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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review – Flip All You Want

My take on the new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip after 2 weeks of testing.

One of the most highly anticipated smartphone is finally here. Well, some may think that flip phones are just another gimmick in marketing strategies but we all remember the heydays of flip phones in mid 2000’s. I for one was a fan of flip phones with the Motorola Razr. Even Samsung also has a flip phone back then. Fast forward to 2020, Samsung is back again with another flipable phone after the Fold.

Enter the new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip – Samsung’s newest entry into the foldable arena. In this case, flipable. I had the honour of reviewing the Z Flip for about 2 weeks and here is my full review of the device.

First Look and Design

The Galaxy Z Flip is a very cute smartphone when folded. The size fits in my hand comfortably and honestly, I like to hold it when it’s folded. Putting it in my pocket really feels small but bare in mind that it is rather thick when folded. If you’re wearing tight jeans, there will be a visible bulge in your pocket. I usually place any phone in my left front pocket. The Z Flip, although small in size, the bulge is rather annoying.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review

When unfolded however, the Z Flip is very thin. In fact it is thinner than most flagship phones out there and definitely the thinnest in Samsung’s device lineups. It is so thin that I have this subconscious worry that I might bend the body if I place it in my pocket. Also to note that the Z Flip is “taller” and slim when unfolded. And it is the tallest and slimmest in all the Galaxy series with 2636 x 1080 resolution. In portrait mode, it is the tallest and while in landscape mode, it is the widest. This is when gaming becomes fun. More on that later.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review - Flip All You Want

The look of the Galaxy Z Flip is very elegant, no matter when it’s folded or not. The main shooter cameras are located at the top rear with a small 1.1″ AMOLED display right next to it that shows incoming calls and notifications when the phone is folded. This is a cool feature that you don’t have to flip open the phone to see who’s calling.

Unfolded, the hinge is hidden away by the two sides of the shell. Power button and volume rocker button is on the right while the SIM/SD card slot is on the left. The power button doubled as the fingerprint sensor which I think is very responsive and accurate.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review

The front camera is a cutout round shape right at the mid top area of the display. You can see minimal crease of the folded screen across the display. It doesn’t bother me that much as it is just a short crease. While using the phone, it is not that obvious nor obstructive.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review

At the bottom, there’s the usual USB type-C port and speaker grille. Also to note that the USB-C also doubles as the audio port since there’s no 3.5mm audio jack. The Z Flip also comes with a stereo speakers firing from the bottom speaker grille and the top ear-piece speaker. Sound quality is just okay when playing music out loud. Nothing too impressive here although it is tuned by AKG and comes with Dolby Atmos. Audio quality coming from the earphone however is a totally different world. Clear and crisp with solid punchy bass sound.

Here are the breakdown of the specifications for Galaxy Z Flip:

  • SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ (7 nm), Octa-core (1×2.95 GHz Kryo 485 & 3×2.41 GHz Kryo 485 & 4×1.78 GHz Kryo 485)
  • GPU: Adreno 640 (700 MHz)
  • OS: Android 10, One UI 2
  • Memory: 256GB 8GB RAM
  • Display:
    Foldable Dynamic AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
    6.7 inches, 101.6 cm2 (~82.5% screen-to-body ratio)
    1080 x 2636 pixels (~425 ppi density)
    Cover display: 1.1″, Super AMOLED, 112 x 300 pixels
  • Build: Plastic front, glass back (Gorilla Glass 6), aluminum frame
  • Battery:
    Non-removable Li-Po 3300 mAh battery
    Fast charging 15W
    Wireless charging
  • Camera:
    12 MP, f/1.8, 27mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
    12 MP, f/2.2, 12mm (ultrawide), 1.12µm
  • Selfie Camera: 10 MP, f/2.4, 26mm (wide), 1.22µm
  • Sensors: Fingerprint (side-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
  • Colours: Mirror Black, Mirror Purple, Mirror Gold, Thom Browne Edition

Performance & Usage

First of all, will this Galaxy Z Flip be a good daily driver for you? My answer is yes. The small form factor when it is closed is really good. Also this Z Flip is a head turner, just like the Galaxy Fold. The 3300 mAh battery will last me about a day and a half in normal use, unless I did a lot of gaming in a day. However, the good looks also comes with a risk. Since this Galaxy Z Flip has a clamshell design and it is quite thin when opened, it lacks durability. It is not a waterproof nor water resistant phone and don’t you dare drop the phone on hard cement, floor or worse, on the tarmac.

I have to note this. The surface of the Z Flip is smooth. Yes it’s elegant and gorgeous. But smooth surface is also slippery. So be careful when you’re taking the Z Flip out of your pocket or your bag. You don’t want to drop this almost fragile device. Of course, you can slap on the hard cover case for extra safety. But still, it has hinges.You don’t want to ruin that.

On the operations side, it is as good as the other Galaxy flagships. The Snapdragon 855 paired with 8GB of RAM and ample 256GB of space will glide through every task you throw at it. So if you’re into heavy social media use or have a few photo editing tasks that you always use, the Z Flip will go through it without any hiccups.

As for heavy gaming performance, the Snapdragon 855 paired with Adreno 640 GPU truly shows its power. No problem whatsoever in my usual PUBG Mobile gaming sessions. The game runs smoothly at the highest graphic settings with all the shadows and textures rendered beautifully. I do have lots of chicken dinners with the Z Flip and I totally enjoyed playing on it. Also because I have a wider viewing angle since the phone is taller than usual.

However, the Z Flip tends to heat up a little too much after 15 minutes or so into the game.The obvious heat was felt around the top part of the phone which is near the camera modules. The same heat can be felt when shooting videos or leaving the camera on for a long time. It is not too hot, but enough to make you feel uncomfortable after a while. But other than heavy graphic usage or extra processing power is used, it doesn’t heat up at all.

Having said that, I didn’t get to use the benchmarking app to gauge the overall SoC/GPU scores. It kinda crashed halfway through the test and it still crashes after I’ve tried a few more times. So I only can give my input on it through my gaming experience. My verdict on that: Awesome! (except the overheating part).

The Galaxy Z Flip can be unlocked by the side fingerprint sensor that is also the power button. As I mentioned earlier, the sensor is very fast and accurate. I personally prefer to have the sensor on the power button just like the Z Flip. Having it at the back of the phone is so yesterday, while having the fingerprint sensor under the front display is a way forward. But since this Z Flip is using Dynamic AMOLED screen, it’s not possible to have the under display sensor.

Overall, I’m happy with the performance.

Camera & Photography

First of all, let’s recap on the camera specification:

  • Camera:
    12 MP, f/1.8, 27mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
    12 MP, f/2.2, 12mm (ultrawide), 1.12µm
  • Selfie Camera: 10 MP, f/2.4, 26mm (wide), 1.22µm

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review

The Galaxy Z Flip only comes with two main shooters and one selfie camera. Most of the time, I enjoy taking photos using the ultra-wide angle camera. This is best when shooting outdoor landscape or cityscapes. And over the years, Samsung have made vast improvements in their camera department and the Z Flip performs quite well here.

My previous reviewed Galaxy S20 Ultra really performed well in its camera performance. Of course, it also comes with the awesome Space Zoom camera too. Overall performance for the S20 is remarkable and I enjoyed taking photos with it.

Now what about the Galaxy Z Flip? Can this small wonder perform as good as the S20 with it’s main shooters, minus the Space Zoom? Lets find out from the photos below.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review

The normal zoom camera performs really well here, especially outdoors. Details are good, colours are good too.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review - Flip All You Want

The ultra-wide angle looks much better with the colours here. And the details are still good.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review

A little close-up using the normal zoom camera here. Focal point is right in the middle. Clear and well balanced.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review

Same shot from same place but with the ultra-wide angle camera. More can be seem while retaining the details in the center focal point. Looks good right?

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review

This is my favourite shot from the Galaxy Z Flip. Look carefully, at the branches. Usually when the light (or sun) is behind a subject, the foreground will be darken. In this case, we can see the branches in all its details. HDR is awesome here.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review

Same place, same angle. Using the ultra-wide angle still looks so good. HDR works well even with the ultra-wide angle. But details are blurry at the edges because of the distortion from the ultra-wide angle setup.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review

Close up shot on the ground. Details are good and colours are accurate.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review - Flip All You Want

If you’re wondering how the Live Focus mode looks like, here it is. I don’t have a human subject to try the shot with so this little tree is good enough. You can see the bokeh effect is well executed while the subject is well focused with good details. Excellent.

I also tried the built in modes that comes with the Z Flip along with its filters. Not bad.

As for the selfies, the front camera did well too. There is a smooth effect being applied to my face with the normal shot and the wide angle shot but it isn’t applied on the Live Focus selfie mode. Details are good in the overall selfie shots.

I also played with some of the filters that comes with the Z Flip in the selfie camera.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review

In low light, or rather night shots, the Z Flip still able to shoot well. Picture above is taken with its normal mode.This was around 8.30pm and it is actually quite dark outside.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review - Flip All You Want

From the same place, this was taken using the Night Mode in the camera settings. Everything is lit up a lot. Sky is brighter but I feel that it is over done a little bit. Noise can be seen at the top right area due to the post processing.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review

As for the ultra-wide angle night shots, I prefer the normal mode as opposed to the night mode.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review

Although the night mode brightens up the photo a little more with longer “exposure” time, noises are very obvious at the top area. Hence why I prefer the normal mode for this kind of shots.

Selfie shots in the dark or low light is fine. Above are the samples for normal selfie shot and night mode selfie shots. Somehow the night mode works better here.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review - Flip All You Want

Also, I took a close up photo of this grass in low light using the night mode function. Not bad too. It seems like I have bright light at my porch but in fact, the light you see comes from my living room. It is quite dark outside actually.

The overall photography department from the Galaxy Z Flip doesn’t disappoint. You can get good photos from this chic looking smartphone. I have friends who love the look of the Z Flip and how cute it is. And now you also know how this phone can perform with its photography functions.

I have shot a video sample as well. Have a look below:

The image stabilization works well while shooting videos. Details are good but I know it can be better. It is able to shoot 4K video at 30/60fps, 1080p video at 60/240fps, and 720p video at 960fps. Will I shoot more videos with the Z Flip? Yes. But I didn’t have much time to fully use the video capture function due to the restricted movement order during this pandemic time.

Having said that, the Z Flip has a potential to be a go to smartphone if you’re looking for a good camera and video recording phone. TikTok will be fun too.

Conclusion

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is definitely a head turner. It is a statement of elegance and beauty put together in a piece of hardware. The clamshell design is well thought of. Those who are looking to upgrade their status, may look at the Galaxy Z Flip as their new companion. I on the other hand, will take on the Z Flip as my daily gaming device because of the extra wide angle space.

Speaking of gaming, the Z Flip is a beast when it comes to heavy graphic games. The rendering is liquid smooth without any lag whatsoever. The only qualm I have with the Z Flip is that it heats up a little higher than what I consider warm. Maybe Samsung can have a look at that.

The colour choices are wonderful. No doubt that it looks really good. I can’t stop flipping the phone open and close all the time. It feels so satisfying. After receiving a call, you just have to close the shell to hang-up the call, just how we did it in the old flip phone days.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review - Flip All You Want

Also good to note that the phone can last you the whole day of usage. Those who enjoy taking photos with their mobile devices will be happy with the photo results. The Galaxy Z Flip also allows you to snap a selfie in seconds when folded. Double press the power button and press the volume key to take quality shots. Galaxy Z Flip’s cover screen will instantly show you a preview without having to even unfold. Now that’s a cool function.

Again, the Z Flip is a breathe of fresh air. It can be better but right now it sits on its own throne of chic and elegance. You can now get your own Galaxy Z Flip from Samsung’s official store at a recommended retail price of RM5,888.00 

 

 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

RM5,888.00
8.9

Performance

9.0/10

Price

8.0/10

Camera Quality

9.0/10

Functions

9.0/10

Design

9.5/10

Pros

  • It's a foldable phone
  • Cute and unique
  • Good camera setup
  • On cover AMOLED screen for notifications
  • Powerful hardware

Cons

  • Heats up on heavy graphic use
  • Slippery
  • Fragile because of the hinge
  • Not waterproof/water resistant
  • Expensive since it's new tech
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