Samsung busts own embargo on Galaxy Z flip-phone

Author
Chris Keall, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 11 Feb 2020, 4:03PM
A still from Samsung's 15-second teaser ad for its latest handset, which screened in the US during the Oscars. Image / PC World
A still from Samsung's 15-second teaser ad for its latest handset, which screened in the US during the Oscars. Image / PC World

Samsung busts own embargo on Galaxy Z flip-phone

Author
Chris Keall, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 11 Feb 2020, 4:03PM

Samsung's first 'Unpacked' event of 2020 isn't scheduled until Wednesday NZT, with non-disclosure briefings today - but the Korean giant busted its own embargo during the Academy Awards.

In a surprise TV ad rolling moments after Brad Pitt won his first Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, Samsung showed off its latest folding Galaxy phone for the first time - which will be called the Galaxy Z, according to US reports.

Samsung already has a folding-screen phone on the market: the $3399 Galaxy Fold, which unfurls into a mini-tablet (see clip below).

The Galaxy Z, which has a purple or black shell, is smaller.

At first glance, it seems similar to Motorola's recent re-boot of its iconic Razr, which briefly ruled the smartphone world in the 2000s, before iPhone and Android stormed in.

Samsung perhaps went early with its Oscar ad because the Galaxy Z has been beset by leaks.

A spec sheet published by Ars Technica and other maintains it has a 6.7-inch OLED internal display with a resolution of 2636x1080, a tiny front display, which measures just 1.06 inches on the diagonal with a resolution of 300×116; a Snapdragon 855+ processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, a 3300mAh battery, a single 10MP front camera, and two rear cameras - one main and one ultra-wide.

We'll learn more about the Z in the coming days.

Worth their salt?

The short story on folding-screen phones so far is that they pass the "crease test" - unless you know where to look, it's hard to spot the hinge along the middle of the screen.

But they are as expensive as all heck, relatively chubby, and false-starts with the initial release of the Galaxy Fold and Huawei's Mate X (not yet available in NZ) have raised questions about reliability.

Samsung also gets minus points for not releasing the 5G version of the Galaxy Fold in NZ.

And it didn't help that in a CNET torture test of the new Razr, its bendy screen barely lasted 27,000 folds. If you think of that as using your flip-phone a dozen times every waking hour (which would constitute modest use, for this writer) that translates to less than a year.

Watch for more bendy-screen hardware before year's end.

Lenovo (which also owns Motorola's handset business these days) used CES to preview the world's first laptop with a foldable display.

The Lenovo X1 Fold is due mid-year.

Dell, HP and others have plans to follow, with Microsoft due to release a special version of its OS - Windows 10X - aimed at bendy-screen laptops later this year.

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