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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 Review: The Foldable To Buy

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Everyone's favorite foldable got an incremental upgrade that turns out to be a huge upgrade!

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
$999
Rating
star star star star star
Pros
  • Folds up pretty small
  • Pretty good battery life
  • $999 price tag
  • Incredible performance
Cons
  • Camera is still meh
  • Still has a crease in the display
  • Cover Screen could still use some improvements

Samsung supplied AndroidHeadlines with a review unit of the Galaxy Z Flip 4 in the 8GB/128GB variant in the Bora Purple color, and we’ve been using it for a week before forming our opinion in this review.

Since debuting in 2020, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 has been a crowd-favorite foldable. Because it’s a normal-sized phone that folds in half. Instead of a small tablet that folds in half into a tall phone like the Fold 4 does. It’s also due to the price. With the Galaxy Z Flip 3 last year, Samsung drastically cut the price from around $1500 to just $999. Making it competitive with non-foldable flagship smartphones. That allowed Samsung to capture an even larger share of the foldable market (which is still small, accounting for just 0.5% of the entire smartphone market).

So how does Samsung follow up the Galaxy Z Flip 3? Especially with the chip shortage and inflation at a 40-year high, with competitors raising prices on its upcoming phones? Well, it kept the price the same, and has the newest silicon from Qualcomm inside. Let’s check out the Galaxy Z Flip 4 in our full review here.

Minimal upgrades to the design

The design of the Galaxy Z Flip 4 hasn’t changed a whole lot from the original model actually. Though that was really only two generations ago. The sides are now more flat, which does help with durability here. The hinge is also stronger and thinner this year, which leaves a smaller gap (but still a gap) when the phone is closed.

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The glass panel on the back also takes up more of each side, around the hinge. Which is a minor thing, but it does look better than the Flip 3 did.

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And that’s really about it. Like I said, the design hasn’t changed much, last year it saw bigger changes with a much larger Cover Screen. But this year, the rails were flattened and that’s really about it. And that’s fine. That’s not one of the issues that most Flip 3 users had with the Galaxy Z Flip 3 last year. The bigger issue was battery life, which we’ll get too in a little bit.

The folding display continues to improve

While it’s still not on the same level as the Galaxy S22 series, the display inside the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is pretty good. You can definitely still tell that it’s plastic, and I’m not sure that will ever change. Since glass can’t really be used for a folding display since glass breaks. Part of that is due to the pre-installed screen protector. Which you can take off, but we’d recommend against it. As it’s there to protect your display.

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Luckily, this year, it’s cheaper to replace that display at just $29. Versus $129 last year.

The inner display is 6.7-inches and is just Full HD+. At 1080p, many will say it should be QHD+, but I disagree. FHD+ is fine, if the panel is calibrated well enough. Which this one is. And it’s only a 6.7-inch panel anyways. It’s also 120Hz and AMOLED, so it’s perfectly fine.

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Videos look amazing on this display, as you might expect. The only complaint I’d have here is the peak brightness. It’s just 750 versus the 1150 on the Galaxy S22 Plus. That’s not the biggest deal, but if you’re using your phone outdoors in direct sunlight, that added brightness really comes in handy.

The Cover Screen is making slow progress at being useful

Then we have the Cover Screen. This is a 1.9-inch screen that is sits at the top of the phone, next to the dual cameras. It’s meant to be like a ticker screen, which you can tap to see the time, notifications and a few other widgets. Some of these widgets include the weather, what’s playing, and even control your smart home devices with Samsung SmartThings.

Many complain about this screen and how it’s not really large enough to do much with. I haven’t really formed my own opinion about it, because I do like being able to triage notifications from that screen without opening the phone. But I can also see why people want a larger screen there, like the Motorola Razr has. So it’s good, but could be better.

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I think Samsung could really make this Cover Screen very usable, to where a lot of people mainly use it over the main screen when they are at work and shouldn’t be on their phone. I just hope that Samsung doesn’t through everything and the kitchen sink at it, because then it’ll get messy.

For a “Plus” Processor, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is a huge upgrade

Over the last month or so, I’ve used a fair number of Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 powered phones. In the ASUS Zenfone 9, OnePlus 10T, Galaxy Z Fold 4 and now the Galaxy Z Flip 4. And the one thing I’ve noticed is, how much more efficient this is compared to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.

It’s not only faster, but a lot more power efficient, which has led to better battery life across the board. We’ll talk more about battery life in the next section, but so far, it’s really impressive here.

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The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 in the Galaxy Z Flip 4 has performed well in our review. It is super fast, we didn’t notice any type of lag whatsoever, and the phone didn’t really get hot. Only when it was charging and being used. But that’s the case for literally every phone on the market.

Battery life has been fixed

Typically after the review, I box up a phone and send it back to whoever sent it. So the Galaxy Z Flip 3 hasn’t been in my hands for almost a year at this point. And I really forgot how bad the battery life was, until I looked at last year’s review. I was lucky to get around 4 hours of screen on time. I’m sure battery life has improved since then, with OTA’s and such. But that’s still pretty rough.

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Luckily, on the Galaxy Z Flip 4, that has almost doubled. I was able to get 7.5 hours on-screen time, and could likely have gotten closer to eight. I’ve also seen a few others post similar results on Twitter. So I’m confident in saying that battery life on the Flip 4 is good.

So what led to such a drastic change in battery life over a single generation? Well two things. Firstly, a larger battery in the Galaxy Z Flip 4. This has a 3700mAh capacity battery, versus a 3400mAh capacity in the Flip 3. It’s still pretty small for a 2022 smartphone, however. The other thing is the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 being so power efficient. As we’ve also noticed big changes in battery life on the Galaxy Z Fold 4 with the same size battery as the previous-generation. And the ASUS Zenfone 9 and OnePlus 10T both also have insane battery life.

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The downside here is the charging. It’s still capped at 25W wired and 15W wireless. That’s pretty sad for a phone in 2022. Especially when OnePlus is charging at speeds of 125W in the US and even faster elsewhere. We know it’s because of the Galaxy Note 7, and Samsung aiming to avoid that happening again. But at least give us an upgrade on charging speeds. Luckily, the phone should last you all day, so you can just charge it overnight and be good to go the next day.

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Samsung continues to tweak software for foldables

Foldables like the Galaxy Z Flip 4 present unique challenges for Samsung and Google. It’s a regular sized phone, but it can be folded halfway, or even in half completely. Allowing for some interesting modes. Like Flex Mode. Which is a mode that has been on the Galaxy Z Flip since the original, but it’s still getting improved and supported by more and more apps.

Flex Mode allows you to sit your phone at a 90-degree or even a 45-degree angle and use it. Almost like an incredible small netbook from 10 years ago. Some apps that do support it, will show some controls on the bottom half, and the actual app on the top half. The camera for example, shows the viewfinder on the top and all of its controls on the bottom.

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This year, Samsung has said that Flex Mode will work with streaming apps like YouTube, and others, but that’s not available at launch. So we can’t really test that out.

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 also has Android 12L on-board. Which is an updated version of Android 12 built specifically for foldables. So we’re seeing more foldable-optimized features at the Android level. Though you won’t notice many of these changes here on the Flip 4, as it’s more geared towards the Fold 4 with its small tablet-like display.

We can’t forget about updates here. Samsung moved to guaranteeing four years of software updates and five years of security updates with the Galaxy S22 earlier this year. That continues for the Galaxy Z Flip 4. So that you should see Android 16 available on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 in a few years.

Galaxy Z Flip 4’s cameras are better, but still need improvement

Only one out of the three cameras on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 was upgraded. That’s the main sensor, which is still a 12-megapixel shooter, but it is about 65% brighter versus the Flip 3’s camera. The other two cameras are the same as the Galaxy S10, which came out in 2019. So it’s time for Samsung to upgrade these cameras.

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I was actually quite impressed with the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s cameras when I reviewed that phone recently. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 though, not so much. It has okay cameras, but nothing to really write home about.

The main and ultrawide sensors are pretty decent. Though they still are very saturated, as is the case with every Samsung smartphone. For example, taking photos of flowers and other plants outside, they look very green. Which is not how they look in real life. There are some people that like that, but I’m not one of them. Below, you can see some images taken with the ultrawide and main sensors on the Flip 4.

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Should I buy the Galaxy Z Flip 4?

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is, on paper, a pretty small upgrade from the Flip 3. But in day-to-day use, it’s actually a huge upgrade. That upgrade in battery life alone is reason enough to buy the Galaxy Z Flip 4. If you’ve been wanting to get a foldable, but the price and battery life have turned you off in the past, now is the time to get one. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is great in both areas. The only real downside here is the camera. Which they will hopefully upgrade completely next year.