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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review: four months with the folding phone

Guardian Technology 05 Jun 2020 06:00
Samsung’s stunning folding Galaxy Z Flip phone has lasted four months of intense use without fault. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

When Samsung released its Galaxy Z Flip, a phone with a screen that folds in half, the big question was whether the technology was really ready for use outside a lab. I spent the last four months with it to find out.

Samsung’s second attempt at a smartphone with a folding screen, the Galaxy Z Flip promised one thing above all: a big, tall display that fits in a pocket.

I found it extremely impressive when I reviewed it in February. The display was stunning, the hinge mechanism felt smooth and solid, and it worked like a regular phone when open. But the one thing I couldn’t tell at the time was whether the folding screen would last.

samsung galaxy z flip
The screen is scratch- and blemish-free, which usually isn’t the case for the exposed screens of normal smartphones after four months. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Having bought one and used it solidly for four months, folding and unfolding it more than 70 times a day (as recorded by the digital wellness tools), I can conclusively say yes, Samsung nailed it. The screen looks and works just as great today as it did fresh out of the box. There are no uniformity issues, no weird ripples or indeed marks of any kind, other than the original central crease where it folds.

Despite the open USB-C socket showing the usual signs of pocket fluff and dust buildup, the screen collected very little in the way of detritus. But I definitely notice the plastic top layer is less fingerprint-repelling than traditional smartphone glass. It isn’t really an issue in use, but I find myself cleaning it with my T-shirt more than I do other phones.

Durability worries cast aside, generally using the phone is still as much a joy four months later, even after the novelty has worn off a little. The crease is still just as visible, but I don’t see it unless I look for it. I have even found myself stroking it with my thumb as a fidget.

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