Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review

(up-beat music)

– (Dieter Bohn) This right here

is the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip.

It is the third folding
phone that I have reviewed

and it is the second flip phone.

And it’s the best of that bunch.

But that’s not saying much.

The weird thing about this phone

is that it doesn’t feel all that special.

It’s kind of normal

but for folding phones,

normal might not be that bad.

(upbeat music)

I want to explain what I mean by that

but let’s just be clear
that normal does not mean

that it’s good enough to buy.

I mean, look, you already
know where this video

is going to end up.

Basically, nobody should
spend $1,380 on this phone.

So, when I say this phone feels normal,

I mean that it performs normally

and I have pretty normal complaints

about things like the camera.

And it also looks kinda super normal.

I think normal is an important
step for folding phones.

It means that you
actually imagine buying it

instead of treating it
like a concept phone.

Anyway, let’s get into the screen

because it has been the
source of some controversy

with this phone.

(upbeat music)

So it really is glass that folds

but to make glass bend,

you have to make it really, really thin.

Samsung’s ultra thin
glass’ is 30 microns thick

which is in the range of
a very thin human hair.

And that means that it
doesn’t really hold up

like the glass that you’re
used to on a smartphone screen.

Glass this thin is obviously
gonna be really delicate.

A tiny nick or a scratch

and it will lose its structural integrity

and crack when you try and bend it.

So, Samsung put a
protective plastic coating

on top of it and that coating well,

it’s fairly soft.

It feels like a screen protector so,

put all that together and what it means

is that this thing can
pick up indentations

from your fingernail if you
press into it too firmly

and it definitely will not
hold up to serious scratching.

You’ve probably seen a
JerryRigEverything video

that shows this point
way better than I could.

So, what’s the point of all this effort

if the screen scratches just as easily

and it can get punctured
really easily anyway.

Well, Samsung gets to say that it’s glass.

That’s one reason.

For me, the big difference
is that it does feel firmer

under my thumb than other plastic screens.

It just feels a little more solid.

It’s not as solid as a
glass on your current phone

but it’s a step in the right direction.

Now don’t hold me to this

but I think the glass
might help a little bit

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with overall sharpness and clarity too.

Now, as for the crease, it’s there.

I see it when I look for it

but I don’t see it when
I’m not looking for it.

But that might just be my
brain compensating for it

like in a blind spot.

I mentioned this in my Razor View

but I’m gonna say it again,

I genuinely don’t know what the standard

for these phone screen should be.

I mean, take a look at this bezel.

It is a big, dumb plastic reel
that holds the screen down

and on a non-folding phone,

I would definitely make fun of this bezel.

But here, it keeps the screen down

and it also keeps the phone
from clacking into itself

when you fold it,

so should I make fun of it?

Probably not.

And as for overall screen quality,

it’s better and sharper than a razor.

Yup, but it obviously can’t stand up to a

regular Samsung screen.

Let’s move on to the next
unique thing about this phone

which is the hinge.

There are four things to know about it.

One, it’s pretty stiff.

It makes the phone really
hard to flip out one-handed.

You can do it but it’s kinda hard.

Two, Samsung says the main
reason the hinge is so stiff

is so that you can stand it up like this

in this thing they call flex mode

which let’s you do stuff with
the top half of the screen.

You can use it for taking
photos and duo calls

and it’s kind of good

for watching YouTube and I mean

I don’t know.

Propping you phone up is
kind of a hassle sometimes

but this solution is just overkill.

Three, there is a gap
when the phone is closed

and that is a little bit scary because

the screen is fragile remember.

On the bright side, the
gap is narrow enough

so that it doesn’t add that much thickness

when it’s fully closed.

It’s not like offensive to me.

Fourth, Samsung has added brushes and caps

and other gee-gaws to keep dust

and dirt out of the hinge mechanism.

Will that work?

I don’t know.

It’s been fine for the four or five days

that I’ve been using this.

But it definitely didn’t hold up to iFixit

putting it in a plastic bag
with a bunch of purple dust

and shaking it,

but admittedly that’s a very extreme test.

Add those four things
together and what you get

is that this is the best
hinge ever on a folding phone,

which means,

what exactly?

I don’t know.

The screen is also the best screen ever

on a folding phone too

and, so what?

What counts as good

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or even good enough for a foldable phone

in terms of durability and screen quality,

I think it is still too early

to say that we have a real baseline

to judge these folding phones against.

So, here’s what I’ll say

I do think the screen looks
good enough for folding phones

but I don’t think it’s
durable enough to recommend

and the hinge, well

just don’t put it in a bag of dust.

(up-tempo music)

Now this might surprise you

but really the biggest
problem I have day to day

with the overall design

is that the fingerprint sensor

and the power button here on the side

It’s just too hard to reach.

It’s too high up.

Especially if you have small hands,

and if you’re left-handed
I mean forget about it.

You gotta hold it in a
really, weird wacky way.

I also don’t really love this

teeny tiny little outer screen.

It’s fine for showing the time

and it can show icons
for your notifications

and play-pause controls,

but it actually sucks

for showing the content
of your notifications

and it really doesn’t work
as a selfie view finder

all that well.

Which brings me to the camera.

(up beat music)

(exhales)

It’s good, but it can’t
hang with the best.

Now my hope was that these
two 12 megapixel cameras

on the back of the Z Flip

would at least be on par
with last year’s Galaxy S10.

And too often they just can’t.

Samsung kinda seems to be back

to its old Samsung ways
of over-smoothing photos.

So, it’s kind of annoying

because I thought Samsung
had learned it’s lesson

with this stuff.

It just seems to be worse
on sharpness and the details

than even Samsung’s
other phones Like the S10

or the Note 10.

And compared to the iPhone 11 Pro

which costs less than this phone

with the same amount of storage

this phone loses every time

especially at night.

Look, I don’t wanna give
you the wrong impression,

the cameras aren’t terrible,

they’re just not what
I hoped they would be

which is around 2019 flagship levels.

There’s a camera mode for taking selfies

with the main camera

but it only shoots square images.

You can also set the outer
screen to show a little preview

and a timer if you prop
the phone up in flex mode

and sure that’s neat.

You can run and take a selfie.

But on the other hand,

this phone is so slippery

It could slide off whatever you set it on

before you can even get the shot.

(up beat music)

But here’s the weird thing.

Set aside the $1,400 price
tag just for a second

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and most of my complaints
about this camera are normal.

These cameras are good.

They’re just not keeping
up with the times.

And that means we’re in the zone

of doing normal phone criticism now

instead of the wacky land of
hinges and folding screens

that might break and whatever.

Here’s another normal thing.

Battery life.

It’s fine.

I can get through a day
pretty easily with four

and even five hours of screen time

plus decent standby time.

It’s not gonna hold up to
really intense use all day

but for this size of a
phone, I’m pretty happy.

I also like that there
is wireless charging

and it makes a perfect night
stand clock in this flex mode

with the always-on screen.

I also have no complaints
about performance either.

It is a totally normal
Snapdragon 855 plus processor

with eight gigs of ram
and 256 gigs of storage.

Those are last year’s best specs

instead of this year’s best specs

but that doesn’t matter

I could use this phone all day everyday.

I have no speed complaints.

(upbeat music)

Okay.

So, is the Galaxy Z Flip a normal phone?

Of course not.

It folds,

it has a 30 micron thick glass screen

that has a plastic layer on top of that,

it is way more fragile

than whatever phone you have right now.

It costs $1,380 for a phone

that has a camera that’s honestly

a little bit, meh.

But after using it for nearly a week,

it felt pretty normal.

And that’s an important step
for these folding phones.

The goal is to make
them just another normal

reasonable option for people
that have small pockets

and that wanna carry around a bigger phone

that actually fits in them.

But Samsung really isn’t there yet.

If these phones are ever gonna stop

being just expensive curiosities

they have to start being a little boring

and the Z Flip is getting there.

It’s kind of a little boring.

But that doesn’t mean
that it’s normal yet.

And that doesn’t mean you should buy it.

It’s still just a curiosity.

Even with that glass screen.

– Hey, thank you so much for watching.

I have great news.

I think this is the last folding phone

we’re gonna have to
talk about for a while.

Up next is the Galaxy S20.

And I’m very excited to test that out.

 


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