Hardware: The phone itself, while feeling substantial, is actually quite pleasant to hold and use. I had a popsocket wallet and case on my iPhone 11 which made it feel no lighter than this phone, sans case but with pop-wallet. The phone is super fast, just as fast if not snappier than my iPhone 11. It has 12gb of memory, and from what I can tell, and it gets used. This is probably an artifact of running each process sandboxed but with iOS you literally have no visibility unless you apply a developer profile to the phone.
Cameras: The cameras seem good, but honestly I think I prefer the iPhone better. For now. I don't really understand the different modes of the camera and I also don't understand why pictures look so much better after they are taken than when they are on the view finder. iPhone wins here, hands down. That being said: the iPhone seems like a great vacation phone. Simple and geared towards consumption and entertainment, with a great camera to boot. From the pictures I've taken, I can tell this thing can produce great snaps however it certainly isn't as simple as on the iPhone. So while this will be a great "urban life" phone and hopefully will take those impromptu photos that occasionally pop up - the only ones I ever really share or look at again are ones from vacations, and I don't plan on using this phone on vacation.
Battery: The battery seems to last a good amount of time, I definitely got a good 12-14 hour day under my belt with your typical "this is a new toy" usage. That seems more than acceptable, I just hope it lasts.
The outer screen is very usable! Typing on it, even with my adult sized hands felt about the same as using an old iPhone, and while not quite as spread out as your normal phone, it's also much easier to operate one handed. Instead of going on and on about it, i'll just say this: I can pretty much do everything I need to do on the outer screen alone - and while I thought I would miss the wider aspect ratio, it turns out pretty much everything we already do with our phones is set up to flow vertically; not horizontally.
The inner screen literally made me chuckle a little and smile when I turned it on. It is amazing. Turn the "tablet" experience on in the settings to experience another smile and chuckle. It can get so ridiculously bright that it's probably a health hazard, and both displays offer the night mode familiar to iPhone users (you need to turn up the intensity to match the default Apple experience). It does have a plastic screen protector on it, which I understand you can have removed, but it doesn't feel fragile. The plastic protector does offer that "sticky" feeling every now (depending on the condition of your finger) and then, its best you keep it clean to prevent that.
The folding mechanism: it is solid, it takes effort to close it and while I delicately and slowly fold it, there is absolutely no need. The mechanism feels deliberate and premium. It's also pretty silent, although I do hear a little static noise when I unfold it. I also thought I heard creaking noises, but it turns out that's the noise Android makes when you lock it.
Flex mode: This is also great, also made me smile. One note, when you use this phone in Flex mode with the camera in the air (which is how you would need to use it to do a video conference), it is not properly weighted and often tips over on its own. I solved this with my pop socket/wallet, but I would have expected this phone to be balanced correctly, given that the Flex nature is marketed so prominently.
Software & UX: Honestly, android is great. I downloaded all the same apps I had on iPhone (literally everything looks the same) plus some ones that Apple won't list on their marketplace. I do have to buy all my games again, which isn't ideal, but now I'm covered on both eco systems.
Androids method of organizing apps and the home screen independently is much more coherent than iOS (you can still switch to the iOS method if you wish) and adding Widgets is much more useful on Android than the newly introduced functionality on iOS 14.
What isn't great about the UX:
- There's literally no help for switching from iPhone. After reading the online user manual, I gathered there's a helper Samsung app to transfer content, but I haven't yet used this.
- Both samsung and google apps: I get that Samsung wants to offer its own apps, and I honestly am not a huge fan of Google and their eco system, but why have both? Surely Google's offerings can be downloaded on request, and Samsung wouldn't include their own version if it wasn't fully baked - so why have two. It is so confusing and honestly I still haven't quite determined if both of them are sync'ing my photos or contacts or what. This is where the Apple mentality really (only) shines - by tightly controlling the Applications on a users phone, they can offer a consistent and unified experience. Samsung's apps, except for Internet, work well enough as far as I can tell so why not just go with those? Having Google Photos and Samsung Photos is pointless, having Samsung Pass store my passwords and then also Google asking to store it? Really? Any non developer Apple user could easily suspect this is a scam.
Purchase experience: this is where it all fell apart for me. The phone arrived late, despite pre-ordering the literal minute it was listed. People who pre-ordered from Samsung were treated to $150-$250 off the price of the phone depending on your effort, as well as Galaxy Live buds for free due to the delay. Thankfully, Amazon also made me smile, but...
Samsung really needs to re-examine the strategy with this phone. People who buy a $500 iPhone can walk into an Apple store and get expert advice right then and there. I purchased this $2000 phone and had to figure everything out myself. When I needed support on how to get the Galaxy Z Premier benefits, not even Samsung support knew what I was talking about. Together we figured it out but this is not acceptable.
The box includes a charger, a ~3-5ft cable, 3 pieces of paper roughly the same size as a napkin, and the phone. Plus three separate warnings about using the phone. This is also unacceptable. It would have been great to include a case, or at least headphones.
Bonus: Your Phone + Windows 10. This is like iMessage and iPhoto integration on Apple products, but just infinitely better. You can make and receive calls through the PC, send and receive text messages and notifications, and DO FULL REMOTE DESKTOP TO YOUR PHONE. What a time to be alive... It works remarkably well and even follows all my different Windows devices (desktop, surface book, tablet).
1. Super fast charging must be different than normal USB PD charging. None of my PD chargers can super charge this, other than the one that came with it.
2. There are currently no cases available on the market for this phone
3. Yes, it is pretty heavy - but so is your average accessory laden iPhone
4. It is slippery! Pop socket or finger ring recommended
Final thought: Android gives me hope for a more useful phone. Or should I say pocket computer. iOS users must not be developers, or they're lying to themselves when they claim to replace a PC with an iPad. I can program on this Android device. I can use a keyboard and mouse and USB-C hub with this android device. I can load programs that would definitely not meet Apple's criteria for listing simply because they offer competing functionality or expose too much of the OS core. This is a true PC replacement. Especially when you throw Microsoft's RDP on there or a Citrix client.
I'll update this review in 2 weeks but these are my initial thoughts.
Update: the camera seems decent but I'm still not convinced it's better than my iPhone. I added some pictures I took from the roof.