Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 hands-on: Flippin' gorgeous
Glitzy, glamorous, and just plain great.
Not every year can be a revolution. Sometimes, it's just better to tweak the current formula to get it a little bit better. That's essentially what Samsung has done with this year's Galaxy Z Flip 4. The fourth generation Flip debuts in a sleeker, lighter, slightly smaller, and stronger form factor, without breaking the mold of what users have come to expect from the famous flippable phone.
More specifically, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 follows up last year's hit flip phone with a shinier, more squared-off design that looks closer to what a Galaxy S22 foldable might. But the Galaxy Z Fold 4 isn't the only phone getting new cameras or a bigger battery. That's right, the Z Flip 4 is also getting a camera upgrade, along with a larger battery, faster charging, and 45% stronger foldable glass inside.
I got a chance to go hands-on with the Galaxy Z Flip 4 at a press event in New York City, and came away with plenty of photos and impressions of the most beautiful foldable Samsung has made yet.
Galaxy Z Flip 4: Colors and cases
Upon seeing the Galaxy Z Flip 4 for the first time, my eyes lit up at its incredibly shiny and glitzy design. Samsung is doubling down on style with the Flip 4, debuting boxier edges that mimic the style of the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus, completing the pseudo-iPhone look with incredibly shiny finishes in gold and silver. More subdued tones are available as well, and a total of 75 different color combinations can be chosen when you order a special Bespoke Edition Galaxy Z Flip 4 from Samsung’s website.
During the session, Samsung took me on a tour of its newest facility in New York City's Chelsea district, which included an impressive section that lets you customize your own Bespoke Edition Z Flip 4 right then and there. An array of back panels and glamorous frames sit behind a case, and a touch screen interface lets you choose from all available colors. After your selection is made, a nifty robot arm comes by to assemble the whole kit, finishing by sliding out the phone for you to behold.
In total, you'll be able to choose from five main front and back panels — that's Butter Yellow, Brick Red, Khaki Green, Navy, and White. That's in tandem with the three frame colors; black, silver, and gold.
If you don't want to design your own, you can choose from Graphite, Bora Purple, Pink Gold, and Blue colors, which you can see for yourself in the imagery from this hands-on. All of those colors ship with a color-matched frame.
It's a testament to just how much Samsung plans to market the Z Flip 4 as the hip new device to get. And for good reason, using a Z Flip is just plain cool. This year's models feel even better in the hand, complete with a tighter hinge and more flip-centric features than ever before.
Samsung developed some new case designs to fit alongside the new phone launches. A redesigned leather case for the Z Flip 4 features what appears to be a more traditional case design.
Whereas all Z Flip 3 cases from Samsung were a two-piece affair, this new case looks like a single moving piece that's fastened on both the top and bottom, sliding through the leather strap in the middle when opened.
It's a fantastic concept, and looks as good as it feels. Plus, it should prevent one-half of the case from falling off or flying across the room should you happen to drop your phone.
Galaxy Z Flip 4: Refined design
The first thing you'll always see on the Z Flip 4 is the cover screen. While the cover screen hasn't changed size or shape when compared to the Z Flip 3, Samsung has added some important new widgets and additional camera features, including a tweaked quick capture mode from the cover screen.
The front cover screen can now also be used to reply to texts, make phone calls, access Wi-Fi and Bluetooth settings, and pay with Samsung Wallet. Samsung has added a new Smart Things widget to make home device control quicker, and you can even customize the cover screen with video backgrounds and custom clocks.
|Category||Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4|
|Display||6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x, LTPO (1-120Hz), 2640x1080, 22:9|
|Cover display||1.9-inch Super AMOLED, 260x512|
|Chipset||Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB, or 512GB|
|Rear Camera 1||12MP, ƒ/1.8, 1.8μm, 83-degree FOV (main camera)|
|Rear Camera 2||12MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.12μm, 123-degree FOV (ultra-wide)|
|Inside Camera||10MP, ƒ/2.4, 1.22μm, 80-degree FOV|
|Battery||3,700mAh (dual 1,850mAh batteries)|
|Charging||25W fast charging, 10-15W fast wireless charging 2.0, 4.5W reverse wireless charging|
|Dimensions (folded)||71.9 wide x 84.9 tall x 17.1mm thin|
|Dimensions (unfolded)||71.9 wide x 165.2 tall x 6.9mm thin|
|Water and dust resistance||IPX8|
|Colors||Bora Purple, Graphite, Pink Gold, Blue. Bespoke Edition: Front/Back (Yellow, White, Navy, Khaki, Red), Frame (Silver/Black/Gold)|
While many of the camera specs look similar on paper when compared to the Z Flip 3, Samsung says the Flip 4's cameras are a big upgrade that users will notice every day. But the one camera that did see a spec bump is the main camera on the back of the phone, which now sports a 1.8μm pixel size. That's compared to 1.4μm on the Flip 3.
In short, this means the sensor itself is physically larger since the pixels are larger — as they're both 12 megapixels — so every situation will look brighter and more detailed.
The upgraded rear cameras also include better hardware stabilization and tracking features — so your videos look smooth even when walking, or whatever else you do when recording video.
In addition to upgraded specs, Samsung is including all the latest software upgrades that shipped with the Galaxy S22 series. That includes the new Nightography low-light tech that's powered by the newer Qualcomm image sensor under the hood, as well as AI Stereo Depth Map, which helps make portrait shots better than ever before.
The Z Flip 4 has also been added to the exclusive Samsung partnership program for apps like Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and more. That means your Flip 4 will deliver better quality video than previous generations, eliminating that terrible stigma that so many other phones suffer from.
Samsung has been able to upgrade the battery size and charging speed in the Z Flip 4, which should help alleviate the battery life issues many had with the Z Flip 3. That's a 12% larger battery, coming in at 3,700mAh. That's compared to the 3,300mAh in the Z Flip 3, which struggled to get through a full day on a single charge.
Fast wireless charging is also included, and the Flip 4 can now charge from 0-50% in just 30 minutes. Samsung says that's 14% faster than the Flip 3, which wasn't exactly the fastest-charging phone in the world.
Samsung was able to cram a bigger camera sensor and larger battery inside because the hinge itself has seen a reduction in size. In total, it's 6mm shorter than the hinge on the Z Flip 3, paving the way for 6mm of additional components inside the case.
In addition, Samsung has outfitted both Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4 with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC's, meaning both phones are faster, more power efficient, and run cooler than any Galaxy S22 model. That's important given the issues with heat and throttling that occur with the regular Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipsets in those (and other) phones.
On top of all this, Samsung reduced the footprint of the Z Flip 4 when compared to the Z Flip 3. The Z Flip 4 is 0.3mm narrower, 1.5mm shorter when folded, and 0.8mm shorter (when fully opened) than the Flip 3. That's a fairly small margin of change when you look at the full height — 165.2mm tall on the Flip 4 compared to 166mm tall on the Flip 3 — but it all plays into making the phone feel a little more like a "normal" smartphone that just so happens to fold in half.
The Z Flip 4 ships with an Armor Aluminum frame to ensure drops shouldn't be a problem, and the main display inside is now 45% stronger than the Z Flip 3. That's great all around, including damage prevention when the phone is dropped, and could even increase longevity over the already impressive Z Flip 3's durability rating.
Now, when you fold the Z Flip 4 into Flex Mode — that's what it's called any time the phone isn't fully opened or closed — the bottom half of the screen can be used as a touchpad, similar to what you're familiar with on a laptop. Samsung says it has optimized many apps for use with this new feature, although plenty more are certain to follow.
Samsung says it has also been working with popular streaming partners like Prime Video, Netflix, and Disney Plus to deliver better Flip-specific experiences, including how these apps handle the phone folding in half.
Galaxy Z Flip 4: Coming soon
Samsung is dropping these beautiful new foldable phones onto the market starting on August 26, 2022, for $999. That's the same price as last year's Z Flip 3 and includes many improvements like better battery life, faster and more efficient processor, better cameras, stronger glass, and slicker design.
As the Z line continues to mature and evolve, the obvious compromises between the mainline Galaxy S series and the foldables continue to disappear. Better cameras, bigger batteries, faster processors, stronger foldable glass, and plenty of new features are the hallmarks of this year's releases. If you can use Samsung's upgrade program, it might even be worth upgrading from a Z Flip 3 or Fold 3 for the battery and camera improvements, alone.
Ready to use a flippin' awesome phone again? The Galaxy Z Flip 4 brings back the good old days where you could actually slam your phone closed, and it does it in style with gorgeous new colors, a bigger battery, more powerful processor, and improved cover screen functionality.
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