In recent years, we have increasingly been talking about stagnation in the smartphone market. And this is right, because manufacturers have really reached a certain ceiling in the technological development of devices. Smartphones have high-quality displays with a refresh rate of 120 Hz, chipsets, the power of which is quite enough for desktop tasks, cameras, the versatility of which allows you to close several things at once. Also, the operating systems have been polished to such an extent that we are tired of big announcements by Apple and Google, and the companies themselves no longer know what else to invent or borrow from a competitor.
So what’s next? Smartphones need to be sold, so let’s change the form factor of the devices. Let’s show the bendable displays, it’s like from the sci-fi films of the 80s. Apparently, this is roughly what Samsung thought when announcing the Galaxy Fold and Flip line of foldable smartphones. Okay, they released the first generation, worked on the bugs, the second generation, the third. And finally, we have excellent smartphones from a technical point of view. And we also fit into the psychological price range of $1,000 in the case of the Galaxy Flip4. Now they just have to show a few examples of use at the presentation and push advertising. But does such a form factor really benefit the user?
For the past few weeks, the Samsung Galaxy Flip4 has become my primary smartphone. This is not my first acquaintance with foldable devices from the Korean manufacturer, but I had the opportunity to test it in everyday use and try to find for myself the advantages that will make me think about buying a similar device in the future. So there will be a minimum of technical specifications, just my thoughts on this smartphone.
Galaxy Flip is undoubtedly Samsung’s image line, which aims to demonstrate the company’s technological capabilities. The design of the smartphone attracts attention, this is one of its main tasks. I like the two-tone design of the back cover – like a car with a panoramic roof. However, the lavender color is still more feminine, but you can choose blue or graphite. By the way, in some countries, Samsung offers to create its own design for Flip4. Of course, there are a limited number of colors available, which I think is a good idea.
The smartphone can be opened to any angle, the hinge reliably fixes the display. So you can conveniently place the device on the table to chat in a video chat or watch YouTube. Or put it on the refrigerator and create improvised lighting in the kitchen during the next power outage.
However, this is where questions of practicality begin. First, Flip is inconvenient to open with one hand. And in general, this is a rather dangerous trick, especially if it is performed on the move on the street. It is much faster to open the smartphone with two hands. But this is a dubious solution to the problem.
Second, every interaction with your smartphone starts when you open it. The first time, while the wow factor still works, it’s interesting and you can make an impression on others. Then it starts to get boring and only takes extra time to perform some simple tasks, for example, to respond to messages in the chat. And if at home you can simply put the Flip unfolded on the table and use it like an ordinary smartphone, then somewhere on the street you constantly have to perform manipulations to open / close the smartphone.
The folded Galaxy Flip4 does look like a powder box
Thirdly, the somewhat non-standard dimensions of the device. Despite the fact that the Flip4 is a narrow smartphone, using it with one hand is quite problematic. All because of the elongated display (aspect ratio 22:9). Therefore, if it is still okay to type text on the keyboard, then you have to reach for the elements at the top of the screen with the other hand. For the sake of fairness, I will note that this is characteristic of the vast majority of smartphones on the market. However, I would like the fingerprint scanner to be located a little lower.
By the way, regarding biometrics. Flip4 has a classic fingerprint scanner integrated into the power key. It works fine, but as I mentioned, I wish it was lower. So I decided to add a face recognition option. Unfortunately, it doesn’t works perfectly. Especially in conditions of insufficient lighting. For some reason, the Face ID analogue did not catch on among Android smartphone manufacturers. And having returned from the Flip4 to the iPhone, I feel the difference in this aspect even more.
What’s good about Flip4? What is its advantage over the usual monoblock smartphones? I have already said about the wow factor. It is really compact when folded, easy to carry in your pocket. There is an external display on which you can quickly view notifications or see who is calling. It is more comfortable to scroll through the feed on Twitter on the elongated display, and you can also watch football in a small window at the same time. Or work in parallel with two applications, because more content can be accommodated. Even in Google Maps navigation, you can see a larger area of the map.
The fact that this is almost a top-of-the-line flagship smartphone is felt in everyday use. Very fast system operation, pleasant display, a lot of software features. Only the camera and battery life are not very flagship. There are no special complaints about the quality of the photo, everything is at a normal level, but for this price of the device you can find more interesting smartphones, Pixel 7 Pro, for example. As for battery life, the 3,700 mAh battery is clearly not enough for a large 120 Hz display and a top-of-the-line chipset. So don’t be surprised if you have to charge Flip4 during the day.
The Flip4 form factor gives a little more variation when taking photos, because the display can be opened at different angles. You don’t even need a tripod – the smartphone can be securely placed on any surface
So do we really need foldable smartphones? Rather, they diversify the range on the market, which is a plus for us as users. Especially since the concept of the Galaxy Fold seems more interesting to me, because you get a smartphone + a tablet (but there are also compromises). Does the Flip4 have any advantages over conventional smartphones? I did not find any significant ones for me personally. However, this does not mean that it is not worth buying – a gadget should give positive emotions, and Flip can do it 100%.
Write in the comments what you think about folding smartphones? Do they have a practical application for you?