Why I didn't pick the Flip4

After wanting and then rejecting the Flip 4, why did I choose the S23 Plus?

Jon H.

2/27/20235 min read

A Few weeks ago I hinted on our YouTube channel that I would be diving back into the Samsung world by replacing my beloved OnePlus 7t Pro with a Flip 4. I ended up getting the S23 Plus instead. As I publicly announced that I would be getting the Flip, I feel the need to, again publicly, explain myself to the masses or at least to both people who watch or listen to us on YouTube and Spotify.

When Samsung launched the original Galaxy Z Flip, I was immediately intrigued. I was an early adopter of “Plus” sized phones, so the idea of a large screen phone that folds into a smaller form factor, perfect for a pocket, was genius. A few years ago, I decided to ditch my iPhone 7 Plus for a smaller iPhone XS, it felt great in the pocket, but the smaller screen and worse battery life lead me back to a larger screen with an iPhone 11 Pro Max within a year, and then the 13 Pro Max later.

The main reasons I have held off from seriously considering buying previous generations of the Flip prior to the current 4th Gen, has been battery life and durability. My previous job often had my answering texts, emails and phone calls during every waking hour, from as early as 6am to midnight. My podcast co-host Brandon can attest to that. So having a phone that can last all day, is important to me. If it can’t last all day, then it needs to charge super quickly. My OnePlus charges quickly, my iPhone lasts all day. And yes, I daily drive two phones. As far as durability, my experience as a technician has made me refer to all Galaxy Z phones as “1 and done”, as they tended to last one year before major issues arise. The Flip 4, according to Samsung and verified by several users, is that it has much better battery life and is more durable than previous versions.

Enough context, let’s get into the meat of it. I went to Best Buy last weekend with full intention of getting the Flip 4, but something in my head kept telling me to consider the S23 Plus. I looked at both and here are my impressions:

The Flip 4 is lighter than I expected but still felt premium in the hand. I also can confirm it fits better in the pocket. The screen image quality was better than I expected, and I didn’t really notice the crease in the middle of the screen as I watched videos and navigated menus. However, I did feel the crease as I scrolled, and it was not a subtle feeling. To me it was weird and unnatural. Could I get used to that? Probably, but it got my thinking about the concept of this Flipping phone, and what is it’s true practicality. I came to the conclusions that the Flip 4 is a phone that fits great in the pocket. It offers really nothing else. Now, I don’t think it is a bad phone. It doesn’t do anything poorly, but also doesn’t do anything great either. Really, the phone offers average to below average features. The screen looks good, even if it doesn’t feel great. It has a flagship processor and feels quick and responsive. Connectivity seems good. The camera quality is acceptable. The battery life, while improved, is still below average.

So that is my impression of the Flip 4. It is a high cost, mid-range phone that fits great in the pocket. And yes, its great that you can half-fold it for Zoom calls, but I don’t think it’s worth hundreds of dollars more than any other phone that you can slap a case with a stand on it.

So what about the S23 Plus? It too, is a bit of a mixed bag. My first impression of the S23 lineup is that they look like an iPhone. The curved corners and weight of the phones give them a premium iPhone feel. The exception being the S23 Ultra, which is a really a Note 23. Come on Samsung, you are fooling no one. Anyway, I think Samsung is really trying to follow Daddy Apple with the S23/S23 Plus phones, and it sure attracted me as a longtime iPhone user. The phones look great. They feel great in the hand too. The screen, even at 1080p, looks greats and is very responsive. And for someone who prioritizes all-day battery life and/or fast charging, the S23 Plus offers both.

On paper, as well as the experience, the S23 Plus is exactly what you would expect from a flagship phone. The Screen experience is above average, the Camera experience is above average. The processor speed and connectivity are above average. The battery life and charging experience are above average. So why is it a mixed bag?

Well, while it is an above average phone, it still costs a lot more than its also above average competitors. The MSRP of the S23 Plus is $999 USD. The Pixel 7 Pro and OnePlus 11 cost hundreds of dollars less but arguably offer more to the user than the S23 does. For example, I mentioned before that the S23 Plus has a 1080p screen. Not only do the competitors I mentioned have higher resolution screens, but my 4 year old OnePlus also has a QHD screen on it. My iPhone also has a higher resolution. To Samsung’s credit, the S23 has a better looking screen than these other flagships from yesteryear. Good job, but offering a 1080p screen in a thousand dollar phone is a slap in the face to Samsung customers like me. Even if it still looks good. Do better Samsung.

The competition isn’t perfect either though. The Pixel 7 Pro is slower, has poor battery life, also charges its battery slower than average and apparently has connectivity issue. OnePlus decided it was a better idea to trade out wireless charging and add Wifi 7 to it’s OnePlus 11 phone. Wait, you don’t have Wifi 7 at your home? Neither do I. It also allowed Oppo to molest Oxygen OS, which should be a crime. And both those phones aren’t on the same level as Samsung when it comes to build quality.

So there it is, why I picked the S23 Plus. While probably $200 or more than it really should be, actually is a jack of all trades flagship phone. It’s fast, it’s got a great screen, it has great battery life, it charges quickly, it takes good photos and videos. It’s got Wifi 6e and it’s 5G. It has Samsung build quality. My biggest gripe with it is Samsung’s OneUI. It’s still awful. It is probably the Lexus of phones. Yeah, a Lexus is a fancy Toyota, but Lexus offer a luxury experience with Toyota reliability. It may not be the coolest phone you can put in your pocket or offer some outrageous feature, but it sacrifices little, if anything. If you are in the market for the most well-rounded flagship phone, the S23 is likely be best of the bunch. Just take advantage of a trade-in or whatever special deals carriers are putting out there.