With the slowdown of the cell phone industry, it has become a new common idea to make articles on the new form of folding screen. However, I am more interested in the “small folding” products that open and close vertically than the horizontal folding, commonly known as the “big folding” products that are getting more attention and more products. The reason is that I have always wanted to limit the role of cell phones to limited uses such as daily communication and portable information finding and recording, leaving the more complex work and content consumption to dedicated devices such as tablets and computers. In this mindset, the smaller the phone occupies – in both the physical and psychological sense – the better. I’ve always regretted the current approach of making them thicker and heavier, each one a hundred-eyed beast. On the contrary, small folding products “small to see big”, in my opinion, better reflect the actual benefits of technological progress.
But before that, my praise for small folding has always remained in the fantasy stage, because I have been an iPhone user, Apple under Cook’s rule, the word “stable” does not allow me to bend and stretch, I also in the spirit of saving and not tossing attitude has been with the situation. But the opportunity this year is that, after several years of iteration, folding screen in my mind has evolved from a pure playground to a degree that can be tried. As for why Samsung, the main considerations are (i) the longest history of folding screen iterations, the possibility of making a mature solution is higher; (ii) the system is relatively clean and does not give iOS refugees too much cultural shock, and (iii) Samsung is a well-known diving champion, and the cost is relatively manageable at the point in time when it is listed for more than a quarter.
As for the experience, everything that needs to be said has actually been said when writing about the Z Flip 3; the Z Flip 4 is mostly a case of fine-tuning and optimizing some design details and making some routine upgrades to the processor (Snapdragon 888 to 8+ Gen 1), battery (3300mAh to 3700mAh) and main camera (1/2.55″ to 1/1.76″). Overall, it’s still a product that is on the edge of the sword. The real core competitiveness still lies only in size and form, and other innovations (including external screen widgets, hovering angle, etc.) are still inevitably fancy, and still have single card, low battery life, life expectancy depends on luck, and other factors that are a veto for many people.
In addition, since the Z Flip 3 was introduced more than a year ago, domestic brands have also launched a number of small folding products, including Huawei’s P50 Pocket and Pocket S (the latter is mainly processor reduction) and Lenovo Moto’s Razr 2022. Compared with them, Samsung’s advantage is the most compact body (71.9mm wide, folding thickness of 17.1mm) and lightweight (187g). But as for the key hinge design of the folding phone is relatively conservative, not using any novel technology. As a result, the Z Flip 4 is inferior to domestic options in terms of the depth of the fold and the fit of the top and bottom screens when closed.
In terms of software, the experience so far also confirms another coincidence of the small folding product: after unfolding it is just a slightly higher ordinary phone screen (Sony: not high not high), so it does not need any special adaptations can be used without any hindrance. Of course, the window hover, split screen, these large-screen phone common basic auxiliary functions, Samsung is also considered to be familiar with. If there’s a problem, it’s mostly mine: as an iOS user who had to get pop-ups for cross-application paste not long ago, I can’t think of using these magic features that have skyrocketed in number.
When it comes to the ecological migration from iOS to Android, it actually went smoothly and took only about two hours. That’s not surprising: there are few everyday software that aren’t cross-platform; and the advanced software that techies like to explore will only run faster on the relatively open Android system, including but not limited to normal browsers, normal e-book readers, normal syncing tools, normal file managers, normal terminal emulators, and so on. The reason for the emphasis on “normal” is that there is nothing technically new about these programs, but they are only limited by Apple’s quirks that make them unavailable on iOS.
Of course, I’m not trying to write a “Dawning of the Greatest Hits” for bitter Apple users. Just as I breathe in the long-lost freedom, the strange but familiar smell of Android is also prevalent: the fragmented design language between apps, spanning three generations; the impossible trilemma between timely notifications, long-lasting power and easy settings; and so on. In addition, although the Samsung system has been considered restrained, delete the self-contained crapware and turn off the promotional information and self-serving localization features still took some effort. (I have researched options such as brushing the Hong Kong version of the system, but always believe I have exhausted the balance of the brush in this life at the junior high school level.) In short, get some armor is bound to add some weaknesses, but the wear and tear will always be able to use, do not overly entangled.