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When Samsung unveiled its S20 lineup of flagship devices, it also announced its 2020 foldable smartphone: the Galaxy Z Flip.
The device is significantly different from its foldable predecessor, the Galaxy Fold. From the specs to its unique form factor, features, and price, here’s what you should know about Samsung’s Z Flip smartphone.
1. Galaxy Z Flip: How the Fold Works
The Galaxy Z Flip folds like a clamshell or compact mirror, offering a different form factor than the Galaxy Fold (which folded like a book). This design is similar to the 2020 Motorola Razr foldable smartphone, which launched just a few days before Samsung’s announcement.
However, what makes it different from other foldable smartphones is the material used for the display. The Z Flip’s foldable screen is made from glass, not plastic. According to Samsung, the phone’s display includes bendable ultra-thin glass “that has never been seen with a foldable device before.”
The company has also improved its hinge technology to prevent some of the issues seen with the Galaxy Fold. The hinge includes “sweeper technology” that uses nylon fibers to prevent dirt and debris from entering the device via the hinge mechanism.
Rather than unfolding to become a tablet or phablet, the Z Flip has similar dimensions to a regular smartphone. When folded, it measures 2.9 x 3.4 x 0.68 inches.
Fully unfolded, you can still easily use the phone with one hand, as the length of the phone measures 6.59 inches. For context, this is just 0.16 inches longer than the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
2. Galaxy Z Flip Specifications and Features
Besides the unique form factor of the device, what else can you expect from the Galaxy Z Flip? It’s not packed with the same hardware or features of the Galaxy S20 series, despite Samsung announcing the devices at the same event.
While the Z Flip doesn’t have the battery or camera power of the S20 series, the smartphone still has some solid specifications. Below is a summary of the main Galaxy Z Flip specs:
Display: 6.7-inch 2636 x 1080 Full HD display with dynamic AMOLED Battery: 3300mAh RAM: 8GB Storage: 256GB Main camera: Dual-lens camera (12MP ultra-wide + 12MP wide-angle lens) Front-facing camera: 10MP selfie camera
The Z Flip also includes some of the general features seen across Samsung’s premium devices. For instance, the device supports the Wireless PowerShare function. This allows you to charge other devices by placing them on your Samsung device, so long as they have wireless Qi charging support.
Other features include 4K video recording and optical image stabilization software, a side fingerprint sensor, and Samsung Pay integration. You can also expect to find Samsung’s AI assistant, Bixby, on the device.
3. Unique Features Enabled by Z Flip’s Design
Image credit: Megan Ellis
The Galaxy Z Flip’s form factor is not simply a gimmick. Rather, there are specific features and functions of the smartphone that stem directly from its folding capability.
The phone doesn’t need to be fully open or fully closed to use. Much like a laptop, you can use it with the hinge at various angles.
Samsung calls this the phone’s “flex mode.” When the screen is open at an angle (rather than fully open or fully closed), the OS splits the device into two four-inch screens. This allows you to view content on the top screen and use the lower screen for navigation and touch controls. You can also opt for a multi-tasking window that lets you open a different app on each half of the device.
The Z Flip is also able to stand up on its lower half when in flex mode. This has a few uses: you can prop the phone on its lower half when taking photos and videos, or place it on a flat surface while watching videos.
In particular, this will become especially useful for night photography, which requires a stable surface due to long exposure times. Samsung has also enabled gesture triggers for selfies—a wave of the hand will act as a shutter button when the Z Flip is taking a photo in flex mode.
Image credit: Megan Ellis
The Galaxy Z Flip also has a small 1.1-inch display on its cover that lets you check notifications and lock screen info—essentially acting as a tiny always-on display. You can use this screen as a viewfinder or preview window when taking selfies.
4. Galaxy Z Flip Does Not Come With 5G Compatibility
Samsung is pushing 5G support in its Galaxy S20 range, with all phones in that series featuring 5G support. But the same is not true for the Galaxy Z Flip. At its launch, the Z Flip is only available in a 4G-compatible option.
It’s possible that a 5G variant will release at a later date. However, this depends on a variety of factors, such as the Z Flip’s overall success and reception.
Samsung has played it safe with the smartphone’s launch, choosing limited markets and variants for the device over a widespread release. If 5G compatibility is essential for you, you’re better off looking at Samsung’s S20 range or other smartphones that support 5G connectivity.
5. Galaxy Z Flip Price and Availability
The Galaxy Z Flip will see a limited release in the United States and South Korea on February 14, 2020. Other markets, such as South Africa, will also see a small quantity released in February, followed by a larger release in March 2020.
Initially, only the Mirror Black and Mirror Purple options will be available. However, Samsung plans to introduce the Mirror Gold option in select markets at a later date. A Thom Browne limited edition of the smartphone will also be available, alongside Thom Browne editions of other Galaxy accessories.
The launch price for the Galaxy Z Flip is $1,300. Pre-orders for the device opened after the announcement. You can order your device via the Samsung store, as well as selected mobile carriers.
More Foldable Smartphones to Consider
Now you know what to expect with Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip. We’ll see how this phone performs and if it marks the widespread adoption of foldable phones. As it turns out, since 2019, there’s been a boom in companies attempting their own takes on dual-screen and foldable smartphones.
To find out more about the concepts and devices in this sphere, check out our explainer on foldable smartphones.