Samsung flips out: Stylish Galaxy Z Flip foldable for $1,380

Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip includes proprietary Ultra Thin Glass that can be folded and unfolded 200,000 times, but who's counting? (Samsung)

Samsung launched the Galaxy Z Flip on Tuesday, its second-generation foldable smartphone after the Galaxy Fold launched last year.

The new device goes on sale Friday Feb. 14 for $1,380. It features a foldable glass screen with a hideaway hinge design.

The hinge includes tiny nylon fibers that are designed to keep particles out that could damage the interior and the display. When unfolded, the glass screen measures 6.7-inches with a slim bezel around the AMOLED display. .

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“This glass it built to last,” said Rebecca Hirst, head of Samsung’s UK marketing. “It is so durable it folds and unfolds 200,000 times, bending the laws of physics.” Samsung calls its proprietary technology Ultra Thin Glass. Whether the phone display performs as promoted will be important. The first foldable encountered technical glitches, including display cracking.

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In a theatrical reveal of the Galaxy Z Flip that was webcast, Hirst called the device a “thing of beauty” and a “standout smartphone for people who want to stand out.” It is so fashion-focused that Samsung is promoting it during Fashion Week in New York next week.

It will be sold in colors of mirror purple, mirror black and, in some countries, mirror gold.

The phone is also designed with a free-stop hinge, which Samsung calls Flex mode. When slightly folded, the upper half can be used to show a video, while the lower half can be used to stream chat. The two interaction areas also support video chats and hands-free selfies. It can also allow shooting of videos without a tripod.

“The flex mode changes boundaries,” Hirst said.

Even though the crowd of hundreds on San Francisco showed support for the technology and styling, there was muted applause when the launch date and price were announced. Hirst took notice calling it a “mixed” response.

In fact, the $1,380 puts the Galaxy Z Flip well above the average smartphone sales price of $363 in 2018. But it also well below the price of the Galaxy Fold which started at $1,980 in October. The Galaxy Fold has a larger display when opened at 7.3-inches.

The Z Flip provides a 10-megapixel selfie camera as well as dual camera system on the rear with a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera and 12-megapixel wide angle camera. It also runs a 64-bit octa-core processor and has 8GB of RAM, 256 GB of storage and wireless charging. It runs Android 10 and supports 4G LTE with enhanced 2 x 2 MIMO.

Sensors loaded in the Z Flip include a capacitive fingerprint sensor on the side, an accelerometer, barometer, gyro sensor, geomagnetic sensors, hall sensor, proximity sensors and RGB light sensor

Samsung also announced three models of a Galaxy S20, including 8k video capability and 5G wireless connectivity. Samsung used Galaxy S20 cameras to stream the live event. The Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+ and Galaxy S20 Ultra will be released March 6 starting at $999. 

They range in screen size from 6.2-in to 6.7-in. and 6.9-in.

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