To date, flip phones like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 have proved to be an entertaining novelty, but ultimately a tough sell thanks to their limited use when closed.
While larger foldables like the Pixel Fold and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 operate like a standard phone when folded, flip phones typically have a strip of screen that’s good for notifications, but little else. In other words, you need an extra step before you can use your phone as a phone.
We already heard that the upcoming Motorola Razr 2023 could change that with a large 3.5-inch external touchscreen. But now we have an idea of how the company intends for us to take advantage of this larger display thanks to leaked shots and video from the reliable leaker Evan Blass.
In what looks like marketing material from the phone’s upcoming June 1 reveal, Blass’ video shows apps and games running on the cover display as well as a full keyboard popping up, allowing users to reply to messages without unfolding.
The video shows how the phone can deftly transition between these without needing to unfold. It starts with the owner viewing a stream on TikTok, before moving to a marble rolling game. A notification then pops up, and with a tap of the "reply" prompt, an on-screen keyboard appears. The contact then shares a map link, which opens up full screen when tapped. All of this takes place without opening the phone once.
The promo images, dotted throughout this piece, show how effective flip phones continue to be for selfies and video calls. Not only can you prop up the phone on itself, letting you speak hands-free, but with the superior rear camera augmented with a screen, you can take far more detailed selfies than most phones allow.
This all seems very promising, but while it’s a big step up from the Galaxy Z Flip 4, the upcoming Flip 5 will reportedly offer a similar experience with Samsung also expanding its cover screen to a more usable 3.4 inches.
All of this makes flip phones a much more tempting proposition, as long as it doesn’t harm battery life. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 only lasted eight hours and 33 minutes in our stamina tests — a big upgrade on the 5 hours and 33 minutes managed by its predecessor the Galaxy Z Flip 3, but not something we’d like to see hit any harder.
We should see the battle of this year’s flip phones unfold very soon. Motorola’s latest Razr (known as the Razr Plus in the States, according to Blass, but the Razr 40 Ultra in the rest of the world) will be unveiled on June 1, and we’ve heard that Samsung will show its foldable hand in an Unpacked event in late July.
Our list of the best foldable phones could look very different, very soon. Especially if Google decides that it wants a foldable flip phone, too.