Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
Dimensions: 73.6 x 87.4 x 17.3mm (folded), 73.6 x 167.3 x 7.2mm (unfolded)
Weight: 183g (6.4oz)
Screen: 6.7-inch FHD dynamic AMOLED display, 2636 x 1080 pixels
CPU: 7㎚ 64-bit Octa-Core Processor
GPU: Adreno 650
Rear cameras: 12MP, 12MP
Front cameras: 10MP
Battery: 3,300 mAh
OS: Android 10.0, One UI 2.0
Welcome to T3’s (very) early Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review. A new Samsung Galaxy folding phone had been rumoured for a while – ever since the original Samsung Galaxy Fold was launched, in fact.
Now with this year's Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event, it’s arrived along with the flagship Samsung Galaxy S20 range. This is our early review and first impression, with a more comprehensive overview still to follow. After all, it’s got to live in our pocket for a week or two before we truly know what it’s capable of.
- New: Pre-order your Samsung Galaxy Z Flip here from Samsung
- Pre-order here from Currys
- Pre-order here from Carphone Warehouse
We’ve broken down our first impressions into several different factors - design, camera, specs, price and release date - to bring you everything you need to know in this early Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review: Design
The first thing we need to talk about in this Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review is the folding mechanism. The Samsung Galaxy Fold was notoriously brittle, with problems and the phone’s fragility causing a staggered release date. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip has taken steps to prevent this, using a “hideaway hinge” to seal the vital components away from dust and grime. It’s claimed to be built to last and it certainly doesn’t feel flimsy to open and close, with the screen able to fold over 200,000 times without issue.
In one of the coolest twists of the phone’s folding design, the hinge works like a laptop rather than switching between “open” and “shut”. Called “flex mode” by Samsung, the freestop hinge splits the screen, allowing you to keep watching a video and post a comment simultaneously, or use the phone as a free-standing camera. It feels robust and stable on handling it. However, as you might expect, beyond a certain angle and the screen naturally falls into “closed” or “open” mode depending on which way the screen tilts.
The external 1.1” display provides connection even in closed mode: calls, alarms, times and notifications are displayed on the slender screen. All of this, of course, is remarkably reminiscent of a retro flip-phone, which would show calls and texts on the closed LCD screen. It’s a neat nod to the past without relying on it, a la the Motorola Razr.
Away from the mechanics, the phone is compact, with a large 6.7” screen folding down to a wallet-sized soft-cornered square. Those rumours regarding the inspiration of the phone being folding make-up cases were right on the money, but it also reminds us strongly of an old GameBoy Advance SP.
Coming in three colourways: mirror purple, mirror black and in certain countries mirror gold, all three colourways are designed to catch light. Great for showing off to your mates, but less so for being discreet in dodgy neighbourhoods.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review: Camera
Although the phone comes equipped with a punch-hole 10MP selfie camera, it’s the 12MP rear cameras with up to 8x digital zoom you’ll be using most often, as you can snap selfies with them in closed mode. In a neat twist, the external one-inch display can be used like a viewfinder, allowing you to position the camera accurately while the phone is closed. It’s actually very simple to use: tap the power button twice in closed mode to open the viewfinder, and the volume button once to snap the pic.
When in flex mode, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is one of the first phones with its own free-standing mechanism. Leave it on the table for an hour (but don’t leave it unattended, obvs) and take a time-lapse of a sunset, for example. It’s a neat trick that uses the folding function as more than novelty, but the cameras inevitably don’t pack the punch of the Samsung Galaxy S20, which is built around its much-lauded 64MP cameras mounted on that impressive rectangular module.
While our brief look at what the Z Flip cameras are capable of was impressive, the majority of our experience was centred around the folding function. Time will tell whether the cameras can hold up side-by-side with other popular phones in its price bracket, although it obviously doesn't have the impressive capabilities of the iPhone 11 Pro or S20 Ultra.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review: Specs
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip has compromised its innards in some respects, but retains a higher-end 7㎚ 64-bit Octa-Core Processor to keep pace with other phones in the same price bracket. With 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage, it’s no slouch in the memory department, but there’s no SD card option to extend that memory further.
A 3,300mAh battery keeps everything ticking over. It’s not as powerful as other flagship batteries, but compromises have to be made. Wireless charging and power-share capabilites come as standard, which is some consolation, but we didn’t have time to rigorously test those functions. Yet.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review: Price And Release Date
The phone will be released on Valentine’s Day, February 14. The price is £1,299, which is very steep. However, folding phones are still in some respects an experimental technology, and early adopters will be paying a premium for this privilege.
It’s also comparable to the prices of the 2019 relaunch of the Motorola Razr, with specs that far outstrip the Razr’s frankly mid-range innards.We wouldn’t have been surprised for an even steeper price point, but keeping it within sight of the Razr shows folding phones have, and will, come down in price while retaining good specifications.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review: Early Verdict
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip goes a long way to transforming foldables from a fad into a functional bit of kit. Allowing larger workspaces to fold up and become pocket-sized and eliminating some of the need for tripods will make it a favourite of content creators that don’t need the bulldozer camera kits of the S20 series.
Howver, the price is still comparable to the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. And if you’re spending serious money on a phone, we imagine you’ll be after the top-end specifications and incredible camera over the novelty folding function. Regardless, it’s a slick bit of kit, and we’re looking forward to testing it more substantially in the coming weeks.