As it turns out, "feel" counts for a lot where foldables are concerned, and Samsung has a surprisingly good handle on it here. While the Z Flip doesn't click into place quite as convincingly as the Razr does, it also doesn't make a tell-tale creaking sound. (At least, as far as I could tell -- it was pretty loud in there.) And to Samsung's credit, the hinge system in place here allows for more flexibility than what I've seen before. You can, for instance, prop the Z Flip open 90 degrees so you can rest the phone on a table and have it shoot with either of the 12MP rear cameras. That might not sound terribly exciting, but if it saves from having to carry a tripod around, I'm all for it.
Ultimately, though, the Z Flip has two things going for it that make it especially attractive compared to the Razr. For one, it packs a pair of batteries that provide 3,300mAh of power in total. I know we're not exactly making one-to-one comparisons, but flagship phones we tested with similar specs last year could generally stick around for more than a full day -- that's about the minimum you should accept from a premium smartphone. And speaking of premium, the Z Flip's price is hard to argue with: At $1,380, it's more than $100 less expensive than the Razr. Well, for now, anyway.
A few other notes:
- Instead of a spacious external display like the Razr's, Samsung chose a much smaller, 1-inch OLED that's basically just good for glancing at the time. It's cute but feels less than ideal. You can, however, use it to frame up selfies, which is I guess all that matters to people.
- Despite Samsung's big 5G push with the Galaxy S20s, the Z Flip doesn't support these next-gen networks at all.
- The dual-camera setup Samsung is using here isn't nearly as ambitious as the S20's, but the Z Flip does have the Single Take feature that captures multiple stills and video clips over a span of about ten seconds.
- These phones are pretty handsome, all things considered, but man do they pick up fingerprints like crazy.
I can't say I'm surprised I like the Z Flip as much as I do -- few companies have the kind of foldable experience Samsung does. I am surprised, though, that the Z Flip feels as uncompromised as it does. Sure, it's probably more prone to physical failure than your average smartphone, and despite Samsung's work with this flexible glass, it seems like noticeable screen creases are here to stay. These issues don't feel as pressing as they used to, though, and that's enough to make me wonder: Is it possible Samsung has won the foldable age already? Maybe, but I wouldn't count anyone out of the race just yet.