As dorky as they are, a reel with a flipping switch is kinda useful. At least I think so. Sometimes I forget to flip the switch and if you can see me, I make really animated facial expressions when I try to cast!!!
I have used them for about 35 years. They are not dorky, and they do have some advantages. For 20 years, my home water was from the Everglades to Okeechobee where I excelled at flipping, my favored technique. The expensive high-$ reels are just not necessary for the technique. Most who flip have the drag locked down, so no need for fabulous drag characteristics. No need for fancy low-friction record distance casting - you'll be swinging a hunk of tungsten or lead.
I like three things in a flipping reel:
1) A Flippin' Switch
2) Line pick-up as fast as I an get (where IPT is more important than sheer gear ratio)
3) Reasonable weight
I've had countless days where the only rods I held were flipping rods, so keeping weight down is welcomed by my wrist/arm. My early years rigs were long before today's large gear housing reels, so my first flipping rigs had a whopping 19 inches per turn or so on the retrieve. I made that work, so getting the 28 inch per turn I have today with modern reels seems heavenly. Could I get more IPT with another reel? You bet, but I will never give up the flipping switch to do so.
In a given day, I will probably make more flips than an angler without a flipping switch. I'll do that with more fluid motion and with less effort. I'll also be poised to set the hook instantly on a fish that ingests my lure a fraction of a second after it enters the water. The best reel I found for my requirements is the Quantum Energy, available in both left and right hand versions. It has a flipping switch, weighs under 7 ounces, and offers 28 IPT with the 7.0:1 gear option. I own five of them. The Catalyst is no longer made, but it was a slightly less expensive version of the Energy that also met my requirements.
I saw two things that lost a lot of fish for people: Moving the rod back and forth between hands, and not having the reel engaged when they needed to set the hook on a fast-biting fish. Neither of these effects me because my rod never leaves the chosen hand, and the reel is engaged unless I press down on the thumb-bar. These are immensely important in not missing fish in my opinion. As we flip to hundreds of targets near and far, we are constantly adjusting our line extension. With or without a flipping switch, we press the thumb-bar to get more line. With a flipping switch, once enough line is payed out, I simply let go of the thumb-bar and I'm back in action. But, an angler without a flipping switch must now get the reel engaged again. He's holding the rod in one hand, and holding the line extension in the other hand. What hand will he be using to engage the reel's drivetrain? (while I've already flipped the bait and set the hook on another fish). THAT, my friend, is the bottom line of why I don't flip without a flipping switch!