Living with a “smart” flip phone in 2024

Artwork of a person holding a smart flip phone and another person asking if they can hold it. CREDIT: CALEIGH REID
Flip phones are back and garnering lots of attention.

Flip phones hit their initial prime back in the late 90s, with thousands of people across the country utilizing the new piece of tech well into the 2000s. As time progressed though, with the likes of Blackberry and Apple releasing their revolutionary products with the iPhone and the Blackberry Pearl, the trend of flip phones would eventually be killed off.

Is there a potential renaissance on the rise though?

In 2019, Samsung released their Galaxy Z Fold, blending the idea of a tablet and a smartphone into one device. Then a year later, they released their Z Flip, working to reinvigorate the idea of a flip phone with their folding plastic display.

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The company is now on their fifth iteration of their lines, with other companies such as Motorola and OnePlus working to capture the same share of the now-growing market.

A lot of people though have had their hesitations in jumping onto the new trend, with many being worried about the folding screen and hinge mechanisms associated with the new technology.

For many, including myself, the curiosity of a folding phone and the possibility of owning one of the newest pieces of innovative technology is too much to deny. This is exactly why I am now an owner of a Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5.

The question becomes: Would I recommend you pick up one of these phones for yourself?

There are a couple big topics to talk about in regards to owning a folding phone, ranging from the build, the screen, the usability, and the public perception.

Right off the bat, the phone is surprisingly sturdy to hold; it really does still feel like a dense smartphone in hand, which is a good thing. When it’s unfolded, it still feels the same as holding a regular glass brick smartphone, so it’s still satisfying to hold in hand.

When it’s folded, the same holds true, with the added benefit of protecting the inner screen if it’s dropped.

The biggest thing that people will have issue with is the screen itself, specifically, the crease that can be seen in the middle of the phone. It’s an inevitable part of having a plastic display rather than a glass one, with Samsung having adapted the design of their hinge system to work to put less strain on the crease and the display as a whole.

It is something that you can feel when you swipe across the phone and can visibly be seen frequently at different angles.

Once you begin using the phone though, it becomes very easy to forget, blending into the image of the phone during videos and gaming.

The next big issue that people may have with the phone is the overall durability. Even though it is well built and well designed, I would not recommend this phone to people who are clumsier with their tech. What would be a light scratch on a glass display smartphone, becomes a large mark on a flip phone.

Where a smartphone could be dropped in sand at a beach, would render a Z Flip completely unusable.

One of the best parts about it though is actually the outside display, with it having a full glass screen on the outside next to the main cameras. I can actively scroll on social media, use the main cameras for selfies, and send messages.

The one thing I did not expect when owning this phone was the general attention it garners. Within the course of a single week, I was having multiple people every single day asking me about it, often wanting to hold it and fold it for themselves. Colleagues, family, all the way to baristas at coffee shops all asking about the phone. People get really interested as soon as you even pull it out and unfold it.

At the end of the day, I really do love my folding phone, but fully acknowledge that it definitely shouldn’t be for everyone. You have to have a general respect for your technology to be able to be a successful owner of any flip phone, with there being a larger amount of care needed to maintain it.

In my mind though, the risks are largely outweighed by just how much fun I’m having with the phone, perfectly hitting that mix of nostalgia, usability, and design.

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.