Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review: The perfect foldable

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is full of useful upgrades that make it a fantastic overall option.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review
(Image: © Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

Android Central Verdict

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is the embodiment of Samsung's foldable efforts over the last three years. The design is elegant but durable at the same time, the hinge is built to last, and the 120Hz AMOLED screen is wonderful in daily use. The cameras are on the same level as the S22+, the outer cover screen acts as a viewfinder, and battery lasts all day and has faster charging tech. More than anything else, this is a fun foldable to use, and if you want a phone that stands out, the Z Flip 4 is the obvious choice.

Pros

  • +

    Foldable design is inherently pocketable

  • +

    120Hz AMOLED screen is wonderful

  • +

    Just as durable as regular phones

  • +

    Outstanding internal hardware

  • +

    Excellent cameras

  • +

    All-day battery life with faster charging

  • +

    IPX8 water resistance

  • +

    Four Android OS updates

Cons

  • -

    Throttles under heavy load

  • -

    Visible crease

  • -

    Screen isn't polarized

Why you can trust Android Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

You're not alone in thinking that phones are starting to look the same. I used more than 40 phones this year, and other than choice of materials — glass, polycarbonate, ceramic, or metal — there isn't much in the way of differentiation, with most phone designs starting to blend together.

Sure, there are a few phones with bold designs like the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, Find X5 Pro, Zenfone 9, and the LED extravaganza that is the Nothing phone (1), but on the whole, there hasn't been much in the way of change. Thankfully, that's where Samsung comes in. The Z Flip 4 injects excitement into a staid category, delivering a durable chassis with a hinge design that's built to last, noteworthy upgrades from last year, and flagship-tier cameras.

More than anything else, using the Z Flip 4 is fun; the action of physically opening or closing the phone immediately evokes nostalgia. Samsung took a bold idea and tweaked away at it for the last three years, and the result is a foldable design that feels just as durable and rugged as a regular flagship. And while the Galaxy Z Fold 4 has an exorbitant price tag that limits it to enthusiasts, the Z Flip 4 costs the same as a regular Galaxy S22+, making it that much more accessible to a wider audience.

Combine that with all the upgrades on offer here, and the Z Flip 4 is one of my favorite phones of 2022. I went through a lot of phones this year, but nothing came close to delivering the same level of excitement I got while using the Z Flip 4.

About this review

I'm writing this review after using the Z Flip 4 for over two weeks in Hyderabad, India. The phone didn't pick up any software updates in the testing window, and it was running One UI 4.1.1 with the May 2022 security update out of the box. Samsung India furnished the unit to Android Central for review.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4: Pricing and launch

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review

(Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

Samsung unveiled the Z Flip 4 on August 10, 2022, with the device going up for pre-order the same day. Sales kicked off August 26, and the Z Flip 4 is available at all four U.S. carriers as well as Amazon, Samsung, and other retailers. Outside North America, the foldable is available at all major retailers alongside Samsung's official storefront.

The Z Flip 4 retails for $999 in the U.S. for the unlocked version, and you'll find the usual plethora of carrier deals and incentives if you're upgrading your phone — we've rounded up the best Galaxy Z Flip 4 deals here. The phone is available with 8GB of RAM as standard and starts off at 128GB of storage for the base variant, going up to 512GB.

It's sold in Bora Purple, Graphite, Pink Gold, Blue, Yellow, and White color variants, but not all colors and storage variants are available in all regions. You'll also find a Z Flip 4 Bespoke Edition that lets you customize the colors of the device, but that option is limited to the 8GB/256GB variant. Here's what it costs around the world: 

  • Galaxy Z Flip 4 (8GB/128GB): $999 / £999 / €1,099 / ₹89,999
  • Galaxy Z Flip 4 (8GB/256GB): $1,059 /£1,059 / €1,159 / ₹94,999
  • Galaxy Z Flip 4 (8GB/512GB): $1,179 / £1,199 / €1,279
  • Galaxy Z Flip 4 Bespoke Edition (8GB/256GB): $1,139 /£1,099 / €1,199 / ₹97,999

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4: Design

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review

(Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

Samsung didn't change the design too much from last year, and as a result the Z Flip 4 looks largely identical to the Z Flip 3. The biggest design change includes flatter sides, with the Z Flip 4 resembling its Galaxy S22 siblings in this regard. I don't usually like phones with boxy sides, but it absolutely makes a difference here — it makes the foldable just that little bit easier to hold.

The Z Flip 4 uses the same design foundation, but it is easier to hold and use, and you get exciting new colors.

The design aesthetic continues to be just as striking as last year, with the two-tone finish around the cameras and cover screen contrasting really well with the matte texture at the back. The Z Flip 4 has a glass back that's split into two panes, with both covered by Gorilla Glass Victus+. Samsung went with a matte texture for the glass this time around, and it feels delightful. Samsung is once again offering the Z Flip 4 in striking colors — the Bora Purple version looks stunning — and like last year, you get the ability to go further and customize the colorways if you opt for the Bespoke Edition.

The glass panes at the back are joined by an aluminum mid-frame that has a glossy finish, and I'm not a big fan of the texture. It would have made more sense to go with a matte finish at the sides as well, but that said, the glossy finish doesn't affect usability too much. The chassis itself has been hardened, with Samsung making changes to the aluminum alloy structure to make it a little more durable.

That is evident in daily use; I didn't make any considerations to the fact that the Z Flip 4 is a foldable, and used it just as I would any other phone. After two weeks of trying to pry the lid one-handed, the occasional tumble, and jangling about in my pocket, the Z Flip 4 has shown no signs of wear.

The hinge now lays fully flat, and the Z Flip 4 feels just as durable and robust as a traditional flagship.

Samsung did a magnificent job making the Z Flip 4 feel just as robust as any other flagship, and a large part of that is down to the hinge. The hinge has a smooth motion, feels robust, and is thinner than last year. Samsung says it will last 200,000 cycles before wearing down, and I have no cause to doubt that — it feels reassuringly durable in daily use. Furthermore, the hinge now folds fully flat, just like the Z Fold 4; this wasn't the case last year.

You'll find antenna bands on either side, and the power button and volume rocker on the right. The phone has a side-mounted fingerprint sensor that's baked into the power button, and it is fast and reliable. The SIM card tray is on the left and houses two SIM cards (outside North America), and the USB-C port is at the bottom. And the camera lenses at the back don't protrude too much, so there isn't any wobble when using the foldable on a flat surface.

Galaxy Z Flip 4 hinge vs Galaxy Z Flip 3 hinge fully flat

(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

Like last year, the Z Flip 4 is IPX8 water resistant, and I tested this particular claim thoroughly. The foldable worked just fine after dunking in water for about 10 minutes, and while the hinge leaked water for a few minutes even after drying out the phone, it didn't affect usability in any way.

On that note, the Z Flip 4 is 4g heavier than last year's foldable, but coming in at 187g, it doesn't feel cumbersome at all. Due to its height — it is 2mm taller than the S22 Ultra — it feels a bit top-heavy and somewhat unwieldy when using one-handed, and it could have been a bit wider to offset the height. That said, it feels good to hold and use.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review

(Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

What I realized using the Z Flip 4 was that it doesn't feel like a tech demo; this is every bit a mainstream device as the S22+, Pixel 6 Pro, or the Find X5 Pro. The foldable design is inherently enjoyable to use, and the act of physically opening the phone to interact with the screen, and closing it once you're done, is joyous. That tactility has been missing in recent years, and I'm glad Samsung found a way to reintroduce that.

Having used flip phones back in the early 2000s, the Z Flip 4 immediately took me back to that simpler time, and more than anything else, it's that nostalgia that made me like this phone so much. Oh, and this thing will turn heads in public; a few people even mistook the foldable for a regular flip phone and did a double take when they saw the screen.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4: Screen

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review

(Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

The Z Flip 4 uses the same 6.7-inch AMOLED panel as last year, and the 1.9-inch cover screen is also identical. The cover screen has a layer of Gorilla Glass Victus+ for added durability, and the inner screen has a plastic layer over the glass screen. This isn't a regular screen protector but a vital part of the screen housing, and Samsung recommends you don't remove it lest you damage the panel underneath.

This is the same panel as last year, but the plastic screen protector has been overhauled.

While the screen itself hasn't changed, it now has thinner bezels on all sides, and that makes it look a little bit more premium. It has the same plastic border around the sides as last year, and if anything, it makes holding the phone a little easier. The inner screen has the same 2600 x 1080 resolution with 120Hz dynamic refresh, and the outer cover screen is 512 x 260 pixels. There's a small cutout for the camera, and the earpiece is located just above the screen, and it doubles as a secondary speaker.

The 6.7-inch AMOLED screen is of the same caliber as the S22+, with excellent color vibrancy and good brightness levels. Like the S22 Ultra, it automatically switches the refresh rate according to on-screen content, going from 120Hz all the way down to 1Hz. The panel has HDR10+, and I didn't have any issues streaming HDR content. The stereo sound makes a difference here, and while it doesn't get quite as loud as the S22 Ultra, it is good enough in its own right.

There is a visible crease in the middle of the screen where the phone folds down, but you don't tend to notice it after a few days, and it isn't an annoyance when streaming content or playing games on the device. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review

(Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

As for the cover screen, it offers an easy way to view notifications without having to open the phone, and you get a decent amount of features. There are widgets for the weather, music, calendar, alarms, timers, and plenty of interesting clock styles to select from. And you can use the always-on mode for the cover screen.

The cover screen has a lot to offer in its own right, and it gets a few new features this time.

A new feature this year is the ability to use the cover screen as a viewfinder for the rear camera, giving you the ability to take selfies with the cameras at the back. This is a welcome addition, and one that I like quite a bit. It's triggered by pressing the power button twice when the phone is folded, and you can switch shooting modes and choose between the two lenses. The cover screen itself is locked to 60Hz, but given it is used mostly for notifications and as a viewfinder for the rear camera, it isn't much of a limitation.

There isn't much you can do with the cover screen other than that, but Samsung's Good Lock customization utility adds a few additional features, but if you're interested in this phone, you should install CoverScreen OS. It is a free utility that turbocharges the cover screen, giving you the ability to launch any app, access all the quick settings toggles, and use navigation gestures. It is a fantastic tool for customizing the cover screen.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review

(Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

A big change this year is the way this plastic layer feels; it isn't as prone to smudges as last year, and most of the time, it isn't a hindrance to usability. After a few days, I didn't pay attention to the film at all, and it is a definite improvement from last year. Another area where Samsung tweaked things is the adhesive itself — the plastic layer is fitted better to the inner screen, and it doesn't look like it will come off with daily wear and tear. The film on my Z Fold 3 started to peel off after three months of use, but that isn't likely to be the case here.

The only issue I have with this panel is that it isn't polarized, so whenever I used the Z Flip 4 with sunglasses on, I couldn't make out what was on the screen. Usually, I see these sort of limitations on budget phones, but for whatever reason, Samsung chose to not add this filter to the foldable, and it makes using it that much more annoying with sunglasses.

Other than that quibble, there's a lot to like about the Z Flip 4. The 6.7-inch AMOLED panel is fantastic for daily use, the cover screen is handy for notifications, and the thinner screen protector makes the foldable that much more enjoyable. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4: Performance

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review

(Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

The Z Flip 4 is packing serious hardware in the form of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. This is a mid-cycle refresh with a key difference: Qualcomm didn't make too many alterations to the design itself, but changed the foundry from Samsung LSI to TSMC. That move delivers massive gains in energy efficiency and performance.

I already used several devices with the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 — like the Xiaomi 12S Ultra and ASUS Zenfone 9 — and the Z Flip 4 isn't too far behind these rivals. The main difference is that I didn't notice the same effortless fluidity here; that's more likely down to the way Samsung optimized One UI instead of a limitation with the device itself, but using the phone next to the Zenfone 9, it's clear that it doesn't deliver the same level of immediacy.

Swipe to scroll horizontally