Samsung Galaxy Z Flip’s foldable glass screen already blows me away (sorry, Razr)

The Galaxy Z Flip’s 6.7-inch foldable glass display stands up by itself.

Angela Lang/CNET

Wow. I’ve simply completed utilizing the Galaxy Z Flip, the foldable flip phone Samsung introduced on Tuesday in San Francisco, and I can already say this phone is one thing particular. I do know, I do know, I say that about all of the foldable phones I exploit for the primary time. Each is exclusive, and appears to construct off the final. But the $1,380 (£1,300) Galaxy Z Flip has two essential distinctions that blow me away — and that sign that the $1,499 Motorola Razr is in bother.

They each come all the way down to the display’s sturdiness and suppleness. The Z Flip has the world’s first foldable glass display and the highest of the phone can get up by itself at most angles. It does not harm that the Z Flip’s display does not creak once you open it. I attempted that out on three completely different demo items.

Compared to the Razr, the Z Flip additionally prices $119 much less and packs in additional options — like two 12-megapixel cameras and a 10-megapixel inside digital camera, relatively than the Razr’s single 16-megapixel lens.

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Galaxy Z Flip is the primary phone with foldable glass


The Galaxy Z Flip goes on sale Feb. 14 in Mirror Purple (yasss), Mirror Black and in choose international locations, Mirror Gold. That glass physique actually is mirrored, too — these fingerprints construct up quick. It’ll price $1,380 within the US and £1,300 within the UK. Australian pricing is TBA, however the UK worth converts to about AU$2,500.

Read on for what it is like to make use of the Galaxy Z Flip, how the hinge works and all the professionals and cons I observed in my 40 minutes utilizing the clamshell foldable up to now (10 minutes in a single demo room and 30 in one other).

Z Flip’s glass display may very well be killer

Samsung demos the Galaxy Z Flip on stage at Samsung Unpacked.

GIF by Mike Sorrentino/CNET

What’s it like to make use of a foldable glass display, as a substitute of a plastic show?

It may be too quickly to inform, however I instantly observed that the display crease seemed much less pronounced than I’ve ever seen it. I might nonetheless see mild reflecting off of it on the bend, and will really feel a slight dip once I ran my fingertip intentionally over the midline. It’s definitely extra delicate than on the Galaxy Fold.

I tapped the glass too, and listened, however did not hear that telltale clink. Must be as a result of it is ultrathin. Navigation felt clean in my temporary time with the gadget, and so did the floor.

Since the very first first peep about foldable telephones, glass has been the holy grail of foldable screens: Thin sufficient to fold with out breaking, however offering a simpler defend to the fragile OLED show beneath than a sheet of plastic. 

The hope is that an ultrathin foldable glass may even deflect scratches and water harm. The query we nonetheless need to reply is that if and the way it will break once you inevitably drop it.

An enormous deal: The display stands up by itself

In addition to foldable glass, the Z Flip’s second distinction is the truth that the hinge is sturdy sufficient for the display to face upright by itself with out slowly closing or opening.

I pushed and pulled the higher portion of the display at each angle from the bottom, and it wasn’t till the very backside or very prime of that arc that the phone both opened absolutely or else snapped shut, assisted by magnets on the corners.

A self-supporting display has been excessive on my checklist because the first foldable phone prototypes we have seen, particularly when you can view a picture or video on the highest portion whereas typing or doing one thing else on the underside. On a taller, narrower design just like the Z Flip, you may get the comfort of watching a video hands-free, although the clip itself will really feel pocket-size in comparison with the 7.3-inch Galaxy Fold, which you’d watch completely unfolded.

Samsung has additionally partnered with Google (particularly YouTube) to make its app cut up into two parts when the Z Flip bends. The thought is to look at YouTube movies on the higher display whereas studying feedback on the underside. I wasn’t in a position to take a look at this, as a result of YouTube wants an replace for that to work, however I used to be in a position to see the impact on the digital camera app. A row of controls seems on the underside and the picture retreats on the highest.

We’ll want extra apps to make the most of the potential to see how effectively it really works in the actual world.

How lengthy will the Z Flip display actually final?

Samsung says the Galaxy Z Flip’s display will final 200,000 flips with out harm, or about what you’d get after 5 years of use. This determine speaks to the wear and tear and tear on the display and hinge ensuing from opening and shutting the gadget repeatedly.

That’s the identical rated variety of makes use of because the Galaxy Fold, which CNET examined final October on a machine referred to as the FoldBot. That take a look at, which was meant to be an approximation and never a scientific closing phrase, lasted for 120,000 folds. Meanwhile, we stopped the take a look at on the Motorola Razr after just 27,000 folds when the identical machine might now not fold it. (We word the outcomes aren’t precisely comparable, and Motorola challenges the FoldBot’s outcomes.)

All of that is to say that we do not know but how lengthy it is going to actually final in the actual world, or much more importantly, what sort of environmental harm from water, moisture, mud, sand and abnormal objects like fingernails and keys the display and hinge mechanism can maintain. We do know that Samsung has included fibers contained in the hinge space that can work like nostril hairs to assist lure or filter out mud and particles.

Galaxy Z Flip

A more in-depth have a look at the Z Flip’s glass show and crease.

Juan Garzon/CNET

Little hazard of repeating Galaxy Fold errors

The Z Flip’s glass display is anticipated to bypass the Galaxy Fold’s largest early vulnerabilities, like harm as a consequence of strain. But the Z Flip additionally avoids confusion as a result of there is no hole between the thick plastic bezel and the display for a fingernail to slip into (or any mud).

Samsung additionally carried over the plastic T-caps (as I name them) that match into the perimeters of the hinge. The objective of those is to strengthen the realm, which may very well be extra prone to gunk getting caught beneath the show and inflicting bulges or inner harm. This is a carry-over from the Galaxy Fold redesign.

What the outer display is sweet for

Probably 95% of the time, you may use the Z Flip open. That’s as a result of the quilt show is a mere 1.1 inches on the diagonal. That does not provide you with a lot room for something however the smallest notification icons that roll out ticker messages once you faucet them. You’ll see issues like a Wi-Fi icon, missed name and different notifications, and the alarm.

You may use it as a viewfinder for taking a selfie, or faucet a button on the within for another person to see their face earlier than you snap the shot. But it simply appears too small, squat and extensive to actually be efficient.

I assumed the Motorola Razr’s 2.7-inch outer show was tiny, however at the very least it lets you choose canned message responses and use voice instructions. The Galaxy Fold, in the meantime, has a 4.6-inch cowl show that permits you to do all the things that Android can do, however which is just too small to comfortably kind on. I by no means thought I’d miss it.

Galaxy Z Flip

There’s a tiny air hole in regards to the width of a pair enterprise automobiles or a bank card. You can see the sunshine by means of it, however total, that is a formidable achievement for foldable glass.

Juan Garzon/CNET

Camera, battery life, fingerprint reader

Forty minutes is not a very long time to check out a tool, so I did not get a lot probability to take images and analyze them. But I do like that the Z Flip has two predominant cameras. I wind up utilizing wide-angle mode greater than I ever anticipated. It’s particularly helpful for making selfies look extra pure, and for bringing backgrounds into the scene.

Battery life can also be one thing I’ll preserve an in depth eye on. The Z Flip has two battery cells that work in tandem to provide a 3,300-mAh complete capability. That’s lower than flagship common telephones, however typical for the foldable telephones we have seen up to now. The Flip is sufficiently small that the capability might final an entire day, however twin batteries are recognized for being much less environment friendly than a single cell.

I’m additionally curious how simple the fingerprint reader shall be to make use of. It’s built-in into the ability button on the Z Flip’s proper facet and has a flat floor, similar to on the Galaxy Fold. You double press it to launch the digital camera, as you’ll on different Android phones (the Z Flip makes use of Android 10). When it is closed, the fingerprint reader is on the highest of the display sandwich, with an entire different facet of the display just under it. It feels somewhat bizarre, and I ponder if it’s going to get in the way in which in any respect when utilizing the phone, or is that this is only one extra characteristic to get used to.

Galaxy Z Flip specs

There’s much more of the Galaxy Z Flip to discover, particularly because it compares to the Motorola Razr foldable flip phone. CNET will evaluation the gadget as quickly as we are able to.

Galaxy Z Flip versus Motorola Razr

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Motorola Razr
Display measurement, 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 (inner) / 303ppi (exterior) 373ppi (inner display)
Dimensions (Inches) Folded: 2.99 x 3.44 x 0.62 ~ 0.68 in / Unfolded: 2.99 x 6.59 x 0.27 ~0.28 in Unfolded: 6.eight x 2.eight x 0.28 in / Folded: 3.7 x 2.eight x 0.55 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) Folded: 73.6 x 87.Four x 15.4 ~17.Three mm / Unfolded: 73.6 x 167.Three x 6.9 ~ 7.2 mm Unfolded: 172 x 7 2 x 6.9mm / Folded: 94 x 72 x 14mm
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 inner
Front-facing digital camera 10-megapixel Same as predominant 16-megapixel exterior
Video seize 4K (HDR 10 Plus) 4K
Processor 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 (2.2GHz, octa-core)
Storage 256GB 128GB
Expandable storage TBD None
Battery 3,300 mAh 2,510 mAh
Fingerprint sensor Right facet Below display
Connector USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack None 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 £1,170
Price (AUD) UK worth converts to AU$2,500 Converts to AU$2,185

Originally revealed yesterday and up to date with new info.

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