The Galaxy Z Flip Delivered with the same "care instructions" as the fold. It is a list of five elements with the following basic points:
- Do not scratch the screen with a pen or fingernail
- Do not stick any objects between the screens when folding
- Don't leave it dusty, wet or feeding after midnight
- Do not stick stickers on the screen
- Do not bring it near credit cards or your pacemaker
In contrast to the last time, however, these warnings seem to have been taken out of a (comprehensible) amount of caution. As I said recently in my hands, the flip feels more solid than the fold in almost every way, from the folding mechanism to the display, which is now equipped with foldable protective glass.
A few notes before we start here. First and foremost, this is a rare 24 hour equipment loan. Short loan times are not uncommon for high-end products, but a single day is somewhat extreme. I'm open about it because:
- You can only go so much depth for a limited time.
- It's worth noting what seems a bit of caution for Samsung.
This is not an early product with limited supply. The Z Flip was put up for sale today (Happy Valentine's Day / Sonic the Hedgehog Day for you and your friends). If I had to make a guess, it would be that Samsung is still fluctuating a bit from the aftermath of the crease, where a number of test devices broke before the product came on the market.
Despite all the disadvantages, however, I would argue that reporting that caused the company to reinforce the product before it actually sold for $ 2,000 per pop was ultimately a good thing. Also, as I've been told, most, if not all, of the faulty wrinkles went sideways before the 24-hour mark.
See also: the Moto Razr. The reviews of the product were filtered approximately a week after the product launched. Apparently the company chose not to issue review units until the product was already available (complete transparency: I have not yet got my hands on a review unit). The analogy that I keep coming back to is film reviews. If you don't see any professional reviews by the time a movie hits theaters, it's probably not a good sign that you're spending $ 10 of your hard-earned money.
None of this is a charge against the Galaxy Z Flip, which so far has turned out to be a pretty solid device. It's more of a comment on the look of everything. Enter when the handset has about the same price as 150 films. Reviews are all the more valuable to consumers – many of them are understandably cautious after the rocky start of the category.
Too bad, because I enjoyed my time with the Galaxy Z Flip. In many ways, this is exactly the device that Samsung was originally supposed to have foldable. For starters, the form factor just makes more sense. The "why" of the fold was much more difficult to explain for those outside the industry (and frankly for many within the industry).
Anyone who has ever used a clamshell phone immediately gets the flip. They have a spacious 6.7-inch screen that you can close and put in your pocket. It's that simple – it just took a lot of innovation to get back on top with a bigger, uninterrupted touchscreen display.
The price is also remarkable. Of course, $ 1,380 is practically not cheap, but that's a pretty big drop from the $ 2,000 Galaxy fold. The argument that fold users should be particularly careful with the device in view of the price has always felt somewhat counterintuitive. If anything, a device at this price should include additional safety precautions.
The flip has implemented a number of findings from the previous product, namely a glass cover, edges that are hidden under (large) bezels, and an advanced folding mechanism that keeps dust and dirt away. In fact, this time the folding mechanism itself is seen as a marquee feature. According to Samsung press material:
Inspired by a lotus flower, the hideaway hinge is precisely structured to ensure a satisfactory folding movement. You can even adjust the folding angle. Sweeper technology helps repel dirt and dust so your wrinkles stay as smooth as your style.
This is a marketing way of saying that it is much more difficult to catch crap behind the screen, which could eventually break it. The folding mechanism is indeed a nice step up. It feels more robust than the sometimes floppy fold. You can keep it open in various configurations, e.g. B. in a 90-degree L-shape for watching videos.
The main disadvantage of the more robust mechanism is that the resistance makes it more difficult to open with one hand and that it is not as satisfactory. All of this, to be honest, seems like a fairly minor argument – especially if it's a more robust product. Samsung rates the Z Flip with 200,000 folds – just like the fold. In CNET tests, the crease naturally took about 120,000 mechanical folds.
Not terrible and definitely better than the 27,000 or so the Razr made. In contrast to the Motorola device, the flip does not creak when opening and closing. The Razr really seems to be full of first generation problems. Motorola can't be happy that Samsung launched a competitor device with the same form factor shortly after its own product, and was able to launch it about a week after the Razr.
I can't imagine that one of these devices will be a big seller for the respective manufacturers, but if I were Motorola, the flip would cause concern. The Razr switched from an exciting new addition to the foldable category to another strike against it when it was released, using both consumer and professional reviews.
A bit of the novelty has waned for Samsung. To be honest, it's not a bad thing. From the second generation onwards, the product should no longer be classified as a kind of curiosity. Instead, it should be viewed as a phone. And as such, all smartphones should regularly be subject to the same wear.
In other words, it's reasonable to expect it to withstand hard pressure from a finger, for example, but not necessarily a 5-foot drop on concrete. This is also only after a day of use, but so far so far, at least in this regard.
The 21.9 × 9 aspect ratio is odd. The phone is very big and thin. The crease is still very noticeable – not much has changed. But the flip usually looks inconspicuous when open. I used it openly on the subway ride home and no one seemed to notice (New Yorker, right?). The fold, on the other hand, attracted prying eyes every time I used it. If strangers notice that your expensive new phone is an incentive to spend $ 1,400, that's probably a disadvantage.
Not too many updates for the Android user interface were made to take the new screen paradigm into account. The biggest change is the ability to open two windows in a vertical configuration. There is also the Flex model, which is currently limited to a select number of applications. For example, open the camera app, bend the phone to hold it at a 90 degree angle, and the app will adapt. In this case, the viewfinder moves up and occupies the top half of the screens while the controls occupy the bottom half. It's a cool feature where the device essentially serves as a stand for taking selfies or reading messages.
Widespread use requires more work from Google – and more acceptance by app developers. The latter will particularly depend heavily on how many of these devices are actually sold. YouTube is currently the only video-only app that uses it.
That's okay, frankly, since turning the device into landscape mode and opening it at about 130 degrees is an even better way to watch widescreen video. There are a few other tricks here and there. For example, if you hold up a palm in selfie mode, you can take a photo without touching a button or using speech.
The Flip is the first Samsung device to bake Google's duo video calls directly into the user interface. This is also a good choice since the Flex mode is essentially designed for video calls. Oh, and to answer the question I've been asked most often since the Flip was announced: Yes, you can end a call by closing the phone. And yes, it is satisfying to give tactile pressure to the person on the other end.
The function is activated by default and can be deactivated in the settings menu. However, it doesn't work if you have earbuds because in many cases you want to use them for chatting while the phone is closed in your pocket.
As for the exterior, Samsung has become decidedly minimalistic. Taking an outside screen was a big selling point for the fold, but frankly, it was too thin with an aspect ratio too small to do much. The outside of the device has a glossy high-gloss surface – black in my case. And yes, it's a complete fingerprint magnet.
There is a kind of 1-inch display on the outside of the flip, but it is only big enough to get small information such as battery life and time at a glance. It can also display notifications, but is too small to accomplish much without scrolling. If you've ever tried reading a notification on a hybrid smartwatch, the experience is pretty similar.
The small window is actually a touchscreen. Tapping twice turns it on and from there a swipe with information such as the music you're listening to is displayed. However, if you try to click an app icon for more information about a notification, you'll be prompted to open the phone for more information. Interestingly, the tiny screen also serves as a viewfinder. Double-clicking the fingerprint reader / power button starts it. It's okay to get a rough approximation of what you're recording (probably yourself), but it's pretty useless beyond that.
And honestly, I think that's okay. I would even go so far as to say that I think this is indeed a strength. At a time when so many of us are dealing with the use of smartphones, there is something to be said for the possibility of closing the device and disconnecting for a while. You You can still stream music or listen to podcasts. However, when the phone is closed, it's time to deal with the world around you.
Or not. I'm not going to tell you how to live.
Hey, it's your $ 1,400. Of course there are many other ways to spend that much money. You can also buy the Galaxy S20 Ultra – the mega-premium version of Samsung's latest flagship. For that price, you get the same old boring form factor paired with some crazy high-end specs, including a 5,000mAh battery, 12GB of RAM, and the latest Snapdragon 865, compared to the 3,300mAh, 8GB and Snapdragon 855 + the flip.
The Ultra also has an extreme edge in cameras, including an 108-megapixel-wide angel, a 48-megapixel telephoto lens, an ultra-wide, 12-megapixel, and a depth-of-field sensor. The flip has a 12-megapixel zoom lens and a 12-megapixel super-wide range. There is no competition, but Samsung's broad imaging experience ensures a solid experience regardless.
Again, my time with the device was limited, but so far I'm pretty happy with the combination of hardware and software options. The pictures look good and have a nice color balance even in poor lighting conditions. I can't imagine using Single Take too often, but the ability to get multiple different shooting options with a single press could certainly come in handy for amateur photographers.
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Perhaps the most notable omission of all is 5G. Some other companies (* cough * Apple) don't even offer this option, but Samsung launched a 5G version of the fold last year (in selected markets) and opted for 5G with the S20 line. It's clear that the company has taken feedback on pricing issues with the flip to heart. The device is only available in a single configuration, which highlights the gap between it and the fold.
That said, it's still expensive, but those $ 500 make a difference. This also applies to a more robust build and a new form factor. I recommend you buy the flip. We are still in the early stages of the leaflets. Nevertheless, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Flip over the Fold. And although I haven't really spent time on the Moto Razr, it also seems to be a slam dunk.
If I were Motorola, I would at least consider a significant drop in prices. While the flip is unlikely to convince the skeptic that leaflets are the future, it should at least be an encouraging indication that Samsung is on the right track.