Photo: Cheryl Kahla
Photo: Cheryl Kahla
The Galaxy Z Flip was a pleasant surprise; the longer I used it, the more I loved it. It’s safe to say that it is probably the best foldable smartphone on the market.
There are a few negatives, but those are outweighed by the innovative design, hideaway hinge and quality.
And may I just add how utterly satisfying it is flipping the phone shut after a phone call? Here’s why I love it and what I disliked about it.
My first encounter with the Z Flip was when the device was unveiled at the Galaxy Unpacked event back in March.
Going in, I was super excited about the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, but ended spending most of the break playing with the Z Flip instead.
Now, after a few weeks’ use, I’m loving it even more. The device is sturdier than one would expect. It’s not flimsy at all and makes no noise when it’s flipped open or shut. What’s more, the Flexi-screen is adjustable at an angle.
I’ve seen reviewers say they can’t open it one-handed. I managed to open with one hand, as can be seen in the video above. Truth be told, it’s actually really easy to hold and navigate with one hand.
It was a strange phone to review, for lack of a better word. Not strange in a bad way, no; strange in a weird way. It’s unique, it’s something different, and it cannot really be compared to any other device on the market.
So about that hinge…
The most distinctive thing about the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip’s design the horizontal hinge in the middle of the device, unlike the hinge on the Galaxy Fold, which was vertical.
The Z Flip has ‘sweeper technology’ that repels dirt and dust from the fold and can withstand up to 200 000 folds.
Of course, I wasn’t able to test that claim, but the open-and-shut flipping motion seems pretty durable. Other reviewers dropped the phone on a hardwood floor without damaging the hinge, outer case or display. I wasn’t that brave.
Samsung learned from the Galaxy Fold issues and designed the hideaway hinge in such a way that keeps dust and debris out. As for the technical specs, the Galaxy Z Flip has a Full HD+ display with a resolution of 2636 x 1080 pixels.
What I didn’t like about the Mirror Purple device: Fingerprints are visible on the outer reflective glass. It’s a beautiful finish, sure, but the fingerprints ruin the overall look of the phone. Personally, I prefer the matte black design.
Another thing that was an issue (but also not, at times) is that the crease in the middle of the phone is visible from certain angles. It isn’t as noticeable the Razr’s crease. But, and this a big but, the crease wasn’t all that visible when watching movies.
External notifications can be viewed from the tiny Cover screen on the exterior. Tap and swipe the screen to see your notifications, as well as battery life and date. You’ll also see caller information for incoming calls.
Next up, the camera; without a doubt my favourite part of any smartphone. The Z Flip’s primary camera module has two 12MP sensors (ƒ/1.8 regular wide lens and ƒ/2.2 ultra-wide optics).
So if you’re a mobile photography buff, it might be a bit of a disappointment. However, even though the Z Flip had fewer lenses than the S20 series, it still took decent photos, better than just any old smartphone.
The Galaxy Z Flip captures a wide view even without the ultra-wide lens, and the Night Mode is pretty amazing too. I’d say it’s on par with Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro.
Similar to the S20 series and the Note 10, the Z Flip has a punch-hole front camera in the top centre with a 10MP lens. Unfortunately, the Z Flip doesn’t have a telephoto lens.
What I liked about the Z Flip, though, is that you won’t need a tripod, thanks to the phone’s Flex Mode. Simply place the phone on a flat surface, adjust the screen and you’re good to go. No blurriness if you have shaky hands.
What’s more, the Z Flip has Samsung’s Single Take feature. In short, Single Take is a camera mode that captures multiple media formats and compiles it into a neat folder with all the best takes for you to choose from.
All you have to do to get several photos with various effects already applied, video clips with music and even gifs, is simply to record a few seconds’ worths of footage. That’s it! That’s all!
The phone’s AI will do all the rest, in a matter of seconds. This is ideal for content creators who produce content on the go. Sometimes you just need that perfect shot without trying endless apps and filters to get the right effect.
Once you’ve recorded your clips, the Galaxy Z Flip will highlight the best shot with a crown, adjust the lighting of the photos and apply a filter, and will give you several video options.
The battery life is up to standard and functions as well as one could expect from a 3 300mAh battery. It’s okay, but it’s not the best. I got approximately 9 to 11 hours out of a charge, depending on what I was doing with the device.
The Z Flip also supports fast charging and wireless charging, which is always a plus point. In addition, the device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus processor, supported by 8GB RAM.
It’s a tiny phone (when folded) but it’s a powerful phone.
After about two weeks of testing, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Z Flip is by far the most polished, most innovative phone I’ve ever used. The good far outweighs the bad, and if you can afford it, I’d say get it.
I loved the camera, but I expected a bit more from a phone with the R29k price tag. That said, the camera is still decent and as mentioned previously, it’s the most durable folding phone currently on the market.