Samsung unveils its second modern-era folding device

Samsung just unveiled the Galaxy Z Flip, and MKBHD has a very good summary video about it.

For the Z Flip, I want to repeat what I first wrote about the other vertical folding device of the moment, the Motorola Razr:

With the Razr, you have to unfold the device to properly use it. Beside a quick look at notifications and minimal interactions, there is not much you can do with the new Razr when it is folded. Sure, it is small, fits comfortably in pockets, but when it comes to using it, unfolding it is necessary.

At the time, I wrote that I preferred Samsung’s vision, more accurately the Galaxy Fold’s way of folding: a phone-size device that you can transform into a small tablet, meaning you didn’t have to unfold the device to use it, and be good by only using what I would call the external screen, even if a bit cramped. The unfolded state being an option, a plus.

But today Samsung has another folding device, this time featuring the same approach as Motorola: a phone-size device that you can fold into a more compact form factor, meaning that you have to unfold it every time you want to use it. It is even worse on the Galaxy Z Flip — what an awful name by the way — where the external screen is barely useful, while on the Razr you could at least read the content of notifications. The unfolded state here is not an option, it is a requirement.

Again, like I said in November:

If you thought first generations of Face ID and under-the-screen fingerprint sensors were slow, think about having to physically unfold a device every time you want to take a quick photo, reply to a message, or maybe just glance at your list of groceries.

I believe this is a bad sign that my main gripe with these phones is not their price, not their specs, not even their questionable durability, but something fundamental like the design and the general concept. It seems to me that manufacturers found themselves with this amazing screen technology, and they try to see how they can use it on devices to promote their brands as industry innovators, regardless of the final product purpose.