Sometimes a flawed first attempt is not only expected but necessary to ensure that a second try will have a greater chance of success. South Korean electronics giant Samsung understood this when, following the buggy introduction of their Galaxy Fold folding smartphone-tablet hybrid, they then went on to develop the Z Flip, a smartphone like the classic clamshell flip-phones of old for a new generation. While initially believed to be a concept to be previewed further in Samsung’s latest “Unpacked” event, a sideshow to the “conventional” Galaxy S20 smartphone line, the Galaxy Z Flip is an equal after all, with a surprisingly early release date.
Tech Crunch tells us that the latest Samsung Unpacked product reveal event this Tuesday, February 11 seems to be codifying a new trend in their unveiling of new upcoming gadgets. There would be a mainline mobile device and an unorthodox one, plus any notable accessories that could go with either. The new Galaxy S20 smartphone line was expected along with its Plus and Ultra variants. But the Galaxy Z Flip folding smartphone was not only showcased as a finished product, it will also be releasing earlier than the S20s themselves.
But let us focus on the Galaxy S20 first. It is the successor to the Galaxy S10 line from last year, and its number jump by 10 more promises a more powerful smartphone overall, in all its models. All variants are 5G-compatible and have 120hz displays, with the basic S20 at 6.2 inches, the S20+ at 6.7 inches and the S20 Ultra at 6.9 inches. All have a selfie cam, while the base S20 has three rear cams. The Plus and Ultra however have four, with the fourth being a depth sensor. The Ultra also has 100x digital zoom over the S20 and Plus’ 30x.
Significant increases in camera power for the Galaxy S20 line is such that during the event proper, the presenters revealed that the live-streaming of Unpacked being shown on the venue displays were all being taken using multiple S20s on live video feed. The pricing for the new Galaxy line is: $999 for the S20, $1,199 for the S20+, and $1,399 for the S20 Ultra, with preorders starting February 21 ahead of a March 6 release.
Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip folding phone was the surprise hit of the “Unpacked” event, thanks to the hype of so many leaks and a sneak peek commercial during this past Sunday’s Academy Awards. It has a horizontally-folding display with a sturdier glass touchscreen. In fact, the device is built sturdy as a response to the delicate construction of its folding predecessor, the Galaxy Fold. There is also a small screen on the “top” half of the folding clamshell build, showing notifications, battery life, accept/reject call slider, and even a quick selfie camera control.
When unfolded, the main Z Flip display is 6.7 inches or as large as the Galaxy S20+. When folded partway, the screen enters “Flex” mode that is stated by Samsung to be optimal for video calls. The sturdier folding hinge means the Z Flip can hold the Flex position like a mini-laptop. Unfortunately the greater resistance means it is difficult to fold and unfold the device with one hand like the classic flip-top cellular phone the Galaxy Z Flip emulates.
Features of the Z Flip have been leaked or revealed prior: the thin-glass screen is an OLED display, Snapdragon 855 Plus processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage, 3,300mAh battery, two 12-megapixel cameras and a 10-megapixel selfie cam in a screen cutout, with wireless charging and a custom Android 10 MOS that can accommodate the folding-screen display options. Unfortunately the Z Flip is not yet 5G-ready, which is a shame, considering its $1,380 asking price is already close to the Galaxy S20 Ultra. But it is releasing earlier than the S20, this Valentine’s Day on February 14. At least it is cheaper than Motorola’s new Razr flip-top.
Images courtesy of CNN Philippines