Galaxy Z Flip torture test results reveals 'fake' glass display

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Our first impression of Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip was that it felt better than previous foldables. It didn’t seem fragile, like the Galaxy Fold or Motorola Razr. But a few days after the phone’s release, we're questioning the durability of this foldable phone.

The company pitched the Z Flip as a folding glass phone that “bends the laws of physics,” but a deeper examination of the seductive new phone suggests it’s not made of what Samsung says it is

JerryRigsEverything, the YouTube channel famous for its comprehensive smartphone durability tests, revealed the Galaxy Z Flip’s display behaves like plastic — not glass — when scratched, stabbed and burned. 

Galaxy Z Flip: Scratches like plastic

(Image credit: JerryRigsEverything)

Zack Nelson of JerryRigsEverything first realized the Z Flip’s display isn’t typical glass when it scratched with a tool pick at a Level 2 out of 10, like plastic displays tend to do. For comparison, glass displays score a 5 or 6 in Nelson’s tests, while sapphire typically scratches at 8 or 9 and diamond scratches at 10. 

“This is exactly how a plastic screen would react,” Nelson said as the Z Flip earned deep grooves when faced with a Level 3 pick. The Motorola Razr and Galaxy Fold similarly scratched at Level 2 and 3 in their durability tests.

Nelson performed the test on the small exterior display, too. It scratched at a Level 6, like anything with glass should.

Galaxy Z Flip: Burns like plastic

(Image credit: JerryRigsEverything)

When a lighter was held close to it, the Z Flip’s display lasted about 15 seconds under the heat. When Nelson pulled his lighter away, burn marks remained. 

If you watch closely, you can also see the display change shape beneath the lighter’s heat. This is a characteristic of plastic. A glass display, meanwhile, would not morph in this way.

Galaxy Z Flip: So it must be plastic, right?

(Image credit: Samsung)

Nelson says it's possible the display is made of a “hybrid plastic polymer with little specks of glass ingredients inside.” But when Samsung says the Galaxy Z Flip is made of glass, customers will believe the phone is made of a durable, clear material. Not some easily-scratched plastic polymer.

Even if the Z Flip does have some glass ingredients in its display, it’s misleading to call it glass unless it has the properties of glass. Putting any excessive pressure whatsoever will damage the phone’s pixels, so it's unfair to give people a false sense of security. 

It’s a shame, too. The company clearly put effort into making the hinge as sturdy as we’ve seen on a foldable, plus it took serious force to shatter the exterior glass panels. But with the questionable verbiage surrounding the display’s material, we’re left wondering how else the Z Flip might not live up to its promises—or its $1,380 price tag.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.