Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is a beautiful phone, until you touch it

We're not ready to call it Smudgegate, yet... but it does collect more fingerprints than an investigator in an episode of CSI.

Patrick Holland Managing Editor
Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.
Expertise Apple, iPhone, iOS, Android, Samsung, Sony, Google, Motorola, interviews, coffee equipment, cats Credentials
  • Patrick's play The Cowboy is included in the Best American Short Plays 2011-12 anthology. He co-wrote and starred in the short film Baden Krunk that won the Best Wisconsin Short Film award at the Milwaukee Short Film Festival.
Patrick Holland
2 min read

The Galaxy Z Flip has a gorgeous shiny finish that has one weakness: Fingerprint smudges. 

Patrick Holland/CNET

On Tuesday at the Samsung Unpacked event in San Francisco, the new Galaxy Z Flip was announced. The phone, which has an ultra-thin glass screen, folds in half to form a perfect square kind of like the Nintendo Gameboy Advance SP. But it's the exterior of the shiny $1,380 flip phone that is catching our attention… or rather our fingerprints.

The Galaxy Z Flip is an absolute smudge magnet. In the demo area at the Palace of Fine Arts, rows of Z Flip demo phones are dotted by nearby Samsung employees who each have a microfiber cleaning cloth. 

In between testers, each phone is wiped clean with vigor of Monica Geller from Friends. To be fair, most product launches have people whose sole job is to clean a shiny new device. But the Galaxy Z Flip, more so than most Samsung phones, seems to be especially prone to getting smudges.

The Z Flip's foldable phone rival, the Motorola Razr is also prone to smudges, but not as much. The Razr, made with a combination of Gorilla Glass 3, stainless steel and plastic, gets its fair share of fingerprint trails. But when it comes to collecting and displaying your finger oils, the Z Flip beats the Razr handily.

However, not everyone thinks the Z Flip collects a crime scene worth of fingerprints. CNET Senior Editor Vanessa Orellana-Hand said, "I don't think the finish is any worse than the regular, previous-gen Galaxy phones."

And yet, as you watch hands-on videos and look at photos of people handling the Galaxy Z Flip, you can't unsee the smudges. Perhaps it might be time to buy a case to cover them all up?

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip impresses from almost every angle

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