Samsung has been keen on trying something different in the smartphone market, to cement its place as the unanimous most selling phone manufacturer out of them all. Now, of course, Huawei and Apple stand in Samsung’s way, and the company had to do something to shake the smartphone world. This was achieved by trying to opt for foldable devices. Samsung first tried to introduce foldable phones to the world by releasing the Galaxy Fold, which was widely claimed as a flop for many reasons. It looked cheap, was super expensive, and just didn’t give enough reasons for a person to spend 2 grand on a phone. The Z Flip is an improved version of their foldable experiments and is certainly a step up from the Galaxy Fold. However, is it still good enough to be recommended over the likes of other flagships, like Samsung’s own S20 series, the OnePlus 8 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro? Let’s find out in this full review of the Galaxy Z Flip.
Design & Build
The Z Flip’s design is certainly a lot better than the Fold’s. It has a better and much easier folding mechanism, and the hinge is a lot better than the phone’s direct rival: the Motorola RAZR. However, that certainly doesn’t mean that the overall build is impressive. The screen was said to be stronger than other display panels to protect it from bending. However, tests by the well-known tech YouTuber Jerry Rig Everything, showed that the screen rather scratched way too easily and that users should be extremely cautious while using the device. Moreover, the back is great to look at, especially the purple colour variant – but it is a fingerprint magnet much like other glass back phones.
A small, 1.1” secondary display is provided in the back next to the back camera. This display to us seemed like a waste of real estate, especially when Motorola has done a much better job with their RAZR phone in providing a bigger, usable secondary display. You can see your notification icons in this 1.1” screen on the Z Flip, or the time, or even take a selfie from the back camera (Lord knows how that will be possible on such a tiny display).
The screen on the Z Flip is a 6.7” AMOLED panel and provides the usual punchy and vibrant colours that we’re accustomed to on Samsung phones. However, one downside to the display is the fact that it comes in a 21:9 ratio, making it a significantly tall screen. This makes it harder to reach the corners of the phone with one hand, and you will find yourself often needing your second hand to aid you in day-to-day tasks. You won’t be able to find yourself a protector, and it is suggested by Samsung to use the phone without one as well. The screen is very sensitive, and you will need to be cautious of any sort of potential scratching that the phone might get. However, it’s worth noting that while in your pockets, the phone will likely be folded and the screen will be shielded from any external objects.
The performance on the Z Flip is nothing short of flagship level, as the phone rocks a Snapdragon 855+ and 8 gigs of RAM to go with that. AnTuTu benchmarks show a score of over 440,000, which is easily top-tier and will help you run any heavy application or game smoothly even on maxed-out graphics and settings. Day-to-day use will feel smooth as well, and you won’t have to worry about any stutters or lags, as it should be when paying a thousand bucks for a phone. The Z Flip also comes with UFS 3.0, which is always good to see, and it means you will be able to transfer files within the phone at much faster speeds than usual. Moreover, with Android 10 on top, you’ll be getting the best out of the phone without any doubt.
With a battery unit of just 3300 mAh, Samsung fell incredibly short in the battery department. The battery life on the Z Flip is poor, to say the least, and you won’t even be able to last a day with the phone – something which you just can’t expect at this price point. Samsung should’ve known better to provide a larger battery with such a powerful device and a 6.7” display on board, but they probably know better. The phone barely gives 5 hours of screen-on time, which is worse than even most budget phones in the market right now. To pour salt on the wound, the charging speeds are slow as well, with support of only 15W out of the box. You will have to dedicate about 1 hour and 45 minutes to fully juice the device back up.
Samsung is known for its great cameras across its devices, be it mid-range ones or flagship. The same can be said for the Z Flip, as it houses cameras that deliver the same top-notch quality that we know Samsung for. However, you do get only two lenses in the back, as compared to up to 4 that we normally see in phones at all price points. You get the main shooter of 12MP and another 12MP ultra-wide lens as well. Both of the sensors take great shots in decent lighting as you’d expect, with good detail and impressive dynamic range. Selfies turn out above-par as well, as you wouldn’t have an issue taking your phone out for a memorable group selfie with your friends. The night mode on this phone is also one of the best in any phone as of now, as it adds plenty of highlights and detail to the photos while removing the noise immensely. All in all, it’s a top camera.
Apart from the poor battery life, and the delicate screen, we wouldn’t mind recommending the Z Flip to anyone willing to spend a thousand dollars on a phone. However, we don’t think that the folding gimmicks are that necessary in day-to-day life to compromise on other vital components in a phone such as battery performance. It’s a step in the right direction by Samsung and is surely a good indicator for things to come in the future for folding phones.