Samsung's next foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Z Flip, is expected to be shown off in full at the February 11 "Galaxy Unpacked" event. But to tide you over until then, a set of official renders and a full spec sheet have been posted by the German site WinFuture.
The pictures show a phone that shares a lot of DNA with Samsung's first foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold.
Just like on the Fold, there's a raised bezel around the edge. On the Fold, this held the display to the body of the device and protected it while it was closed. The bezel was also pretty annoying, though: Android features several edge gestures, and trying to swipe in from the side or bottom of the device is awkward when the bezel isn't flush with the display. We can also see the same T-shaped hinge caps that were added to the second, post-recall version of the Galaxy Fold after it was delayed.
Like the Galaxy Fold, it sounds like the Z Flip is going to have a creased display and close into a wedge shape so it doesn't crush the display crease. WinFuture lists two thickness dimensions for when it's closed: 15.3mm and 17.3mm, which would be the tall and short side of the wedge. Several pictures show the phone in an L shape, like a tiny little laptop. WinFuture's report suggests that Samsung will pitch this as a way to easily see the phone while it's on a table.
A full spec sheet was posted, and interestingly, the phone features last year's Qualcomm chip, the Snapdragon 855+, instead of the newer Snapdragon 865, which is launching with the other phone that will be shown off alongside the Z Flip, the Galaxy S20. Samsung is Qualcomm's biggest customer, and Samsung phones usually launch with the newest Qualcomm chip, so this is odd.
I can imagine only two scenarios that result in Samsung launching a phone with an old chip. One possibility is that this phone was originally scheduled to come out last year—perhaps alongside the Galaxy Note 10 in August—and was delayed to 2020 after the problems with the Galaxy Fold.
A second possibility: the Snapdragon 865, with its separate 4G/5G modem, might not be a good fit for a phone with a 3300mAh battery. Both a separate modem in the Snapdragon 865 and the mandatory inclusion of 5G should make the chip use more power than last year. Samsung's Galaxy S20 line is rumored to be bigger than last year and have across-the-board battery size increases as a result. This is all speculation at this point, but the bigger bodies and batteries might be a necessity to get decent battery life out of the Snapdragon 865. Cutting the phone in half with a giant hinge means there isn't as much room for a battery.
Besides the Snapdragon 855+, we have a 6.7-inch OLED display with a resolution of 2636x1080. Instead of the delicate plastic of the Galaxy Fold, the Z Flip is rumored to be covered by an "Ultra Thin Glass." We know companies are working on flexible glass for these folding smartphone displays. The industry leader is Corning, the maker of the "Gorilla Glass" cover that adorns nearly every high-end smartphone, but Corning's bendable glass solution is not on the market yet. One report out of Germany is that Samsung's partner is Schott, a German glass producer.
A smooth, hard, durable (relatively speaking) glass cover would be a big deal, since a negative of the Galaxy Fold was the delicate, squishy plastic display cover. The Moto Razr, Samsung's folding flip-phone rival, is in the same plastic-covered boat as the Galaxy Fold, and Motorola recently warned that "bumps and lumps are normal" in the display.
The spec sheet lists 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, a 3300mAh battery, a single 10MP front camera, and two rear cameras, one main and one ultra-wide. As we've seen in pictures, there's a tiny front display, which measures just 1.06 inches with a resolution of 300×116.
XDA's Max Weinbach, who recently scored live pictures of the Galaxy S20, says the phone will cost $1,400, which would be right in line with the Moto Razr. We'll know more on February 11.