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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review: Admire It, Don't Buy It

JOE KE

March. 10, 2020

To date, every foldable you could buy has been the subject of at least some drama. Royole's FlexPai felt barely finished. The original Galaxy Fold wasn't much more than a prototype, with glaring design issues that were fixed in later production runs. Huawe1's Mate X stole the show at last year's Mobile World Congress but was delayed for reasons the company never fully explained. And the Razr? Well, let's just say the results couldn't possibly live up to the hype.
The Galaxy Z Flip ($1,380) is different. Of all the foldables I've used, this is the first one that seems to tick all the boxes: Excellent performance, great cameras, and even decent battery life — all packed into a flip-phone-style body that I honestly think makes the most sense for most people. If you're in a rush to embrace one possible future for smartphones, then I don't think you'll do much better than this.
But why rush? Embracing that future means putting up with a lot of compromises. And even though the Z Flip has fewer than most, the same lingering foldable criticisms apply. They're more expensive than comparable smartphones. They're inherently fragile and app-makers don't know how to take advantage of them (yet). The Z Flip may be the best of its kind, but until foldables as a whole mature beyond these problems, they're still not worth the splurge for anyone who doesn't want to double as a beta tester.
Pros
Flip phone form factor is practical and fun
Great all-around performance
Solid camera quality
It feels like a standard smartphone when open
It’s the least expensive foldable out there
Cons
Inherently more fragile than other phones
External screen is too small to be helpful
The main glass screen is still prone to scratching
Flex Mode is pretty limited
Less future-proof than more traditional rivals
Summary
Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip isn’t just the latest foldable phone to hit store shelves -- it’s also the least expensive, and the one we enjoy using the most. The main draw here is the design: The Z Flip feels like a perfectly normal smartphone while open and folds down to half size when closed. But unlike Motorola’s Razr, which also embraced the classic flip phone look, the Z Flip packs a flexible dual camera system, a high-performance processor, the latest version of Android and a slightly better battery. If you can’t help yourself and need a foldable in your life, this is the best you’ll find. Just remember that buying any foldable right now is a gamble -- they have more potential points of failure.
Key specs
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
Processor    Octa-core Snapdragon 855+    
RAM / storage    8GB/256GB    
MicroSD card support    N/A    
Main Display    6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED Infinity Flex    
Display resolution    2,636 x 1,080 (21.9:9)    
External Display    1.1-inch Super AMOLED    
Display resolution    300 x 112    
Rear cameras    12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide angle camera, 12MP f/1.8 wide-angle camera with Super Speed Dual Pixel AF and OIS    
Front-facing camera    10MP f/2.4 camera    
OS    Android 10 with One UI 2.0    
Battery    3,300mAh    
Charging    USB-C, supports QuickCharge 2.0 and Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging    
Dimensions    73.6 x 87.4 x 17.3-15.4mm (closed), 73.6 x 167.3 x 7.2-6.9mm (closed)    
Weight    183g    
Fingerprint sensor    Yes, side-mounted    
Waterproofing    N/A    
NFC    Yes    
Headphone jack    No    
~endgadget
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