I am a sucker for a gimmicky phone. Flip them, fold them, slide them – give me all the tricks. My phone history reads like a journey through innovation.


From the sleek Motorola Razr V3 to the enticing LG Chocolate to the Samsung SGH-E105 flip phone, I’ve always been drawn to unique designs. Even rocking and adopting the Blackberry trend ahead of my peers, my choices often raised eyebrows and sparked curiosity.

Flippin’ Good

Knowing this bit of background, it should then come as no surprise that when I saw Samsung’s Flip 3 come out, I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to get my hands on one.

I wanted to feel like Cher Horowitz with her iconic flip phone in the halls of Bronson Alcott High. But, you know, in my 30s at work instead. I’ve had the phone for two years now, and until recently, it held up pretty well.

Admittedly, the camera quality took a hit compared to my previous Samsung Note 10, which I loved for the S pen – another techy thing that gets me, but I overlooked the downgrade, emphasising practicality over photographic prowess. I wasn’t trying to be a National Geographic photographer, although my Instagram page would say otherwise.

The fold was a central point of curiosity for everyone and anyone, with most asking how did I deal with the fold. You just get used to it. It didn’t bother me in the slightest and I barely noticed it until the standard-issue screen guard starting cracking along the fold line. Then it became annoying. A few clicks on Takealot and I found a replacement screen guard; sorted.

Highlights of the Z Flip 3 over two years

  • It’s compact: I could squeeze it into any bag or small pocket.
  • It’s a great conversation starter: It was a nifty party trick if you needed to get the conversation going at a table, but random conversation makes me awkward, so I guess a very bad party trick in my case.
  • Cardless payments was a breeze: I could swipe on the front screen, unlock with my finger print and tap to pay. Always a crowd pleaser at the till. More awkward conversation for me.
  • Flex mode: I used this all the time. This is essentially when you used the phone folded at a 90 degree angle. It makes for great steady photos and there’s no need for a tripod when I’m hiking on the mountain trying to be a National Geographic photographer capture the beauty of the hike.

Plot Twist: Not so flippin’ good

However, the story takes a twist. Two years into its service, disaster struck. The screen cracked along the fold, rendering the top half useless. The LCD damage spread like an inkblot, forcing me into an unplanned upgrade.

Prior to this, however, I had also been noticing a significant drop in battery life. I was previously able to make it through the day with a phone charged up to 85% (which I did in order to extend the life of the battery).

In recent months, however, I’d have to charge my phone halfway through the day to make it to the end. This, along with the ever-growing ink spill across the fold meant it was time for something new. Sort of.

Enter the Z Flip 5

Now, you might be wondering why I would opt for the 5, given its predecessor’s less-than-stellar performance after two years. The answer is simple – I am, and forever will be, a sucker for a gimmicky phone.

I am already enjoying the functionality of a bigger 3.4-inch front screen that shows more than just notifications, although Good Lock is not available in SA so I can’t quite figure out how to customise it to display a selection of apps.

I haven’t taken any images worthy of Nat Geo as yet, but I can tell that I’m going to enjoy this improved camera quality on various hikes around Cape Town. I’m crossing my fingers that this phone will stand the test of time better than its predecessor did.

In the ever-evolving world of smartphones, my love for the gimmick prevails, embracing the next wave of technology with the Z Flip 5.

You can read Nafisa’s initial thoughts of the Flip 5 here and her review here.