Samsung kicked off its Unpacked 2020 event not with the S20 but with the Galaxy Z Flip. The company’s second foldable phone is a bit less ambitious than the Galaxy Fold, but it’s probably a more desirable device. It has a classic flip phone design with a large foldable screen inside. It’s like Samsung’s take on the new foldable Moto Razr, but the Z Flip is unique thanks to its foldable glass display.
When closed, the Galaxy Z Fold could almost be mistaken for any number of fancy pre-smartphone devices. The smooth glass exterior has a pair of cameras and a small ticker-style display. You can check notifications, the time, and even shoot selfies with that tiny screen.
The inner display is the real story here. It’s a 6.7-inch foldable OLED with almost no bezel and a glass top layer. All the foldable screens we’ve seen so far had plastic covers because flexible glass didn’t exist until now. Plastic is cheaper, but it’s softer and more easily damaged than glass. The Z Flip should have similar scratch resistance to flat smartphones with glass displays.
Samsung also says it paid attention to the hinge, which should operate at least 200,000 times. The Galaxy Fold famously suffered from dust infiltration around the hinge, causing Samsung to delay the launch by months. The new “Hideaway Hinge” has a “fiber shield” that keeps particulates out of the mechanism. It’s also spring-loaded so you can leave the phone propped open at various angles for what Samsung calls “Flex Mode.”
Both Samsung and Google have worked to optimize apps for the Z Flip’s Flex Mode. For example, you can set the phone down and step away to capture a selfie, and then swipe through photos using just the top half of the screen to display them. The YouTube app can also restrict video to the top half, reserving the bottom for comments.
Samsung launched the Galaxy Fold at an obscene $2,000, but the Z Flip is a bit less at $1,380. That’s still more than the flagship Galaxy S20 Ultra, and this phone probably won’t have the same specs. Samsung didn’t confirm the specs, but leaks pointed to a Snapdragon 855 instead of the 865. We know this isn’t a 5G phone, so that suggests Samsung is sticking with last year’s chip. It will launch this Friday (February 14th).
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