- Impressive Design and Build
- The reinforcement on the hinge is a much needed improvement
- You can just flip it for all day everyday, thanks to the solid hinge
- Decent Specification which is still relevant given the current times
- Quite the head turner, especially the Mirror Gold and Purple
- Not the phone for specification enthusiasts
- Costs a pretty penny for sure, which makes it a luxury phone of sorts
Every time we come across a smartphone in general, its no surprise that it boasts the new specification and even that alone can get a little stale. While the Galaxy S20 and S20+ isn’t particularly groundbreaking in anyway, the one that caught most of the attention was the foldable smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip. It brought back a reminiscent of the past that is flip phone into today’s modern smartphone standard. With that said, we used it for two months and for the most part we are going to share an experiential review we had rather than following a traditional review of sorts – for a good reason.
Watch our YouTube Video
Look and Feel
While the Z Flip carries the nostalgic term in its name, the moment you look at the phone – it has the Samsung Galaxy DNA to it – which you can notice in the glass finish which they like to call it the Mirror finish and comes in three different colors – we received the Mirror Black which does have a little navy blue hue to it. On the hinge, you will notice that the phone has the Samsung logo printed in a subtle manner and when you open the phone, the logo is no where to be seen. When its closed, it looks like a shiny pebble and while the black Z Flip isn’t of an attention grabber, the Gold and Purple is one. Good that it comes in three different colors and as much as I wanted to get my hands on the Mirror Gold, I am glad I ended up with the Mirror Black because I just didn’t want to grab any attention in public. Since its glass, the device does tend to slip on surfaces a lot and it can be a pain – on top of that our unit didn’t come with a case, so we had no choice but to put up a barrier on our table or place the phone on an anti-slip mat.
In terms of feel, I just love how it sits in my hand and if I could ever dream of a long phone like my Note8, fold it into half and keep in my pocket – I would love to and that’s what I experienced with the Z Flip. Since its one of those slippery phones, it does slip into your pocket nice and taking it out isn’t much of an issue either. I love how it feels like a solid brick and doesn’t have any uneven weight to it which is of a key importance to me. Sliding your thumb into the ridges and flipping it open is so satisfying that I could do it everyday and any day – at least that’s pretty much I was doing the whole time I was using the phone. The hinge feels extremely solid that I cant help it but to notice how much they have improved over the Fold which is, of course a different device but not only some of the subtle changes were noted here but also there are extra things to make this particular hinge special.
I say this and I will say it again, to me – what makes the Z Flip an appealing phone is how much thought and process the R&D team behind this phone has put into this phone. There are few notable good things that they have brought from the Fold. The edges of the display have an incline so that the display doesn’t shut completely – which would most definitely result in damaging of course. There’s also a noticeable gap between the display which does show that its not completely flexible and it does have a stress point.
In order to avoid the display folding it completely into two halves, they have added the T Bracket which we saw in the updated fold last year to make the display crease too prominent as it goes through the wear and tear phase.
Okay now there are two things in particular to the hinge – which makes the experience solid. First is the Hideaway Hinge’s Dual CAM Mechanism. As we all know the hideaway hinge is what makes the device fold but in order to stay in a certain angle, that’s where the Dual CAM Mechanism kicks in and helps in handling the angles and even be able to stand on its own. As we mentioned in our YouTube video, you can notice that it can go at a certain angle and stay that way – those certain angles are between 75 and 115 degrees respectively and it works as claimed.
The second one is the Sweeper technology. One of the things that was kind of a worrisome is what if the dusts gets dislodged into the whole hinge and cause huge issue. So, there is a really slim brush based on nylon fiber that prevents external dust particles from getting into the phone and still be able to open and close with that snappy feeling you did the first time you opened up and folded the phone. So, as you open the brush pushes the dust away and when it closes it manages to keep it clean.
Finally, the display is also unique this time around. We do know it isn’t the Corning Gorilla Glass but Samsung reinvented the way with their display and unlike the Fold which is a plastic display, the Z Flip is an Ultra-Thin Glass display that’s super thin and with a blend of materials, it was possible to make the display foldable. If you do notice, that the display doesn’t fold completely – which means there is a stress point and chance are it would break but also OLED panels are flexible but not foldable – something to take note of.
Real Day-to-Day Experience
With all the engineering that they have put into the phone, and while using the Galaxy Fold was a little scary but that wasn’t the case with the Z Flip. In about few days’ time, I was able to get around the Z Flip and be able to use it with no issues at all. In fact, in a recent tweet, I even flipped, and the hinge felt super snappy as you kind of whip to open. Closing the phone feels good after using it. I have no issues with Samsung using a 1080p display and the display was great to use. One question I got from many of my friends is how bothersome the crease is – and sure there were times when it was extremely noticeable, for the most part – I was happy to be able to just use the phone and it didn’t bother me at all. After using it straight for two months, I was only happy that the crease was the way it was.
Another thing I didn’t have to worry too much is about the fragility of the display because of UTG over the plastic counterpart of the Fold – and that’s a huge relief. As plastic does leave indents if you use your nail to strike keys but the glass on the Flip avoids that. Plus, folding a phone to keep your display from getting any further damage is such a great thing to have and worrying about not having a screen protector is nonexistent.
Although, the small display beside the front camera – which kind of is the same size as a Galaxy Fit, does the bare minimum and that did disappoint me. There are only few things you can do – Check your time and Date, Check for notification – although to read the full notification, you need to open the phone anyway, control music when its playing and double pressing the power button to use the primary camera.
What could have been an interesting touch is to be able to access quick settings from the mini screen to toggle the Flashlight, Airplane Mode of sorts would have been nice to deal with. This is something I do hope Samsung decides to either roll out an update or do better in the next Z Flip.
As for the rest, the Z Flip serves as a proper smartphone with no caveats. In terms of specification, they went for the Snapdragon 855 instead of the new 865 but I am glad they did that because that would have shot up the price tag for the phone itself. It only comes with a Single SIM support and the memory is non-expandable – but the 256GB internal is going to keep you occupied with no issue. The performance is as snappy as you’d think – while it may be a year old processor, the performance is as snappy as ever and I mean, I still find the Exynos in my Note8 a great processor even for today’s world.
The camera setup is simple and straightforward – with an Infinity O display inside, it has a camera for selfies but there’s a dual camera setup beside the Mini Display – where one is a Wide angle and the other one is an Ultra-Wide Angle. They take alright pictures and I am a fan of a Telephoto lens, but this still works I suppose, and it did its job well.
Sure, people may think that it isn’t the best camera out there but honestly, if you really do want to take good pictures, the camera on the Z Flip isn’t going to disappoint – as long as you know how to take one. I love the fact that you are able to take a picture with the phones closed, so that is a nifty trick and while it does save it in a 1:1 ratio – if you are planning to use that for selfies, you might want to turn the Ultra-Wide on, so that your friends face doesn’t get chopped into half.
As for charging, you can use a Qi Charger which is pretty much what I did for the most part or use the Adaptive Fast Charger which comes along with the phone. The battery isn’t the biggest, but the battery life is average at best.
Samsung passed us the Galaxy Z Flip during the time of CMCO and with me staying inside, I did feel like I needed a break from the whole world of internet and the Z Flip did help me in ways I didn’t expect it to do. Since the phone stays closed, it kind of gives me the control to not use the phone and with the pairing with Me Time or Work Time setting in the Digital Wellbeing, it is even more better. Plus, being able to listen to my music and change it while its closed also gives me more and more opportunity to not use the phone more. This is something I loved to bits and it’s little things like this mattered.
Of course since it’s a foldable phone it does come with some shortcomings, well two to me – like no IP Rating – this is going to take a while for all I know and Mono firing speakers which is so obvious and a friend commented that he liked the sound on his S10+ better.
The cool RM6000 price tag on the Galaxy Z Flip feels pretty much as how paying a huge sum for the Galaxy Fold felt like. But it seems like Samsung is learning a lot and getting the hang of making a proper foldable smartphone. The fold was different, but we were able to notice those little improvements did to that phone with the Z Flip which is great. On top of that, adding new way of making a flexible display and sorts only makes it better.
I am not going to recommend nor not recommend the phone – if you have the money to do so, by all means – go ahead – if I had the money I would but if you are planning to buy this phone for the specification, this isn’t the right phone for you because the Galaxy Z Flip is all about that engineering behind the phone and how you can flaunt a flip phone in 2020.
I do have to admit, my two months with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip was pure bliss.
Thanks to Samsung Malaysia for giving the opportunity to review the Galaxy Z Flip despite the CMCO Condition.