By Chris Velazco
To date, every foldable you could buy has been the subject of at least some drama. Royole’s FlexPai felt barely finished. The original Galaxy Fold wasn’t much more than a prototype, with glaring design issues that were fixed in later production runs. Huawei’s Mate X stole the show at last year’s Mobile World Congress but was delayed for reasons the company never fully explained.
And the Razr? Well, let’s just say the results couldn’t possibly live up to the hype.
The Galaxy Z Flip ($1,380) is different. Of all the foldables I’ve used, this is the first one that seems to tick all the boxes: Excellent performance, great cameras, and even decent battery life — all packed into a flip-phone-style body that I honestly think makes the most sense for most people. If you’re in a rush to embrace one possible future for smartphones, then I don’t think you’ll do much better than this.
But why rush? Embracing that future means putting up with a lot of compromises. And even though the Z Flip has fewer than most, the same lingering foldable criticisms apply. They’re more expensive than comparable smartphones. They’re inherently fragile and app-makers don’t know how to take advantage of them (yet). The Z Flip may be the best of its kind, but until foldables as a whole mature beyond these problems, they’re still not worth the splurge for anyone who doesn’t want to double as a beta tester.
- Flip phone form factor is practical and fun
- Great all-around performance
- Solid camera quality
- It feels like a standard smartphone when open
- It’s the least expensive foldable out there
- Inherently more fragile than other phones
- External screen is too small to be helpful
- The main glass screen is still prone to scratching
- Flex Mode is pretty limited
- Less future-proof than more traditional rivals
Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip isn’t just the latest foldable phone to hit store shelves — it’s also the least expensive, and the one we enjoy using the most.
The main draw here is the design: The Z Flip feels like a perfectly normal smartphone while open and folds down to half size when closed. But unlike Motorola’s Razr, which also embraced the classic flip phone look, the Z Flip packs a flexible dual camera system, a high-performance processor, the latest version of Android and a slightly better battery.
If you can’t help yourself and need a foldable in your life, this is the best you’ll find. Just remember that buying any foldable right now is a gamble — they have more potential points of failure.
By Chris Velazco https://www.engadget.com/