The Galaxy Z Flip line of phones is all about being a fresh compact option in the sea of increasingly big slab phones – you know, like the Galaxy Note that Samsung first introduced in 2011.
But what makes a compact phone a great compact phone? Is it the pocketability factor? Perhaps it’s how lightweight the device is? Or simply how easy it is to operate with one hand? Or is it its ability to fold in half?
I’d argue the most compact smartphone form-factor that we have today is still a slab phone, but that might not be true for you. Anyway, in a search for the most practical compact phone, I’ve decided to put together a quick iPhone 13 mini and Galaxy Z Flip 4 face-off that outlines the two different approaches Apple and Samsung have taken when it comes to smaller phones.
Also, will Samsung make a Galaxy S23 mini?
Galaxy Z Flip 4: Samsung’s compact phone isn’t really compact, but just… pocketable
To cut to the chase, Samsung’s idea of a compact phone (at least as far as the Galaxy Z Flip series is concerned) is for the phone to be… pocketable, which is brilliant and checks an essential box in my book of compactness. You carry your phone in your pocket every day, and not having a huge bulge in your jeans that won’t let you sit down to tie your shoes can be properly annoying.
However, I can’t help but notice that in its mission to create a folding phone that looks and feels “normal” when unfolded, it has also had to make a few compromises on the compactness side of things.
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is advertised as a compact device, but if we put aside the pocketability advantage it certainly has over phones like the Galaxy S22+ and iPhone 13, it really doesn’t feel any different than those devices when it’s not chilling out in your pocket.
- The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is on the heavy side for a phone that’s advertised as compact and easy to carry around – it’s nearly as heavy as Samsung’s “normal” flagship, the Galaxy S22+, and noticeably heavier than the iPhone 13
- When unfolded, which is how you’ll use it 99% of the time, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 isn’t a phone that you can operate with one hand as it’s nearly exactly as big and heavy as a Sony Xperia 1 IV
At half the price of the Galaxy Z Flip 4, my iPhone 13 mini checks all the boxes of a compact phone without any of the comprises of a clamshell foldable
I hope it comes as no surprise to you that, in my opinion, phones like the iPhone 13 mini or even the slightly larger than the mini iPhone, Galaxy S22, and Asus Zenfone 9 are better at being compact than the Galaxy Z Flip 4.
I understand and appreciate that the pocketable Flip has its audience, but I do believe that most people who want a compact/small phone want it to be compact/small at all times.
I’ve been using the iPhone 13 mini for over two months now, and I can certainly say that despite the obvious shortcomings compared to my Pixel 6 Pro (like the lack of a telephoto camera and a big screen for multimedia consumption) the iPhone 13 mini has been an absolute game-changer when it comes to its size:
iPhone 13 mini allows me to use my phone with one hand at absolutely all times, even when my other hand is busy, and I have to pinch to zoom in Google Maps, while I’m walking down the street
It’s incredibly lightweight compared to something like a Galaxy Z Flip 4 (141g vs 187g) and thin enough to basically never be a bother when in my pockets
Goodbye, fanny packs? Since I switched from Pixel 6 Pro to iPhone 13 mini, I don’t need to take my phone out of my pocket while working out at the gym.
An added benefit of going with a compact slab phone is that I don’t have to worry about the durability of the iPhone 13 mini as much as I would have to with a clamshell foldable.
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is much more prone to damage when unfolded compared to a “normal” phone. Aside from that, an obvious fault in Samsung’s current design is that the Flip 4 remains exposed and prone to damage even when folded, thanks to the large gap that’s left between the two portions of the screen because the phone doesn’t shut completely. Ironically, this also makes it much thicker than it already is and needs to be.
No iPhone 14 mini: Should Samsung pick up where Apple left off and make a Galaxy S23 mini?
The last mini Galaxy was the Galaxy S5 mini from 2014.
I’ll wrap this up with what’s probably a very unexpected question…
Since Apple is now almost certainly on its way to ditching the mini iPhone due to poor sales, and replacing it with the iPhone 14 Max, should the Android leader in the smartphone world pick up where Tim Cook & Co left off and make a Galaxy S23 mini?
On paper, this looks like a poor business idea because even Apple didn’t manage to make a truly successful compact phone. On the other hand, though, that’s according to Cupertino’s sky-high standards when it comes to sales.
That’s not a dig at Samsung, but it’s a fact that Android flagships as a whole don’t come anywhere near the iPhone when it comes to sales figures. In a way, Samsung is in a better position to take a gamble. Furthermore, at least in my opinion, a Galaxy S23 mini would simply be a better compact phone than the Z Flip 4, which I think is simply pocketable.
That being said, having played with the vanilla Galaxy S22 model, I bet that the 6-inch size with thin bezels will be perfect for most people. Maybe not the ones with the smallest of hands, but most…
So, tell me, would you be interested in an iPhone 13 mini-sized Galaxy S23 flagship, and do you agree that it’d make a better compact phone than the Z Flip 4?