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Everything we think we know about Samsung’s next foldable phone

Samsung’s next Unpacked event, where the company is expected to announce its next flagship phones, is taking place on February 11th, and the rumor mill has already given us a pretty good idea of what to expect. A follow-up to the Galaxy S10 series (apparently called the Galaxy S20) seems like a lock. But rumors also point toward Samsung introducing its second folding-screen phone at the same event, one that might look very different from the troubled Galaxy Fold. The new phone reportedly folds up flip phone-style, similar to the new Motorola Razr, which will be out on February 6th.

It’s a phone we’ve had on our radar for some time now, as Bloomberg reported last March that Samsung was working on a clamshell-style foldable, and Samsung officially teased a clamshell foldable concept last October. But it seems as if a real, vertically folding phone from Samsung might actually be revealed at Unpacked.

There have been a lot of rumors about this new phone, apparently called the Galaxy Z Flip, and we’ve collected everything we can find about it right here.

The Galaxy Fold was a tablet-sized thing that folded into a phone, but the Galaxy Z Flip looks to be a phone-sized thing that can get even smaller. You can get a decent idea looking at the alleged pictures of the Z Flip, posted to Weibo, that we’ve included in this post. The Z Flip looks like most other smartphones when unfolded, but it seems to fold up into a small square in a way that reminds me of a closed-up Game Boy Advance SP.

The Z Flip’s square folded shape has also shown up in what appear to be leaked marketing photos of the device shared by WinFuture.

Otherwise, the Z Flip seems to be going for a similar vibe as Motorola’s new Razr foldable, which is also a normal-sized phone that folds up into something smaller. Though you can see in the picture below that the Razr has a chin, even when folded, while rumored photos of the Z Flip seem to suggest its two halves may close more symmetrically.

However, there’s a chance the Z Flip might have a tiny gap between its two halves when closed; two small bumps are visible on the bottom corners of the screen in this apparent marketing render from WinFuture:

The first version of the Galaxy Fold was infamous for its unreliable plastic screen, which broke within days for many reviewers (including at The Verge), forcing the company to delay the Fold and redesign it. The Razr hasn’t been released yet, so we don’t know if its screen will have similar issues, but Motorola has already warned that “bumps and lumps” on the screen are “normal.” The Z Flip, however, is rumored to have a glass screen, and maybe that could help it avoid some of the inconsistencies in the plastic screens of the Fold and Razr.

Phone leaker Ice Universe claimed in December that the Z Flip would have a glass screen:

It can be confirmed that the Galaxy Fold2 leaked not long ago will use an ultra-thin glass cover for the first time in the world, replacing plastic materials. The screen looks flatter and has less wrinkles. In fact, this is the correct cover material for foldable phones. pic.twitter.com/BS73BCsA4N

Leaker Max Weinbach also said something similar earlier this month, adding that there might be an extra plastic layer to provide additional protection for the screen.

Samsung was very smart with the Galaxy Z Flip (just got word this is the name.)

They are using ultra thin glass and plastic. Samsung will be layering a plastic over the ultra thin glass for extra protection. If it gets scratched, it’s only the plastic and not the display.

Weinbach has also shared an apparent brand name for the glass: “Samsung Ultra Thin Glass,” a term for which Samsung also applied for a trademark last year in Europe.

But there’s also a report that Samsung’s partnered with German glass manufacturer Schott, which has been developing an ultra-thin glass process for several years, originally for companies that used it to cover their phones’ fingerprint sensors.

The Galaxy Z Flip name appeared on a certification on an Indonesian government website, as reported by SamMobile, which seems to lend weight to that being the official name. Weinbach has been calling the phone the Z Flip since January 14th when he reportedly heard that would be the name of the phone. WinFuture also says the phone may be called Z Flip.

In early January, however, a blurry photo surfaced from Korean outlet Ajunews that suggested the phone might be called the Bloom. That name and the blurry image were apparently shown off at closed-door meetings at CES where the Bloom was reportedly said to be designed for female customers in their 20s and made to resemble a foundation compact box from French cosmetics brand Lancôme. The Bloom name was apparently supposed to evoke the image of a flower opening and closing.

WinFuture says Bloom was a codename, though. We think Bloom is less likely to be the phone’s actual name given the Indonesian certification and Weinbach’s use of Z Flip.

The phone’s OLED display will apparently be 6.7 inches diagonally, according to leaker Ishan Agarwal, which would make it bigger than the Razr’s 6.2-inch display. That screen may have an FHD+ (2636 x 1080) resolution with a 22:9 aspect ratio, according to WinFuture.

You might also be able to notice a small display on the Z Flip when it’s closed in this rumored photo of the phone posted on Weibo:

It looks as if you’ll be able to see the time on that display, and the small screen could also show you charging speeds, battery info, and be used as a viewfinder for the rear camera, according to Weinbach. WinFuture also reports that the front screen is a 1.06-inch OLED display with a 300 x 116 resolution and always-on support.

However, the Z Flip’s front screen looks much smaller than the Razr’s 2.7-inch front-facing OLED display.

The Z Flip may use a Snapdragon 855+ chip, says Weinbach and WinFuture, which offers higher peak clock speeds and a 15 percent GPU performance improvement over the non-plus Snapdragon 855 and a flagship-tier processor. The upcoming Motorola Razr has a midrange Snapdragon 710, by comparison. The Z Flip may have 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage, but it doesn’t support microSD for expandable storage, according to WinFuture.

Weinbach and WinFuture’s leaks together have revealed nearly all of the detailed specs for the Z Flip. The Z Flip may have dual 12-megapixel back cameras, one wide and one ultrawide. That hole-punch front camera you see in photos may contain 10 megapixels, according to Agarwal and might have autofocus, according to WinFuture. Ajunews reported the Z Flip might be the first phone to be able to record 8K video, though it’s not clear at what quality.

The phone could have a 3,300mAh battery and support 15-watt fast charging, wireless charging, and reverse wireless charging, meaning you could be able to charge your Galaxy Buds just by placing them on the phone. (Though I’m curious which side of the phone might actually do the charging.) That battery might be split into two parts, so perhaps there will be a battery in both “halves” of the phone. The Z Flip may also have a capacitive fingerprint sensor on its side.

It doesn’t seem likely that the Z Flip will support 5G, as Federal Communications Commission filings spotted by PhoneScoop for a Samsung phone that could be the Z Flip don’t indicate the phone will support any US 5G bands. WinFuture also reports that it won’t support 5G.

However, Samsung has recently turned non-5G phones into 5G phones by adding a separate 5G modem, like it did with the Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G, so there’s always the chance Samsung could do something similar with the Z Flip. And Ajunews reported in early January that a 5G version of the Z Flip may be released in South Korea, so perhaps Samsung does have plans for a 5G-enabled Z Flip at some point.

Based on the rumored photos and apparent marketing images, it doesn’t look as if the Z Flip will have a headphone jack.

In October, Samsung showed off a clever way it might use the crease in the middle of a clamshell-style foldable’s screen as a dividing line to split the screen into two parts and push content just to the top screen.

Weinbach says the Z Flip will actually be able to do something like what Samsung teased, as it might be able to lock at 90 degrees so you can use the bottom half of the phone to support the top half.

That hinge may also hold the Z Flip’s screen in position at any angle, according to Weinbach, though WinFuture reports that the hinge can only support angles between 70 and 110 degrees.

Just got a message from my source with more info on this. It’s a double pivot hinge. You can basically use it to free stop at any wide and useful angle and it will hold. Seems pretty great. https://t.co/jRK4YjmPI4

Regardless of exactly how flexible that hinge is, I think a self-supporting hinge could be a really useful way to do things like let you take video calls without having to hold up your phone, for example. Samsung may also make software tweaks to the Z Flip to make it work well with photo apps like Instagram, and it might market the phone as “influencer ready,” according to WinFuture.

The Z Flip might be a pricey $1,400 with a “likely” launch date of February 14th, according to one source who spoke with Weinbach. That source apparently told him that the phone may be an AT&T timed exclusive but also could be available in an unlocked model.

Just head from a new source:
Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip will likely launch on February 14th. It retails at $1400. It’s possible it is an AT&T exclusive again, but this time it might be a timed exclusive. It will also be available unlocked.

That rumored price, if true, would be expensive, but it would make the Z Flip cheaper than the $1,499 Motorola Razr and much cheaper than the $1,980 Galaxy Fold.

The Z Flip may launch in Europe on February 14th as well with a price of around €1,500, according to WinFuture.

Related

Update January 28th, 3:42PM ET: Added details published by WinFuture.

This Article was first published on theverge.com

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