Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 Review: The front runner of folding phones
- Samsung Galaxy Z
Flip4 starts at ₹89,999.
- The smartphone features a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED 2X foldable display.
- It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 5G SOC.
AdvertisementSamsung this month introduced the latest versions of their foldable devices. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4. The Z Fold 4 is an uber premium device with a hefty price tag starting at ₹1,54,999 making it unaffordable for mass consumers. On the other hand, Z Flip 4 executes the same foldable technology in a different form factor at almost half the price. Making it a viable option for customers wanting to try their hand at a foldable device. Another important aspect is that we get the same processor on both devices, promising a flagship performance. So can this be your first foldable device? And is it really fun to use one as a daily driver? I answer these questions in my in-depth review.
Price & Availability
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is available in two variants. The base variant with 8GB RAM & 128GB of internal storage is priced at ₹89,999. Another variant with a similar 8GB RAM & 256GB of internal storage is priced at ₹94,999. You can buy the Z Flip 4 from Samsung’s website, Amazon and Samsung retail stores.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 marks my first encounter with a foldable device as my daily driver. And the moment I held this device in my hand, I knew it was something truly special. Pros and cons aside, you cannot help but marvel at the engineering that has gone into this product. Since it’s the third iteration, the refining does feel.
In the unfolded appearance, the device is sleek at 6.9mm and is light in hands weighing 187 grams. Initially, using the Z Flip 4 felt like a delicate device and I was conscious about using it considering I have fairly big hands. Over time I got comfortable with it, and since then, the situation has only gotten better. This doesn’t question the useability of the Z Flip 4 in any way but rather highlights the learning curve one might go through when they switch to a foldable. Samsung has made the edges flatter on the Z Flip 4, making it easier to hold by providing a better grip.
The device with me is in graphite colour, which looks premium and chic. Unfortunately, the device does register slight fingerprints and smudges, so here’s a heads-up. If you are planning to buy the Z Flip 4, I would recommend going with this colour. If you want something peppy, you can opt for the gold variant. The material is smooth and matte, which is very S22 series -like, and I liked it over the blingy ones.
It’s time I address the elephant in the room - the hinge. And so far it has worked without any struggle. It does not snap in a smooth motion but rather requires you to apply some pressure to close it down. This ensures that it is robust and a promise that the device just won’t flip open when you don’t want it to. So far, in my five days of usage, I have flipped open the device countless times, and I am yet to find an issue with it. A nitpick here is that I had to use both hands to flip the device, especially while opening it. I wish Samsung, in the next iteration, provides a column to insert your thumb to lift it open. This is one of the many scenarios where I found myself using both my hands.
The device also comes with IPX8 water resistant rating, and as per Samsung, can survive for 30 minutes in 1.5-metre deep in water. This is no small feat considering it is foldable with complicated parts. Other hardware choices are also reassuring, the back is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+, and we find the same protection on the outer display as well. The metal edges, however, tend to register minor scratches if you keep the device in your pocket with keys.
A factor that has been a constant on flip devices is that they leave a gap when folded. This is a design limitation I can wrap my head around, what I don’t like is the by-product of it - dust. Whenever I open the Z Flip 4, I am introduced to dust particles sitting on the crease. This is a bit annoying to see in an otherwise solid product.
AdvertisementThis, however, doesn’t take away from the portability that Z flip 4 offers. Once flipped, it is no more than 3-inches in size, making it easy to carry around. The ease of portability also means that you must be careful if you don't want to lose it. I started wearing jeans with tighter pockets whenever I went out with the device to feel it in my pocket time and again. This is pro advice if you use public transport regularly.
Other design characteristics include a power button and volume rockers placed on the top right when you un flip it. While the buttons are tactile and responsive, I am not a big fan of their placement. I have to stretch my hands unnaturally to reach out to the volume rockers, generally making me use both hands. It’s been five days and I am still not used to it.
The power button also doubles up as a fingerprint scanner. It is snappy and unlocks the device quickly. I believe Samsung also understands that one-handed use on the Z Flip 4 is tricky. Hence the power button can also be used to access the top-down menu. This does make your life easier, I touch upon it more in the software section.
On the top left is the SIM card tray that can hold a single nano SIM. The Z Flip 4 supports e-SIM as well, so yes, you can use two numbers simultaneously.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 features two displays. The outer unit is a 1.9-inch Super AMOLED panel with a resolution of 260x512 Pixels. Since this sets the device apart from generic devices, I would like to share my experience using it first.
I was a bit sceptical about this display’s utility initially, assuming that I won’t be interacting with it as much. In reality, the experience is the stark opposite, though. Especially once you customise it to your requirement. I have set up emails, reminders, notifications and a calendar on the outer display. I have also set it to the always-on mode. This has helped me save time in opening and unlocking the device.
You can also customize the appearance of this display. Samsung provides a wide variety of wallpapers and themes for the panel, which can be accessed without even opening the device. I like to keep it subtle, so I have used the default skin.
The display is also fairly bright, so you can use it under direct sunlight. I have been out with the device and could read the texts off of it easily.
The most fun way to utilise this display is to click selfies and make videos with it. Double tapping on the power button while the device is folded, gives you access to the primary cameras. You can record videos, click pictures and portraits with it without even opening the device. I will touch upon the camera experience in the latter half of this review. But for now, I can say this makes it a solid use case for vloggers and creators. People who require the best media output on the go.
While I have counted down the benefits of the outer display, there are also certain limitations. For example, you can’t respond to notifications from it. Samsung does provide you with a list of prompts to reply to your texts and even an option for audio dictation. But this is still fairly choppy. I tried reverting to my messages with these methods, but they are limited and unreliable. The actual usage or interaction still happens from the primary display. Unlike on the Z Fold 4, which comes with a full-sized outer panel.
AdvertisementThis brings us to the primary display. It is a 6.7-inch foldable dynamic AMOLED 2X screen with a resolution of 1080x2460 Pixels. Yes, that's quite a spec sheet, and you shouldn’t expect anything less from a flagship-tier device.
Let me start by addressing the obvious. Yes, there is a noticeable crease on the panel, and you can’t just ignore it from the get-go. It is a process in itself which takes time to adjust. Every time you are scrolling on the display, your thumb will cross the centre. It feels a bit unnatural initially, to feel a crease on your screen. Another unnatural aspect is that the display feels a bit plastic-ky to interact with. And no surprises there since it can’t be a glass screen otherwise, how will it fold?
These characteristics eventually stop bothering you since otherwise, the screen acts like a top-notch Samsung display. Even the crease isn’t visible at high brightness.
The 6.7-inch screen is gorgeous to look at. Whatever the screen projects, looks stunning. It retains great amounts of details with colour accuracy, something that Samsung displays are famous for.
Watching content on the screen is a delight. I caught up on a lot of content over the weekend, and my go-to device was the Galaxy Z Flip 4. The display supports HDR10+ and is compatible with mainstream OTT apps. This meant I could stream the shows in the best quality for a mobile device. I started with House of Dragons, and it was a marvel to watch it here. The blacks were Z blacks, and the HDR was spot on. I could make out every sword on the iron throne with the display. It was also the first time that I completely forgot about the crease. Especially in brighter frames, when it just vanishes away.
AdvertisementThe 1200 nits of peak brightness also come in handy outdoors. Using the device under direct sunlight, I seldom struggled to type or read off of it.
The display also supports an adaptive refresh rate. This means it smartly switches between 1 - 120Hz refresh rate according to the content it’s projecting. And the execution is surprisingly solid. The display could switch its refresh rate between a web page and a game in real time without hiccups. And while doing so, I didn’t notice any frame drops.
Gaming on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is also fun with respect to the screen. It’s responsive, and you can rely on it to switch between characters or weapons in your gameplay.
All that said, single-handed use of the display is difficult. As I mentioned before, I have big hands, yet I struggled. This is for basic tasks like a drop-down menu or answering phone calls when the prompt appears on top. Fortunately, Samsung provides a single-handed mode on the device, which I found myself using more often than not. So consider this a heads-up if you have small hands.
Complementing the display is a dual speaker set-up tuned by AKG. The audio output is much louder than I expected. To draw a comparison, they are louder than the ones on the regular Samsung Galaxy S22. The sound is not bassy, but the clarity is commendable.
To make it a viable foldable device, Samsung had to make the right choices with the software as well. And they have succeeded to a large extent.
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 runs on Android 12 out of the box with Samsung’s One UI skin. As expected from a flagship device, there is no unpleasant bloatware onboard. Except for Samsung’s proprietary apps, Netflix, Spotify and Facebook.
On the surface, it retains the classic One UI characteristics. You get the familiar layout for applications, similar icon designs and themes. The customisation options are plenty, as you would expect with the One UI. I don’t want to circle the obvious, which Samsung usually offers on all their devices. But rather focus on the execution of One UI, particularly for this device.
Considering the folding nature of the display, the One UI adapts itself to the application you are using. This is done across applications and works best with Google Apps or native apps.
The moment you put the device in clamshell mode you get a prompt to use flex mode panel. It shows up on applications compatible with the device. Tapping on it turns the lower half of the display into a mini-computer. You can adjust the brightness of the screen from here, click screenshots and even use the entire bottom half as a trackpad. To the point that it even shows you a cursor on the screen. I tried very hard to find a use case for the flex mode, but frankly the screen size of the upper half limits the useability. Making this feature border line gimmicky.
Where the Flex mode comes in handy is any situation where you are using the camera. Like a Google meets call. You can place the Z Flip 4 on a desk and attend a session, without any struggles.
Similarly you can open the camera app, record a video or click pictures without the need of a tripod or a stabiliser. Simply place the device according to your frame and you are good. While using the outer display as a secondary viewfinder to frame your shot. Basically, the ease of taking your own shots is very intuitive—simply fold and place the phone on a flat surface, adjust angle using hinge, see the output on secondary display and use the hand gesture to click a photo.
While the more complex features are done justice on the Galaxy Z Flip 4, the device does miss out on basic amenities.
For example, you can’t take a screenshot on the device with the three finger swipe. A classic Android feature, which is extremely useful. What you get instead is palm swipe, which misses out the majority of the time. I gave up after a while and added the screen shot prompt in the drop down menu. It was better than tapping on the power button and volume rockers.
Another hit and miss for me is the inability to unlock the device in one go. Galaxy Z Flip 4 requires 2 steps if you want to access the device. You have to first unflip it and then tap on the fingerprint sensor to enter the device. To avoid this, I set up face recognition, which works well, but misses out when you are wearing a mask. I wish there was a way that the device would unlock from the get go once I tap the power button when it’s folded.
Overall, Samsung's initiative to normalise the end user experience on the Z Flip 4 is met with fairly good results. And a first time user will adjust to the set-up quickly
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 comes with the top of the line Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SOC. Initially, I was sceptical regarding the performance of the device, since the Z Flip looked more like a vanity project for Samsung. But I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The Qualcomm SOC sits right with the device and delivers a blazing fast performance. For that matter you will be surprised to know that the Z Flip 4 can play games and how.
My choice was COD Mobile, and I had intense team deathmatch sessions that ran upto 1 and half hours at a stretch. Throughout this time the performance was stable with very high graphic settings and max frame rates. This performance was executed with minimal heating only noticeable post the 45 minute mark. The heat management is commendable given the size of the chassis and the entire design. The performance was similar for Genshin Impact as well.
AdvertisementI have recently reviewed the OnePlus 10T with the same SOC, but the gaming performance on the Z Flip 4 was definitely better.
While this was for heavy duty work loads, the Z Flip 4 drives past generic tasks with ease. This includes web browsing, casual social media scrolling, and emails. The 8GB RAM on board keeps both heavy and lighter apps on hold for longer spells of time. For that matter I have been in situations when I didn’t close eight apps for upto two days. This included COD Mobile. Yet, I could pick up the device and carry on whenever I wanted.
There is also the RAM plus feature on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 which bumps up the performance with heavy duty tasks. You can expand the RAM by upto 8GB.
Battery performance on the Z Flip 4 is decent for its cell size, but falls short when we compare it to the competition. The 3700mAh battery gave me a screen on time of 3 hours and 40 minutes on average. This was on a heavy day of usage with an hour of gaming, 1 hour of video streaming and regular social media usage. The screen on time can go upto 4 and a half hours on lighter days.
AdvertisementTo put things in perspective if you are someone who goes to the office everyday then you would have to plug it in once in the evening. If you are a heavy user then you might have to plug it in the middle of the day as well.
Galaxy Z Flip 4 supports 25W fast charging, but doesn’t come with an adapter in the box. I used a 33W adapter to charge the device and it took me 1 hour and 20 minutes for a 0 to 100% charge. This is definitely slower when you compare it to the likes of OnePlus 10 Pro or the OnePlus 10T with their SuperVOOC charging.
There is also an option for wireless charging, I however relied on the good old cable.
Galaxy Z Flip 4 comes with a dual camera set-up. There is a 12MP primary camera and a 12MP ultra wide sensor. The camera setup is decent, nothing extraordinary, when you compare it to the likes of Galaxy S22/S22+. Since they come with a triple camera set-up.
The primary camera of the Z Flip 4 comes with a larger pixel size than its predecessor hence the low light performance is on the better side.
The images in natural light are bright and sometimes turn out to be a bit oversaturated. That being said, the detail retention is top notch. While clicking the shots of the sky, I could notice some overexposure, but by no means was it shabby.
The HDR on the images was also satisfactory. The indoor shots on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 are surprisingly well put. The blues sometimes might stand out but otherwise these are some solid pictures. The sharpness and detailing was also on point.
The bokeh effect works perfectly on the Z Flip 4 with accurate edge detection. The device also provides us with editing options in the gallery. Here you can change the bokeh style around the subject.
The ultra wide camera retains the colour tone from the primary camera, without losing any details. Yes, the colours are warmer but the final result is commendable.
Low light photography on the Z Flip 4 has potential. The frames get significantly brighter but tend to lose focus on the subject sometimes. In low light photography Samsung’s image saturation comes in handy since it highlights the colours in the frame. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 can record 4K videos at 30 and 60 fps. You can record professional content worthy videos with the device. With phase detection autofocus the camera can hold the focus on subjects for long spells. I have shot footage intakes for my reels with the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and the output was stellar.
There are some additional features in the camera app like food mode, panorama and hyper lapse. There is also a portrait video mode which works well when you are shooting vertically.
The 10MP selfie camera on the Z Flip 4 is the weakest link. Contrary to the primary camera set up the images here look under saturated. Colours are occasionally off with high exposure and underwhelming HDR.
Portrait selfies while providing precise edge detection, are burdened with the similar limitations I observed with regular selfies.
I have been relying on the outer display for clicking selfies, since it uses the primary camera. Not only is it convenient but delivers much better results.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 can be deemed the smartphone that can normalize foldable in the long run. Its folding nature doesn’t question its efficiency as a flagship-level device. Throughout my experience, I have been surprised by the performance that it delivers. From the eye-catching form factor to computational efficiency this phone has got it all. Yes, there is some scope for improvement in the battery and camera department but in the overall scheme of things, you can adjust with them. I can recommend the Galaxy Z Flip 4 to not only the people who want to buy a foldable but also the ones with the budget to buy a flagship device. It’s nomore just a toy to fidget, it’s a complete smartphone that can do everything a flagship smartphone does.
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