Samsung Galaxy Z Flip’s foldable glass screen: Already more impressive than the Razr

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

Angela Lang/CNET

With the Galaxy Z Flip, Samsung takes on the Motorola Razr with two distinctive traits that the Razr simply does not have: a foldable glass display — that is an business first — and a hinge that may keep open at quite a lot of angles earlier than snapping totally open or closed. The Z Flip additionally prices lower than the Razr as properly ($1,380 versus $1,499) and has extra cameras. 

I actually favored the Razr once I first noticed it, and I prefer it even now regardless of just a few flaws. But at first bush, the Z Flip may prime it.

The most vital questions are of durability and adaptability. Will the ultrathin glass actually maintain as much as 200,000 bends over its lifetime as Samsung claims? How breakable is that tumbler actually, and is the crease an issue when utilizing the phone? It already does not harm that the Z Flip’s display does not creak whenever you open it, not like the Motorola Razr. I attempted that out on three totally different demo items.

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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 nations, Mirror Gold. That glass physique actually is mirrored, too — those fingerprints build up fast. It’ll value $1,380 within the US and £1,300 within the UK. Australian pricing is TBA, however the UK value 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 to this point (10 minutes in a single demo room and 30 in one other).

Z Flip’s glass display might 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 an alternative of a plastic show?

It may be too quickly to inform, however I instantly observed that the display crease appeared much less pronounced than I’ve ever seen it. I may nonetheless see gentle 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 actually 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 transient time with the system, 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 more practical protect to the fragile OLED show beneath than a sheet of plastic. 

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

A giant 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 totally or else snapped shut, assisted by magnets on the corners.

A self-supporting display has been excessive on my record for the reason that first foldable phone prototypes we have seen, particularly in the event 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 will 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 break up into two parts when the Z Flip bends. The concept is to observe YouTube movies on the higher display whereas studying feedback on the underside. I wasn’t in a position to check 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 digicam app. A row of controls seems on the underside and the picture retreats on the highest.

We’ll want extra apps to reap the benefits of the potential to see how properly it really works in the true 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 injury, or about what you’d get after 5 years of use. This determine speaks to the damage and tear on the display and hinge ensuing from opening and shutting the system repeatedly.

That’s the identical rated variety of makes use of because the Galaxy Fold, which CNET examined final October on a machine known as the FoldBot. That check, which was meant to be an approximation and never a scientific closing phrase, lasted for 120,000 folds. Meanwhile, we stopped the check on the Motorola Razr after just 27,000 folds when the identical machine may 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’ll actually final in the true world, or much more importantly, what sort of environmental injury 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 may work like nostril hairs to assist entice 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 greatest early vulnerabilities, like injury attributable to stress. But the Z Flip additionally avoids confusion as a result of there isn’t any 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 might be extra inclined to gunk getting caught beneath the show and inflicting bulges or inside injury. This is a carry-over from the Galaxy Fold redesign.

What the outer display is nice for

Probably 95% of the time, you will use the Z Flip open. That’s as a result of the duvet 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 whenever you faucet them. You’ll see issues like a Wi-Fi icon, missed name and different notifications, and the alarm.

You may also 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 vast to essentially be efficient.

I believed the Motorola Razr’s 2.7-inch outer show was tiny, however not less than 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 allows you to do every little thing that Android can do, however which is simply too small to comfortably kind on. I by no means thought I’d miss it.

Galaxy Z Flip

There’s a tiny air hole concerning the width of a pair enterprise automobiles or a bank card. You can see the sunshine by it, however general, that is a powerful 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 photographs and analyze them. But I do like that the Z Flip has two important 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 maintain an in depth eye on. The Z Flip has two battery cells that work in tandem to offer a 3,300-mAh complete capability. That’s lower than flagship common telephones, however typical for the foldable telephones we have seen to this point. The Flip is sufficiently small that the capability may 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 will probably be to make use of. It’s built-in into the facility button on the Z Flip’s proper aspect and has a flat floor, similar to on the Galaxy Fold. You double press it to launch the digicam, as you’d 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 aspect of the display slightly below it. It feels a little bit bizarre, and I’m wondering if it’s going to get in the best way 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 evaluate the system as quickly as we will.

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 (inside) / 303ppi (exterior) 373ppi (inside 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 inside
Front-facing digicam 10-megapixel Same as important 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 aspect 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 value converts to AU$2,500 Converts to AU$2,185

Originally printed earlier this week.

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