Like last year’s Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is still the best at what it’s supposed to be, that being a foldable flip phone and a lifestyle device. It’s a delightful phone to carry around, and it’s just plain fun to use. It will bring you back to a nostalgic era, while still being functional for the modern age.
After its launch earlier last month, we manage to get a unit of it for our review one week ago. At first glance, both new foldable look like their respective predecessors, with the Z Flip 4 rocking a familiar two-tone clamshell form factor, a dual rear camera, and an external cover display. So what is new? Here are what we discovered.
Despite the same primary screen size as the Flip 3, Samsung has managed to make the Flip 4 smaller overall even though Z Flip 4 actually weighs a few grams more (187g versus 183g). When folding the phone closed, the logo-engraved hinge doesn’t protrude quite as much as it did on the last model; with a folded height that’s 1.5mm shorter, thanks in part to slimmer bezels (this has also made more room for a bigger battery).
Its IPX8 water resistance from the Galaxy Z Flip 3 does return and is still just as unbelievably impressive in an ever-growing market of rival foldable that still offer no such protection. This was a very important feature to have because
Once you opened the Galaxy Z Flip 4, you’ll find a 6.7-inch Full HD+ (2640 x 1080) ‘Dynamic AMOLED 2X’ panel, which sports a pleasantly smooth 120Hz refresh rate that can scale down to 1Hz in certain situations to extend battery life.
Visual quality is great for the resolution. The crease is unseen when viewed head-on, making usability almost as good as on any conventional candy bar smartphone; albeit with a decidedly unconventional 22:9 aspect ratio. The shape does require two-handed use a little more often, but it also lends itself particularly well to split-screen multitasking and enjoying ultra-widescreen gaming or video playback.
That main screen is also protected by a new version of Samsung’s UTG (ultra-thin glass) 2.0. The company claims it’s 20% stronger than before and, as mentioned in the design section, appears to repel scratches with (surprising) competency (although there are subtle indents visible in the top-layer screen protector when viewed against the light).
Moving around to the front, the external cover display, made larger between generations on 2021’s Galaxy Z Flip 3, looks to have been carried across to the Flip 4; with the same 1.9-inch Super AMOLED panel as before, plus the same 260 x 512 resolution and 60Hz refresh rate too.
There’s a lot that you can do with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 that doesn’t require you to open the device. To start, you’ll see the time, date, and battery percentage on the main Cover Screen. Naturally, you can customize it with your own imagery. There’s also an always-on display option, which is turned off by default, but given the nature of the Z Flip, which wants you to open it to use it, turning on the always-on display to see the time with no extra steps was something that had to be done. If you swipe in from the left, you’ll see notifications, and from the right, you’ll see widgets. If you swipe down from the top, you’ll get quick settings.
All of this stuff is pretty limited. There is a selection of widgets to choose from, such as media controls and calendars, but the quick settings can’t be customized. But then we discovered CoverScreen OS for the Galaxy Z Flip 4. It not only gave me the customizable quick settings that I wanted, but it also lets you run pretty much any app on the cover screen. There’s a full app drawer, and if the app can properly adapt to the small screen, it will run. There are many things that we could talk about the CoverScreen app which we will talk in more detail about it in our next article.
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 front camera has two 12MP sensors (f/1.8 and f/2.2 ultra-wide) with 10x Zoom, and there’s no telephoto lens. While the apertures remain the same between generations, on the Flip 4 the primary 12MP sensor is fractionally wider and promises brighter stills and videos (by up to 65%), thanks to larger pixels (1.22µm, from 1.4µm previously). The rest of the hardware appears unchanged from Flip 3. The two lenses are good; the main sensor is larger with larger pixels than its predecessor, meaning it has better low-light performance too.
There’s also a 10MP f/2.4 front camera, which is fine. As I said, you’ll always get a better selfie out of the main camera, which you can access from the Cover Screen. The front camera supports the bells and whistles you’d expect, such as 4K 60fps video capture.
Both OIS (optical image stabilization) and VDIS (video digital image stabilization) have been improved, with the latter being particularly handy in light of the new FlexCam mode. This will properly orient the UI when holding the phone like a 90s camcorder while the hinge is folded to a 90-degree position.
Powering the phone is the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip. This is Qualcomm’s latest chip and performance-wise it’s on par with some of the fastest Android phones. That’s paired with 8GB RAM (more than enough for easy multitasking) and storage options range from 128GB to 512GB. There’s no expandable storage here, so choose your storage option wisely. Considering the price jump isn’t too much from the 128GB to the 256GB model, I would recommend going for the latter.
As is the case with the Z Fold 4, a lot of the improvements here are software based. Samsung has padded out the feature-set of its Flex mode, allowing you to do neat tricks by half folding the phone. Some of these were present before, like the ability to prop it open to watch a video, whereas a lot of the tweaked camera tricks mentioned above are new. Samsung’s software is as bug-free as we have ever found it here, with One UI mostly being a pleasure to use.
Samsung has squeezed a larger 3,700mAh cell into the Z Flip 4. Despite only a 12% increase in capacity, it pushes the Flip 4 over the line in terms of day-long longevity. This is helped by that adaptive display, intelligent power management that adjusts dynamically based on usage, and a new battery performance profile menu that lets you choose between ‘standard’ and a new ‘light’ option.
Even with those battery gains, however, this Galaxy Z Flip 4 remains a device you’ll need to charge every day, but there’s a notable improvement this year. If we were finishing the day with 5% on Flip 3, we are now finishing it with 15% on the Z Flip 4.
That’s enough of a boost to give that extra bit of confidence in it getting through a busy day, or a busy night. It’s more efficient, too. An hour of Netflix on the Z Flip 3 took the battery down 15%, whereas now it’s 11%.
Samsung has boosted the max charging speeds too, though you will need to provide your own charger capable. The Flip 4 also charges faster than its predecessor, topping out at 25W via wired charging and 15W wirelessly, with the same 4.5W reverse wireless charging as on the previous Flip (which Samsung calls ‘wireless power sharing’). It’s a welcome year-on-year improvement but as with longevity, moves the needle from ‘lacking’ to ‘okay’ when compared to the wider industry standard.
This makes it faster to get to 50%. We filled up half the battery in 30 minutes, and a full charge takes around 80 minutes. Qi wireless charging is an option if you prefer to go wire-free
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 has a lot of refinements, such as a slimmer, lighter hinge and flatter edges. The new Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor ensures that the Flip 4 shines in every task. Battery life is much better. The cameras are good, especially in the night mode.
Currently, it’s available now, coming in Bora Purple, Graphite, Pink Gold, and Blue, and there’s also a Bespoke Edition that will let you choose a frame and colors for the panels. It comes in three configurations – all of which have 8GB RAM – with storage amounts of 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB and a starting price of RM 4,099.
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 may not be a revolutionary year-over-year upgrade, but it stands tall as one of the best folding smartphones you can buy in 2022. It’s sleeker, faster, and more reliable than ever.”
You should buy this Galaxy Z Flip 4 if:
- You want the very best clamshell foldable available. The design, the price, the functionality: the collective effect of the Z Flip 4’s strengths make it the obvious choice for those after a clamshell foldable right now.
- You love taking selfies. The external Cover Display, paired with the phone’s compact size and the ability to shoot with the phone’s main sensors, makes this one of the best smartphones for selfies out there.
- You want a compact phone
If you can afford it, the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s standout form factor makes it a great option for those in the market for a compact phone, without wanting to compromise on a large display.
To check out the Galaxy Z Flip 4, visit Samsung’s official website at https://www.samsung.com/my/smartphones/galaxy-z-flip4/buy/
While the starting price point is already low for a foldable, that’s not even the best you can do. Samsung is always pushing some serious deals around devices like the Z Flip 4, and you’re bound to find deals at your local carrier as well.