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Hands on: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review

Instead of unveiling a Galaxy Fold 2 alongside the Galaxy S20, Samsung has decided to take on the Motorola Razr with the Galaxy Z Flip.

First Impressions

The Z Flip is intriguing and it's great to see Samsung quickly innovating on the foldable rather than purely sticking with the Fold aesthetic. Unlike the S20 series, the Z Flip isn't fussed on boasting the top-end specs with the main focus here clearly the unique design.

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £1300
  • Folding glass display
  • 6.7-inch screen
  • 3200mAh battery
  • 8GB RAM

Instead of unveiling a Galaxy Fold 2 alongside the Galaxy S20, Samsung has chosen to take on the Motorola Razr with the Galaxy Z Flip.

The Fold was a small tablet that could fold into a phone. The Galaxy Z Flip is a phone that can fold in half. Like the Razr, the Z Flip brings back memories of the flip phones of the early 2000s and on first glance it does have a certain amount of nostalgic charm. It’s available now for £1300/$1380 in ‘limited quantities’.

I’ve managed to spend a little bit of time folding the Flip at the UK Samsung S20 launch event and it’s certainly different.

When shut, the Z Flip is very square and chunky – although very pocketable. On the outside there isn’t a full screen, instead it has a small outer display that’ll show off the time and alert you to incoming notifications. This smaller display (Samsung is calling this the Cover Display) leaves the front feeling somewhat sparse. I’d be the first to say the outside display on the Galaxy Fold was somewhat misused, but dispensing with it completely seems odd. You can swipe through a few options on this Cover Display and tap it to bring it to life.

z flip

The Cover Display

Flip the phone open and you’ve got a very long 6.7-inch OLED with a 2636 x 1080 resolution and 21.9:9 aspect ratio. This an ultra-thin folding glass screen which is an immediate upgrade on the Galaxy Fold, which had an easily damaged plastic display. The screen looks nice – as typical with Samsung phones – with punchy colours and perfect blacks thanks to the use of OLED. There is still a noticeable crease though, right where the phone folds over. It’s not quite as distracting as it was on the Fold but it’s certainly still there. Instead of embedding a fingerprint sensor inside the panel, Samsung has used a very quick sensor embedded inside the side. I wish all S2o devices did this.

Related: Folding phones

z flip

You can stand the Z Flip with the phone half open, which Samsung is calling Flex Mode. Samsung said it worked with Google on the UI changes brought on by this mode and it can create some new layouts in apps such as YouTube. It looks like this will be particularly useful for video chats via Google Duo as you’ll be able to call hands-free. The same goes for taking selfies – just prop the Z Flip up and snap away.

The Z Flip doesn’t quite match its more powerful S20 siblings’ specs. Maybe that’s why Samsung has decided to not make this part of the S20 family, but rather its own device line entirely. There are dual 12-megapixel cameras on the back (one wide, one ultra wide) capable of 8x zoom, HDR+ and 4K video recording and the main wide sensor packs OIS. You’ve also got a 10-megapixel selfie camera.

z flip

Inside there’s 8GB RAM and 256GB storage and a 3300mAh battery which supports both fast wired and wireless charging. The Z Flip felt fast during my hands on demo, but then I wouldn’t expect anything else. Even though 5G is a big push with the S20 range, the Z Flip remains a purely 4G LTE device.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip – Early Verdict

The Z Flip is intriguing and it’s great to see Samsung quickly innovating on the foldable rather than purely sticking with the Fold aesthetic. Unlike the S20 series, the Z Flip isn’t fussed on boasting the top-end specs with the main focus here clearly the unique design.

It remains expensive and certainly not a device your average phone buyer is going pick up. But I am glad that phones like this exist and Samsung continues to show a great deal of ambition in trying something a bit different.

A ’hands on review’ is our first impression of a product only - it is not a full test and verdict. Our writer must have spent some time with the product to describe an early sense of what it’s like to use. We call these ‘hands on reviews’ to make them visible in search. However these are always unscored and don’t give recommendations. Read more about our reviews policy.

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