Best answer: As far as foldable phones go, the Galaxy Z Flip is about as durable as they come. Its hinge has been tested by Samsung to go through 200,000 folds without any issues, meaning it shouldn't give out on you at any point in owning the phone. It also features Samsung's new Ultra Thin Glass, making it the first folding phone on the market with a glass display. However, the protective plastic layer covering that glass means you'll still need to put up with frequent scratches and dents.
- Handle with care: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip ($1,380 at Samsung)
The hinge can be folded 200,00 times
At the core of every folding smartphone is the hinge that allows it to fold in the first place. The hinge on the Z Flip is one of the most durable you'll find, with Samsung saying the following about it:
Inspired by a lotus blossom, the Hideaway Hinge is precisely articulated for a satisfying folding motion—even allowing you to adjust the folding angle. Sweeper technology helps repel dirt and dust to keep your folds as smooth as your style.
The hinge has been tested to fold 200,000 times, meaning it should last for about five years of regular use without any problems creeping up. Lab testing obviously isn't the same as real-world use, but Samsung is pretty confident that its hinge won't give out at any point during your ownership of the phone.
Not only is the Z Flip's hinge strong enough to be fully open and closed, but it has enough resistance that you can actually open it halfway so that the bottom half of the Z Flip lies flat on a table while the top portion sits upright. This allows you to use the Z Flip in ways you couldn't with a normal phone, such as propping it up for a family portrait or doing a hands-free vlog/video chat.
What you need to know about the "glass" display
Along with the hinge, the other durability factor that comes into play with folding phones is the display. Traditional smartphones use glass to cover their display panels, allowing for a premium feel and top-notch protection against scratches.
The Galaxy Z Flip is the first folding phone to ship with a foldable glass display. As noted by Samsung:
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.
That Ultra Thin Glass on the Z Flip is the real deal, allowing the Z Flip's screen to feel much nicer than something like the Galaxy Fold or Huawei Mate X, which have all-plastic screens. However, even though the Z Flip has glass, it doesn't offer nearly the same scratch-resistance we've come to expect on our phones.
Covering Samsung's Ultra Thin Glass is a protective layer made out of plastic. This helps to ensure the Z Flip is as durable as can be, but it also means that its folding display is very susceptible to scratches and dents. Just pressing a little too hard on the Z Flip's screen with your fingernail will result in it being scratched, so it's definitely something you'll want to treat with care and caution.
About as durable as folding phones get right now
By nature, folding phones aren't as durable as their non-folding counterparts — at least not right now. We're bound to see durability enhancements in the coming years, but in 2020, the Galaxy Z Flip is about the best you can do in these regards.
Samsung's hinge is legit, offering peace-of-mind with the 200,000-fold rating and a cool factor thanks to the added resistance for being able to prop the Z Flip up with a halfway-fold. We also appreciate the Ultra Thin Glass, even with its disappointing scratch-resistance.
You'll want to handle the Z Flip with care should you choose to buy it, but Samsung's designed the phone to be as durable as it possibly can this early on in the foldable lifecycle.
Handle with care
A good benchmark, but with room to improve
Folding phones are a very new form factor, and right now, the Galaxy Z Flip is about as durable of one as you can get. Its hinge can go through 200,000 folds without any issues, with the Ultra Thin Glass allowing for a more structurally sound display. However, since there is a plastic layer over that glass, the Z Flip's screen can still be scratched much easier than glass on a traditional phone.
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