Galaxy Z Flip (MOBHouse Productions)

The future is flippin’

Together with the Galaxy S20 Series, Samsung released their latest folding phone, the Galaxy Z Flip. This new folding phone resembles more of a classic flip phone like the Motorola Razr rather than the Galaxy Fold.

According to Samsung, the Galaxy Z Flip is for people who want to make a statement and stand out from the rest. It received overall positive reviews, mainly due to its more easily-handled form factor compared to the Galaxy Fold.

One of the main improvements according to Samsung was the display, which utilizes a new foldable ‘Ultra Thin Glass’ display instead of plastic. To verify the claims by Samsung, smartphone durability guru JerryRigEverything has put the Galaxy Z Flip through his famed durability test.

How strong is the glass?

Samsung used the term ‘Ultra Thin Glass’ to describe the layer covering its latest folding display. This ‘Ultra Thin Glass’ is produced by Dowoo Insis, after Samsung signed an exclusive deal with them back in 2019. Its name suggests that it is stronger than the plastic used in the Galaxy Fold display.

In the test, JerryRigEverything used a series of hard picks from a Mohs’ Hardness Test Kit, which is widely used to test a substance’s hardness. As a reference, normal smartphone displays that use Corning’s Gorilla Glass usually scratch at level 6 and with deeper grooves at level 7. But for the Galaxy Z Flip’s ‘Ultra Thin Glass’, it was found to scratch at a mere level 2, which indicates the hardness of plastic.

Additionally, he also applied a naked flame to the display, which is a normal routine for his durability tests. Surprisingly, the shape of the display started to warp just like plastic would. Finally, he used a fine point to poke the display. Instead of shattering like normal glass would, the point pierced through the layer and destroyed the pixels underneath, which shouldn’t happen to a normal glass-covered display.

Galaxy Z Flip Display Damaged (MOBHouse Productions)
Permanently destroyed pixels on the Galaxy Z Flip display. (Image: JerryRigEverything)

Why Is This Happening?

After conducting the tests, JerryRigEverything theorized that the Galaxy Z Flip’s display is likely made of “hybrid plastic polymer with little specks of glass ingredients inside”. This means that while there will be specks of glass in the display, its durability won’t come close to the likes of Corning’s Gorilla Glass.

In a response to The Verge, a Samsung representative said,

“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.”

Does this mean that the layer scratched was the protective layer? If so, the ‘Ultra Thin Glass’ itself might not have been scratched. Still, the protective layer is not user replaceable, making it a little counter-intuitive.

Though, Samsung mentioned that they will be launching a program soon for a free screen protector that “will be applied by a specialist with the proper equipment to align and apply it.”. They will also offer Galaxy Z Flip owners a “one-time screen replacement” for $119 (RM494). Not too bad!

Galaxy Z Flip Ultra Thin Glass (MOBHouse Productions)
Bendable but not 100% glass. (Image: Samsung)

Should you be concerned?

Currently, the Galaxy Z Flip is not announced for sale in Malaysia. While it’s not certain whether it will eventually come, everyone should take note of this issue. If you have the chance of getting your hands on one, make sure to be careful while handling the display.

What do you think? Is glass actually used on the display panel? Or it is just another marketing gimmick? Let us know!