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Samsung's Z Flip is a much more confident foldable phone

Muhammad urs

Feb. 11, 2020

It might sound like a skateboard trick that belongs in a Tony Hawk game, but the Galaxy Z Flip is Samsung's new clamshell phone with a folding screen that will give the Motorola Razr a run for its money.
The first thing you notice when picking the phone up is that it is much, much smaller than Samsung's first foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold . The Z Flip's inner screen is 6.7 inches (the same as the new S20+), and much narrower than the square 7.3-inch screen of the Fold. On the outside shell is a tiny screen for checking the time or notifications, and seeing who's calling, which is only 1.1 inch; around the size of a very large jellybean or an average man's second smallest toe. All this allows the Flip to fold down to a tiny 73.6mm x 87.4mm, compared to the Fold's 62.8mm x 160.9mm.
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Although the Fold was for the early adopting tech enthusiast, the Z Flip is more aimed at the fashion conscious. Its power and cameras fall somewhere between the Galaxy S9 and 2019's S10, its purple and black finishes look great, and this is finally a large screen phone that will fit in the laughably small pockets they put in women's jeans. It even fits in my waistcoat pocket, and that normally only holds a folded handkerchief or a pocket watch.
The most impressive part of the phone is the screen. It might only be Full HD+, but it is foldable glass, which is some kind of magic, and this makes the screen feel less flimsy than its folding plastic cousins. Samsung claims the screen has been tested to survive 200,000 folds, or 100 folds a day for around five and a half years.
When the phone is fully unfolded, there is still a very noticeable crease in the screen; more than a mere ripple, but it's something you adjust to pretty quickly
The cameras may have nowhere near the power of those found in the new S20 range, but they still took a decent photo. You can take photos and selfies normally, or set the phone on a surface half-folded like a laptop to snap hands-free shots. In that mode you can only see the preview of the photo as a square, but still take it in the same 3:4 aspect ratio you would in full screen mode.
You can even take photos with the phone completely folded, getting a tiny hint of what a selfie could look like from that jellybean-sized screen on the front.
When the phone is half folded you can also run two apps at once, taking advantage of both halves of the screen. Samsung is still working with app developers on this, but it could be great for watching Netflix while chatting in a Discord for a watch party, or watching a YouTube video on how to do something and taking notes.
Folding the phone is quite a satisfying experience. Doing it one handed takes a little bit of practice, and you can't get that satisfying slam I so dream of for hanging up on spam callers. Rather the hinge has that nice soft-close feeling of a high-end kitchen cabinet, and although the outside of the phone is shiny, you can still get a pretty good grip.
Australian pricing and release date for the Z Flip are still currently unknown, but it's likely to be the first half of the year. The US price is $US1380 ($2055). What's more exciting is that the Z range marks a new series of phone for Samsung — joining the budget A, flagship S and power-user Note — meaning that this category is likely to stay. We may even see another, perhaps higher end, Z phone launch along with the Note later in the year.
The author travelled to San Francisco as a guest of Samsung.
Alice is a freelance journalist, producer and presenter.
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