While there are several folding phones that have recently come to market, the Z Flip was the first one to actually feel like a finished product to our reviewer Chris Velazco. Thanks to its fast and reliable performance, quality build and decent battery life, the Z Flip hit the mark in the most important ways for him. But reviewing a phone for a short period is not the same as using it every day, which is why we asked Engadget readers who own the Galaxy Z Flip to share their experiences by writing a review. Here’s what they had to say about what it’s like being an early adopter of this Samsung folding phone.
With regards to the design of the handset as a whole, there was a range of responses. Sigmacom wanted to see a slightly wider phone, while both Mark and Evan found it very smooth. “This thing is beyond slippery. It’s super easy to drop,” Evan said. Mark declared it the “slipperiest phone ever,” adding that “seriously, if you hold it between two fingers it slips right out!”
Meanwhile both Keith and Gabriel spoke about the device’s portability and premium feel. Gabriel had a lot more to add: “I dislike the size of new phones and having massive, inflexible slabs in my pocket at all times, and the Z Flip is a welcome (and significant) departure from this. The thing is incredibly portable and nice in the pocket. I adore the ‘cube’ design of the phone.”
The Z Flip is unlike other folding phones (e.g. the Galaxy Fold or Mate X), in that it folds top to bottom (more like the Razr). User reviewers spoke about how the phone worked in day to day tasks, with most praising the design. Jackal said they liked “flipping it into an ‘L’ for video conferencing,” Mark enjoyed that “it sits open like a little laptop when I am reading or watching a video during a work conference call,” and Peter said he’s “sold on the folding concept, giving a decent usable screen size while allowing the phone to fold down into a pocket-friendly size.”
Keith liked “knowing when I fold the phone in half, all calls are disconnected,” and was also pleased that the “flex feature brings a usability factor with it which gives you options to use the phone in ways you’d never think of using a traditional smartphone.” Mark found the cover screen “useful for a quick glance and swipe to see if there is anything new.” Usman appreciated that “the novelty of it folding didn’t wear off for a while because in public, I would be reminded of how unique it is when I hear people whispering about me and talking about my phone. Some have even asked to hold it and fold it themselves.”
So… what about the crease? The only user to mention it, Jackal, said, “It has a crease. I knew it would have a crease. You cannot bend something without putting a crease in it. We will need technology derived from secret alien technology before people will have a bendy screen without a crease. The horror that people displayed over the introduction of this technology and the endless discussions of ‘the crease’ are hysteria that was ill founded, and people voicing an opinion without directly having the experience.”
Second to the form factor, the device’s screen were discussed in detail by user reviewers. Keith didn’t like its readability in daylight, saying you had to “crank the brightness up.” Usman was annoyed by how the screen was “a plastic hybrid material [...] showing some obvious signs of wear. I have two lines in it I can see, and it annoys me.” However, Gabriel found the display to be excellent, only losing marks “due to its lack of scratch resistance and the significant bezels surrounding it.” He added that “it does scratch easily — that is no rumor” but qualified it, saying “the scratches are light and completely invisible so far with the screen on. I honestly forget that they exist unless I’m looking at the screen on, in a certain lighting.” He was more pragmatic about the materials, stating “the ‘plastic glass’ thing has been over blown because the screen acts as a glass unless you are actually taking a key to it. Screens scratch, it happens. It only matters if they are deep.”
No one was particularly impressed with the camera, but they weren’t particularly disappointed either. Mark said it was fine; Keith said it worked for his uses because: “I’m not a photographer and most cameras on their own take great shots for me. In short, I’m happy with it.” Jackal said it “takes good but not great pictures.” Gabriel was the most effusive, saying he found the camera to be “excellent — the same as the S10.”
A drawback that was mentioned by multiple users was the lack of a headphone jack. Though none of the Fold’s foldable competitors include a 3.5mm jack either, that didn’t stop both Evan and Usman from pining for the one. Usman said the lack of a headphone jack “is a bit annoying, but I rarely need to plug in headphones.” Evan, who also said the missing jack was an annoyance, asked “if the phone is not going to have IP ratings for water anyways, then why not squeeze in a headphone jack? Not being able to connect to an AUX cable in a car and turn on music was pretty frustrating.”
The overall feedback about the battery life was that it was acceptable, but not excellent. Jackal got good battery life, as did Gabriel, and Usman found it “about the same as my S8+.” Mark found it just “okay” but added “most of us have chargers at home, work and in the car…you’re always near a plug.” However, both Evan and Keith were less satisfied. Keith often cranked up the brightness on his screen, which impacted his battery life. And Evan’s first big issue with the Z Flip was the device’s battery life, saying that “it should not drop 8 - 10 percent overnight on standby. This means by the time I start work in the morning, after some light use like checking email and notifications, I have lost 20 percent of my battery. If my day involves lots of phone calls or use of my device then I could have a dead phone or close to by 6pm.” He summarized it all with, “it just lacks the battery capacity due to its form factor.”
Only a few users had an overall negative experience with their Z Flips. Jackal mentioned their phone is not the fastest handset they’ve used, while Gabriel admitted the lack of waterproofing made him nervous as a Seattle resident. Mark’s only complaint, in addition to the phone’s slippery feel, was the lack of cover options, and Peter said he could “forgive the lack of apps taking advantage of the design, otherwise I’ve had no real compromises to make.” Evan alone was the sole user who said he could not recommend the device.
All of the other users were more enthusiastic about their phones. Usman said it is “a great device, a real head-turner” and is “glad that Samsung offers us a screen replacement program that won’t break the bank.” Jackal said they were glad they bought one, while Chris said that despite some initial skepticism, they “fell in love” with the revolutionary device. Mark likewise claimed to love his Flip, and said it was his favorite phone ever. Gabriel agreed, stating “in summary, I love the phone. It will be truly, markedly difficult for me to return to a normal form factor.” And Keith said he has no regrets about buying the Z Flip: “I would buy the Z Flip 2 in a heartbeat.”