Okay, so when it came to all the new foldable phones on the market, people were talking about them like they were some throwback to the past, and I personally had thought, “Yeah, kinda”.
However, when I acquired the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, I realised it was the furthest thing from a throwback to a once-popular, past phone design.
Save for the ability to flip it closed, it bore no resemblance to the old flip phones, but it didn’t matter to me. However, I was definitely intrigued by the technology.
On the other hand, the boomer AKA my dad whom I had recruited to do this review with me, had never even heard of the Z Flip, and thought that it was the same as the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
Going into this, we didn’t really have any expectations, mostly curiosity about the phone itself.
What Did The Boomer Think?
My dad was of course intrigued by the Z Flip, but only because he never had the chance to touch the Fold after hearing so much about it.
“They always lock it behind the glass in the shops,” he lamented to me as he was cutting fruits after dinner one night.
He wasn’t too wowed by the folding technology, not even when it came to the hands-free photo-taking.
He did immediately want to watch videos on it, however, and here’s one thing to note.
Because the Z Flip’s screen is rather long and narrow, you’d think, “Oh great, this means I can watch my videos in cinematic mode”, but a lot of videos aren’t made to fit the screen.
Hence, you’d get thick black bars on the sides (if laid horizontally) when watching, so it’s still your standard sized video viewing in a way.
My dad also downloaded one of his favourite mobile games to play, Tennis Clash: Online League. When it came to games, the Z Flip brought on a whole new ball game (pun intended), in his opinion.
He would often comment on how smooth gameplay felt on the Z Flip, and he liked how cinematic the game looked as he played.
The game was displayed from the screen’s top to bottom, maximising the extra space (thanks to the lack of a notch and minimal bezels) to its advantage. It made for a fun gaming experience, because it felt like you were able to see more of the game, and better.
The graphics were good, but with today’s technology, few smartphones would dare emerge with bad ones, so it’s not really anything new.
He didn’t like how the phone functioned for other familiar apps like WhatsApp, but he pointed out that he was probably just biased towards iOS and Apple (like me, but I’m now more accepting thanks to this other review).
His issue was mostly with the user interface, but I suspect that with more time, he would eventually grow familiar and accepting of it.
In The Head Of A Gen Z
First off, I was afraid to hold the phone. It’s almost all screen, and something about it just seemed really fragile. I didn’t even dare fold it the moment I got it until I watched a video that showed me how to fold it. (Maybe I have a boomer soul?)
Thankfully, the hinge actually seemed rather solid as I opened and shut the phone, and overall, the phone felt quite substantial in my hands.
One thing that weirded me out at first was the dent in the middle where the screen folds, which I thought I’d be bothered by in the long run, yet I barely noticed it at all.
I felt it more than I saw it, and it didn’t impact my usage at all.
As a phone, the Z Flip is unique purely because of its ability to fold, which yields about 2-3 other benefits at most. Other than that, the way it functions appears similar to most other smartphones on the market.
What I liked about its ability to fold was how its closed clamshell shape made it so cute, compact and easy to place in one’s pocket.
I think this is much better than the Fold, which just became awkwardly thin and stayed long.
It’s also kind of nice that the phone can “stand” on its own, making it slightly more useful than your average non-foldable smartphone. With this, you can take pictures and watch videos hands-free, but it’s not as mind-blowing as it sounds.
I personally would still prefer to use a tripod or selfie stick (not exactly hands-free, but gives you more manoeuvrability), and attempting to watch a video horizontally with the screen slightly folded means that your video will look bent too.
The selfie camera wasn’t the best, but the main cameras in the back were pretty good, if I do say so myself. The contrast and saturation would often be bumped up a little too much at times, but it wasn’t overboard.
When it came to the Multi Active Window mode, I didn’t find a use for it since I don’t tend to multitask on-screen anyway.
Overall, I was slightly surprised that we had similar thoughts about the phone. For some reason, I thought maybe my dad would feel more nostalgia towards it, seeing as he had properly experienced the era of flip phones.
But as I said in the beginning, the Z Flip bears little to no resemblance to them at all, hence why the lack of nostalgia, I suppose. Sometimes I do miss physical buttons.
To sum it up: we found the fact that it could fold so compactly useful for fitting it into pockets, we found its foldability for picture taking and video viewing less useful, and the rest of its smartphone-ly functions weren’t anything to sing praises about.
My dad had an analogy to share about it. “It’s like a foldable bike and a non-foldable one. The only difference is that the foldable one can be carried around easier, but at the end of the day, it’s still just a normal bike. Of course, it would be different if it was an electric and foldable bike, but it’s not.”
And I kind of get him. To be brutally honest, the few reasons why someone would buy the Z Flip are because 1) you’re already on the market for a new phone, 2) you’re an early adopter, or 3) you just want to be different.
Other than that, the phone solves small problems that don’t really take a toll on the average smartphone user’s life, unless you’re super particular about things.
With a starting price of RM5,888, it’s a definite no from my dad with regards to purchasing, and I have to say the same. To us, it feels like you’re paying a lot more just for a few extra functions.
I’m not blaming Samsung for pricing it that high, however. It’s the first foldable smartphone that actually uses glass (albeit with a plastic covering for protection), so I guess they’re able to set it at that price.
No one else is doing it yet, why not take advantage of the situation and sell it at a more exclusive price? Even with the Fold’s RM8,388 price tag, it’s reported that Samsung managed to sell over 400,000 units, so people are definitely still buying.
The Z Flip is a pretty good phone overall, with a 3,300mAh battery that lasts with average use.
I don’t think it’s life-changing in any way, but it paves the way for better, cooler and hopefully cheaper foldable phones in the future.
|Battery has good lasting power||Screen is still fragile and prone to scratches|
|Hands-free photo taking and video viewing|
|Folds compactly, easy to fit in pockets|
- You can read more of our VP Verdict series here.
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