If you’ve been following Samsung’s many foldable phone options, this latest series of phones felt much more iterative, improving key areas without tinkering with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip formula. Having been a fan of the Galaxy Z Flip range up to this point, I was eager to dive into the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4, which boasts some notable improvements, even if it looks very similar on the surface.
After testing the phone for a few weeks, I have to admit that Samsung has listened to the complaints and delivered a refined experience that is much more worth people’s time and money, even if you have to make some sacrifices to enjoy a foldable existence.
On the surface, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 is very similar to last year’s offering. It has the two-tone clamshell design, dual rear cameras and external cover display that the Flip range is known for, coupled with a Gorilla Glass Victus Plus back encased in Armour Aluminium, offering subtle improvements that make the in-hand experience a little more refined. Even with these improvements, buyers who currently own the Galaxy Z Flip3 should not feel disappointed; both phones share a lot of the same DNA, and while many of the updates are welcome, they are not game changers worth ditching your currently working phone.
Available in Graphite, Pink Gold, Bora Purple and Blue at launch, the Galaxy Z Flip4 now has a sleek, polished frame instead of the previous textured one, and its back glass is now muted rather than glossy, providing a subtle but notable contrast between the generations. All of these changes give the Flip4 a much more refined look that matches its price tag.
The Galaxy Z Flip4 retains the same screen size, but Samsung has managed to reduce its overall height by 1.5 mm compared to its predecessor. This is mainly thanks to the slimmed-down bezels and less pronounced hinge branding, which has also created more space for a bigger battery. The trademark outer 1.9-inch Super AMOLED display, a 260 x 512 screen, also remains, giving a handy way to see notifications even when the phone is closed.
While I usually treat a foldable phone with kid gloves, Samsung has made some notable improvements to the formula to make it feel like something you want to bring into the outside world. Even if it was seen on last year’s Flip3, the IPX8 water resistance is still very impressive in comparison to other comparable devices lacking any protection against water.
“Looking at the cameras on the phone, this year’s Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 has three cameras that feel very similar to last year’s offering.”
The overall build quality is another aspect that sets the Galaxy Z Flip4 apart from the competition. With the metal and glass design, I am not worried about throwing the phone in my pocket or taking it out as I go for a walk. It lends itself to withstand minor scratches and damage in day-to-day use, especially considering how delicate many foldable phones truly are. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a delicate device and could take damage far more easily when compared to a standard smartphone, but at least Samsung is taking the right steps to keep it looking good longer.
Samsung’s UTG (Ultra-Thin Glass) 2.0 shields the 6.7-inch Full HD+ (2640 x 1080) ‘Dynamic AMOLED 2X’ display on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4, which boasts an ultra-smooth 120Hz refresh rate but is intelligent enough to decrease it to 1Hz to optimize battery life. Given the resolution, the visual faithfulness is impressive.
The form factor is reminiscent of a traditional candy bar phone, albeit those accustomed to bigger screens (like myself) may experience some adjustment time with the unusual 22:9 aspect ratio. Although the crease is evident under certain lighting conditions, it thankfully does not interfere with operating the Galaxy Z Flip4 in any discernible way.
Despite its size, Samsung has given the Galaxy Z Flip4 enough power to play with the other flagship phones of 2022, boasting the same Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset found in many of the year’s top devices. This, paired with the satisfactory 8 GB of RAM, gives the device enough horsepower to manage most tasks you expect from a modern flagship smartphone.
Gaming on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is good for the most part, with the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 having enough power to run the latest games like Genshin Impact and Fortnite, both of which look fantastic on the vibrant AMOLED panel.
The form factor makes gaming a bit of a challenge at times, with some design aspects simply not made for gaming. The foldable design makes many landscape games feel less than foldable in the hand, and the tall nature gives a relatively odd aspect ratio, especially for shooters. Still, it gets the job done well enough, and if you’re on the go and want to jump into a quick game, you should be able to make it work, even if it’s not ideal.
“Gaming on the Galaxy Z Flip4 is good for the most part, with the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 having enough power to run the latest games like Genshin Impact and Fortnite…”
This year’s Z Flip4 is a little heavier at 187g compared to the 183g of its predecessor, but it’s worth it for the smaller size and improved hinge system. Thankfully, Samsung has also taken battery life into consideration and with this year’s Flip boasting a much healthier 3,700mAh battery compared to the 3,300mAh found in the Z Flip3, this will give you almost a full day’s battery life, a welcome change considering a phone of this price range should not have users hunting for a charger before dinner.
While not as impressive as some of the offerings from the likes of Xiaomi, the Galaxy Z Flip4 is very capable of quickly charging thanks to the 25W via cable and 15W wirelessly and also boasts the same 4.5W reverse wireless charging function as its predecessor.
Looking at the cameras on the phone, this year’s Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 has three cameras that feel very similar to last year’s offering. Situated at the centre of the foldable display is a 10-megapixel (f/2.4) hole lens, while two more cameras are found on the back: a 12-megapixel (f/1.8) primary sensor and a 12-megapixel (f/2.2) wide-angle one.
“The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 is an interesting offering that the company has spent time refining.”
The Galaxy Z Flip4 has a 12MP primary sensor with larger pixels (1.8 m compared to 1.4 m on the previous model) for brighter images and video up to 65%. Apart from this improvement, the aperture sizes remain the same as those of its predecessor. The rest of the camera is identical to the Flip3.
While not a night-and-day improvement over the Z Flip3, Samsung has made strides to improve the overall photography and video experience on this year’s device. Great strides have been made in both OIS and VDIS, with the latter being particularly beneficial when using FlexCam mode. Fold the phone at a 90-degree angle, and the interface immediately adjusts to appear upright when held like an old-school camcorder from the 90s.
Picture quality is good, though not as amazing as many other phones on the market, including cheaper ones like the OnePlus 10T and Xiaomi 12T Pro. I found that images looked relatively good, although not as detailed or clear as rival smartphones, with colours sometimes looking a little muted. For a phone in this price range, I’d hoped the camera would stand out, especially considering Samsung is a leader in the field, but for most people, the images should be more than enough for social networking, with just enough pop to make them stand out in someone’s feed.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 is an interesting offering that the company has spent time refining. These latest changes make it much easier to recommend the phone to someone who wants to pick up something and get that classic flip feel. Unfortunately, there are still a fair number of compromises that have been made to achieve the design, and for many, the extra cost is not worth the sacrifice.
I, for one, am still incredibly impressed with how satisfying the Galaxy Z Flip4 is to use, and there is something nostalgic about hanging up a call with a simple flip, but it may not be worth the price, especially with so many fantastic phones offering more for less. Hopefully, Samsung will make some major changes should the Galaxy Z Flip make an appearance in 2023, with such a great concept, with a little more refinement and a little less sacrifice, this could be a great device, as it stands, I could only recommend it to someone who needs that satisfying click or just craves the new form factor in their life.