Is the Samsung Galaxy Flip 3 better than an iPhone?
Today we're going to find out - because my iPhone broke and I don't actually know when I'm going to get it back.
So I've been using the Flip 3 for a few weeks now and I have some thoughts about this fantastic flippy foldy phone. Let's talk about it!
Firstly, this isn't the first Android phone that I've tried switching to. In fact, it's probably the 5th or 6th by now, but each time I just find myself being lured back to that shiny Apple Ecosystem for some reason or another.
WHAT'S GREAT ABOUT THE SAMSUNG GALAXY Z FLIP 3?
The Flip 3 is actually, a really, really good phone. If you're subscribed to my YouTube channel already you'll probably know that I didn't really get on that well with the bigger Fold version of this phone for a number of reasons. If you're not subscribed, head over and do that now...please.
The size and form factor of this phone is just so pleasing when holding it.
It fits SO nicely in your pocket, even if you have really small pockets, and it also fits nicely in your hand when folded. It has a useful front touch screen that can be used to scroll through notifications and see if something is worthy of you actually opening the phone up - and because this is folded, it means you can actually use what would be the rear-facing cameras to take high-quality selfies or videos without holding up a huge phone, though the camera isn't as good as the iPhone, or Androids like the Pixel.
For the flipping action, it's kind of easy to open it up one-handed. You just kind of jam your finger into the gap and push it open.
I think you might struggle if you have longer nails as typically you're using your nail to push the screen up and open the phone. But otherwise, it's a nice feeling. And you get a nice snap when you close it up.
What I am impressed with, kinda releasing my inner geek, is the hinge. Because somehow Samsung has crafted a phone with a hinge that doesn't pinch you when opening it up. It's actually quite something. Like, even if you tried, it still doesn't. Kinda geeky I know but still impressive!
Once the phone is opened up, what about that fold? Well, whilst you can see it physically in images, and you can feel it when you run your finger over it, it's not actually that noticeable. When you're looking directly at the phone, the fold disappears, and when watching video content you wouldn't be able to tell that it wasn't just a single sheet of glass. It's just not a thing, honestly don't worry about it.
The phone does come with what looks like a screen protector attached, but Samsung recommends you don't pull it off, and after seeing the videos from the first generation where people were basically peeling the display off the phone - I think I'll leave it right there. Mmmkay?!
Enough about the foldy thing, what about Android for those of you interested in the whole iPhone to Android thing?
Well, Android as a whole is actually kinda cool - though it does have its issues which we'll get to.
Everything is customisable, and if there's not a setting built into the phone to do something, then there's probably an app you can download that will let you do it.
Anything from custom themes, to a huge range of customisable widgets, to being able to entirely replace the Launcher which is like the home screen kind of the operating system in a way. Nova launcher has been my go-to recently as it lets you really declutter your home screen by only showing essential apps, and you can then swipe up or down to launch other apps. Those kinds of features are something we just don't get over in the iPhone world.
Also in terms of customisation, the ability to unlock the phone and have it go straight to the home page without having to swipe up is another really valuable thing. The amount of time wasted on my iPhone having to constantly swipe up makes you really wonder how many hours of someone's life is spent just doing that.
Multitasking is incredibly useful and something I also use fairly regularly. It means you can have say, a video playing whilst replying to DMs on Twitter, (follow me on there if you haven't already).
Or perhaps you could be checking your calendar whilst writing an email - there are just so many possibilities that you simply don't get on your iPhone right now.
But what about the biggest issue that most and many iPhone users point out when switching? iMessage and I guess that whole Apple Ecosystem thing? Well, I have 2 thoughts here.
Firstly, I've just subscribed to a relatively new App called Beeper, which was started by the guy who designed the first real smartwatch, the Pebble Watch, remember those?
This means that regardless of where it's coming from, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, even Slack, and yes, even iMessage, it comes through on Beeper, AND I can reply back to those messages within Beeper.
Yes, I can send iMessages, from my Android Phone. Nuts as that might sound.
But the second thought I've had here, and it's only really come from trying to switch to Android multiple times, is that really, I don't use iMessage as much as I thought I did.
With using Beeper, I can see who I've been messaging and on what service, which is basically my family and that's about it. All of my other friends have already switched to other messaging platforms like WhatsApp or Signal or Facebook Messenger.
The more and more I do these switches, the less and less I am on becoming reliant on iMessage, and right now - I think I could probably just not use it anymore without it being a problem. With apps like Beeper it kind of means it won't ever be a problem anyway.
For those of you using Airdrop, just use Snapdrop instead and you now basically have Airdrop on any device, and that works really well, and it even looks the same as Airdrop.
For Photos, I've been using Google Photos already in addition to Apple's iCloud Photo service so there are no issues there with getting to my photos on any device, and it even works a little better than iPhone because when you attach a photo, you can choose which folder on the phone or which app that photo is saved in. Rather than first having to go into the said app, save it locally and then upload it like on iPhone.
I'm still yet to find a seamless copy and paste replacement which I do use all the time on my iPhone so maybe comment down below if anyone knows a fix for that one.
For those of you who like your watch to unlock your phone for you, that can kind of be worked around with Android, for example, you can set the phone to unlock when it's connected to certain Bluetooth devices. So when you're in the car or your watch is nearby then it can stay unlocked, it's not anywhere near as secure as Apple's implementation, but it's quite nice to have the ability if you wanted to always keep it unlocked whilst you're at specific locations.
In other news, It's really awesome to be able to have your phone screen left on all the time and be able to glance over to see the time or which Apps have notifications because of the Always On Display that most Android phones seem to have.
The phone is fairly limited in terms of customisation but oh so useful. Also, another seemingly minor thing that is still worth a mention is the 120Hz display which makes things look really smooth! Something that is of course finally coming to the new iPhone 13 so yay for that!
The speakers are incredibly loud, I think one of the loudest I've heard on a phone before!
Battery life is also good, though I still haven't found a phone that beats my iPhone 11 Pro Max battery life, however, it's not far off! You can improve it further by disabling 120Hz, 5G, and always on display if you really wanted to get more out of your day.
One of the best, and kind of worst things about Android - I'll get to that more in a sec, is how you can customise pretty much all your notifications, even which types of notifications each app sends so you're not getting constantly spammed all day.
Something that's helped me counteract one of the bad things about notifications though, is to set a custom ringtone on each App. So when something happens on Twitter, it tweets. On Beeper, it makes another sound, and so forth. So I can quickly tell what's come through by the sound it makes.
On to the negatives now, and notifications Just don't work properly. When I say they don't work properly, I mean that they don't do what it says on the box!
If I have my phone out, in my hand, doing something, it will make a noise, but nothing shows up on screen to tell me what's happened.
YES, I do get a tiny little icon in the top left, but android says that it should show me a preview of what that thing was. Like a message, for example, I kind of want to know who messaged me so I know if I want to reply right away or whether it can wait.
But instead, you have to go into the actual App to find out what's going on. Unless, so far as my testing goes, it's something like the built-in Calendar, which DOES notify you properly.
So my workaround was to change the sound so at least I can tell that way, or you can just swipe down and wipe away all of those notifications there. Kinda annoying, but you do get used to it after a while.
A few things specific to this phone due to its design; Firstly, when wireless charging it doesn't always work on certain chargers because the charger is actually built into the bottom part of the phone. So if you have those pretty standard stand-up desk mounts that I actually do use, well it might not work. If you have a Tesla and the wireless charging pads, it definitely won't work.
Secondly, FSS. Fluffy Screen Syndrome. This phone is great. The foldable screen is great and you don't notice the fold when using it. But the fluff that I found that accumulates on the screen, I did notice. Hopefully, something that can improve over years as the materials they use gets better, but it seems that this screen attracts dust and fluff.
And thirdly, the fingerprint reader. Now I'm getting to understand that with Android - Face ID is less of a thing, because everyone, at least as everyone in the comments tells me, everyone on Android uses and prefers using your fingerprint because it's fast and reliable.
You can still unlock it with your face, but it's not as reliable or secure as Apple. Even Samsung themselves have an article that says not to use Face recognition for any high-security applications.
Anyway, I found the fingerprint reader too high to easily use in one fluid open motion.
Ideally, it would be where the hinge is on this phone, which isn't possible, yet.
For now, you need to flip the phone open and then adjust your grip to reach the sensor and that also means the volume buttons feel really high up since this is quite a tall phone.
This is actually one phone that I think I would switch to if the new iPhone announcement wasn't happening in a few hours' time and with Google's Pixel 6 just weeks away now. September is going to be an interesting month for me and my Android switching conundrum! If you want to see more of the Apple vs Android debate, consider subscribing to my YouTube channel.