The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is the company's second foldable phone, and it has some interesting software tweaks to take advantage of that folding display.
Samsung worked with Google to make the majority of these changes, so it's possible we could see them trickle down to other clamshell foldable smartphones. But as for now, they only exist on the Galaxy Z Flip.
Here's everything that's new (and different) about the Galaxy Z Flip's software.
What is Flex Mode?
Flex Mode is one of the main new features on the Galaxy Z Flip. It allows you to fold your Galaxy Z Flip halfway (essentially). By doing this, you break the app that is open in two. Now not all apps support this, but apps like the camera do.
With the camera, the bottom half has all of the controls like the shutter, the button to switch cameras and so forth. While the upper half is your view finder. So you can basically put this down on a table and have it still take a photo, because it is folded in an L shape. Even in Flex Mode, content creators can take photos and videos in a variety of different aspect ratios. Like 1:1, 4:3, 16:9, and even 22:9. So you can take the perfect shot for whatever you want.
Flex mode also works with some other apps like the gallery and Google Duo. Samsung says that other apps will adapt to this new mode in the near future. With Google Duo, it works really well, as it sort of becomes a phone stand, so you can do video chatting without having to hold the phone for long periods of time.
Flex Mode is a pretty unique feature in the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip software, and perhaps the biggest feature available currently. However, most people likely won't use it until more apps support this mode.
The cover display is actually useful
On the front of the Galaxy Z Flip, you'll find a pretty tiny 1.1-inch AMOLED display. This display is pretty small, but despite it being tiny, it is still pretty useful.
This small front display is mostly used to show you the time, and any notifications you might have. But it can also do a few other things.
The cover display is able to show you multimedia controls, allowing you to play/pause your music from that screen without needing to open the phone. It also gives you the ability to answer or reject someone that is calling you – not to mention, see who is calling you.
Now there is one feature that some might not see as very useful, and that is the camera. You can double tap the power button, with the Galaxy Z Flip closed, and use the cover display as a viewfinder to take a selfie. Since the phone is closed, you can only take a selfie, since the rear camera is facing you. Now this does mean that you can get a better selfie, as the rear cameras are better quality than the front-facing camera. But the viewfinder is pretty hilariously small. It's kind of a cool feature, but likely not one you'll use all that often.
It has a built-in stand!
Well, not totally. But because the Galaxy Z Flip has a few more stops in the hinge, you can use it as a stand when it is in "Flex Mode" which we talked about earlier.
This is actually really great for those that do a lot of traveling, as you can watch Netflix on your new Galaxy Z Flip without needing to hold the phone the entire time. It also is going to make it easier to type on, even though it is a bit of a narrow screen.
The Galaxy Z Flip is capable of standing upright on its own and it can also stand at multiple angles, and that comes back to the multiple stops on the hinge. So you can have it a 90º angle, or a bit larger of an angle depending on your preference.
This is actually really good for taking photos at night though, and for taking time lapses. As you can set the phone down and take the photo, not having to take into account your hands moving while it's taking long exposure shots. Which can cause night mode photos to become a bit blurry, since it is taking multiple long exposure shots and stitching them together.
However, on the downside, you can't just flip the Galaxy Z Flip open like it's a flip phone. Because it has the multiple stops, you can't really flip it open with one hand. Since it will stop at the first stop on the hinge. But if you do it forceful enough, it can flip all the way open. However, that might feel like you're going to break the phone, or like it's going to flip out of your hands. Which is not something we want to happen.
Perfect for Multi-tasking
The tall display on the Galaxy Z Flip makes it perfect for multi-tasking, and Samsung made sure to make that a big deal with its software.
You can split the Galaxy Z Flip's display in half, right at the crease, and essentially have two 4-inch screens available for different apps. Both apps will be active at the same time too. So one won't be idle while you scroll in the other.
Just like with multi-window on other Samsung devices, you can swipe in from the right edge to open up another app in Multi Active Window. Most apps are compatible, but there are some that still don't support multi window, like Instagram – sadly.
This makes the Galaxy Z Flip great for watching a video on YouTube and also scrolling through Facebook or Twitter on the lower half of the screen. There are many combinations that you can use the Multi Active Window feature for.
Still running Android 10 & One UI 2
All of these features are in addition to what is found in Android 10 and One UI 2. That also includes a system-wide dark mode. Which looks really great on the Galaxy Z Flip, since it has an AMOLED display. Not to mention it'll save you some battery too.
It also includes features like Digital Wellbeing, Samsung's Game Launcher and much more. All of the features that you know from Samsung's other smartphones, are available on the Galaxy Z Flip too.
Samsung had to add in some of these other features to take advantage of this new form factor. Since the Galaxy Z Flip is not just your regular slab smartphone, so adding some software features was definitely needed. If you're thinking of grabbing a Galaxy Z Flip, these tips should help you make the most of your purchase. If you haven't bought one yet, you can grab one here.