Samsung Flip: Targeting office efficiency and convenience
Tech review: At €2,700, this digital flipchart doesn’t come cheap
There are two options for using the Flip: wall mount, if it will be a fixture in your meeting room permanently; or a wheeled stand that you can use to push it around from room to room.
Product name: Samsung Flip
Where to buy: samsung.com
The humble flipchart may be a mainstay of your meeting room, but what if there was a better way? And by better, I mean more high tech.
Samsung is trying to do for the flipchart what interactive whiteboards did for the dull displays in meeting rooms all over the world: make it more convenient and more efficient, and easier to collaborate.
The Flip pulls double duty here. The interactive display could replace the whiteboard and the flipchart, moving between a landscape display and a portrait display quickly and with minimal fuss.
First, the basics. The Flip runs on Tizen 3.0, Samsung’s own operating system. The display measures 55 inches, and is a 4K display. It’s a more flexible display than you might expect. The device can be used in different orientations, but also moved between whiteboard and blackboard modes.
There are plenty of connection options too. There’s an NFC pad to hook the Flip up to a compatible smartphone for screen mirroring and a USB 3.0 port in a pod. On the back, there’s another USB 3.0, and ethernet connections, a serial connection, HDMi and a USB connection that allows you to connect a PC to the Flip and control that machine through the interactive display. And to cap it all off, there are integrated speakers in the back.
It’s designed to cope with up to four people weighing in and touching it at the same time, whether it’s with the included stylus or simply fingertips. Realistically, you aren’t going to be crowding around the board grabbing at it, but at least it can cope with a bit of pressure.
So the Flip earns its price tag. Which is probably going to be the first hurdle for businesses, because as you’d imagine, the Flip isn’t cheap.
But when you put it in competition with collaborative devices like the Microsoft Surface Hub, it looks relatively inexpensive. However, expect to run up against resistance when your office manager points out you could likely kit out an entire room with floor to ceiling whiteboards for the cost of a single Flip.
Where it comes into its own is collaboration. Yes, you can stick things on a white board and everyone can weigh in, but it you need to share it around, you are stuck with taking photographs on phones. The Flip allows you to export your work to a PDF and send it on.
Plus the ability to save sessions and call them back up when needed is a handy one. Try doing that on a regular whiteboard or flip chart after a few weeks. You’ll find your work has either been removed or filed away.
Having said that, if you are in an office where whiteboards are used for ongoing projects that you need to keep on display, the Flip will be overkill for that type of work. Its best use is as a collaborative tool in meetings.
You can “write” with the stylus or your fingertip; erasing can be done with a simple wipe of your hand across the board. Less mess and fewer markers lying around the office are added benefits.
You can save your sessions and password protect them so no one else can gain access – a good move for a device that is designed to be used in a shared space.
It’s quite a heavy display, so it needs a proper stand. There are two options for using the Flip: wall mount, if it will be a fixture in your meeting room permanently; or a wheeled stand that you can use to push it around from room to room. For the purposes of this review, the Flip was on the wheeled stand, which is a bit on the hefty side – and it’s not cheap either. There would be very little change from €1,000.
That is fine for a relatively open-plan office. However we ran into some issues when we were trying to move it from room to room; manoeuvering it into through the doorway was an issue; ditto with getting it into the lift.
The Flip has plenty of positive points. It’s great as a collaborative tool, and although the stylus isn’t pressure sensitive, the screen can handle touch input from four people at once. The board can be switched both in orientation and between blackboard and whiteboard modes. Plus there are plenty of connection options,including screen mirroring – all of which will work best with Samsung phones.
The not so good:
The first downside has to be the cost. It may be difficult to justify for smaller businesses. Another point against it is the Flip isn’t as easy to move around as a traditional flipchart, due to the need for a wall mount or the wheeled stand.
The board easily flips switches between landscape and portrait mode, and blackboard and whiteboard modes. That makes it a bit more flexible than a standard white boy fixed to your wall.
The verdict: 4 stars
The flip takes a humble whiteboard and gives it a high-tech twist. But only if you can afford the price tag.