Mobile Phone Update: Google Pixel 5 and Samsung Z Flip 3

By: Tom Hilton.  Updated: December 20, 2021.


Mobile Phone Update

Caption: My Samsung Z Flip 3 Mobile Phone.


Here are my experiences with two mobile phones I have used over the last 6 months. From my perspective (a tech-savvy older adult), one was really bad. The other was "OK", but definitely not "for everyone". Read about my experiences below.



Google PIXEL 5.

Six months ago, my spouse, decided we needed phone upgrades and I was given a Google Pixel 5 because that is the only dual-simcard phone Verizon offers.

It is the worst phone I have ever owned – and I have been carrying these darned things since they were the size of a tennis shoe.


Needlessly Complex

Despite being the father of the Android operating system, I found Google’s new phone to be needlessly complex.

A major issue is “settings.” Too often the settings have settings and the help menus just make things even more inscrutable. Thus, personalizing your phone takes days; not hours.

If you are setting it up for an elderly loved one, expect the phone to wind up in a drawer.

How bad is it? I just replaced it with a new phone after only 6 months.



Samsung Z Flip 3.

My early Christmas present was to replace my hated Pixel 5.

I will warn you ahead of time, the Flip phone is not an updated Motorola Razor lookalike. The Razor is still my favorite phone albeit obsolete today.

Like the Razor, it is a clamshell phone. However, it is no “flip” phone. Think of your current phone just folded in half. It takes both hands to clumsily open the phone. Thus, it is not Parkinson’s nor arthritis-friendly.

Once open, it is the same size and feel of a normal mobile phone. The only advantage to bending as far as I can see is that it does make video calls easy by opening halfway so the camera can get your image sitting flat on the desk in front of you like a beach chair.

As the picture at the top of the page shows, closed there is a small back screen that indicates the time, charge level, and date. The opened screen video quality is typical of most 2021 phones. The operating system, like all Samsung phones, is raw Android.

Samsung’s efforts to push their own, redundant apps gets annoying. For example, my Google Calendar app via Android was hijacked by Samsung’s calendar app – they both do the same thing.

Physically, the phone is a bit smaller in the purse or pocket, but answering a call requires retrieval and using both hands to open it unless, like me, you have Bluetooth hearing aids. When the phone rings, I just tap my right ear twice and my hearing aids answer the phone without taking it out of my pocket and opening it.

My biggest gripe about the phone is that its shell is as smooth as ice.

Set the phone on your knee for a second, and the next thing you hear will be the phone hitting the floor. Set it on the chair or sofa arm – same thing – unless it falls between the cushions.

Thus, you need to get a case for it – preferably one that is very nonskid. Of course, that bulks up the phone a bit too. Anybody with common sense would have engineered the outside of the phone so it would not slip-n-slide on most surfaces.

Otherwise, the phone is adequate for 4/5G operation. It is probably not for everybody over 60 unless compact size is a must-have. Mostly, it is a gizmo to impress your techno nerd pals.




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Reader Comments: "Mobile Phone Update: Google Pixel 5 and Samsung Z Flip 3"


from faengelm (member) at December 23, 2021

Thanks for the very helpful review.

 I appreciate your perspective and your engaging writing style.


from Philip Cassady (unverified) at February 28, 2022

Please write a review of simpler, less expensive cell phones that would be easier for seniors to use who are primarily interested in telephone use, not internet or apps.


from eleahall (member) at March 10, 2022

I agree with Phillip Cassidy --that's what I'm intereted, too.



from faengelm (member) at April 05, 2022

You might be interested in this Lively, Jitterbug Flip2: Review


from Tom Hilton (unverified) at April 06, 2022

This might appeal to people who lack the know-how to achieve the same capabilities using Google. "Okay Google" is Alexa's sister. I am always skeptical of phones marketed as elder-friendly because most just sell less expensive phones with a few pre-programmed gimmicks like a help button that one can easily program into grandma's current phone. There is always an app for that :-).

However, some people are willing to sacrifice functionality for convenience because they have not kept up with the technology and that train has left the station for them. They are paying more for less, but it allows them to skip learning all that digi-knowledge, and for many elders that is desirable. As I have mentioned, my late 96-year-old mom used to call her husband's desktop PC "the email," because that is all she used it for and did not want to bother learning how to Google for information, Facebook, etc.

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Last Updated: December 20, 2021.