Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 Review: A solid phone that is fun!
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is a living proof that smartphones toy around with the idea of simply being fun. Should you buy it though?
No sensible mind would buy the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4. For someone used to the big and heavy slab phones, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 challenges the idea of those same-old concept with its fashion forward design. Before being a foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is simply about the fun of using a flip phone. Flip it open to take a call, and flip it shut to put it down – that's the Flip 4 for you. You can even play some cool tricks with its cameras, thanks to the hinge that lets you leave it folded at an angle.
The fun comes at a price though – At Rs. 90,000, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is asking some serious money. Hence, it has to be a solid and nice phone first while being fun. For someone coming from the Galaxy Z Flip 3, I had reservations about a couple of things, especially its battery life. After all, I want my cool flip phone to run all-day while doing its tricks. And, I want it to be fast, practical, and all things nice that I get from my conventional slab phone. Can the Galaxy Z Flip 4 strike that right balance?
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 looks largely similar to the Flip 3. I get to see the same wallet-sized form factor when folded, a small Cover Display accompanied by two cameras, and the same dual-tone paintjob. Samsung says there are minor updates here and there. For example, the hinge is now slimmer and the camera housings are bolder. Plus, all the colour variants are done in matte instead of the slippery gloss. If you get the Bespoke variant, you can mix-n-match colour combos to make it a one-of-a-kind flip phone.
Even in my rather dull black variant, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 looks different and fun. It has a sense of style that I see in no other phone at the moment. The flatter sides are more iPhone-esque but they make the Flip 4 bolder. Plus, it is built extremely nicely. The Armour Aluminium construction makes it feel like a tank and the IPX8 rating guarantees peace of mind from occasional water splashes and light showers. And when folded, it is easy to shove in trouser pockets and carry around.
Samsung advertises the Flip 4 as an entry into the realm of folding smartphones but nowhere does it feel that way when you unfold its Main Display. At 6.7-inches, it is just as big as some of the Android flagships and the natural aspect ratio makes it feel like a regular phone. Plus, this is a Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel with a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. Hence, be it your Instagram feed or the binge watching “The Office” on Prime Video, the experience is always majestic. Everything looks extremely vivid with great brightness levels and animations are rendered smoothly. Note that the tall aspect ratio brings out black bars on 16:9 and 20:9 aspect ratio videos. The crease is noticeable but you get used to it. And, you still have the 10MP selfie camera looking at you from its circular cutout. Flip 3 users will be happy to see the display bezel going a bit slimmer.
Then there's the 1.9-inch Cover Display. It is just big enough to show message previews, offer basic control toggles, and act as a viewfinder for the main cameras, in case you wish to use them for selfies. Plus, you have some fancy watch faces for when you wake up the display! Is this a Cover Display or a smartwatch display?
The Flip 4 has the same Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip at the helm as the Fold 4 and that means you get the same benefits – the chip runs cooler for longer assuring the high-end performance Qualcomm promises. There's the same Samsung One UI 4.1.1 based on Android 12 but the tricks are far lesser here than on the Fold 4. You don't get a taskbar or the ability to have multiple app windows on the Main Display. However, the OS still offers the Flex Mode features that let you take advantage of the folding display. The Flex mode widget now pops out on any app you wish, and you can have it running on the top half while the other half lets you have a trackpad, or a screenshot key. It feels more like a laptop.
When you aren't in the mood to flex (get the pun? Get it?), One UI 4.1.1 lets you do your usual smartphone tasks the normal way. The performance is fast and so far, I haven't seen apps struggling with the load. Even games play nicely on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 – you can play Call of Duty: Mobile in the highest graphics settings and the phone won't hesitate. However, the phone heats up quite fast after 30 minutes and it gulps down the battery at an alarming pace. Mind you, the battery capacity is still a meager 3700mAh by flagship phone standards.
Then there's the audio quality out of the stereo speaker setup, which sounds decent but not as nice as the ones of the iPhone 13. I had no troubles latching on to the Jio 4G LTE network throughout my usage and no call drops observed.
When you get a call, you can receive it from the Cover Display in loudspeaker mode only. It is only when you unfold the Main Display that you get to have your privacy with the earpiece. An extra step involved for something simple but then, this is a flip phone! You know what you are getting into. And there's no feeling as satisfying as ending a call by flipping it shut.
The Flip 3 had decent cameras on offer and with the Galaxy Z Flip 4, Samsung has only used a larger image sensor for the main camera. You still have the resolution set to 12MP for both the main and ultra-wide cameras. In regular usage under both daylight and night conditions, the Flip 4 can take genuinely good photos. In typical Samsung fashion, the Flip 4 cameras bump up the colour saturation and amp up the brightness but the photos always look appealing. I was even surprised by the details this 12MP sensor can gather. The ultrawide camera performs nicely too, although the details suffer a bit; not an issue considering the nature of the camera. The best part is that you can use these cameras for taking selfies and selfie videos.
The 10MP selfie camera, on the other hand, is decent but it suffers with lower detail levels. Additionally, I found the dynamic range to be a bit constrained. As for the video performance, the Flip 4 can shoot good looking videos in both 4K and 1080p resolution. However, the overall result isn't as polished as the videos you can shoot with the iPhone 13.
Battery life on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is better than its predecessor and that is due to these reasons – an efficient Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, a power efficient display panel, and a bigger 3700mAh battery. Unlike the Flip 3 that could barely last an entire day, the Flip 4 can now last a whole day, although without much camera usage and gaming. It is a step in the right direction and I hope Samsung manages to only enhance the endurance with future software updates.
There's more good news on the charging front. The Flip 4 now gets the faster 25W wired charging support, which with a compatible adapter (since Samsung doesn't provide one in the box) can fill up the battery from 20% to full in just over an hour. The wireless charging is now done at 15W too, which is another boon.
There are a lot of things not right with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and any sane person will rather consider the Galaxy S22 or the iPhone 13. However, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 exists because people seek fun phones; phones that want to appeal to the heart rather than the mind. This flip phone form factor puts some soul into the clinical smartphone and Samsung has made the most out of it. With a flexible OLED display that is great to look at, the Flip 4 offers its Flex mode for fun camera modes as well as some nifty features – you may not use them ever but they are nice to have. Plus, the Cover Display is great at warding off any distraction.
As for the smartphone bit, it is plenty capable. The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is fast and runs cool, while the cameras are comparable with conventional Android flagship phones. To top it off, the Flip 4 now has endurance to last an entire day, albeit with some cautious usage.
Is the Galaxy Z Flip 4 worth buying then, given that India does not have any other flip phone with a folding display? If you, like me, want your smartphone to be something more than just a utility product, go ahead and get it. The Flip 4 will be a rewarding experience every time you unfold it, or leave it half-folded. And when you are done with the fun, there lies a reliable high-end smartphone experience inside.
- Cool design
- Great performance
- Cameras are good
- Battery life could be better
Main Display6.7-inch FHD+ 120Hz AMOLED
ChipsetSnapdragon 8+ Gen 1
Cover Display1.9-inch AMOLED
Charging25W wired, 15W wireless
Main Cameras12MP + 12MP