Samsung didn’t waste any time giving users the first ever official glimpse of its next foldable phone, the Galaxy Z Flip, at a major product event on Tuesday.
While many details about the Z Flip had already been leaked prior to the event, Samsung still had a few surprises for users who tuned into its ‘Unpacked’ event, including a new and improved hinge that should help mitigate previous issues with its previous foldable devices as well as details on pricing and official release date.
According to Samsung, the phone will be released on February 14 for a formidable $1,380 (R20 422) – several hundred dollars more than Apple’s most expensive iPhone 11 Pro model.
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The Z Flip, which is the first ever commercially-available folding phone to have a horizontal crease across the center of the device which allows it to bend like a retro clam shell phone, will feature Samsung’s foldable glass and come with a and a 6.7-inch display.
The form factor, which allows the phone to bend over itself horizontally, allows customers to use the device in some unique ways.
Coupled with a hole punch style camera embedded in the Z Flips front-facing display, users can bend the device at a 90-degree angle to take videos, pictures, and also video-chat hands-free by setting the device down and pointing it whatever they want to capture.
A new hinge that the company calls the ‘Hideaway Hinge.’ Samsung says its new hinge is reinforced by fibers that wrap around the actual hinge mechanism to help stave off dirt and other particles that can damage the display and hinder the folding mechanism.
Samsung’s previous folding device, the Galaxy Fold, was plagued by issues relating to its display and hinge that cause critical failures in the screen.
In addition to bolstering the Z Flips hinge, the South Korean teach giant also made marked improvements on its folding lineups user interface.
Among the innovations is what the company calls Multi-Active Window which helps users multi-task by allowing them to drag and drop the apps you want to use to different ends of the screen.
For instance, the feature, which splits the screen horizontally would allow users to ‘scroll through an article on the latest fashion looks on the top half while shopping for your favorite pieces on the bottom’ according to Samsung.
In the case of specific apps like YouTube, Samsung says this ability to split its screen into two would be dynamic and allow one to ‘easily watch and navigate YouTube – stream on the top while searching for other videos, reading descriptions and writing comments on the bottom.’
When the devices is closed and folded over itself, a front-facing display will show users texts and reminders and allow them to check the date and time.
One notable feature not included in the Z Flip will be Samsung’s in-display fingerprint technology which was formerly introduced in its S10 flagship.
Instead the device will use a fingerprint scanner fixed to the phone’s side to unlock the phone.
Previous issues with the S10’s in-display fingerprint scanner created privacy concerns among users who noted that the device could be unlocked by anyone using the feature, especially if a screen protector was applied to the device.
‘At Samsung, we were encouraged by the excitement for the Galaxy Fold. Galaxy Z Flip is an important next step as we look to build the foldable category by bringing to consumers a new form factor, new display and most importantly, a new kind of mobile experience,’ said Dr. TM Roh, President and Head of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics in a statement.
The Z Flip will come in several different colors, including Mirror Purple, Mirror Black, and in some countries, Mirror Gold.
It will be will be available in stores and online through AT&T, Best Buy, Sprint, Samsung Experience Stores and Samsung’s own website.
For the more refined among us, Samsung will also release a more expensive, designer addition of the Z Flip crafted with he help of American fashion designer, Thom Browne.
While the company didn’t list a specific price on the designer iteration of its Z Flip, earlier leaks suggest the device could cost as much as $2,500 – more than $1,000 more than the regular version.