The most fun and portable phone I’ve tested this year is Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 4. Smartphones allow users to “have their cake and eat it too.” You can easily fold its 6.7-inch screen in half, turning it into something the size of a drink coaster that fits in most pockets. It has a slender design and a fast refresh rate.
One of Samsung’s folding phone realizations to date, the Z Flip 4, is also one of the greatest in terms of aesthetics. You can use it like a conventional “candy bar” phone, but with the extra benefit of being super portable and a few unique functions not present on other phones outside its sibling, the Z Fold 4.
The cheapest Flip 4 you can get is for $1,000. Most of that cost is due to its ability to fold in half, but it also has one of Samsung’s most powerful and efficient CPUs. For the asking price, you receive a sturdy construction and an attribute lacking in most electronic devices: character. “Personality goes a long way,” as Jules says in Pulp Fiction.
From its small, squared-off footprint when closed to the fact that you may select your own “bespoke” color scheme for it, the Flip 4 exudes a sense of fun and approachability in almost every aspect. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 from last year, which Samsung is still selling despite having a newer model available, has the same drawbacks. Since the Flip 3’s battery life isn’t fantastic and its cameras are only OK, I was hesitant to suggest it to anybody. Even at its current, more affordable price of $900, last year’s Flip still has the aforementioned limitations.
Galaxy Z Flip 4 prices
To a large extent, the new Galaxy Z Flip 4 improves upon the features of the previous model while retaining all the advantages they offered. I tested a review sample that Samsung lent me for more than two weeks. Although I was grateful for all of the improvements, especially in terms of improving camera quality and battery life, Samsung could still do better. The cover display should also have greater functionality.
However, unless it can reliably go through a whole day on a single charge, the Galaxy Z Flip won’t be truly ready for the masses. Even while the Flip 4 isn’t perfect just yet, it’s getting there.
It’s also important to mention that even though the phone costs $1,000, Samsung and wireless carriers have been aggressively subsidizing the price, making it more palatable for those who truly want one.
The Z Flip 4’s design is fun and minimalistic
Flip 3 and Flip 4 are similar enough that you might be excused for getting them mixed up. Because of the success of the design, it is acceptable that they are nearly indistinguishable. The Flip 4 now has a more robust primary screen made of Gorilla Glass Victus Plus, aluminum sides, and a somewhat heavier weight thanks to these upgrades. However, I would never use the word “heavy” to describe the phone. The firmness is pleasant and relieving. It was the same as any of my previous phones, so there was no need to baby it.
This device is water-resistant to an IPX8 standard, which means it can be immersed in water at a depth of 1.5 meters (approximately 5 feet) for 30 minutes without damage. That’s remarkable, but the Flip 4 isn’t dust proof.
The new matte surface on the phone is purple and hides fingerprints. It’s a huge improvement over the Flip 3’s glossy coating. The purple sheen on the metal surfaces of the Flip 4 is a nice touch.
The screen wrinkle is still visible, in case you were curious. I’m not bothered by it myself, but I can see how it may turn off others. Because the Flip 4—like other cellphones—is used with its screen facing the user, this isn’t very obvious.
Unlike a conventional phone, the Flip 4’s display is not protected by a glass cover. There is only a thin layer between your finger and the fast refresh rate screen, and it doesn’t seem like anything is standing between you and your images or the internet.
The Flip 4 is a joy to open and close, despite the fact that it may seem pointless to mention. It took me a day or two to get the hang of it, but now I can open it with one hand like Captain Kirk. The last chime is quite satisfying and contributes to the “personality” I was referring to. What you’ve just read is the information worth $1,000.
The little cover screen that tried
The Flip 4 has a small cover display on the outside that is the same size as the Flip 3. The functionality is essentially the same. More functionality would be appreciated.
From the cover display, you can now send pre-programmed replies to specific messaging applications. Without picking up the phone, there is no way to respond by typing or dictating. Samsung has the most room for improvement with the Flip 4’s cover screen.
The external display on the 2020 Motorola Razr, which I examined, blew my mind in terms of what is now possible in a smartphone. As a little Android phone, I was able to use the Razr’s Quick View display. On the external display, I was even able to play games like PUBG Mobile.
For the record, the cover display on my Flip 4 is not required for me to play Call of Duty. What about a smartwatch-style keyboard to type in responses, though? A bigger cover display, perhaps? The existing one may easily be expanded upon.
Then there’s Flex Mode, which activates when you flip the Flip 4 over to its hinged side. The app’s content is now located in the top half, while the app’s tools and configurations are located in the bottom half. More applications have been made to work with Flex Mode, including Instagram and Samsung’s own Gallery app, which now allows you to edit photos while maintaining the image in the top half of the screen. When using Flex Mode on older Flips and Folds, the image was strangely centered.
Samsung offers a clever workaround in Settings called Labs that will push any app into Flex Mode, even if it isn’t suited for it. In most cases, this results in the app moving to the top half of the screen and Samsung’s default Flex Mode interface taking up the remaining space. So it does function, but it doesn’t accomplish much.
One of the most notable changes to Flex Mode is the addition of a trackpad and a small cursor. The world’s smallest cursor allows you to access menus and buttons, while two fingers allow you to slide and navigate, much like Google Maps’ street view. While this trackpad’s concept is interesting, its execution falls short.
A minor camera upgrade but major versatility
Selfie and ultrawide cameras from the previous generation are carried over to the Flip 4. With a new image sensor, the main camera’s photo quality improves slightly, just like the battery life.
Flip 4 images are sharp and colorful. Some users have complained that the Flip 4’s color processing results in garish hues.
Surprisingly, low-light photography is where the new primary sensor truly shines. There isn’t a lot of picture noise in the photos unless you really zoom in. Because the Flip 4 lacks a specialized telephoto camera, you must rely entirely on digital zoom, which degrades the quality of the captured images.
The Flip 4 may only have average cameras, but it has one of the most flexible camera configurations of any smartphone. When folded, it stays in place, allowing you to adjust the phone’s orientation to suit your needs. The Flip 4 is self-supporting, so I used it to record my cat playing at her eye level and take some nice photos of a pan of cooked gnocchi.
The cover display may now preview full-size photographs and videos in either portrait or landscape orientation, which is a little improvement with significant implications. The camera preview on the cover display of older Flips was extremely cropped, making it difficult to get a good shot of a large group of people for a selfie. The Flip 4 has the potential to be one of the most innovative tools for collecting material for social media thanks to its enhanced preview functionality and ability to activate the camera shutter with your hand.
A diminutive increase in battery life
The Flip 4 has a somewhat longer battery life because to its bigger battery and improved, more efficient Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 CPU. The change, however, is not dramatic. Surprisingly, I was able to use my Flip 3 until late in the afternoon before it needed to be charged. The Flip 4 battery would usually last me a day. However, if I watched films, took photographs, or made a video call on my phone, the battery would only last until early evening at best.
Getting an extra few hours of battery life is something I won’t turn down. Someone upgrading from a regular smartphone will have less to give up with the Flip 4, thanks to its longer battery life. Still, it’s a factor to think about.
Over the course of 45 minutes, I watched a few YouTube videos, scrolled through my Instagram feed, played a round of PUBG Mobile, raced around a track in Mario Kart Tour, participated in a 5-minute video call through Zoom, and, lastly, watched Alto’s Odyssey. After dropping from 70% to 56%, the battery died.
The improved speed and responsiveness of the Flip 4 are thanks to its upgraded CPU and Android 12L. Smooth animation and fun gameplay are also present. Using a split screen to switch between two programs is a smooth experience. And it performed quite well, especially in benchmark tests that allow us to evaluate how well one phone performs in comparison to another. Comparatively, the Flip 4 outperformed both its predecessor, the Flip 3, and the Galaxy S22.
Flip 4 vs. Flip 3 vs. Flip 5G vs. S22
Should you, as a current user of the Flip 3, consider an upgrade? Not me, no way. There isn’t enough that’s different on the Flip 4 to justify an upgrade from the previous model. The dilemma is more difficult if you’re attempting to choose between getting a Flip 4 and a cheap Flip 3. If I were you, I’d recommend the Flip 3 so you can save costs.
I agree that it is worthwhile to upgrade if you already own either the original Flip or the Flip 5G, especially if you are able to take advantage of one of the generous trade-in offers. There is a higher refresh rate main display, a quicker and more efficient processor, a larger battery, a larger cover screen, and water resistance.
The choice between the Flip 4 and the Galaxy S22 boils down to whether or not you want a foldable phone. A true cost of that added functionality is an additional $200. However, the Galaxy S22’s battery life is superior than that of the Flip 4, even though the latter has a better chipset.
Ultimately, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is a pleasant demonstration of the far-reaching benefits of an inventive design that strikes a good balance between form, function, and fun. Even with the improvements, the Flip 4 falls short in fundamental areas like battery life and photography.