Samsung canceled the note. What’s next for the S-series?

Samsung canceled the note.  What's next for the S-series?

In Samsung’s version of a smartphone-themed Thunderdome, two phones go in, one phone comes out.

When the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Galaxy S22 Ultra entered the fighting cage, with past Samsung phones cheering them on and clinging to the chain-link fence, the two Galaxy rivals battled it out until it only the S22 Ultra remains.

Galaxy Note, we barely knew you.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

If Samsung seems determined to shrink its product line further, this Thunderdome audience could turn its mobile bloodlust into two more very similar flagships – the Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G and the Galaxy S22 Plus. Similar in size and with similar prices ($399 and $499, respectively), the former folds and the latter doesn’t. Otherwise, the two products are similar in many features.

So which Samsung competitor should consumers be looking for when the Thunderdome door closes? We check the history of the tape.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 sits on a table in front of three Z Fold models.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Band history

By contrast, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is obviously more compact in its flipped form, but comparable in size to its rival in full operation. Its battery tops out at 3,300mAh, and the Flip offers the standard storage options of 128GB or 256GB, along with 8GB of RAM. All driven by a Snapdragon 888 chip. In the camera department, the Flip packs dual 12MP rear and 10MP front cameras.

In the non-tipping corner, the The Galaxy S22 Plus packs more punch with a 4,500mAh battery. It offers the exact same storage options as its rival and a newer and more powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip. The S22 Plus has a more elaborate camera with a 50MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide and 3x telephoto 10MP rear zoom setup joining a 10MP front.

A pair of hands hold the Samsung Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus with their rear panels visible.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Function rather than form

As for MSRPs, if the Flip 3 sadly dies, that means the next similar product (the Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G) takes its place with a premium price of around $500 to $899. If the S22 Plus packs it and leaves the Ultra standing, that demands a price increase of just $100 (to $599).

As in any good tune, the opponents are well matched – each with strengths and weaknesses ready to lock them in battle like hostile puzzle pieces. Of course, as in any scuffle between competing products, it is the consumer who makes the final judgment. At the risk of mixing battle metaphors, the buyer is this Roman Emperor, ready to give the Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G and Galaxy S22 Plus a thumbs up or a thumbs down.

It might seem disappointing after the Mad Max benchmarks and basic stat comparison, but all that dust really comes down to aesthetics and style. After looking at the capabilities, it comes down to whether the buyer wants a standard unibody smartphone or the more unusual flip design. The latter sports a slightly more rebellious style, while the former adopts the shape we expect from our smartphones.

A hand holds the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G with the home screen displayed.
Ajay Kumar/Digital Trends

When it comes to essential tech products like smartphones, it’s always better to choose function over form. While the initial lure of buying a “different” device to stand out from the crowd can be intriguing at the store, the buyer has to live with the phone for a year or more once it’s purchased. From looking at cases and screen protectors to finding conveniently sized contact charging stations, the world is made for the more standard flat unibody phone.

So with that fight over, Master Blaster raises his hand from the S22 Plus. The credits roll and we’re dating Tina Turner.

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