Enlarge /. The "glass" of the Galaxy Z Flip is no more scratch-resistant than plastic.
There is a point in the life of any foldable smartphone where the phone actually hits the hands of the public after a wave of hype and tightly controlled early looks – and problems with durability immediately arise. We saw it with the Galaxy Fold that died in the hands of reviewers and was delayed by six months. the Huawei Mate X, whose launch was limited to China and broke after a single crash; and the Moto Razr, which has a creaking hinge that jams easily, and a display that delaminates. This weekend it was the turn of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip to disappoint us. The first deliveries are running out and we can already see that Samsung's much-touted flexible glass cover is not much more durable than plastic.
YouTuber JerryRigEverything regularly runs destructive durability tests on phones, sometimes by attacking a device with a series of Mohs picks. With these pointed metal tools, which are calibrated to the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, the user can determine the hardness of a surface by means of a scratch test. You start with the softest pick and work your way up until you find something that can scratch the surface being tested. A modern smartphone with Corning & # 39; s Gorilla Glass scratches at level 6 on the Mohs hardness scale.
The Galaxy Z Flip has a unique flexible glass cover, which Samsung calls "ultra-thin glass". Until now, leaflets with plastic display covers that scratch easily, offer little protection, and feel bad like a resistive touchscreen thanks to the muddy smoothness of the display have suffered for life. With this new invention of flexible glass, the Z Flip promised to return to a hard, smooth and scratch-resistant display surface.
How did the Z Flip do against JerryRigEverything & # 39; s Mohs Picks? It scratches at level 2, just like the plastic-coated Galaxy Fold and Moto Razr. You can actually leave marks on the surface with a fingernail! This is not what Samsung promised.
Samsung sent The Verge a response to the video, repeating that the display was actually "glass." "The Galaxy Z Flip features an Infinity Flex display with Samsung's ultra-thin glass (UTG) to achieve a sleek premium appearance and an impressive viewing experience," said Samsung of the website. "Samsung's first UTG technology is different from other Galaxy flagship devices. Although the display bends, it should be handled with care. The Galaxy Z Flip also has a protective layer on the UTG that resembles that of Galaxy Fold. "
Samsung's official Z flip videos show this "protective layer" on the glass display. presumably it is made of plastic. However, this layer is not removable, so scratches on the top plastic layer are still scratches that the user has to deal with forever. Even more worrying is that the video from JerryRigEverything shows that the "glass" layer underneath also offers no protection against punctures. With the Mohs picks, both layers of the display cover could be easily pierced and the pixels below could be damaged, which would not be the case with a normal glass cover.
I just received my Samsung Galaxy Z Flip. Opened the box. The protection / instruction film has been removed. The phone was turned over as usual because it is a flip phone and this has happened. I also heard the cracking. 😰 cold weather? #SamsungGalaxy #ZFlip #samsung pic.twitter.com/j8KLL2vm8d
– Amir @ (@mondoir), February 14, 2020
Although the phone has not passed the scratch test, it does not mean that the display does not share any properties with glass. A Twitter user cracked their Galaxy Z Flip the first time, possibly due to the cold weather. So we know that it can at least break.
Samsung has not officially said who makes the "Ultra Thin Glass" that it uses as a cover for the Z Flip. Samsung recently became the largest shareholder in Dowoo Insys, a company that makes ultra-thin glass. Korean media reports that the Z Flip uses a combination of Dowoo technology and Schott glass. We're still waiting for industry leader in smartphone display covers, Corning, to release their own version of flexible glass that the company claims to be working on.