Samsung's new foldable is the premium Galaxy Z Flip clamshell
Samsung has tried its hand at foldable phones before, but its new Galaxy Z Flip – launched today at its Unpacked 2020 event – folds from top to bottom rather than from side to side. It's a compact clamshell foldable, in the same vein as the recently-launched Motorola Razr.
Opened up, the phone has a 6.7-inch display, running at a resolution of 2,636 x 1,080 pixels. There's a dual-lens 12 MP + 12 MP rear camera here too, offering ultrawide shots but no optical zoom. Under the hood we've got a Snapdragon 855 Plus processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 256 GB of built-in storage.
Those are very decent specs – close to top-end flagship level – although you'll miss out on 5G, and the storage can't be expanded via a microSD card. There's a fingerprint sensor on the side, a 3,300-mAh battery inside, and Android 10 as the software OS.
Some software magic is being applied by Samsung here as well. The display can split into two 4-inch screens as well as a single 6.7-inch one, while two apps can run above and below each other if needed. Camera controls can be placed on the bottom half of the screen with a viewfinder on the top, for example.
As well as having the phone fully open or fully closed, you can also prop it part way open, like a laptop. Another cool trick Samsung demoed is being able to take a selfie while the handset is shut, using the camera on the back and the small secondary display (which usually shows the time) as a viewfinder.
Samsung is promising the hinge mechanism is good for around 200,000 folds – some of us will run through that quicker than others, of course – and the company will be hoping the phone isn't dogged by the same hardware issues that delayed the launch of the Galaxy Fold. It has a tiny fiber shield to protect the hinge and to keep particles out, which is an encouraging start.
The Galaxy Z Flip and the Motorola Razr are certainly different to anything else out there right now, but what we don't know yet is just how usable and how robust these phones are going to end up being. The months ahead will tell us whether this innovative new form factor can take the stresses and strains of everyday life, and whether it offers a better way of running the apps we all rely on.
You'll be able to pick up the Galaxy Z Flip in mirror purple, mirror black, and (in some countries) mirror gold, but it's going to cost you: US$1,380 to be precise, with shipping starting on February 14.