The foldable phone market is a burgeoning corner of the smartphone industry. Many of the devices being released are still ironing out the pain points that foldable phones come with, and as an early trendsetter, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is no stranger to these problems. However, several huge leaps forward have been taken with the Samsung Flip 4, making it the ideal starting point for admirers of this unique smartphone.
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When talking about the design of the Z Flip 4, there is only one place to start. The clear selling point of a phone like this is its foldable clamshell form factor and the ability to store it away with even more convenience than a standard flatscreen smartphone. The appeal of a phone like this is also in its usability; it can be placed on a surface at 90-degrees to take video calls or watch films, without the familiar need to crane your neck down to view the screen. It’s a design choice that echoes back to the clamshell style of phones from the 90s and early 2000s. This melding of old and new phone design is in its infancy, but the Z Flip 4 irons out some of the core issues that foldable smartphones have wrestled with.
Comparing the Z Flip 4 to its predecessor, the Z Flip 3, an immediate improvement is in the size of the frame. The Z Flip 4 is visibly slimmer, with thinner bezels around the edge of the phone. This addresses a problem with some clamshell phones being too thick when folded and unfolded. The thinner frame has also made room for a bigger battery, allowing the Z Flip 4 to be used for longer.
Given its portability, Samsung knows a phone like this could face more bumps than a standard smartphone, so have built the Z Flip 4 to last. Protecting the Z Flip 4 from scratches and knocks is a glass and metal chassis. The bulk of the bodywork is comprised of aluminium, with resilient Gorilla Glass on the back and Ultra Thin Glass on the front screen.
Some early manufacturers of foldable smartphones struggled to build a display that could hide or minimise the hinge that lets the screen fold over. With the Z Flip 4, whilst it is still discernible up close, Samsung has managed to hide the crease and leave the display as clear as possible. This is a huge step forward for foldable phones, particularly when the screen looks this good.
The Z Flip 4 has a 6.7-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display and a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. It is a great achievement to have a device with the foldable properties of a clamshell phone, yet does not compromise with a lower-quality display. The 1080p resolution at 120 Hz is stunning, bursting with detail and running silky-smooth thanks to the high refresh rate.
When the Z Flip 4 is folded, the display switches to a 1.9-inch form factor. The resolution drops during this change, but still maintains an impressive 60Hz refresh rate in its folded state, helping the entire Z Flip 4 viewing experience feel lag-free and seamless.
The Z Flip 4 takes advantage of its clamshell design to offer some interesting software features. Folding the Z Flip 4 displays the Cover Screen that acts as a clock and notification viewer. It is a fun, useful novelty to be able to pull out the Z Flip 4 and see this overview without having to unfold the phone. The Cover Screen can also be customised with animations and images to provide an extra bit of personalisation.
The Cover Screen is undoubtedly a standout feature of the Z Flip 4, and not just courtesy of its easy viewing experience. Widgets can be installed to customise how you can use the Z Flip 4 in folded mode, including Samsung Wallet access and the Spotify music player. Using these features on a 1.9-inch screen won’t be for everyone, but the breadth of software that can be quickly accessed makes using the Z Flip 4 unlike anything else in the smartphone market.
Flex Mode is the Z Flip 4’s second folded mode and allows the phone to be positioned at various angles for a multitude of different viewing experiences. Positioning it at a 90-degree angle is perfect for video calls, taking a photo, or writing notes without leaning to view the screen. Flex Mode is designed to give you the freedom to find the ideal angle for the content you are viewing.
In its traditional smartphone form, the Z Flip 4 contains much of the useful software you will find on a modern phone. Android 12 is the operating system here, bringing with it smooth and lightning-fast performance. The Google Play Store is the hub of apps for Android and offers hundreds of apps to download, be it a money manager for monitoring your spending or an editing suite for modifying photos.
The versatility of the Z Flip 4 requires performance that can handle switching seamlessly between its multiple viewing modes. To maintain this high level of processing power, Samsung has included a Snapdragon 8 Plus chip and paired it with 8GB of RAM. Both work together to ensure apps and daily tasks run extremely fast with minimal lag or latency. This level of performance shines when connecting the Z Flip 4 to 5G for extremely fast wireless internet and gaming.
For users wanting to install larger apps and games, 128GB of storage is available, alongside a 256GB model, plus four years of operating system updates to keep the Z Flip 4 up-to-date and secure, ready to tackle the latest security threats.
As we mentioned earlier in the review, the reduction in frame size for the Z Flip 4 has paved the way for a larger 3700mAh battery. This is a 400mAh increase over the preceding phone in the Flip range, and with that comes longer battery life, letting you play games or watch videos without the fear of reaching 0% before recharging.
Speaking of recharging, the Z Flip 4 regains battery life when charging at a rate of 25W; not an exceptional number but is ideal for users who like to recharge at the end of the day, rather than at lunchtime via wireless charging.
The Z Flip 4’s unique design makes it a truly one-of-a-kind camera. Its main array is comprised of a central 10MP camera, as well as a 12MP sensor and a 12MP ultrawide camera. Whilst these lenses themselves are capable of capturing exceptional quality images, it is in the literal flexibility of the Z Flip 4 that it excels.
FlexCam Mode is a bit of a game-changer when it comes to taking photos on a smartphone. As we alluded to earlier, this mode allows the user to take photos in its 90-degree orientation; for selfies and group photos, you can position the phone on a surface, without having to balance it against another object. Hands-free photography has never been this easy with a smartphone.
The Cover Display can also be used when taking photos. After capturing an image, the Cover Display enables you to check your picture or scroll through a selection, all without unfolding the phone.
If you want to film a video, you can begin recording in folded mode and switch to unfolded in one seamless, undisturbed action. The Cover Display will also show a real-time preview of self-portrait shots, without the need to unfold the device.
For traditional photographers, night-time images are enhanced with the inclusion of Nightography. This built-in software will sharpen pixels in dark shots, minimising the blurriness that can come with low-light settings. Combining all these camera features, the versatility of the Z Flip 4’s photography suite is truly exceptional.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 in many ways proves the potential of foldable smartphones. By almost fully eliminating the distracting hinge that has plagued other clamshell phones, Samsung has given the Z Flip 4 a remarkable level of usage versatility. Whilst there remain obstacles to overcome in regards to the design, there is no smartphone experience like using the Galaxy Z Flip 4.
If you are planning to upgrade to the Galaxy Z Flip 4, there are multiple ways you can dispose of your old handset. Learn what you can do with an old phone and potentially raise a bit of money to go towards your new device.