Foldables have been earmarked as the future of the smartphone, however, they have gotten off to a very bumpy start. And for Samsung that represents an existential crisis. After the stop-start of nature of the launch of the Galaxy Fold, Samsung needed a slam dunk with its second foldable smartphone. Logically, the Galaxy Z Flip is exactly that — it doesn’t come off as an experiment or prototype and it is fundamentally a great phone. This is a superb thing for the future of smartphones but at the same time, it remains a phone which is going to be out of the reach of most people.
- The Galaxy Z Flip is easily the most well designed foldable smartphone. It is a solid phone which looks elegant and at the same time evokes nostalgia especially if you’re someone who has used a flip phone in the past. Compared to the Moto Razr which is the other flip phone style foldable, this phone is light years ahead in build and functionality. For instance, it becomes the first foldable phone to feature a glass OLED screen which makes the screen sturdier and less prone to scratches.
- The hinge mechanism on the Z Flip is ingenious. It is balanced allowing you to either prop it like a laptop while having enough spring to allow one to flip open or close the device.
- As far as foldables go, this is one of the best-specced phones. You get Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 processor with 8GB RAM, 128GB storage, memory expansion and even dual 12-megapixel cameras on the back which have been borrowed from the Galaxy S10. It kind of blows away the Moto Razr providing performance that’s on par with phones like the Galaxy S10 and OnePlus 7.
- This phone has the first glass AMOLED folding screen which is a big deal. The 6.7-inch screen feels smoother and brighter than any other foldable screen. It feels normal which can’t be said for other foldable screens. It also is supported with superlative haptic feedback which is on par with the iPhone 11.
- The cameras on this phone are light years ahead of the Moto Razr. It borrows the camera system from the Galaxy S10e which is a dual shooter setup. You get very good low-light and daylight performance. Samsung has also perfected its highly usable night mode. This phone can also shoot very good video which again the Motorola can’t.
- While a 3,300mAh battery is not the most reassuring thing for most people, the Galaxy Z Flip performs surprisingly well. You get a full day’s battery life with upwards of 6 hours of screen on time. The phone also supports wireless charging which is a boon. Wired charging also happens at a pretty fast clip.
- The most disappointing thing about this phone is the fact that it doesn’t have water or dust resistance. That’s just criminal in a phone that costs upwards of a lakh. But that’s the situation with all foldable phones. Aggravating issues is the fact that there is still no gorilla glass which makes this screen extremely fragile to damage.
- Cameras are one of the main reasons one buys a high-end phone. And while the cameras on the Galaxy Z Flip are decent, on par, with the Galaxy Fold, it can’t hold its own against the Galaxy S20 models or the iPhone 11. That’s going to be a big issue for a shutterbug especially when you account for the price of the phone.
- Similarly, the performance isn’t on the level as phones that have launched in the second half of 2019. Phones like the OnePlus 7T Pro, Asus ROG Phone 2, iPhone 11, iQOO 3, Realme X20 Pro and even the Galaxy 20 will be superior.
- As good as this glass OLED screen is, again, it isn’t in the league of the gorgeous panel that we saw on the Galaxy S10+ and is light years behind some of the high refresh rate stuff we have seen on phones like the OnePlus 7T Pro and the new Galaxy S20+.
To buy or to not?
At the end of the day, if you just want the fastest phone with the best camera and screen, then this isn’t the phone for you. The iPhone 11 Pro and Galaxy 20+ are likely to please you more. This is a phone meant for someone who is bored of the modern smartphone and doesn’t mind forgoing the absolute cutting edge for something outlandish. It is also meant for people who want to show-off as there is nothing cooler than a folding phone these days. At the end of the day, the biggest achievement of the Galaxy Z Flip is that it feels normal like any 2019 flagship phone while managing to subtly incorporate the wonders of foldable screens with minimal compromises.