Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review: temper your expectations


(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 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 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 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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