Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review: 5 things to know about the Thom Browne Edition
This super-exclusive phone and smartwatch boxset is a premium-priced joy.
If you are going to pay out for a folding phone then you might as well go the distance and get one that oozes style. That’s our verdict, after spending a few weeks with the Thom Browne Edition of the Galaxy Z Flip.
For those who are unaware, Thom Browne is a luxury US suit maker. The company is the epitome of modern tailoring so it’s a good fit for Samsung’s latest flip phone, which positions itself at the top of the premium pile. And its recent showing at Paris Fashion Week (which feels a million years away from our current lock-down situation) was a nice touch.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is the latest foldable from Samsung. After the delayed, but relatively successful Samsung Galaxy Fold (which eventually sold out), Samsung brought out the Z Flip, a new form factor that looks damn-well more stylish and pocket friendly than the Fold.
But is this special edition all style and no substance?
Here’s everything you need to know…
1. The Thom Browne Edition isn’t just a phone…
The box that the Thom Browne Edition of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is rather plush and rather massive. That’s because it houses not just the phone but a pair of Galaxy Buds+ and a great-looking Galaxy Watch Active2 smartwatch. All of these have been given a Thom Browne makeover.
There is a brilliant touch of visual identity with the Thom Browne brand. The phone has the iconic black, white and red stripe down the middle and that continues to the back of the device. Turn it on and a Thom Brown background is automatically downloaded, which has an animated version of the stripe.
The accompanying Galaxy Watch Active2 has been given a great new look - it comes with a number of exclusive faces and the choice of two straps: A grey leather and a black rubber on - both have Thom Browne flourishes.
As for Galaxy Buds+, the box they come in looks lovely in grey and the Thom Browne stripe is down the middle of the box. It is on each earbud, too.
There is a secret drawer situated at the bottom of the box. Open this up and you have a leather case and the extra strap.
2. The Z Flip Thom Browne Edition is one of the most stylish phones
We were impressed with the Samsung Galaxy Fold as it was a phone that showed real innovation in what is a staid and rather boring phone market at the moment. The Z Flip manages to retain that innovation but adds a whole heap of style to proceedings, too.
The Thom Browne flourishes don't just end with the design. The UI on the phone has been given a makeover. There's a typewriter sound for when you are typing out a message and an analog sounding home phone ringtone as well. When you get a message, the sound is like someone tapping on marble.
All the main icons have been changed and designed by Thom Browne. They look like stamps on the screen. It's all very slick. There are a number of animations, too - including a venetian blinds animated wallpaper (which appears when you turn the phone on and off) .
3. The Z Flip is a fun phone to use
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip's AMOLED screen is 6.7 inches when fully folded, and it's an utter joy to fold - although you still get the fear that one heavy handed flip will smash the thing. It won't.
When unfolded, it's a thin phone, measuring 167.9 x 73.6 x 7.2mm. These measurements when folded change to a smaller and chunkier 167.9 x 73.6 x 17.3-15.4mm. The Z flip also has a tiny 1-1-inch screen on the front for notifications and the like. A fingerprint scanner is hidden in the side button and there are plenty of cameras on this thing.
Folding it into a clamshell feels a lot more appropriate for a phone - we felt the Galaxy Fold when folded out was more like a tablet, while this one goes from a compact device into a proper phone shape.
It's powerful, too, with a Qualcomm 855 chip and 8GB of RAM inside. But the best thing for us is how great it feels flipping the thing. It really does feel like a premium device and the Thom Browne makeover turns up the premium factor.
There are a few caveats: you can still see and feel the crease on the screen and there's only one speaker on the bottom of the device, so sound could be improved. Fully charging the thing also felt like it took longer than most phones we have tried. And there's no speed charging here.
It's also definitely not waterproof so you have to take care fo the thing - which you will want to do as it is a device to be coveted.
4. The Galaxy Watch Active2 manages to look and feel like a real watch
While the Z Flip is definitely the star of the show here, inside the Thom Browne box is also a variant fo the Galaxy Watch Active2 smartwatch. This was already a great smartwatch that comes with offline Spotify storage and automatic workout tracking.
It's really comfortable to wear, too. It's also iOS and Android compatible. Although there is a rubber strap enclosed here (with Thom Browne styling), it's all about the leather strap here.
Samsung really wants you to wear this smartwatch in the boardroom which is no bad thing. The Thom Browne style is also part of the UI, with a number of exclusive watch faces.
5. Samsung has improved its True Wireless earphones
Samsung has really upped the quality of its True Wireless earphones since the original iteration of the Samsung Echo Buds. We love the new style here, courtesy of Thom Browne - the slate grey look and the strip, again, give the earphones a premium feel.
While there can't be anything else done to them to add some Thom Browne flair (as there is no UI), the quality of the audio is great. The touch buttons work well and the battery life is better than before - the case also houses battery juice as well, so we didn't spend much time at all charging them.
It will be tough to tear away the Air Pods from your ears if you are an Apple user, but we had a lot of fun with these - especially in the new design.
Samsung is going after a very select crown with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip. It is not a mainstream phone - its £1,300 price tag will mean that many will baulk at it, even though there is so much innovation packed into the device.
Given that, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Thom Browne Edition is even more exclusive. Its price is eye watering, at £2,280.
But, and there is a but, for this you get the Z Flip, a Watch Active2 and the new Galaxy Buds - all of this tech pushes the price up and then there is a premium on top for the fantastic Thom Browne makeover.
Couple this with the stunning presentation box and what you have tech at its most exclusive.
Head to Samsung.com to find out more and how to buy the Thom Browne Edition.
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