The Samsung Flip is a digital whiteboard for people who don't even know what that is.

I tested one for a month with some college students, and we flipped out over it. The 55-inch screen was just the right size. True to its name, the digital whiteboard can flip from horizontal to vertical mode without much effort. The included stylus looks like a pencil, and you never have to charge it. To erase something on the board, you use your hand.

Because it's all digital, the whiteboard also lets you connect a laptop using an HDMI cable or wirelessly from a compatible phone or laptop (sorry, iPhone users--you're out of luck).

Once you pull up a presentation or some documents, you can take a screenshot of them and then annotate everything with the stylus in real time. The Samsung Flip lets you export these notes easily enough. I liked the option to just email the entire screen to myself. You can also export to a network drive, which makes things even easier and more fluid.

Now, the wonderful thing about a digital whiteboard is that it becomes part of your team, like a digital bot you keep handy at all times. It's definitely not just that you can make notes and don't need to keep any dry erase markers around. Honestly, if taking notes is all you want to do, it is easier to use an analog board and snap a picture with your phone.

The real luxury here--one I found out only after weeks of testing--is that the Flip becomes part of your brainstorming session; anyone can grab the stylus and jot down notes.

The whiteboard blends into the background and you can keep on brainstorming and making plans without ever having to erase anything. To continue making notes, you move the digital notes on the board over with your hand using a thin dotted vertical line.

After each session, the team of students then exported everything for later retrieval. This is faster than snapping a photo with your phone, because it's just a couple of clicks. With your phone, you have to then export the image to Slack or a storage site like Dropbox.

As you can imagine, this easy flow of team communication comes at a price. The Samsung Flip costs $2,699 plus the optional stand which costs $799. If you skip the stand and mount the display on a wall instead, you lose the ability to flip the device easily.

A few other drawbacks to note.

I mentioned how you can easily show a presentation or documents. That's true, but the one ding there is that you have to do a screenshot. I'd prefer annotating right on top of the laptop or phone screen without having to make a screenshot first.

The Flip doesn't let you do a Skype call directly with a built-in feature, but you can do that with an attached device (or show anything on your screen, such as a video or an app). I'd also prefer that the Flip monitored all notes and just did a snapshot of it's own and saved it to an online site on occasion. There were times when we forgot to that manually.

Yet, overall, everyone loved the Flip. I could gripe a bit more about the interface (at times, it's a little wonky and hard to use). For the most part, it just became a fixture of the room, something everyone liked and used routinely. With a second analog whiteboard in the room, you'd think people would use that as well, but it sat silently week after week.

That might be the best compliment anyone could make.

Published on: May 20, 2019
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