Feb 17th, 2020

One of the major problems with foldables until recently was the soft plastic display. Because glass can’t bend and fold, companies like Samsung and Motorola covered their flexible displays on the Galaxy Fold and Razr respectively with a thin sheet of plastic. This made folding phones a reality, but plastic is problematic.

Because plastic is soft, and because the layer used is so thin, the material is super fragile. Pushing too hard with a fingernail will gouge it badly, and it’ll end up looking terrible over time. Samsung seemed to have fixed this with the Galaxy Z Flip, a new foldable announced at Unpacked 2020 with what Samsung calls “Ultra thin glass.”

However, all is not as it seems. JerryRigEverything did his classic scratch test on the Z Flip and it scratched at a level 2. In fact, his fingernail left the same gouges we have seen on previous foldables. Could Samsung have lied about the glass? Or is it some glass hybrid that is mostly plastic?

Well no, it really is glass. Samsung replied to this controversy. Apparently the display is covered in real glass, and it is flexible glass. However, there’s a thin layer of plastic on top of the glass to protect it. One can argue that this defeats the purpose of the glass, because the outer layer you interact with is the same plastic other foldables use. In the end it’ll just get messed up as easily as a foldable without glass. So what was the point of the ultra thin glass?

There was also a report of a Z Flip failure right out of the box. This user opened his phone for the first time and heard cracking. Where the fold is dead center was a line of cracks across the display. The cracking sure does look like glass.

So Samsung definitely didn’t lie about using glass. However they still have plastic on top, which means your new Z Flipw ill be just as delicate as the Galaxy Fold was. If you pick one up, be sure not to touch the display with your fingernail, and as the warning label on the device says, touch the display gently.

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