In recent years we seem to have come ever closer to the extreme design and innovation of smartphones. The displays are as good as they need to be, cameras can show you things you can’t see with the naked eye in the dark, and the display has reached a point where phones can power external displays and have more RAM than that most average laptops. So the big question is, where are we going from here?
Last year we got an insight into the future of smartphone innovation with foldable cell phones. It has been a shaky start, and only two of the small businesses that have announced their products have actually managed to start shipping to consumers – and this is not without their own hurdles.
Last year’s Samsung Galaxy Fold is a smartphone’s powerhouse, but we think its design isn’t the most ergonomic and its price isn’t for the faint-hearted. Motorola tries to sell you nostalgia with the Razor 2019, but aside from its flip screen, it’s an above-average mid-range phone.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip First Impression
Yesterday we had the opportunity to try the leaked Samsung Galaxy Z Flip at our unpacked event in San Francisco. For the first time, we believe that this should be the way for a foldable device.
First, let’s get a few things out before we go into the experience of using it. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is the company’s second foldable cell phone, which is cheaper than the Galaxy Fold and Moto Razer 2019 and has a price of $ 1,380 (about 98,400 rupees). It has a 7nm octa-core processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB memory, wireless charging, and eSIM support. Samsung has also tweaked one of its UI operating systems to include special gestures and features that take advantage of the flip screen that we’ll get a little bit.When folded, the Galaxy Z Flip is small. About the size of a credit card wallet. At this point, it is very thick at 17.3 mm. Unlike the Galaxy Fold, however, it’s still easier to manage as a small class. The good news is that there is no gap between the two halves when folded, which keeps dust and tilt away from the screen. Opening the phone is usually a two-handed process and we struggle to open it with one hand. However, the lid can be kept open at any angle up to 180 degrees.
Samsung is proud of its hidden hinge that is completely hidden when you open the Galaxy Z Flip. The company has also added some micro bristles to remove dust particles each time the device is opened or closed. Only time will tell how effective this solution really is.
On the outside is a 1.1-inch OLED color touchscreen for displaying time, notifications, etc. However, you can also use it as a viewfinder when taking a selfie with external cameras. It is activated in the folded position by tapping the power button twice. It worked well when we tried it, and you can also switch between primary and wide-angle cameras with a simple tap on the display. However, we are not sure how much this trick will do as the external display is too small and we can clearly see everything to frame our shot by holding the phone as a selfie at arm’s length.
Inside is a dynamic 6.7-inch Full HD + AMOLED display that looks bright and shiny when removed from the interior. It’s very large with its aspect ratio of 21.9: 9, which means that most videos, like the one shown by Netflix that we tried on demo devices, play with black bars on the left and right of the picture. The bezels are relatively thick, but it doesn’t really bother us. We believe that Samsung should shave them over time, as has been the case with its Galaxy S flagship over the years.
The biggest game-changer, however, is that the display actually consists of a layer of ultra-thin glass that can be seen for the first time on a foldable device. So far we have only seen plastic protective layers on foldable cell phones, which are probably not as durable as glass. This is a great achievement for Samsung. There’s a slight crease where the display bends, but we haven’t pronounced it a galaxy crease even when we ran a finger over it. With normal use, it is hardly visible.
As for the software, Galaxy Fold runs on One UI 2.1 based on Android 10.1. Samsung said it worked closely with Google to develop some software tricks that could use foldable screens. When the Galaxy Z Flip is partially folded and you open some apps, they run the so-called “Flex Mode”, which divides them into two parts of the display. The camera and YouTube app were the only ones we saw in action. In the camera app, the top half becomes the viewfinder, while the bottom half contains all of the controls for the shot. When we tried it worked well. If you jump from the camera app to the gallery in this partially folded state, you can use the lower half of the display as a touchpad, although your photos will appear in the upper half.
Another feature we’ve tried is called Multi-Active1` Window, which lets you launch two compatible apps from the Samsung Edge screen carousel that automatically align with two parts of the screen. You can then use the device in a fully open or partially closed position.
We haven’t had a chance to test the quality of the cameras since we were in a fairly poorly lit demo area, but they look good on paper. The Galaxy Z Flip doesn’t have an IP rating for water resistance, but we believe that may change with future models. If you think about it, phone manufacturers once had to use rubber flaps on sockets and ports to make the phone waterproof.
Of course, we would have liked to spend more time with the Galaxy Z Flip, but after our brief encounter, we can’t help but be optimistic about the technology of the foldable phone. We believe that this form factor is suitable for many users and gives manufacturers the opportunity to use the larger screen while keeping the phone in their pocket. The biggest breakthrough in our opinion is that Samsung has managed to manufacture foldable glass for its phones, which will bring peace to many buyers.
We believe that the Galaxy Z Flip proves that foldable phones are not just a fad or a desperate attempt by companies to innovate for them. There are some real innovations here, and phones like the Galaxy Z Flip can be as practical as today’s phones. If this is the future, register with us.
The Galaxy Z Flip is available in three colors, but the outer surfaces are incredibly reflective and it’s impossible to keep fingerprints free. Of the three, we liked the Mirror Purple Finish the best. The device feels very high quality and robust, and the hinge itself has to withstand the punishment of everyday use. You get a USB Type-C port on the bottom and a flattened power switch on the speaker and on the side, which also has a capacitive fingerprint sensor.