As with most smartphone launches, Samsung’s latest line up was subject to endless amounts of speculation. Ending months of rumours, I finally got some too brief amount of hands-on time at a briefing with Samsung, who showed off their 2020 Galaxy line-up, including the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip.
The Galaxy S20 range looks good (more on these later), with a bunch of S20 smartphones, but it wasn’t the S20 that really got my attention. I was utterly smitten with the Galaxy Z Flip.
Credit where credit is due. Samsung has pulled off the tricky balancing act of keeping its design DNA true while keeping things fresh and exciting.
While images have leaked showing the Z both folded and unfolded, nothing prepared me for how it looks and feels in hand or how pocketable it is.
It might be a similar concept to the new Motorola Razor (that doesn’t appear to have launched in NZ). Still, there is no denying that it is a smart take on the classic flip phone.
Smartphone geeks have long sneered at flip phones, considering them “Nana” phones. Here’s the thing, Flip phones do offer some compelling advantages over traditional slab smartphones.
Most significantly, a flip phone is highly pocketable. Most phablet phones are now epic palm-stretchers. Because of this, they can be tricky to slide into a jeans pocket without looking like you have a rectangular man package (or a severe Viagra overdose) happening. Because a flip phone effectively halves in size when closed, you’ll never hear anyone utter
“Hey! Are you pleased to see me or is that a phone in your pocket?”
Equally importantly, when a flip phone is closed, its screen is also protected. Drop a slab phone onto the pavement, and you’re probably looking at expensive repairs for a cracked screen. This isn’t likely to be an issue with a flip phone.
Last (but by no means least), when you get a call, you can flip open the phone to answer, and just as handily, close it to end the call. That’s flipping (Pun intended, you’re welcome) satisfying. Above all, it is dead simple. Embarrassing pocket dials also rarely ever happen with flip phones too.
When the Samsung Galaxy Z flip is closed, its dual-lens camera and tiny external display (which shows time and other notifications) are visible. Other than that, it looks like a small, but oh so sexy square widget, complete With soft curved edges.
When flipped open, the Z shows off a 22:9 aspect ratio 6.7″ screen. It is about the same size as most slab smartphones even though it’ll consume a tiny amount of pocket or purse space. As you’d expect from Samsung, the FHD (2636×1080) 425ppi AMOLED screen is gorgeous. It delivers super vivid and crisp peeper pleasing pixels. The animated flower on its screen shows off the display to good effect too.
Most foldables have used flimsy plastic for their screens which is easily scratched and will probably look like shit in 12 to 24 months. Not the Galaxy Z flip. It has ultra-slim and flexible glass. This should, in theory, be far more durable. Hopefully, it’ll see the screen remaining relatively unscathed over the longer term.
So, if that’s what’s good, how about the not-so-good? As there are no review units to test and the briefing was, well, brief, it is difficult really drill into any meaningful positives and negatives. Here’s hoping that one day Samsung has review phones available on launch day.
So the verdict? The Galaxy Z Flip is expected to retail for around the $2390 mark, which makes it the most affordable foldable phone on the market by a considerable margin – but there is a trade-off.
Samsung has pared the specs back to achieve a sharp price point.
Its CPU is a middle of the road performer. Rumour has it that the US version will use a Snapdragon 855. While that’s not what you’d call state of the art silicon, it is still plenty capable. Expect a similarly specced Exynos CPU locally.
The cameras are similarly middling and consist of a front 10mp shooter and twin 12mp rear cameras. The news gets a little better on the memory and storage front, with the Z being equipped with 8 GB RAM (which should allow for some multi-tasking) and 128GB internal storage plus Micro SD support (which should keep most with media collections happy). It’ll also be dual SIM capable thanks to both nano-SIM and e-SIM support.
So the big question becomes this: would you pay top whack for a mid-range spec phone such as the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip? Here’s the thing. Despite this, I still want one. I love that it is highly pocketable, and its TARDIS-like feat of unfolding into the same dimensions as most slab phones is pretty cool too. A foldable slip phone makes a metric shit-tonne of good sense. Samsung says the Z won’t be available until Q2 (April-July). Expect a full review to follow soon.