embarrassment to Samsung when mud and crumbs simply labored their means into the hinge and beneath the display screen. Those early stories on reviewers’ telephones prompted Samsung to delay the Fold’s launch by about 4 months and fully redesign it. The excellent news is that these learnings have been carried into the Z Flip.

The hinge is protected by components like inside vinyl fibers — which sound lots like nostril hairs — to maintain mud out of the mechanism. There are additionally plastic caps bordering the within of the phone on the hinge, which additionally assist rebuff the weather. I run my fingernails across the thick plastic bezel and word how sealed it feels. On the Galaxy Fold and Motorola Razr, I felt I may pry my fingernail beneath the display screen with out a lot effort.

The safety of those inside fibers solely goes to this point. Samsung clearly notes on the phone’s overwrap care directions that it is vulnerable to mud and water harm, so be alert. There’s the everyday one-year guarantee and a concierge service for 24/7 customer care.

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Unboxing Samsung’s $1,380 Galaxy Z Flip


But does it have a crease?!

Look, each foldable phone I’ve seen has a crease. When the sunshine shines straight on it, you see it. When you run your finger down the seam, you are feeling it. When an thrilling thriller or documentary film performs, or whenever you’re sucked into an interesting article or sport, you hardly discover it in any respect.

I do really feel the Z Flip’s glass cowl materials helps decrease the hated crease. So does the truth that the width of the bend is definitely fairly minimal — simply shy of three inches — in comparison with the Galaxy Fold’s 6.34-inch vertical seam.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

Everything that comes within the Z Flip field.

Sarah Tew/CNET

What’s subsequent within the Galaxy Z Flip evaluation:

  • Camera, digital camera, digital camera
  • More hinge assessments
  • Battery check lab outcomes
  • Using mobile funds
  • Quick app shortcuts bar

This story might be up to date with extra findings all through the approaching days.

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Tarun Banerjee

Professional Web Designer & Developer,Expert in SEO & Digital Market, Founder of Tech Hunt.

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