Galaxy Z Flip review: Samsung’s killer feature makes this flip phone shine

The Galaxy Z Flip is the most effective foldable phone I’ve ever used. Considering that is nonetheless a brand new subject with solely the Motorola Razr, Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X for competing units you should buy at the moment, which may not sound like a lot. Don’t imagine it. Samsung has completed most issues proper with the Z Flip’s design, making a foldable phone that is enjoyable to wield and sensible sufficient for on a regular basis life. 

Like

  • Sits open for selfies and video calls
  • Foldable glass display
  • Camera high quality
  • Ultraportable

Don’t Like

  • Expensive
  • Overly small outer show
  • Susceptible to wreck

With the Galaxy Z Flip, Samsung proves past a shadow of a doubt that foldable phones have a proper to exist as extra than simply experimental toys. That’s fairly a formidable feat for Samsung’s second stab at foldables, particularly after its first try had such a disastrous start. To see Samsung pivot so shortly to a design that is sturdier, recognizable as a phone and simple to make use of is value acknowledging. 

I’ve shortly fallen in love with the Galaxy Z Flip — notably the best way the 6.7-inch glass screen stands upright by itself — however Samsung nonetheless has work to do. At $1,380 (£1,300), the Z Flip is wildly costly for the specs, and past the attain of most budgets. The bendable glass show is fragile and the phone is weak to water and mud. Battery life is just so-so, and its 1.1-inch outer display is silly small. 

Most folks should not run out and purchase the Galaxy Z Flip. While it is adequate to depend on in the actual world, foldable telephones stay largely showpieces for early adopters and hobbyists. You’ll get extra digital camera choices, longer battery life and a bona fide water-resistance score from different flagship phones (I check the $1,400 Galaxy S20 Ultra subsequent). 

That mentioned, for those who’re debating between this and the Motorola Razr, get the Z Flip with out compunction. I additionally desire it to the Galaxy Fold, though I’d actually simply await the Fold 2 if you’d like a tablet-size foldable.

Overall, Samsung has completed a superb job bringing thrilling improvements to the Galaxy Z Flip which might be easy to know and surprisingly straightforward to make use of. I count on that the following technology shall be even higher.

You’re staring this phone’s finest function proper within the face.


Juan Garzon/CNET

What I like in regards to the Galaxy Z Flip

  • A cohesive gadget that is straightforward to select up and use straight away.
  • Closed, it feels sturdy and compact. Gripping it by the hinge finish feels safe.
  • The display stays open by itself at all kinds of angles (extra on this under).
  • The foldable glass display — a world’s first — helps maintain the dreaded crease to a minimal. There’s no harm up to now to the one I’ve purchased.
  • Camera high quality is powerful on all three sensors (see breakout).
  • Solid specs embrace a Snapdragon 855 Plus processor, 256GB of storage, quick charging and reverse wi-fi charging (all specs under).
  • A swipe-out display is useful for launching favourite apps and split-screen mode, particularly throughout one-handed use.
  • It comes with a free plastic case for further peace of thoughts.
  • Android 10 and Samsung One UI 2 maintain the software program present.

What I do not like in regards to the Galaxy Z Flip

  • It’s costly: $1,380 or £1,300 (about AU$2,500 transformed from the UK worth).
  • Fingerprint smudges accumulate quickly on all surfaces.
  • The cowl show is simply too small to be helpful. Samsung missed a large alternative (extra under).
  • Battery life is a tad disappointing.
  • Many movies and video games do not match completely into the 21.9:9 display dimensions, leading to black facet bars.
  • The fingerprint reader could be extra conveniently positioned on the decrease half — no less than for my fingers.
  • It’s weak to wreck from publicity to water and mud (you get a one-year guarantee and 24/7 customer service).
  • Since you must unfold it first, it takes longer to do most issues than on a typical phone. I’ve missed a couple of digital camera moments consequently. (On the flip facet, I just like the finality of snapping it closed.) 
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

The Galaxy Z Flip is extremely moveable and simple to hold round.


Jason Hiner/CNET

Flex Mode is the Galaxy Z Flip’s killer function

Open the Galaxy Z Flip from both facet and let go. The half you pulled up hasn’t snapped again down into closed place or slowly arched again to completely open. Chances are, it is stayed precisely the place it’s.

The hinge’s freestanding potential is one thing Samsung referred to as Flex Mode, and it is the Z Flip’s most original, fascinating and efficient function by far as a result of it permits you to work together with the phone hands-free. 

I did not should invent causes to maintain the display propped open. That occurred naturally. Sometimes I used to be taking a selfie with out awkwardly getting my arm in the best way (the wide-angle lens and timer labored nice). Or studying an article or scrolling by way of my inbox or social media feeds whereas consuming lunch. Any time I used to be bored with holding the phone and needed to set it down. Making a video name. Making a speakerphone name from the sofa. Even bending the phone within the center in panorama mode to look at a video solo or to indicate a pal.

Using Flex Mode does include a couple of trade-offs I’m prepared to make. It winds up bisecting the display, so the half you are interacting with is comparatively small, usually lower than Four inches diagonally. The digital camera app is dynamic sufficient to readjust to Flex Mode, with different apps to come back, Samsung says, however for me, the comfort of going hands-free outweighed my different objections. It’s simply that good to make use of the Z Flip as its personal stand. 

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You can watch a video or learn a narrative hands-free. With cut up display mode on (pictured), you are able to do each directly.


Patrick Holland/CNET

On foldables with bigger screens, you possibly can envision an actual profit to utilizing one half as a digital keyboard and the opposite because the show display.

The solely quick draw back I can see to Flex Mode is {that a} stiffer hinge means it takes just a little extra pressure to flick the phone open when it is closed, particularly for those who’re attempting to impress somebody along with your gunslinger abilities. I’m curious (and maybe just a little involved) to see if the hinge will loosen over time and lose a few of that self-supporting functionality, slumping by hook or by crook.

Tiny cowl show is the Z Flip’s worst trait

The Galaxy Z Flip is so good that my disappointment with the phone’s outer display pangs me all of the extra. Samsung gave the foldable flip phone a tiny pill-shaped show subsequent to the primary cameras. 

Unfortunately, it is too small, squat and slim to actually do something significant with it, and that is one thing the Razr can brag about. For all its foibles, that phone’s 2.7-inch exterior show is massive sufficient to view notifications and  will allow you to reply to them with voice dictation and canned messages. 

On the Galaxy Z Flip, you possibly can double-tap to see the time, date and battery proportion. You’ll additionally see the battery proportion whereas charging up. Swipe the quilt display to see app icons that characterize notifications. Tap one to see the topic or learn a message on a scrolling ticker. You could have to open the phone to really see what is going on on. It’s not fully helpful.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

You cannot do a lot with that tiny outer display.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung additionally envisions this mini window as a viewfinder for you and others. The drawback is that you would be able to’t actually place your self inside the photograph, and the window is simply too small to see what you actually seem like. I do like that you simply get entry to the 2 important 12-megapixel cameras that approach, and that you would be able to swipe on the outer display to swap between commonplace and ultrawide-angle sensors.

In one selfie I took with the phone closed (the one photograph kind you possibly can take this manner), a pal and I appeared centered as I held the phone at arm’s size. It’s solely when checking within the photograph gallery that I observed a 3rd particular person in our group had simply as a lot display share, an individual who we did not see within the viewfinder.

Outer screens are tough for foldable telephones. They suck up battery reserves and inside area. If they’re irregularly formed, just like the Fold’s too-tall-and-narrow 4.6-inch display, you begin to resent the cramped quarters that make typing and utilizing apps really feel unnatural. 

To me, this design is clearly Samsung compromising usability for battery life and to undercut the Razr’s worth. I do not suppose that is a successful technique in the long run.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

You get twin 12-megapixel cameras right here and a 10-megapixel shooter inside.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Camera high quality places Motorola Razr to disgrace

I really feel for the Motorola Razr. The idea is terrific, however the execution pales compared to the Galaxy Z Flip. That’s particularly obvious within the digital camera class.

Samsung’s 12-megapixel wide-angle and ultrawide-angle sensors take higher images and offer you extra choices than the Razr’s single 16-megapixel digital camera, particularly with low mild pictures. Inside, the Z Flip has a 10-megapixel shooter that is additionally good for selfies (like whenever you need extra management over the shot) and for video calls. 

The Razr has a 5-megapixel inside digital camera that the corporate admits is de facto simply there to start out a video name earlier than closing the phone and switching to the higher digital camera, however smaller outdoors display. Stay tuned for a deep dive comparability between the Motorola Razr and Galaxy Z Flip cameras.

The web has authorized of the images I’ve been posting on Twitter from the Galaxy Z Flip. Keep in thoughts it is primarily utilizing the Galaxy S10’s digital camera sensors. Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S20 telephones all use no less than one 12-megapixel digital camera apiece as a part of their arrays, however these lean on bigger sensors that Samsung says have been fully redesigned and vastly improved.

Single Take digital camera mode is extra bother than it is value

One digital camera function that the Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy S20 telephones can have in frequent is Single Take, a brand new images mode that may take as much as 10 images and 4 movies when you choose it after which press and maintain the report button. The mode makes use of a number of cameras and settings to shortly get you selection that you would be able to select from. 

I attempted this out a number of instances, and… it is simply not for me. Single Take works finest throughout motion pictures or whenever you’re photographing a gaggle of mates hanging out, however I by no means received a photograph or video that I preferred higher than one I’d take myself. Some of that most likely comes all the way down to me and my Type A persona that desires to compose the shot to my specs. Some would possibly come all the way down to my reluctance to kind by way of the haul and delete what I do not need.

The thought right here is comfort, and I may see myself utilizing it if I solely had one likelihood to seize a second. I may additionally see myself including the Live Focus portrait mode to my menu bar as an alternative.

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That attractive purple end can get gunked up with fingerprints quick.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Galaxy Z Flip battery life is simply so-so

What good is a $1,400 phone if it will probably’t take you thru the day? Thankfully, that is not the Galaxy Z Flip’s drawback for me most days. With a mixed capability of three,300 mAh unfold throughout two battery cells, it provides you extra juice than the Razr (2,510 mAh). In my real-world assessments, it is lasted from the time I get up till night, once I can simply plug it in once more.

On my heaviest use days with hotspotting, streaming video and maps navigation, it ran about 13 hours, lasting in a single day on lighter days. In CNET’s lab check to simulate combined real-world use, it lasted 12 hours. In our battery drain check utilizing looping video (and airplane mode), the consequence was 15 hours of run time on a single cost. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip hinge

How lengthy with the Galaxy Z Flip final? That relies on the display and hinge.


Jason Hiner/CNET

That’s on the decrease finish of the spectrum for many telephones, and a far cry from the Galaxy Note ($800 at Amazon) 10, which simply takes me from early morning to the wee hours with out concern. I would not plan a late evening with the Galaxy Z Flip with out bringing a charger together with me or topping it up first. 

For reference, the Galaxy S20 battery begins at 4,000 mAh and goes as much as 5,000 on the Ultra, a phone that prices $20 greater than the Z Flip. Battery life is clearly a problem for foldable telephones, and one which I hope Samsung and others are engaged on for future generations.

Will the Z Flip’s glass display final?

Longevity is one thing we won’t check on a product every week out of the field, however it’s one thing we’re maintaining a tally of with foldable telephones — on our evaluation items and on others’ reviews. Samsung says that the Z Flip’s display and hinge will maintain up for 200,000 flips, a quantity it estimates will take 5 years to realize throughout typical use. That’s the identical score because the Galaxy Fold.

Galaxy Z Flip vs. Motorola Razr

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Motorola Razr
Display dimension, decision Internal: 6.7-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED; 2,636×1,080-pixels / External: 1.1-inch Super AMOLED; 300×112-pixels Internal: 6.2-inch, foldable pOLED; 2,142x876p pixels (21:9) / External: 2.7-inch glass OLED, 800×600-pixels (4:3)
Pixel density 425ppi (inside) / 303ppi (exterior) 373ppi (inside display)
Dimensions (Inches) Folded: 2.99×3.44×0.62 ~0.68 in / Unfolded: 2.99×6.59×0.27 ~0.28 in Unfolded: 6.8×2.8×0.28 in / Folded: 3.7×2.8×0.55 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) Folded: 73.6×87.4×15.4 ~17.Three mm / Unfolded: 73.6×167.3×6.9 ~7.2 mm Unfolded: 172x72x6.9mm / Folded: 94x72x14mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 6.46 oz; 183g 7.2 oz; 205g
Mobile software program Android 10 Android 9 Pie
Camera 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (extremely wide-angle) 16-megapixel exterior (f/1.7, twin pixel AF), 5-megapixel inside
Front-facing digital camera 10-megapixel Same as important 16-megapixel exterior
Video seize 4K (HDR 10+) 4K
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ (64-bit octa-core) Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 (2.2GHz, octa-core)
Storage 256GB 128GB
RAM 8GB 6GB
Expandable storage None None
Battery 3,300 mAh 2,510 mAh
Fingerprint sensor Power button Below display
Connector USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack No None
Special options Foldable show; wi-fi PowerShare; wi-fi charging; quick charging Foldable show, eSIM, Motorola gestures, splashproof
Price off-contract (USD) $1,380 $1,499
Price (GBP) £1,300 Converts to about £1,170
Price (AUD) UK worth converts to about AU$2,500 Converts to about AU$2,185

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Tarun Banerjee

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

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