2023 could be the year that the flip moves from concept device to a smartphone with a clear use case proposition. Should you join the flipside?
Will 2023 be the year of the Flip phone? We certainly think this might be one of the most defining gadget trends of this year. In July Samsung started teasing it’s big foldable launch (the Galaxy Unpacked event in Seoul) with an invitation to ‘join the flipside’. The Z Flip 5 was the scene stealer at this event. Samsung has reimagined this device with a much larger cover display (or what Samsung calls the Flex window). It’s opened up a whole new set of possibilities for the external display without needing to flip the device open. It’s not just Samsung, we’ve seen launches from Moto and OPPO that are making a big pitch for the flip phone. 2023 could be the year that the flip moves from concept device to a smartphone with a clear use case proposition; a lot of that stems from the cover display. Should you join the flipside?
The flip reimagined
The 2023 Flip is a complete makeover and a big leap from its predecessor. And it’s all about the cover display that has been expanded from 1.9-inches on the Z Flip 4 to 3.4-inches. This has now become the industry standard of sorts with the Moto Razr 40 Ultra and the OPPO Find N2 Flip all in the 3-inch plus zone. It means that you can get a lot of stuff done without having to flip open your device.
One of the things we’ve loved about the Z Flip line is its compact foldable size that can slip into your tightest pockets. Samsung keeps the heft under 190 gm. The new display also adds to the design aesthetic of the phone and comes in a whole bunch of chic colours including our favourite – mint. The Z Flip 5 has an edge over its rivals on the durability front with it’s IPX8 water resistance. It’s not dust proof though. The overall construction feels more rugged compared to its predecessors and just like the Z Fold 5, an improved flex hinge ensures this device closes to a full flat position without any gaps whatsoever.
With all the discussions around screen time, we think that the flip smartphone category might provide a fix of sorts for excessive screen time. This might well be one of the most defining use case scenarios for the category. The larger screen and Samsung’s intuitive user interface allows you to check notifications like texts, weather and also reject spam calls without having to flip open your phone. You can add more apps to this window with a quick fix – the Good Lock app from the Galaxy Store to access a wider set of apps on the flex window. You can also type in short bursts from the cover screen. All this means that you might be able to stay away from your Instagram feed or other apps that might disrupt your day unless you flip open your phone open. This split screen routine might actually help you reduce your overall screen time.
Aside from the cover display, flip smartphones are outselling their larger book foldables because of their compact form and more affordable price tag. And then there’s the camera. We’ve recommended flip devices for the multiple possibilities it offers selfie fiends. Samsung’s FlexCam adds to this appeal. The primary cam is now everyone’s selfie cam. The camera system is largely unchanged (you get a 12MP primary lens and a 12MP ultra-wide lens aside from the 10MP selfie cam that you might end up using primarily for video calls) except for a new coating that reduces lens flare. The camera also benefits from the newer Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor that is also at the heart of other Samsung foldables like the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and the Galaxy S23 series. The camera is not in the league of the S23 Ultra that remains the Samsung mobile shooter to beat.
The new chipset also impacts battery life slightly. I managed all-day battery with a lot of screen time and the always-on cover display (which adds to the visual appeal of the phone) but only just. You will be able to squeeze more battery life without the always on display. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5 is clear evidence that the flip foldable has finally arrived. It offers a clear value proposition if you are looking for a new smartphone experience that allows you to minimise your screen time and snap sharp selfies and selfie videos. If you’re looking at joining the flip side the Z Flip 5 is the best foldable to buy.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 starts at Rs 99,999.
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