To be honest, I’ve never quite understood the appeal of foldable phones. From my vantage point, the notion of a foldable smartphone is eerily reminiscent of Google Glass to the extent that it’s a cool and futuristic product without real mainstream appeal. In short, foldable phones appear to provide solutions to usability problems that don’t exist.
That notwithstanding, Samsung is as committed as ever to the idea. After the debacle that was the Galaxy Fold, Samsung went back to the drawing board and came up with a new foldable phone it calls the Galaxy Z Flip, a device that looks far more intriguing and useful than the Galaxy Fold. For starters, the Z Flip opens up vertically as opposed to horizontally, which lends itself to a more natural user experience.
In light of all that, some of the early Galaxy Z Flip reviews are out and, suffice it to say, you might be well-advised to spend your money elsewhere. While the Galaxy Z Flip appears to be the best foldable phone we’ve seen hit the market yet, that’s not exactly saying a whole a lot.
According to an in-depth Galaxy Z Flip review on The Verge, the screen on the Galaxy Z Flip is impressive but a tad too prone to wear and tear. What’s more, the crease on the phone is noticeable.
Notably, the review found that the device is somewhat difficult to open with one-hand, which is clearly a step back in usability:
That hinge stiffness adds to the overall sense of trust and durability, but it also makes it hard to flip out the phone one-handed. I can do it, but it takes a little more force than I feel comfortable with, like it might fly out of my hand.
Most of the time, it’s just a little more comfortable to open the Z Flip with two hands. That’s doubly true because if you wedge your thumb in to start the flip action there’s a risk you could damage the plastic on the screen underneath with your thumbnail. Snapping it shut with one hand, however, is deeply satisfying.
All told, the Galaxy Z Flip appears to be a device defined by its compromises. The display is prone to wear and tear and the camera is disappointing given that the device costs a whopping $1380. At the same time, if you’re willing to spend that kind of cash for this type of device, odds are that you’re more intrigued about the novelty of a foldable smartphone than you are about cold hard specs.
If anything, the biggest praise you’ll see about the Galaxy Z Flip is that it’s just a normal phone. That’s all well and good, but again, who wants to spend $1380 for just a normal phone?
Gizmodo’s review reads in part:
Honestly, the biggest compliment I can give the Z Flip is that it feels a lot like a traditional smartphone, but with the ability to bend the screen in half and end calls by slamming the phone shut, which is really goddamn satisfying. Now I admit the part about functioning as a normal phone might not sound like much, especially for something that costs $1,400, but it really is a massive improvement, enough for me to say that the Z Flip feels like a more refined, second-gen take on foldable tech.
If Samsung can eventually get the price down, it seems as if the Galaxy Z Flip could be an intriguing device sometime down the line. But as it all stands now, it’s far too pricey to justify purchasing.
As Engadget notes in their review:
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.
In light of all that, it seems obvious that if you’re in the market for a new smartphone, you’d be better off picking up an iPhone or one of Samsung’s new Galaxy S20 models.
Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip launch video can be seen below: