Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, Microsoft Your Phone could change the way you use mobile tech

Galaxy Z Flip Surfaceprox
Galaxy Z Flip Surfaceprox (Image credit: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

Over the weekend, I was one of the lucky few to have my Samsung Galaxy Z Flip order ship from Best Buy. The folding phone is not without controversy, but it is also winning the hearts of many early adopters brave enough to plop down $1,400.

I'll review the Galaxy Z Flip and detail how it works with Microsoft's Android app suite in the coming weeks, but for now, I want to talk about Windows 10's Your Phone feature and how it has me intrigued and especially exited for the upcoming Surface Duo.

Your Phone improved a lot since 2018

Galaxy Z Flip Surfaceprox

Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

When Microsoft announced Your Phone in May 2018, I gave it a quick spin. Early on, there wasn't a lot it could do, making it less than truly useful. Later, I switched to the iPhone 11 mostly full-time, though I still used Android on the side.

And even though I have a Samsung Note 9 kicking around, I never used Your Phone full-time even after Samsung and Microsoft got real cozy. When combined with removed support for the iPhone due to Apple not cooperating with the project, I just never made use of Your Phone.

So, here I am seven months after I gave Your Phone some harsh criticism, using it with a brand-new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip.

And it's amazing.

Your Phone seamless integration

Your Phone Z Flip

Source: Windows CentralWireless screen mirroring lets you operating the Galaxy Z Flip with a mouse and keyboard. (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Samsung phones now ship with Your Phone built in, including the S10 and S20 series. The feature is under Link to Windows in Settings, and it gives the whole experience a more natural feel compared to other Android devices.

I'm amazed at how well Your Phone works with Z Flip.

On the PC side, Your Phone is regularly updated. For those on the Windows Insider Release Preview program, you get version 1.19123.19.0, which is different from production. There's a new killer feature that lets your phone display go black to save battery life (and reduce the dual-screen effect) when mirroring. Before, when you screen mirrored, your phone's display would stay on the whole time, which is not battery-friendly (and it's distracting).

With the Galaxy Z Flip, Your Phone supports all the major features including:

  • Messages — Make and receive SMS texts.
  • Notifications — Receive all, none, or some of your phone's notifications on your PC.
  • Phone calls — Use your PC's microphone and speakers to handle phone calls.
  • Photos — Show up to 2,000 of your latest photos and screenshots, which you can then save and share on the PC.
  • Phone screen — Run your phone through the PC, including launching apps, typing, and more.

You can even copy text from your PC and paste it to the phone directly.

Granted, the Galaxy Z Flip is not (yet) on the map for the recently announced RCS messaging support through Your Phone, though hopefully that happens soon, too.

I've been amazed at how fast using Your Phone with the Galaxy Z Flip has been. Calls work perfectly, screen mirroring is almost instant, and the ability to grab my pics while on a laptop or desktop PC is extremely useful. I can even switch between the HP ENVY 32 desktop and work on my Surface Pro X without skipping a beat.

Flipped screens and Surface Duo

Surface Duo

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

While I'll save my thoughts on the Z Flip's hardware for the full review, I'll say that using it with the screen propped open at a 90-degree angle like a mini-laptop is fascinating.

When I'm not screen mirroring, the Galaxy Z Flip has an always-on-display that shows my calendar appointments, time, notifications, and more. While many smartphones have the same features, they lay flat on your desk, resulting in some neck work to see what's happening. With the Z Flip's articulated screen, it's much more glance-and-go.

Source: Windows CentralThe Windows Insider version of Your Phone brings a screen blackout feature when mirroring. (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

All of this makes me wonder how the Surface Duo will operate. Though it has dual displays (instead of a foldable one), it too can be articulated with one of the screens at a 90-degree angle. Microsoft hasn't talked much about what all the postures can do with the Duo, but being able to display information ("second screening") while working at a PC would be very beneficial. Things like always-on-display are crucial for such an experience.

I haven't been this excited about new tech in a long time.

Hopefully, Microsoft is thinking about how Your Phone and the Surface Duo can be best maximized for work, productivity, and features. The company can now fully control the Android experience meaning Your Phone should be at least as good as Samsung's, but hopefully even better.

The future of mobile is very exciting

Galaxy Z Flip Aod

Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows CentralLike most modern phones the Galaxy Z Flip has a useful always-on-display feature. (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

Whatever your thoughts on the pros and cons of foldable or dual-screen devices, it's clear we're in for some possible paradigm shifts. Microsoft and Samsung are leading the charge, and how we think about phones, PCs, 5G, and working mobile could radically change as this tech evolves.

It's much too early to declare the Galaxy Z Flip a winner, but when combined with Microsoft's Your Phone (and the potential of dual-screen PCs), I haven't been this excited about tech in a long time. Seriously.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • I love the idea of the Z Flip. However, if I am going to move more and more to mobile productivity I think the Duo is still for me. But I do love the idea of current slaps folding up to be small in my pocket.
  • Given the screen size difference between the Duo and The Z Flip, productivity would be better on the Duo, in my opinion.
  • Oh definitely. Z Flip is basically a fashion phone meant for regular day-to-day smartphone stuff. Duo is much better optimized for "work".
  • Your Phone works just as well with the Note9. You lack RCS maybe, but that has never been a big loss to me.
  • Samsung should be given a hand shake and a well done for their efforts with the Fold, and the Z flip, they are pushing tech in the right direction and making tech interesting again, however i am waiting for Duo, ill take form and function, build quality and durability over a sexy looking folding smartphone, hopefully developers can take advantage of a true two screen smartphone device, in regards to the your phone application it works quite good with a Pixel 4 xl, and my Surface pro 4, whats going to interesting is will the Surface Duo run the normal messaging app, Googles messages from the play store, or use Samsung messages app? RCS is a mess Google is taking to long to push Telcos to enable RCS, maybe Microsoft will do something in this regard. In Australia only one network provider supports RCS and thats Telstra, the other major ones do not, Optus an Vodafone have no time frame to release it, even though they have said they will support it years ago.
  • I think the exciting news in this and some of the other announcements around Your Phone and Samsung devices is that I think it's fairly safe to say that the vast majority, if not all of it, will come to the Duo. One of the biggest things I miss from the days of Windows 10 Mobile is that synergy between PC and phone. It looks like Microsoft's working to bring that back.
  • In the past few months I've been spending more and more time working from home (I'm a post-classes grad student) and Your Phone has been a big help. I barely wake my phone now (at least, not in person). Desktop-based SMS, access to my phone's photos (without having to dig into Google Photos, where they're all backed up), notification syncing that's fairly easy to control - these are all great. On occasion I also need to make or take calls and I've always dreamed of being able to do that through my PC while it's docked at my desk - and now Your Phone lets me do that (Galaxy Note 10). In only about 18 months Your Phone has become very powerful and very useful. Good job MS! Also, good to see that I soon I'll be able to black-out my phone when screen mirroring. This is all very exciting. With so much new change in the mobile market, it feels like 2011 again.