Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review

A review of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip with camera, battery life information, tech specs and design notes.

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Tshaka Armstrong
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January 18, 2021
6 min read

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"He who dares wins." "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." We have libraries full of maxims talking about glorious risks and yet we often dump on people and organizations who do so and don't produce the results we think they should.

Samsung took a risk on the original Note and it paid off big. Recently they took a risk on the Galaxy Fold with mixed results and now we have the Galaxy Z Flip. Is it worth the risk for you to buy? Watch as the answer to that question unfolds right before your very eyes.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

The Galaxy Z Flip. I'm just gonna get right to it. This phone is dope. It is not for everyone though. Is it for you? Maybe, I mean I think everyone should have one though not just yet.

Much like I thought everyone should have a 70 inch OLED TV when I saw one at a private booth tour at CES years ago. Those panels though, were much too pricey for the average consumer but as all things do, in time the prices come down and the dope tech becomes dorm tech. Inexpensive tech to send your kid off to college with but that's then. Let's get back to now.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip phone simultaneously evokes all the feels of old school flip phones without leaving you having to click a number button three times just to punch out one letter for a text message.

No, this is a conventional smartphone with conventional smartphone awesomeness. It has all the bells and whistles you'd expect.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip specs

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip has a beautiful 6.7 inch Dynamic AMOLED infinity flex HRD 10 plus display. There’s a front facing hole punch 10 megapixel camera on that main display side but when closed you'll get the cover display which has a 1.1 inch 300 x 112 Super AMOLED Display.

We'll come back to that in a bit. On the right side of the phone is the fingerprint sensor and volume rocker. No Bixby button on this phone. Bottom of the phone is where there's a USB C-port, mono speaker and microphone.


Being the son of a mother who was, at one time an esthetician, honestly the first thing I thought of when I saw the phone in person was a make-up compact, seriously. This glossy folder looked like something very familiar and yet it wasn't an old school folding phone that first came to mind. It was indeed make-up. If that's intentional, it's heck of a hook to appeal to 50% of the buying public for whom that might be of interest.

In Samsung's own market materials they reference just how easily this device fits in pockets and purses. I'm thinking of women who go out may wear attire with no pockets and use a clutch. For them, a compact device like this is gold, I'd imagine.

Speaking of gold, one thing this phone has achieved which I haven't quite experienced to this degree, is it's love of lack of friction. The phone chassis is so smooth that if I sit on my bed and place the phone several inches away from me, it will slide down to me. If there's the slightest angle on any surface you set this phone on it will slide.

You're definitely gonna wanna put a case on this phone. It's just as slippery in hand. The case it comes with in the box does a better job of being a bit more tacky but not a bunch. I'd definitely check out one of the leather cases Samsung has to offer. Now, what you have in the Galaxy Z Flip really is a cool piece of new technology. It's a leap forward. It's a risk. And it isn't perfect but what is?

Beautiful display and face unlock

The display is beautiful but one of the things you'll notice as you swipe up and down and scroll pages is the crease at the center of this thin glass screen. This is what you trade in for this first generation product.

That and just when you've gotten used to an in-display fingerprint sensor on Samsung phones, this one does not include one. That said, face unlock is consistently fast and almost error free as is the side fingerprint scanner/power button.

Hideaway hinge

The other very consistent part of this first gen product is what Samsung calls the hideaway hinge. You can open the Galaxy Z Flip to a variety of angles and it'll sit up on its own. Samsung has actually created some software tweaks which take advantage of this.


Let's start with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip camera. It's a Samsung camera and as such, you're gonna get very solid pictures out of this phone but the difference here is you get a built in tripod, well okay, maybe more of a stand since the phone folds. That leaves you more options to get hands free photos if you can find a place tall enough to set your phone on if you're not sitting at a table.

And since you can sit the phone down or lay it on its side, you'll get your vertical or horizontal photos and video. Now, if you need some height you're still gonna need to have that tripod or have to consider the infamous selfie stick but I know you're a creative lot and you can figure this out sans poll. Flex mode also takes advantage of this Folder's folding prowess by placing the photo controls at the southern pole of your phone.

You'll notice that when you have the phone sitting on the table top for a selfie that the controls don't sit in the middle of the screen like they would if you had a standard smartphone. But when you fold the phone, the controls actually automatically adjust to sitting at the bottom of the screen. This is the only app which actually does that. Nice flex Samsung.

Multi-active window

Another feature which takes advantage of the hide away hinge and thin folding glass is the multi-active window, a feature we first saw on the Note line. With your device folded or unfolded though, you can split your display into two and multi-task to your heart's content. Although this isn't specifically for the Folder per se it doesn't auto adjust like the camera app does.

Considering the form factor, there are some handy use cases here like video conferencing from the top half while having some notes open in the bottom half. And I'm sure you can imagine a bunch of others.

Battery life

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip phone’s batteries support fast charging both with wired and wireless charging along with wireless power share. I have to say that despite how thin they made this phone when it is fully open, which ultimately was a sacrifice on battery size, with the Z Flip carrying a 3300 milliamp hour battery, it was taking me five hours of screen on time to kill the phone. Now, that's a hard day's use for me.

So on average, I was getting a whole day's worth of use out of the phone with closer to three hours screen on time.

Compelling future

I think though, that the most compelling part of this phone is not what it is today but what it will be tomorrow. Right now this technology is new and I'm sure not easy to manufacture given the complexity of its parts but as time passes and process simplifies and materials advance we'll see the prices of products like these come down.

Despite Samsung marketing just how pocketable this phone is, it will be even more pocketable when the cost of ownership is more pocketbook friendly. Now let me be clear, I absolutely adore this form factor. I love the fact that I can have a near 7 inch screen in something that folds up as small as a wallet I used to keep in my back pocket. That is until I recognized the hip issues that my wallet was giving me and started carrying my wallet in my front pocket.

Sidebar, how many of you who carry a wallet have moved to carrying your wallet in a front pocket and not in your back pocket? Holler at me in the comments below. But I digress. Much like those pants pockets, the utility of a phone like this is undeniable. It's just that the steep cost is as well for most people.

Our recommendation

So would I recommend this phone? Depends on who you are. Early adopter, sure. Someone trendy on the cutting edge, absolutely. The average guy or gal living paycheck to paycheck, I generally tell that buyer to wait a generation so that any bugs and kinks can be worked out and you'll get a product that will get you your money's worth and last you a good amount of time and this is no different.

Thanks to what Samsung learned from the Galaxy Fold, I think the Z Flip is a phenomenal device and aligned with phenomenal potential. I can't wait to see what the Z Flip 2 improves on this first gen unit. Personally, I'd like to have back under the display, the fingerprint sensor and the telephoto camera back into the mix.

Hey, we don't take it lightly that you've taken the time to watch this Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review with us. So we appreciate you. We appreciate you here at I'm Tshaka Armstrong. Catch you on the next one.

Tshaka Armstrong
Written by
Tshaka Armstrong
Tshaka is a nerd and Griot. Founder of the non-profit digital literacy organization Digital Shepherds, he’s also been a broadcast technology reporter, writer, and producer. In addition to being an award-winning broadcast storyteller, he’s also covered tech online and in print for everything from paintball gear technology, to parenting gadgets. He blathers on about his many curiosities on social media everywhere as @tshakaarmstrong.

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