Samsung Galaxy Z Flip first impressions: Samsung’s best folding phone?

To say that I’ve been waiting with bated breath for the revival of the flip phone, would be an understatement. So, to finally get my hands on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, I was ecstatic. Here are my initial thoughts.

For those who are unable to watch the video, let me just summarise my findings into two neat categories.

PS: This post is best viewed on a desktop.

What I liked

This is the second folding smartphone from Samsung and surprisingly they decided to completely change up the form factor. It’s not a “folding” phone like the Galaxy Fold, but it’s more like a flip phone, and honestly I prefer that over the company’s first Fold.

The size, is really refreshing. The display is a 21:9 aspect ratio panel and it folds in half so it can neatly fit into pretty much every pocket that I have. And, if I want to use it, all it takes is a flip and I immediately get the full smartphone experience.

On top of that, it has proper flagship specs, unlike its closest rival the Motorola Razr. This Samsung Galaxy Z Flip has a Snapdragon 855+ processor mated to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. There’s a nice 6.7″ Full HD+ AMOLED display. Its 3,300 mAh battery is abit small, but it has fast-charging and wireless charging support. And it also has a very usable 12MP+12MP dual camera setup at the back and a 10MP selfie shooter up front (on the inside?).

Then, there’s the hinge. Unlike the loose hinge that wants to either stay open or shut on the Motorola Razr or Galaxy Fold, the Z Flip’s hinge is much stiffer. That allows you to angle it at like 90 degrees and actually sit your phone down to take selfies and stuff like that—which is really neat.

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Samsung’s Ultra-Thin Glass also lends a lot of structural rigidity to the screen. It doesn’t feel as mushy as the previous folding smartphones I’ve encountered, especially the one on the Motorola Razr which is kinda loose.

But of course, it isn’t as sturdy as like a regular smartphone’s screen. There is still a vulnerable layer of plastic on top of the panel so fingernails will damage it and you’ll have to be very careful about that.

What I didn’t like

Honestly? Not that much. Maybe I would have liked to see a bigger screen on the top lid of the clamshell, but I kinda like the small 1.1″ display. It’s does its function and it also encourages you to stop looking at your phone which is always good for digital wellbeing.

Oh! I’m not a fan of the side-mounted fingerprint scanner. This is truly the worst position I’ve found for a fingerprint scanner so I’m kinda sad that this is where Samsung’s putting it. I know why they did it, but it still is kinda inconvenient.

Of course, I’m not a fan of the fact that it will probably still be vulnerable to dust and particles getting into the cracks even with the new brush that Samsung has installed in the hinge. That and the utter lack of any water resistance.

But for me, that’s the trade-off you will have to make for owning a folding smartphone in this day and age. Its new technology, and I know that’s hard to imagine because we haven’t seen that in a while. And this is the limitation of new technology.

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My initial thoughts

All things considered, I really saw the growth Samsung has made to their folding phone. It’s not perfect, obviously, in fact it’s far from it. But I like the exploration of new ideas and the fact that they’re trying to learn from their mistakes.

Plus, the nice thing about this phone is that the bar for entry into the folding phone world is now significantly lower. This Z Flip retails for RM5,888 in Malaysia, and if you look a that price, you will realise that it’s actually more affordable than a similarly spec-ed iPhone 11 Pro Max (RM5,999 for 256GB).

I do think the iPhone is still a better flagship smartphone than this because you get water resistance, stereo speakers, and all those other goodies. But, that’s like comparing an orange to an orange that folds—it’s just not quite in the same category.

And I really like this new category of smartphone.

Photography by Zachary Yoong with the Sony A7 III.