We all have memories of our first mobile phones. For me, this is from a time before smartphones, before the iPhone was launched. Mobile phones were a privilege back then. My first one was a white, uninspiring second-hand Reliance phone that my father handed me when I first went off to college in 2006. But, of course, like all college students, I did aspire to a fancier phone. That was the Motorola Razr — I didn’t know the exact model number back then. The reason was the ‘clamshell’ form factor, add to the fact that you had to ‘flip’ the phone open to take a call. It just had a cool quotient, which seemed so out of reach. Cut to 2022, and our definition of a ‘cool’ phone has evolved drastically. But somewhere that ‘clamshell’ form still appeals to me. So when I got the chance to review the latest Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, I was eager to test it out. But is the Galaxy Z Flip 4 the right phone for you? Here’s my review.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 specifications: 6.7-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED display, 120 Hz refresh rate | 1.9-inch Super AMOLED secondary screen (260×512 pixels) | Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 | 8GB RAM + 128GB, 256GB, 512GB | 12MP+ 12MP ultrawide + 10MP front camera | 3,700mAh battery with 25W wired charging | Samsung OneUI 4.1.1 on Android 12 |
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 price in India: Rs 89,999
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review: So what’s different this time?
If you gave this a cursory glance, it does not look like much has changed compared to the previous Z Flip 3. And while it is fair to call this an incremental update, Samsung has made some subtle changes. For one, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 now has a slimmer hinge, and the phone sports straighter edges. When folded, the Z Flip4 is slightly thinner compared to the previous variant.
The hazed glass back continues, and the side metal frame is glossy. And while I have the rather staid ‘black’ colour option for review, Samsung is also bringing the ‘Bespoke Edition’ to India, which will allow users to customise the outer shell more in tune with their personality. But this will obviously cost more.
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 also gets the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor. Samsung has also bumped up the battery to 3700 mAh, compared to 3300 mAh last year. Finally, Samsung claims the camera has been upgraded with a brighter sensor. But how does all this translate to performance? Let’s take a look
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review: The phone that demands care
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is no doubt a stylish phone. If you are looking for a form factor beyond the typical iPhone or Samsung S series, and the Fold seems too much, then the Z Flip 4 is the device. It definitely makes a statement when you flip the phone open for a call or just to read a WhatsApp message. I also appreciate how compact it is when folded. This phone fits perfectly into my small clutch bags. But as I learned when I unboxed this device and set it up, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 demands care and precision. I can’t just fling it into a bag with keys or coins lying about. Samsung warns that these could get stuck between the screen and damage it. So make a note of that. Prepare for some extra care when handling this daily, and remember rough usage could spoil that flexible display.
One thing I don’t like about the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s design is that the glass outside gets covered in smudges quickly. There’s no case in the box to protect this either, just like there is no power adapter. Most of the cases I’ve seen online appear too gaudy, though I did see some clear case options. Samsung does have accessories for the phone, and if you find them more appealing, I would recommend getting one when buying this Z Flip 4.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review: The display, and that line
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 has a 6.7-inches Full HD+ main display when unfolded. With Samsung, you expect a top-notch display, and this one doesn’t disappoint at all. I have watched half of Season 3 of Dota: Dragon’s Blood and most of Sandman on this phone. What I loved is that the phone feels so light, especially when you are lying on the bed and watching episode after episode without moving. With Sandman, I felt there were moments where I had to crank up the brightness, but that is an issue with such shows where the darker scenes can be tough for most phones. Still, this is a fantastic display and works well even in the bright outdoors. I had the phone with me all Sunday while we walked around a park, and the display was perfectly legible in the bright August sunlight.
Yes, you will have to live with the crease running in the centre where the device gets folded. Is this a deal-breaker? Not for me, but it is noticeable. However, it did not mar my Netflix binging sessions in any way.
The cover screen on the Z Flip 4 remains 1.9-inches, and this is useful for a quick glance at your notifications, the weather, controlling the music, and even accessing the voice recorder. The last one is something that I find handy as a journalist. Samsung is also adding more customisation options to the Clock widget on the outer screen. Users can now also record videos and take selfies in Portrait mode with the main camera using the outside display. But the camera function on the outside display took me some time to figure out. It can get confusing with all the swiping that Samsung expects you to do on this tiny screen.
The outer display takes a few seconds to respond, so be a little patient. You can also customise the widgets and their order of appearance on this screen from the Settings.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review: Let’s talk performance, software
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 packs the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, and performance remains smooth and without issues. The phone has 8GB RAM, which is enough and can handle games such as Asphalt 9 without any issues or noticeable heating. The daily driver apps, such as WhatsApp, Instagram, etc., work without any hiccups as they should. For me, this phone felt ideal for scrolling and social media.
The phone runs Samsung’s OneUI 4.1.1 with Android 12. Like last time, there’s the Flex Mode on the Z Flip 4, and users can now record videos hands-free with the main camera. To activate floating windows and split-screen view, you will have to go to Advanced Settings and Labs. The Flex Mode also needs to be turned on for some supported apps, such as Facebook, WhatsApp and even Netflix. The advantage is that you can interact with the device while it is half unfolded, and scroll up and down a particular app. The bottom half of the screen becomes a touchpad, but it also lets you take screenshots or see notifications at a glance. The idea here is hands-free usage, which many users will appreciate. But figuring out how to use these features in that half-folded screen mode was a challenge.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review: Camera, battery
The battery is a letdown on the Z Flip 4, even though Samsung has bumped it up to 3700 mAh. Again, this is more due to the form factor and limitations to adding a larger battery. This should last you around 6-7 hours on a peak day, but we know this won’t be enough for most people with busy work and personal lives. With minimal usage, you should get by with an average of 8 to 10 hours of a work day.
The other problem is the charging. Since Samsung is not providing a charger in the box, I used some of the chargers I already had with me. The Z Flip 4 supports 25W fast charging, and I used one of the many fast chargers I had with me. Now, it did get to 50 per cent quickly–in around half an hour, but the full charge took well over two hours. And when I used a 15W old school Samsung charger, it took a good three-four hours to charge this. So be prepared to set some time apart to fuel this up.
The camera on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is impressive. I like that you can use the rear camera as a selfie camera for sharper photos. The rear camera does an excellent job, especially outdoors when you have great lighting and clear blue skies, as we are seeing these days in Delhi. Yes, Samsung still has a tendency to pump up the colours, often at the cost of reality, but the photos look nice with ample details. Even in low light, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 does a good job of preserving details and colours, though you need to stay perfectly still when shooting these.
What I didn’t like so much was how it handles skin tones in Portrait mode when used indoors. The skin appears too smooth, almost unreal at times. Even with the videos shot at 4K at 60Fps, I felt the performance was underwhelming. I feel the details could be sharper and better with the selfie camera. But for most daily situations with ample lighting, this camera is more than capable. However, if you want fancier features such as better zoom and high-quality video recording, the Z Flip 4 might not suffice.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4: Should you get this?
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is not a phone for everyone, nor does it aim to be. If you are one of those who needs a flashy second device to make a statement, then look no further. This is the phone that will help you make it. If you are bored of the staid iPhone or S series every year and need a device with an interesting form factor, then pick this. But it comes with some compromises. The battery in particular might not be enough for folks juggling busy professional and personal lives, and that could prove to be a sore point. The camera is also not perfect, though still good enough for most users. This phone is about having fun and exploring a new take on technology. If that is what you are looking for, then by all means go ahead and get this.