Thoughts on the Galaxy Z Flip Flex Mode from someone who hasn’t used it
I think it’s fair to say that I’m one of the biggest Galaxy Z Flip supporters on the SamMobile team. It might be due to nostalgia for the clamshell design, or the simple fact that the Z Flip proves flexible display technology to be viable; or both. Whatever the case may be, I will admit that I was unable to acquire a Galaxy Z Flip of my own, despite my fandom. Limited supplies, unfortunate worldwide events concerning coronavirus, etc. have contributed to this outcome.
Like countless other Samsung fans and SamMobile readers, I’m watching it all from the sidelines. Even though I may have a bit more knowledge about the device thanks to my colleagues, who have been using the Galaxy Z Flip as their daily driver and have also reviewed the phone at great lengths, I don’t have a personal relationship with the Galaxy Z Flip. Time will tell if I’ll be able to change this by the time a direct sequel will be introduced.
But one of the main features that I both love and I’m unsure about – as someone who hasn’t experienced it first-hand – is Flex Mode. I think it’s great, in theory, but I have my concerns when it comes to real-life usage. Let’s explore them together.
How do you feel about Flex Mode, as someone who, like me, doesn’t own a Z Flip?
The idea of having a smartphone that doesn’t require a stand or tripod to take perfectly-steady shots should appeal to everyone. It sounds fantastic, on paper, but I get the feeling that it wouldn’t be as convenient for me in real life as it may seem at first glance.
Unless I’d protect the Galaxy Z Flip with a cover (which thankfully ships with the phone), I don’t see myself placing this chunk of glossy and slippery high-tech on any dirty or scratchy surface in the wild. And, call me vain, but unlike with other candy bar smartphones, slapping a protective cover on top of the Galaxy Z Flip is something I wouldn’t want to do.
This means that, for me, the functionality of Flex Mode would be limited when capturing photos and videos, and I’d likely use Flex Mode only to capturing moments while indoors. On one hand, I fully understand that this is the best that can be achieved by the Z Flip’s clamshell design without sticking rubber feet to the back of the device. On the other hand, this limited scope sort of takes the shine off the whole concept, in my opinion.
I wish there was more software functionality to Flex Mode
Leaving the Galaxy Z Flip’s gorgeous design aside for a moment, I get the feeling that there’s a lot more potential to Flex Mode, software-wise, than what’s been delivered by Samsung. In the Camera app, the advantages of Flex Mode splitting the UI in half are undeniable. It makes the whole concept possible.
Then again, Samsung doesn’t seem to have explored Flex Mode as much as I would’ve liked. It’s cool that it works with the Gallery app when watching videos, but this feels like it only exists because the Gallery app goes hand-in-hand with the Camera app. Wouldn’t it be even better if Flex Mode would work similarly with other video-related apps, like Netflix or YouTube? I think this would make for a nice bedside table feature. Granted, it’s up to third-party developers to accelerate support for Flex Mode but Samsung could have at least adapted more native solutions to it. Given everything that’s going on in the world right now, it may take a while before app developers shift their focus to an arcane feature that’s only offered by one single Android device.
How about doing something with the Game Launcher – and implicitly some mobile games – to add interesting functionalities through Flex Mode? Or go above and beyond to create a simple mobile game as a demo for Flex Mode. Battleship comes to mind. Of course, this wouldn’t be entirely up to Samsung, and some of these additions would require collaborating with third-party app developers, which they may or may not share Samsung’s vision. Or mine, rather.
I’m hoping that Samsung will explore Flex Mode with an update
Samsung did collaborate with third-party app developers for the Galaxy Fold’s App Continuity, so maybe similar relationships for an improved Flex Mode experience are not out of the question for a future Z Flip update. That may very well have been the case had the world not turned upside down in just a matter of weeks since the Galaxy Z Flip was released. So any plans that Samsung may have had with regards to expanding third-party support would ostensibly have been put on hold for now.
Perhaps I’m looking at this feature all wrong and I’m missing some key point, as someone who has yet to experience the device first-hand. So if you do happen to own a Galaxy Z Flip, we’d love to hear from you. How has your experience with the Z Flip’s Flex Mode been so far? How often do you use it and in what conditions? Are my concerns unfounded or have I struck a chord? More so, if you don’t own the Galaxy Z Flip and we’re in the same boat, what are your thoughts on the matter? Do you agree or disagree with the above? Join us in the comment section below.