During the glitzy Academy Awards broadcast, you might’ve clocked an advertisement from Samsung tucked into the churn of furry cat suits, baffling performances, and parasitic fanfare. In it, a new flip phone—yes, a flip phone, because everything old is new again—danced across the screen. (Actually, you might not have seen it. The Oscars had historically low viewership this year. Either way, trust us, it was teased on Sunday night.) And two days later, Samsung’s Unpacked event gave the world a more in-depth view at its new folding phone, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip.
This is the most true-to-form flipping smart phone yet, if your gold standard for flip phones was defined in 2006 and has remained unaltered since. The front has one tiny touchscreen that allows you to take calls, check the time, preview texts, and whatnot, plus a dual camera. But for the most part, it’s screenless. Once opened, an AMOLED screen stretches 6.7 inches across the entire inside of the phone, including over the hinge, with an inside camera lens embedded into the top center. The bezels are thin, too.
When folded, the Galaxy Z Flip is nearly square, a palm-sized device that’ll fit into pockets a lot better than a Samsung Galaxy S20, which Samsung also announced, or iPhone 11. It’ll stay unfolded at any angle, and you know what that means? You can prop it halfway open like a laptop and use the selfie camera to take up-angle shots of you and your friends while you play Sims 2, chat on AIM, and smear glitter makeup on your eyes. God, 2006 was great.
Back to the bread and butter: The Galaxy Z Flip comes in three shimmery colors: purple, black, and gold. Its has dual 12MP cameras for wide and ultra wide angles, and plenty of featured modes like slow-motion, panoramic, and 4K video recording. It supports wireless charging, though Samsung doesn’t give specifics on the the battery life. No word yet either as to whether or not the Galaxy Z Flip sounds cool when you flip it closed, which unfortunately is a make it or break it feature for us. Get the full rundown on the specs from Samsung here.
The Galaxy Z Flip will be released in limited quantities on February 14, Valentine’s Day (cute), and it’ll cost $ 1,380, which is a lot of money but still less than the other folding phones on the market right now.
Speaking of folding phones; they’re so hot right now. Samsung was the first to go to market in a big way with the 2019 Samsung Galaxy Fold, which was a beast—long, chunky, hefty, and nearly $ 2,000. You could see the appeal of it, bridging the gap between smartphone and tablet, but its hulking design was too outrageous to take seriously. Plus, its hinge didn’t feel strong and its bezels were thicc boys. It was as far from flipping seamlessly open and close as it was from tap dancing.
Then, Motorola brought back its iconic Razr flip phone, slapping a single, gapless folding glass screen on the inside and a smart display on the front of the device. Damn, did it look cool. You could even throw it into retro mode, which displayed the light-up dial and keys on the inside screen, to really relive your glory year of, you guessed it, 2006. But by the time it went up for sale last week, the reviews weren’t flattering—it reportedly has a weird, noisy hinge, a bad camera, and limited battery life. Oh, and it costs $ 1,500.
For us average smartphone users, that’s two strikes against folding smartphones. The Galaxy Z Flip could be the third, if its fundamental mechanism sucks in any way. But it’s the early days yet. As flip phones get smarter and more durable, they might also get cheaper so we can all snap our way into the future.