The question about “what comes next” is something that has propelled innovators, thinkers, and the dreamers forward. In an industry that has thrived on iterative innovations, Samsung introduced its bold engineering marvel, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip. The era of iterative innovations is beyond us. In a hyper-competitive market, demanding consumers are more keen on purposeful innovations. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip scores on that front. In its second or rather, third outing, Samsung gets the foldable proposition right. The Z Flip is built with a niche audience in mind – a consumer cohort, high on style for whom the smartphone is an extension of their selves, a representation of who they are, and what they stand for. On the other hand, the Galaxy Fold had a specific focus on consumer and enterprise productivity, with its focus on delivering a value proposition wherein the phone unfolds into a tablet.
The Z Flip is built with a niche audience in mind – a consumer cohort, high on style for whom the smartphone is an extension of their selves, a representation of who they are, and what they stand for.
From Samsung’s previous outings with its foldable devices, the one clear realization is that everything hinges on the foldable hinge. The folding mechanism is the one attribute that brands need to nail, for them to succeed. Samsung has taken its learnings, and implemented a more advanced folding mechanism technology in the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip. The device comes with a hinge having enough elasticity to manage the shifts in gap size, flexibility to ensure its long-lasting, and slimness to retain the sleek form factor.
Samsung’s Sweeper Technology puts nylon fibres in-between parts of the hinge to catch small pieces of dust and debris, akin to the fibres on a tooth brush. The Z Flip not only repels dirt and dust from the fold, it is so flexible that it can withstand upto 200000 folds. This innovation is crucial in ensuring that the Galaxy Z Flip is not just looked at as a concept device, but rather as an everyday, lifestyle statement.
The display on the Z Flip is something else! What makes the display special, is that this is the very first foldable display on the market that comes with Samsung’s ultra-thin glass technology. Unlike plastic foldable screen, the glass screen is significantly more scratch resistant, and this imparts more durability to the device.
The folding display is bright and sharp. The Z Flip has a FHD+ dynamic AMOLED display with a resolution of 2636 x 1080 pixels. This is sharper than what the Motorola Razr’s 6.2-inch, HD+ screen offers. The tall display on the Z Flip makes for better content consumption.
On the other hand, the external display could have been designed bit better, and made slightly larger. This screen displays the time, battery status and other useful things, such the number or name of person who calls, or the incoming message. This display also acts as a mini viewfinder, and it’s barely enough to frame oneself in a selfie.A purposeful innovation here would have been the ability to not just glance, but do quick actions – composing or replying- without the need to flip open the device. Think about it? Else, a smartwatch would be a good substitute.
The camera system on the Galaxy Z Flip delivers decently. The Z Flip comes with three cameras, one on the front and two on the back. The front camera features a standard 10MP sensor. The rear cameras feature a 12MP wide and ultra-wide angle module.
The camera system delivers across various contexts. Whether it be good colors in bright light conditions, or even in low light. The selfies are good too.
The Flex Mode
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip can bend and stop at any angle under its 180-degree hinge. This is something that Samsung has named the “Flex Mode”. It’s a pretty nifty and convenient feature that allows for *hands free* interactions with the phone. Imagine countless hours of Zoom calls, Netflix binge sessions, or YouTube video viewing sessions, or taking those selfies. The camera app is dynamic enough to readjust to Flex Mode.
The Battery Juice
The 3,300 mAh battery offers enough juice to last a day – from morning until late evening. In my tests, the Z Flip lasted close to 14 hours, over sessions of heavy video calling, photography and content consumption. On other days, it lasted more. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip comes with both 15W fast charging and wireless charging.
This is not a device meant for gamers nor is it a productivity tool. Hence, those odious implications do not hold here. Samsung is clear about the Z Flip positioning, the intended target audience, and this consumer cohort would be able to live and thrive with the battery offered.
Among other things
The Z Flip comes with Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 with 8 GB of memory, and 256 GB of storage. It comes with Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi 6 and LTE CAT 16. The UI is really responsive and smooth and offers a strong performance that is comparable to other flagships.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is a big leap forward in terms of product re-imagination and innovation. This foldable is not meant for everyone. It is for a clearly-defined consumer cohort who believe their phones are a reflection of who they truly are.
Over the past decade, the smartphone display innovation has lent itself to becoming larger and larger. While this large display may serve many use cases, it still comes across as a challenge to fit into the pocket or carry single-handedly with ease. This is a niche that Samsung has been able to spot, and serve with the Galaxy Z Flip.
All said, the Z Flip is impressive, and very much a good daily-driver, that can benefit from some more product innovations in subsequent generations.
Given that the foldable smartphone segment is very niche, Samsung as an early innovator, has the technical advantage and strong business acumen to try out different ideas for different target segments. This will help the brand learn in terms of what ticks, and what does not. As the foldable display technology matures, Samsung would be potentially placed better to steer ahead, and capture the market.