Samsung was the first Android device maker to release a foldable phone with the Galaxy Fold, and it just launched a second. The Galaxy Z Flip is a smaller clamshell-style foldable, and it’s the first to have a folding glass display. However, an early torture test has cast doubt on the durability of that “glass” display. According to YouTube channel JerryRigEverything, the Galaxy Z Flip’s display scratches just like a plastic one.
Using a glass screen on the Z Flip was a big deal for Samsung — it stressed this feature repeatedly during the announcement. Both the Galaxy Fold and Motor Razr have plastic screens, which makes them more prone to scratching and other forms of damage than glass screens. It is understandably difficult to make a folding glass cover for an OLED panel, but Samsung claimed to have done that with the Z Flip.
JerryRigEverything features durability tests of most new smartphones, and one of those tests gauges the toughness of the screen on the Mohs’ scale. A modern glass phone scratches between a level six and seven, but plastic screens scratch around level two or three. For reference, diamonds are a ten on the Mohs’ scale, and fingernails are about three. JerryRigEverything’s video showed the Galaxy Z Flip scratching ar a level 2 just like the Galaxy Fold, but that shouldn’t happen if it’s glass.
Samsung had to issue an explanation, which reveals something unexpected about the Z Flip. While the screen is made of ultra-thin glass, there’s a plastic layer on top of the glass similar to the one on the Galaxy Fold. Samsung didn’t explain exactly why that plastic layer is there, but it probably has something to do with protecting the glass from damage. As we saw later in the JerryRigEverything video, it definitely needs protection. A sharp object can actually pierce the display because the glass is so incredibly thin. While people do seem to agree that the glass makes the phone feel more solid than devices with plastic screens, it doesn’t have all the properties you’d expect from glass.
So, the Galaxy Z Flip might not be the no-compromise folding phone experience we had hoped it would be. You’ll still need to exercise caution to keep the screen pristine, and scratches might still be inevitable. Clearly, Samsung has managed expectations poorly. Luckily, Samsung offers one screen replacement during the first year of ownership at a reduced cost of $119. We don’t know how much additional screen replacements will be.
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