Flip Flop

Samsung unveils its second attempt at a foldable smartphone after the Galaxy Fold fiasco.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Make anything thin enough and it can effectively fold itself. The glass Samsung used for the screen of the Galaxy Z Flip is 30 microns thin, roughly the thickness of human hair. Initially, this remarkable engineering feat presented a serious problem – even a slight nick in the glass could potentially shatter the entire screen. To prevent that, the glass now has a soft plastic layer that, unfortunately, collects scratches.

From a performance standpoint, the phone is decent. A snappy Snapdragon 855+ chipset, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage are solid specifications. However, the camera is mediocre and the small display that emerges when the phone is closed provides threadbare information.

So, what then is the purpose of engineering a foldable phone that is essentially a $2,000 tech curiosity? The same questions were raised when the first iPhone came out in 2007. It was the first smartphone to do away with a physical keyboard in favour of a novel touch-based user interface.

Foldable glass might seem like an expensive science experiment, but it could revolutionise other industries. Despite its Galaxy Fold fiasco from a year ago, Samsung is staying true to the ethos of innovation. We applaud its boldness.