Galaxy Z Flip durability test calls Samsung’s Ultra Thin ‘Glass’ into question

Image: JerryRigEverything (YouTube)

Samsung’s claim that the new Galaxy Z Flip uses “Ultra Thin Glass” sounded like a true breakthrough when the foldable phone was announced last week. Until now, foldable screens have used plastic displays, which can be easily scratched with even a fingernail. The Z Flip making the switch to glass, however thin it might be, had us hopeful that it would hold up better to long-term use.

But it seems that might not be the case.

Zack Nelson has gotten his hands on Samsung’s second attempt at a foldable phone, and the results of his JerryRigEverything durability test do not inspire confidence.

The Z Flip’s display starts showing permanent marks and scratches far earlier than actual glass would. Part of the tried and true JerryRigEverything test is putting phones through a gauntlet of Mohs hardness picks to test when the display glass starts showing damage. If you’ve watched Zack’s videos before, you’ve likely heard that modern smartphones have “scratches starting at a level 6, with deeper grooves at a level 7.”

The Z Flip starts picking up damage at level 2 and more significantly at 3, which is on par with the plastic screens of the Galaxy Fold and more recent Motorola Razr. “This screen is in no way scratch resistant whatsoever,” Nelson says near the end of the video. At the end of the clip, he begins poking holes in the screen that make the OLED panel go on the fritz — but there’s no sign of any glass fracturing.

At the unveiling of the Galaxy Z Flip, Samsung was categorical that it was glass. My colleague Dieter Bohn pressed Samsung representatives for more information on who Samsung’s partner is for manufacturing it, how it was made to bend, and what processes were applied to the glass. At the time, Samsung declined to comment on all those questions. But the company offered a response when we asked for comment on this story.

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,” a spokesperson said by email. “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.

Is Samsung trying to say that we’re only seeing scratches on the outer protective layer? Those look pretty deep and permanent, but it’s possible. This is the layer Samsung is talking about:

GIF: Samsung

We asked Samsung if it planned to offer a screen replacement service for the Z Flip as it did with the Galaxy Fold. It will. Z Flip buyers can get a one-time screen replacement for $119, Samsung says. In addition, you can also get a specialized screen protector designed for the Z Flip for free one time. Here’s the company’s statement on that:

As part of Premier Service, we will offer a one-time free application of a screen protector for the Z Flip at select UBIF [U Break I Fix], Samsung branded locations or by sending it to Samsung Premier Service via mail,” the company added. “The screen protector will be applied by a specialist with the proper equipment to align and apply it. The program is rolling out soon.

Nelson thinks Samsung could be using a hybrid plastic polymer (with microscopic bits of glass mixed in) so it can advertise this display as “glass.” But if it really can be scratched this easily, what seemed like a significant selling point for the $1,380 Galaxy Z Flip is starting to look like overblown marketing.

Comments

Samsung capitalized the word glass, so they could weasel out and claim that the "Glass" is just a marketing name.

100% beef

"Where’s the beef?"

There is a difference between advertising something as being Ultra Thin and Ultra Hard. Samsung said their glass (not gorilla glass 5) was Ultra Thin and Flexible.

NOWHERE IS THAT FALSE ADVERTISING!!

Glass, which has a rating, can either be weak or strong. Did they specifically advertise it as being sapphire glass or gorilla glass 5? No!

Fact: The screen on the Galaxy Flip Z (glass) is more durable than the screen on the Galaxy Fold (plastic) and Razar (plastic). Samsung achieved what they set out to create with today’s technology and seeing how no other manufacturer can offer anything similar at this moment, they’ve succeeded.

Try to look more shill-y haha, wow

Edit: whoops, meant for Mr. Steven ofc

he screen on the Galaxy Flip Z (glass) is more durable than the screen on the Galaxy Fold (plastic)

More durable is relative. The Z is still inferior to every other smartphone on the market, save for the OG Fold and the Razr.

I think a bunch of people need to go back and read the article. Especially the Samsung reponse, "Also, Galaxy Z Flip has a protective layer on top of the UTG similar to Galaxy Fold."

Apparently the brilliant minds at Samsung made a "glass" screen permanently encased in plastic.

So the "glass" screen buys me what, exactly? Especially when the "protective layer" is as soft and malleable as that in the Fold?

It gives a slightly harder feeling I guess.

Hey Mr. Steven, there are a lot of ALL CAPS, Bold, and !!!!! in your comment.

You’re trying a little too hard there buddy.

And you’re convincing no one of anything.

Indeed, that styling makes the comment look trashy, tacky, hard-to-read.

Samsung achieved what they set out to create with today’s technology and seeing how no other manufacturer can offer anything similar at this moment, they’ve succeeded.

It doesn’t matter if they have something better than other manufacturers, or if what they have is the best that can achieved with today’s technology.

The only thing that matters is if the result is good enough for daily use by the average consumer. If it isn’t, they shouldn’t release a product that’s unfit for use just so they can claim they were the first to do it. It’s not about who’s first, it’s about who is the first to get it right.

Your formatting is a bit heavy handed, but there’s a teardown which shows the layers now: Android Police link

Definitely looks like glass to me…

Looks like a plastic film, just like the original Fold.

What someone should check is whether or not the screens are in fact identical. That is, whether or not the Fold also has a "glass" layer, but in that case they decided to call it plastic because that’s what’s on top and that’s what the user experiences.

Your comment is hot garbage. Stop defending awfulness and outright falsity. It is in no shape or form any type of GLASS. Watch the test. It is is ZERO ways more durable than the others. It scratches at the same level. Don’t be a shill.

Fact: If all three screens scratch at the same level, it is NOT more durable. Your statement is demonstrably false.

You must be a Samsung employee because your comment is based on a lie and it’s easy to expose. The video shows the screen you and Samsung call "glass" getting scratched from a fingernail. Glass doesn’t scratch from a fingernail. This test reminds me of people who claim their jewlery is real until it gets tested and exposed as fake. Samsung glass is just like fake jewlery…looks and seems real until it was tested and exposed.

Lol, hilarious post.

Ultra Thin and Ultra Hard have nothing to do with the fact that fingernails scratch that Plastic Ass display. You can just look at how it scratches and see that it’s plastic.

Glass, which has a rating, doesn’t look like it’s made from the same materials as swimming pool toys. Did Samsung specifically advertise it as being glass? Yes!

Fact: The screen on the Galaxy Flip Z (plastic) is as durable as Tupperware (plastic) and zip lock bags (plastic). Samsung achieved what they set out to accomplish, which is bullshitting the consumer with today’s marketing department, and seeing how no other manufacturer has tried pulling this stunt, one has to wonder how big the balls of the higher ups must be.

Tupperware is actually stronger than this. You can’t just dent it with a fingernail.

succeeded in what? Its the same hardness as the Razar, check the reviews of both phones. The whole point of glass is that it is harder. But thiers is not. They succeeded in making soft glass that does not outperform plastic. By saying you are using glass, they implied (based on the history of plastic vs glass smartphones) that it would be harder. they did not clarify that it would not be harder, and therefore misled.

"They succeeded in making soft glass…"

Read Samsung’s own comments. They "succeeded" in covering glass with plastic. And many people are even questioning that.

Sir, this is a Wendy’s.

Still not glass — just glass-like. Saying that it’s more durable than other folding screens is just moving goalposts — it avoids the point of the conversation (the actual material used) by leaning on marketing speak. Glass has three main properties; Hard, brittle and transparent/translucent. Thin and flexible are not characteristics of glass so pointing to it to prove anything is just seen as disingenuous.

It is understandable why it’s not actually glass (needs to fold) just don’t lie and say it is what it’s not, just for the sake of marketing.

On their website it says "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."

https://www.samsung.com/global/galaxy/galaxy-z-flip/

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