Is the Galaxy Z Flip's display glass or plastic?

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

Best answer: The Galaxy Z Flip's folding display is made out of Samsung's "Ultra Thin Glass." It's legit glass that feels every bit as nice under your finger as a traditional smartphone, but it's not on the same durability level. Covering the actual glass is a protective plastic layer, meaning it's still easy to scratch and dent the Z Flip's display.

The Z Flip is the first folding phone with a glass screen

The Galaxy Z Flip is one of the hottest Android phones on the market right now, with one of the biggest selling points for it being the glass display. Taken directly from Samsung's website:

Meet the first-ever folding glass screen on a Galaxy. Yeah, we said folding glass. Made of Samsung Ultra Thin Glass, it sets you up for an epic view with a smooth, flat screen.

Other foldables, such as the Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X, have used plastic displays. Along with being more fragile, this also results in those screens not feeling as nice to touch as the one on the Z Flip. Since Samsung is using glass for its display, it feels just as premium to use as any other phone out there.

But there's a protective plastic layer you need to know about

It's impressive that Samsung was able to start using this new Ultra Thin Glass just about a year after announcing the Galaxy Fold, but it does come with a catch. The Z Flip's folding display is real glass, but it's covered by a protective layer that's made out of plastic.

Shortly after people started getting their hands on the Z Flip, it became apparent that its display wasn't nearly as durable as a traditional glass display. This was really brought to light when YouTube channel JerryRigEverything put the Z Flip through a durability test (see the video above) to reveal just how fragile its screen actually is.

Following that, Samsung shed some light as to what was going on:

Galaxy Z Flip features an Infinity Flex Display with Samsung's Ultra Thin Glass (UTG) to deliver a sleek, premium look and offer an immersive viewing experience. Samsung's first-of-its-kind UTG technology is different from other Galaxy flagship devices. While the display does bend, it should be handled with care. Also, Galaxy Z Flip has a protective layer on top of the UTG similar to Galaxy Fold.

The last sentence in that statement is the most important one. That protective layer covering the Z Flip's display is plastic, and as such, it scratches and dents very easily. You know, as you'd expect from something that's made out of plastic.

This certainly puts a damper on Samsung's big marketing push for the Z Flip and its use of glass, but this early on in the foldable market, I suppose we should expect limitations like this.

It's a step in the right direction

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

So, while the Galaxy Z Flip's folding display is made out of glass, that plastic layer on top means it doesn't always act like glass. It does feel considerably more premium to touch compared to the entirely plastic screen on the Galaxy Fold, but as far as durability goes, the Z Flip is a phone you'll still want to handle with kid gloves.

This is a step in the right direction towards a future where we have entirely glass displays with no need for a plastic cover, but in the meantime, this is the best solution that's available.

It's not perfect, but it's also not awful. It's somewhere in the middle, and right now, that's perfectly fine. Just be sure you know what you're getting into before you spend nearly $1,400 on the phone!

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.