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Fx Pro1 vs Samsung Z Fold 3


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Hey Guys

I recently bought Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.

It has also a flex mode where it can transform as laptop factor very similar to Pro1.

So i have been comparing them and thought to share it with you guys for your comments.

Basically the z fold 3 has a very good build quality. it has outer display as a smartphone, but then it can be opened to become tablet mode which is very big display. and it can also sit in an angle to become laptop mode or as its called flex mode.

the software side is not the polished yet as most of the apps dont get keyboard or custom control pad.

But whenever you want to type in any app, the keyboard will be on bottom or base half. i must say the keyboard is very nice and much easier to use on z fold 3 comparing to Pro1.

unfortunately there are few things not available in z fold 3 comparing to Pro1. there is no sd card slot, there is no LED light for notification, there is no audio jack and thee is no FM radio.

 

But overall i am impressed with the build quality of z fold 3, it looks and feels very solid and rough.

its basically more solid in build quality then Pro1 and its keyboard is better and more usable then pro1.

Both have pros and cons and the line is thin when comes to which one is better. Z fold 3 best advantage is the huge screen when opened in tab mode. but its quite heavy comparing to pro1 and my arms get tired after holding and using it for the while.

 

But my final conclusion is that Pro1 will still be the best device for me because it has more features like LED, FM radio and sd card and i feel that Pro1 runs a bit faster.

i am including the photos ive taken, so what opinion you guys have?

 

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I can definately see the benefits of samsungs folded variants versus a tablet or ordinary slab. And clearly using half for a fake keyboard is likely to work much better with android than a fake keyboard on a slab.

But that said I see two drawbacks. Primarily that it isn't a keyboard with real keys, and secondary that the surface will be prone for scratches, as we can not have both hard and bendable with currently known materials.

So I see it as the optimal device for those that do some typing and still also want a large screen for other stuff. But not ideal for those that do a lot of typing.

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Thanks for sharing this.  Very interesting, in particular your typing experience with the fold3. I was not so sure about it. Interesting that the size of the screen is nearly the same when the virtual keyboard is on use on the fold3.

The price difference between the two devices is also considerable, fold 3 is nearly double where I am based.

Fold 3 has also s-pen capacity. 

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20 hours ago, OKSun said:

Fold 3 has also s-pen capacity. 

However, it needs to be used very very carefully. Pressing too hard with the pen will scratch the screen permanently. And "too hard" is not as much as many would expect! Not-so-gently pressing with the nail is already enough to cause permanent dents

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20 hours ago, brunoais said:

However, it needs to be used very very carefully. Pressing too hard with the pen will scratch the screen permanently. And "too hard" is not as much as many would expect! Not-so-gently pressing with the nail is already enough to cause permanent dents

let us hope they find some ingenious way with a top layer that is hard all over, except at the fold, so 'only' the fold-area requires extreme caution.

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7 hours ago, EskeRahn said:

let us hope they find some ingenious way with a top layer that is hard all over, except at the fold, so 'only' the fold-area requires extreme caution.

B-B-But then you might keep the phone going for, what, 3 or 4 years instead of buying a new one. 😉

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you for posting this comparison.

Because I think the Fx Pro 1 will not be delivered in November 21 (as promised at the FX homepage and I am waiting for it since 2/20 😒), I decided today to buy the Galaxy Fold. 😜 This will be delivered until next week...

Yes, I know, the two phones are not really comparable and nothing strikes a physical keyboard, but I cannot wait any longer, my old Blackberry Priv is dead and I really need a new phone. At least the Fold imitates a big keyboard, when I look at the pictures above. So thanks to kashif for posting this. 😁

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Also got the fold3 thanks to this recommendation. The software is surprisingly good (with android 12 already available as beta) and I've grown to like the software keyboard a lot (there is a split keyboard option where I seem to perform even better when thumb typing).

The outer screen is excellent too for one handed use. I haven't had problems with prolonged one handed use but I'm a hobby powerlifter. The thing is comparatively heavy.

And there actually are decent case options. Overall super happy with it, can recommend.

I was afraid of the longevity aspect but the construction is quite impressive. There is also native support to stop charging at 85% and disable fast charging which is great.

It's not like the device has a history of developing ghost touches 😉 though it hasn't been out for that long.

 

Edited by eldarion
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I've owned both a z fold 2 and pro1 in my quest to find the best phone for running emacs and linux.

I got the z fold 2 because one, it has amazing specs, and two, I thought I might be able to use the soft keyboard with emacs runnng in a terminal with termux.

Now let me say, the soft keyboard on the z fold 2 feels amazing, the best I've ever used. I can feel the vibration as I press each key and the tactile sensitivity is wonderful.

However, I ended up returning it because a soft keyboard has several limitations compared to a hard keyboard.

1) Most soft keyboards don't have all the modifier keys with the exception of hacker keyboard app, but it's quite old.

2) Most soft keyboard force you to press a modifier and then press a key rather than being able to press multiple keys at once. This is quite annoying especially if you use a text editor with chord keybindings like emacs.

3) Despite the improved tactile sensitivity in the soft keyboard, it still doesn't feel as good as a physical keyboard. And it may be impossible to ever approximate the same level.

4) Running emacs in terminal is fine, since the terminal resizes when the soft keyboard pops up. But if I try to use vnc viewer to run graphic linux desktop, the soft keyboard covers the desktop and it's very annoying. A hardware keyboard doesn't have this issue.

5) Not keyboard related, but I spent most of my time using the z fold 2 closed, and the front screen is awkwardly narrow and can prevent some apps from rendering properly.

So I feel that a phone with a regular sized screen and a hardware keyboard tucked under it is preferable to the z fold 2.

Edited by lawliett
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Yeah well. I had a pro1 I gave away and emacs was unusable there too. Even something as simple as C-x C-c is difficult for me. Now on a REAL keyboard (planet computers cosmo) this was amazing but PC makes terrible software.

On termux there is a custom key row so no issues using things like tmux on the fold3 without hacker's keyboard.

Would it be nice to have a hw keyboard sometimes? Sure.

But as of now the tradeoff  to get a hw keyboard is making business with a shitty company (includes planet computers) and hoarding replacements, praying to be spared from a hardware failure and hardware CVEs. I was so anxious with the pro1. I'll take reliable over hw keyboard any day of the week.

Edited by eldarion
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3 hours ago, eldarion said:

I had a pro1 I gave away and emacs was unusable there too. Even something as simple as C-x C-c is difficult for me.

While I do not use emacs much anymore, I do not perceive C-x C-c as a problem on the Pro1. Emacs is certainly much more useful on the Pro1 than it used to be on the N900, which had its single Ctrl key awkwardly placed in the top left corner and no hardware Esc key at all ...

But we can agree to disagree: Vim is much better at thumb-typing anyway -- both on the N900 and the Pro1. *duck* 😉

Edited by claude0001
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I'm an evil-mode user actually. The problem with thumb typing is some key combinations require a lot of travel and leaving the home row. On a planet keyboard you can easily do C-x one handed but with the pro1 keyboard it's not really possible.

With a software keyboard you can do it one handed, though overall typing will be slower.

TBH with the the n900 I was happy being able to write shell commands and use tmux. Emacs on a mobile device has never been a good experience, except on the cosmo.

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13 hours ago, eldarion said:

I'm an evil-mode user actually. The problem with thumb typing is some key combinations require a lot of travel and leaving the home row. On a planet keyboard you can easily do C-x one handed but with the pro1 keyboard it's not really possible.

Tbh, I never did things like C-x C-s single-handed, even with a full-size PC keyboard: I hit one of the Ctrl keys with one hand, and the letter key with the other.

Anyway, after years of using it intensely, I have almost stopped using emacs for various reasons. Also vi, I use only for minor editing of shell scripts or config files. For any serious amount of coding, it has been Kate for a while now. Mainly old age I guess 🙂. But its Windows-style shortcuts do work quite well on the Pro1, too. (And, of course, it's got a vim input mode, just for you 😉 ).

Back on topic: Of course, the Pro1 keyboard is not perfect, and cannot compete with that of Planet Computers.

However, I like the basic idea of the Pro1: A no-compromise standard Android phone that can "just run" all those everyday apps made for touch-only operation (let's face it),  with the added option to flip-out the built-in keyboard, when needed.

To be perfectly honest, I hardly use the keyboard for operating Android apps. Most are optimised for portrait and just inconvenient to use in landscape orientation anyway. But when using my GNU/Linux chroot, the keyboard shines! It allows me to transform my phone into a full-featured (albeit small) Unix workstation, with a hw keyboard that has all the important keys for coding and does not require an (additional) software keypad covering large parts of the X11 or terminal screen. Sure, given the small size, I would not want to work like that for hours. But, somehow, it feels good to know my phone can do (almost) anything my Linux PC can, if I happen to be far from the latter ... 😎  

Edited by claude0001
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/5/2021 at 3:50 AM, eldarion said:

I'm an evil-mode user actually. The problem with thumb typing is some key combinations require a lot of travel and leaving the home row. On a planet keyboard you can easily do C-x one handed but with the pro1 keyboard it's not really possible.

I also use evil and vim keybindings on emacs. I remapped the left Alt on Pro1's keyboard to Ctrl key and remapped right Ctrl to Escape key. Thus, the most used modifier keys are near the home row. I have similar keybindings on my desktop mechanical keyboard as well, so there's a  nice parallel. I can also remap the yellow arrow key on the right side to Ctrl, so I can still have two Ctrl keys.

On 12/5/2021 at 6:03 AM, claude0001 said:

Back on topic: Of course, the Pro1 keyboard is not perfect, and cannot compete with that of Planet Computers.

I also owned the Gemini and Cosmo Communicator. I just found them too bulky and awkward to thumb type on; 95% of the time I'll be using the phone while holding it in my hands, so the touch typing on a desk is not useful to me.

I feel the Pro1 is better because it tries to do one thing well (thumb typing) rather than trying to do two things sub-optimally (touch typing and thumb typing). If I'm going to be sitting at a desk I'd rather just use a tablet PC like surface pro and a full-sized keyboard.

 

Edited by lawliett
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3 hours ago, lawliett said:

I feel the Pro1 is better because it tries to do one thing well (thumb typing) rather than trying to do two things sub-optimally (touch typing and thumb typing).

Actually, I find the Pro1 is too large for comfortable thumb-typing. Travel of the thumbs is too long for some keys when holding the phone by the keyboard. From other discussions here, I know that I am not alone with this opinion. I certainly could thumb-type much faster on my good old N900 -- though I must admit that I neither miss the small screen size of the latter, nor the absence of many special keys the Pro1 has ... 

I can well imagine that the PlanetComputers keyboard is even much less comfortable to thumb-type on, but -- in all fairness -- I do not think that was the design goal of that device.

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1 hour ago, claude0001 said:

Actually, I find the Pro1 is too large for comfortable thumb-typing. Travel of the thumbs is too long for some keys when holding the phone by the keyboard. From other discussions here, I know that I am not alone with this opinion. I certainly could thumb-type much faster on my good old N900 -- though I must admit that I neither miss the small screen size of the latter, nor the absence of many special keys the Pro1 has ... 

 

Definitely a keyboard with fewer keys would be more comfortable to type on. I think it's as comfortable as it could be given how many keys it has, and the extra modifier keys more than make up for the slight discomfort (at least for me personally). I think the only way it would be more comfortable is a split keyboard, but that would require an even longer phone.

1 hour ago, claude0001 said:

I can well imagine that the PlanetComputers keyboard is even much less comfortable to thumb-type on, but -- in all fairness -- I do not think that was the design goal of that device.

True, the touch typing is the main selling point, and it isn't really built for thumb typing. I suppose it may appeal to someone who's going to use the keyboard only when a flat surface is available, and otherwise avoid using the keyboard with their thumbs. But in that case, there's plenty of portable and even foldable (can fit in your pocket) bluetooth keyboards on the market.

So if my main use case was thumb typing, I'd get the pro1. But for touch typing, I'd actually prefer a z fold 3 with a kickstand case and a bluetooth keyboard over a planet computers device.

Edited by lawliett
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3 hours ago, claude0001 said:

Actually, I find the Pro1 is too large for comfortable thumb-typing. Travel of the thumbs is too long for some keys when holding the phone by the keyboard. From other discussions here, I know that I am not alone with this opinion. I certainly could thumb-type much faster on my good old N900 -- though I must admit that I neither miss the small screen size of the latter, nor the absence of many special keys the Pro1 has ... 

It is an interesting question... I feel Pro1 comfortable to type on but I have large hands, so I understand others with smaller hands may not feel it comfortable... however, I was holding an N900 in my hand yesterday and although I did not have any problems typing on my N900, I felt its keyboard is a bit strange... only a few keys in regular rows/columns, less keys/modifiers, modifier only at one side... and really small keys.

So I like N900, but I feel Pro1's keyboard is superior in every aspects. 🙂

2 hours ago, lawliett said:

Definitely a keyboard with fewer keys would be more comfortable to type on. I think it's as comfortable as it could be given how many keys it has, and the extra modifier keys more than make up for the slight discomfort (at least for me personally).

Having a full-featured keyboard always at hand which is also capable of working on a remote terminal is cannot be beaten for me. 🙂

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10 hours ago, VaZso said:

It is an interesting question... I feel Pro1 comfortable to type on but I have large hands, so I understand others with smaller hands may not feel it comfortable... 

I have relatively small hands, but still I quickly became used to typing on the Pro1. I don't even see where the problem is supposed to be. Of course you cannot type using only the thumb of one hand, but a landscape oriented slider phone would need to be ridiculously tiny to enable that. Holding the phone with two hands, both of my thumbs reach across more than their own respective half of the keyboard, so there's nothing I couldn't comfortably do...

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21 minutes ago, Rob. S. said:

I have relatively small hands, but still I quickly became used to typing on the Pro1. I don't even see where the problem is supposed to be.

Others may have even smaller hands or I don't know...
It would be good to see what the problem really is in their case.

12 minutes ago, Rob. S. said:

Of course you cannot type using only the thumb of one hand, but a landscape oriented slider phone would need to be ridiculously tiny to enable that.

Right. I have also tried to use my phone one-handed to interact with touch screen but with a relatively high risk of dropping it, so it does not really work in every situations and the larger the phone, the less chance you has.

Pro1's keyboard (and practically any landscape keyboards) was not designed to be used in one hand without a support, so it is not really an option. 🙂

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On 12/4/2021 at 10:00 AM, lawliett said:

I've owned both a z fold 2 and pro1 in my quest to find the best phone for running emacs and linux.

I got the z fold 2 because one, it has amazing specs, and two, I thought I might be able to use the soft keyboard with emacs runnng in a terminal with termux.

Now let me say, the soft keyboard on the z fold 2 feels amazing, the best I've ever used. I can feel the vibration as I press each key and the tactile sensitivity is wonderful.

However, I ended up returning it because a soft keyboard has several limitations compared to a hard keyboard.

1) Most soft keyboards don't have all the modifier keys with the exception of hacker keyboard app, but it's quite old.

2) Most soft keyboard force you to press a modifier and then press a key rather than being able to press multiple keys at once. This is quite annoying especially if you use a text editor with chord keybindings like emacs.

3) Despite the improved tactile sensitivity in the soft keyboard, it still doesn't feel as good as a physical keyboard. And it may be impossible to ever approximate the same level.

4) Running emacs in terminal is fine, since the terminal resizes when the soft keyboard pops up. But if I try to use vnc viewer to run graphic linux desktop, the soft keyboard covers the desktop and it's very annoying. A hardware keyboard doesn't have this issue.

5) Not keyboard related, but I spent most of my time using the z fold 2 closed, and the front screen is awkwardly narrow and can prevent some apps from rendering properly.

So I feel that a phone with a regular sized screen and a hardware keyboard tucked under it is preferable to the z fold 2.

I just thought of a few more reasons why the z fold soft keyboard annoyed me.

6) There's no way to hold down a key to send multiple presses at once.

For example, I'm using evil in emacs and I'm trying to go down some text; I can hold down the j key on my desktop to go down multiple lines quickly. However, with a soft keyboard holding down a key doesn't work that way. A key press only registers once you let go of the key. The only thing you can do with a long press is pop up a different symbol to input. Thus, I have to repeatedly press the key to go down one line at a time. So it's just quite inconvenient.

7) Most soft keyboards are missing not only modifiers, but also many punctuation characters.

You can access them from the symbol menu or assign them to a character key and access with a long press. But it's more inconvenient. Especially when you use punctuation marks as part of your keybindings in emacs.

Edited by lawliett
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On 12/24/2021 at 6:23 PM, lawliett said:

I just thought of a few more reasons why the z fold soft keyboard annoyed me.

6) There's no way to hold down a key to send multiple presses at once.

For example, I'm using evil in emacs and I'm trying to go down some text; I can hold down the j key on my desktop to go down multiple lines quickly. However, with a soft keyboard holding down a key doesn't work that way. A key press only registers once you let go of the key. The only thing you can do with a long press is pop up a different symbol to input. Thus, I have to repeatedly press the key to go down one line at a time. So it's just quite inconvenient.

7) Most soft keyboards are missing not only modifiers, but also many punctuation characters.

You can access them from the symbol menu or assign them to a character key and access with a long press. But it's more inconvenient. Especially when you use punctuation marks as part of your keybindings in emacs.

Thanks for the above. I agree with the limitations you listed. A member of my family acquired a fold3, so I have been testing it a bit. I also prefer the feel of the pro1 keyboard, but the keyboard of the fold3 is very good (using swiftkey, and using navigation gesture to create more space for the keyboard). I have been testing various apps (whatsapp, google calendar, sms, bluemail, dejaoffice) and I could do all the tasks easily on the fold3 virtual keyboard.

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Edited by OKSun
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Interestingly there are slight differences on how the apps are displayed between "virtual keyboard" and "hardware keyboard" (e.g. on the fold 3 deja office opens separate pop up to type in a field, whereas the pro1 types directly in the form).

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I am not sure why. Maybe someone can explain.

But these slight differences were not an obstacle to usability and overview.

The larger screen of the fold 3 to read texts and watch videos are an important plus point.

Looking forward to seeing what fxtec has in the pipeline for its Pro2. In my view they should combine their hardware keyboard with a foldable screen.

Edited by OKSun
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2 hours ago, OKSun said:

I am not sure why. Maybe someone can explain.

My guess would be that the app checks for physical or virtual keyboard, but are unaware of the new 'mixed' state where half of the display is dedicated for a virtual keyboard, (and thus logically should be treated as a physical). As they assumes a virtual keyboard takes up a substantial portion of the screen layout, they change the input-mode...

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