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It’s official: Samsung unveils the Galaxy Z Flip

Small on form factor, big on price

After months of leaks, Samsung has officially unveiled the Galaxy Z Flip at its Unpacked event in San Francisco. And yep, everything is pretty much what we knew about, except the price – not cheap – and an unexpected but welcome freebie for buyers.

But let’s get the main meat of the phone out the way. It’s a folding handset, like the Galaxy Fold, only less fragile and smaller. While the Fold was designed to open into a big old tablet, the Z Flip is intended to be made smaller, folding in half to be a compact square that can be neatly stored away.

Head of UK Mobile Product Marketing Rebecca Hirst – yes, we got a Brit showcasing it, so it was definitely “zed Flip”, not “zee flip” – was keen to highlight the sturdiness of the device. It can withstand a massive 200,000 folds, and the hinge is designed to keep dust out – very much an Achilles heel on last year’s Galaxy Fold, which required a whole redesign and a pushback on its original release date.

Buy Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

So why would you want a phone that folds in two? Well it’s definitely a fashion statement first and foremost, but it does have some neat practical applications. Flex mode, for example, lets the top side of the screen stay at a fixed angle, like an open laptop.

This, in turn, has been optimised for certain apps. The camera app lets you sit it on the table for selfies, meaning you don’t need to hold onto the phone. The YouTube app, meanwhile, is essentially split screen, with videos appearing on top, and comment writing appearing at the bottom.

And that development may explain the freebie I mentioned earlier – Samsung will be giving away YouTube Premium subscriptions to buyers. They didn’t say how long for, but the YouTube landing page suggests it’s going to be four months, and then charged at the usual £11.99 rate.

Speaking of pounds, gosh, it’s expensive. Hirst said it’ll start at $1,380 and that apparently translates to £1,300 over here. This attracted some sharp inhalations of breath from the audience. “That’s kind of a mixed response,” Hirst joked.

Buy Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

But if that price doesn’t put you off, then you won’t have long to wait. Hirst says the phone will be available from 14 February, available in black, purple and – in some markets, though not the UK – gold. Look out for our hands-on thoughts very soon to let you know if it’s worth your time.

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