In this article, we have the Z-Flip 4, which is probably the cutest phone ever, with a ton of customization options. Aside from its portability, I think the flip design actually brings many unique benefits and fun novel features. This year, it also has a new SoC, improved durability, and a bigger battery, so in theory, it addresses all the weaknesses of the last generation. However, I still noticed some unexpected flaws in my daily use.
SAMSUNG Galaxy Z Flip 4 Cell Phone
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Read Also: Samsung S23 Review
Samsung Z Flip 4 Specs
|Main Screen||6.7″ Dynamic AMOLED|
|Cover Screen||1.9″ Super AMOLED|
|Rear Camera||12MP Wide | 12MP Ultra Wide|
|Camera Zoom||10x Digital Zoom|
|Super Fast Charging||Y|
|Ram & Storage||8GB | 128GB / 256GB|
|S Pen Support||N|
I really like the design and build quality of this phone. It didn’t change much from last year, but Samsung did add some subtle tweaks to make it better. Overall, it’s a very minimal design. The back, including the cover screen up here, is Gorilla Glass Victis Plus, and that’s about as durable as it gets for glass. They changed up the back material this year, and I’m a big fan of it. It’s now matte and doesn’t catch too many fingerprints, at least not this purple one. Last year’s model was glossy and always ended up looking a bit oily.
The Z Flip 4 comes in four different colors: purple, blue, black, and pink. Honestly, I think all four colors are really good, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. Also, the aluminum frame does match the color, too, which is a nice touch. When this thing is folded, it’s super small and looks very cute. It’s also very light, and the camera bump is really small. It’s probably one of the smallest bumps on a flagship phone nowadays, and I really like that it leaves enough room for a pretty large cover screen. Overall, this thing is probably one of the most portable smartphones.
This hinge is also very well designed. It’s super strong, so it can hold pretty much any position, and when you snap it fully open or fully closed, it feels super satisfying. But, depending on how many times you check your phone in a day, this act of flipping it open and closed can get a little bit tedious. When the phone is folded, there’s almost no gap in between the two halves, so I find it kind of difficult to open this phone with one hand. I have to ram my fingers in between, but it’s pretty much impossible to catch your finger in the hinge, so there won’t be any painful surprises.
The two sides of the Z Flip 4 are actually sealed separately, so just like last year, it has an IPX8 water resistance rating. There isn’t a dust resistance rating, which is slightly concerning because smaller dust particles can potentially get into the hinge and become stuck there.
Samsung Z Flip 4 Display
The most interesting part of the design is, of course, the folding screen. When you open up the Z Flip, you get a screen that’s a bit taller than usual. It’s about the same width as the S22, and the screen is OLED, 6.7 inches with a 1080p plus resolution. It has 426 pixels per inch, so it’s not the sharpest on paper, but I don’t really notice a difference versus an S21 Ultra or an iPhone 13 Pro.
I really like the Z Flip’s taller screen when going through vertical content, such as reading a website. It almost feels like a much bigger phone like the S21 Ultra, but it is a lot more narrow and grippable for me. Other than that, the screen is 120 hertz and maxes out at 1200 nits, so it’s pretty bright even for outdoor use. However, unlike non-folding phones, this screen is not Gorilla Glass, and in the past, there have been durability issues with this screen. After using it for a while, this year it’s supposedly 45% stronger than last gen, but I guess only time will tell.
When it’s brand new, the screen feels pretty solid. I can press down quite hard, and I don’t see or feel it flex at all, which is pretty impressive for a screen that literally bends. Right now, I don’t really find the crease to be an issue when you’re looking at the screen front on and it’s displaying something that’s lighter colored. You cannot see the crease at all. When it’s displaying darker colors in a bright environment, then the crease is definitely noticeable. I personally don’t really find it too distracting though, but maybe for this phone, it would be better to use it in light mode.
You can definitely feel the crease when you run your fingers over it, and that can feel a bit strange. You might get used to it, but actually, for me, I tend to hold the phone closer to the bottom, and when I’m scrolling around and stuff, I’m only touching the bottom part, so I don’t really touch the crease that much in my daily use. They’re still relying on a pre-installed screen protector for durability, and you can see a pretty clear outline of it around the hole-punch camera. I’m slightly concerned that it’ll come off after a while, so I wish Samsung sold replacement screen protectors.
As for the stereo speakers, I think they sound great, as good as they sound on the S21, but the fingerprint scanner is very different. It’s actually located on the side, right here, and this is probably so that even when the phone is folded, you can still unlock with the fingerprint to use things like Samsung Pay on the cover screen.
Galaxy Z Flip Cover Screen
The cover screen is definitely an advantage of this phone. It’s got some great features that make me want a back display for all phones. Now, it’s a 1.9-inch OLED screen. There are a bunch of adorable watch faces that you can choose from. These are all the ones that Samsung provides by default, and I really like some of them, like this balloon-looking one that shows the hour. I also really like this other balloon one and this lines-looking one too.
You can also check notifications from here and access the quick settings. I’ve been using this to put the phone to silent, and it’s super convenient. You can also answer phone calls and use Samsung Pay directly from here. My favorite features are the additional widgets Samsung gives you, but you can download additional ones as well. I use the music player, the timer, and the calendar a lot, and it’s really nice to be able to do those things without having to flip open the phone. But I also downloaded a cover launcher widget from Good Luck, which lets me add any five apps from my phone to use directly on the cover screen. I can watch YouTube or scroll through websites directly from this little screen, which is more of a novelty, but being able to see your notes from here can actually be pretty handy.
There’s also an app called Cover Screen OS that more drastically changes how the cover screen functions. For example, it lets you add widgets that are normally only available on the home screen to the cover screen. I haven’t really found anything too useful in there, but this app is still in beta, and I can see it bringing some pretty useful features to the cover screen. You can put a video or GIF on there, and in addition to the cover screen, you can put the video or GIF on the lock screen and call screen as well. There are a bunch of really cute themes in the Galaxy Store that include a customized cover screen, and I really like the retro gaming-themed ones like this one, since this phone folds just like some of those retro consoles.
But probably one of the most useful features is that you can see a preview on the cover screen when you’re taking photos and videos. So now if you want to take your own photos using the main camera for better quality, you can frame yourself up much easier. You can switch between a full preview or just let it fill up the screen. You can also very quickly switch between photo, portrait, and video. You can use the volume button to take a photo, but there’s also palm detection, which means the phone will automatically take a picture if it sees a palm. Overall, the camera features on the cover screen are much improved since last year. It’s really easy and effective to use the cover screen to frame up shots and take pictures without having to open up the phone. The camera can be activated when the phone is folded just by double-pressing the power button. I feel like the notification and camera preview make the cover screen a worthy addition to almost any phone.
Z Flip 4 Camera Test
All right, now let’s take a look at how good the cameras are on this. So, the Z Flip has two cameras in the back: a 12-megapixel wide and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide. There isn’t a telephoto, which is definitely a shame. I feel like a thousand-dollar phone should definitely have a telephoto lens. And then, on the front, there’s a 10-megapixel selfie camera.
The cameras on the Z Flip are different from those on the S22, and the photos look quite different as well. Against the S22, the Z Flip photos look like they’re lacking a bit of contrast, but I do feel like the S22 can be a little bit too contrasty sometimes. I’d probably prefer a look that’s somewhere in the middle.
Despite the lower resolution main lens, I don’t find the Flip’s main camera any less resolving than the S22’s. It actually retained more detail in some photos, as you can see right here. And in general, I see fewer sharpening artifacts on the Flip’s photos and videos, which is nice. It’s a cleaner-looking image overall.
Against the iPhone, the Samsung colors are different; they’re typically more vibrant. They also render skin tone differently. The Samsung skin tone might be technically more correct, but I feel like it’s a bit too saturated. The ultra-wide photos from the Z Flip look pretty decent. They’re pretty similar in quality to the S22, but it is much worse than the iPhone’s ultra-wide. And the three times digital zoom on the Z Flip just doesn’t match up at all to a telephoto lens, as you can see here.
And as for the selfie camera, the Z Flip one is not bad, although I do think it produces the softest looking image out of these three. And portrait mode on the Samsung phones actually seemed to be better than the iPhone’s. It produced a cleaner segmentation map, like you can see around my hair.
Since I was walking around, I decided to give the super steady video a try. However, the result is not great because it uses a very small portion of the ultra-wide image. As a result, the footage is blurry and has some weird warping effects too.
Z Flip 4 Flex Mode
Okay, so there are some software optimizations for the Flip when it’s in a 90-degree angle called Flex Mode. Some apps have a custom layout, for example, the Camera app moves all the settings to the bottom half, and YouTube moves the video to the top half and everything else to the bottom half.
For other apps that don’t have a custom layout, you can go into settings and toggle on the Flex Mode panel. That way, whenever the phone is bent to 90 degrees, a panel will pop up where you can do quite a few things. There is a pull-down menu and the ability to take a screenshot. You can also adjust the brightness and volume directly from here, and there’s even a little touchpad thing so you can scroll around on your phone like a tiny little computer.
However, the trackpad is pretty finicky to use, so I feel like it’s probably easier to just directly touch the top half of the screen. I think these software optimizations are nice to have, and they could be useful when you want to put your phone down and use it in this bent position. This phone can stand on its own like this, and you can watch YouTube videos on it.
But, to be honest, I rarely use the phone in this bent position. Most of the time, it’s either fully open or fully folded.
Z Flip 4 Battery Life
I also tested the battery life of this phone. It has a 3700 milliamp-hour battery, which is the same size as the S22’s. After one hour of social media (looping a video and scrolling through Instagram and Twitter), both the Flip and the S22 dropped by 10%. That is not great battery life, but it’s not too terrible either. In theory, a full charge can get you through 10 hours of social media scrolling, which should definitely be enough for a day. But of course, using data and max brightness would decrease this number.
For some perspective, the iPhone 13 Pro doing the same tasks used only 5% of its smaller battery, which is kind of surprising. I thought the Flip would last a bit longer than the S22, considering the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 is using a 4-nanometer process from TSMC. But the efficiency gain doesn’t really show up in these light tasks. However, the new 8 Plus Gen 1 does make a pretty big difference when you’re doing more heavy things like gaming.
For this test, I looped 40 minutes of a benchmark. Not only is it 20-50% faster than the S22, but it also consumed around 10% less battery during this test. That means it can last around 4 hours playing games, while the S92 can only do about 3 and a half hours. So depending on what you do, the battery life of the Z Flip 3 can be about the same as the S22’s, or 2-4% better.
In my experience, it has always been enough to last through an entire day, but I also don’t really do much gaming on it, and I’m usually connected to Wi-Fi as well.
Z Flip 4 Performance
When it comes to performance, the Z Flip 4 uses the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 everywhere across the globe, so it could be a way for those who are typically in the Exynos region to get a Snapdragon phone. And unlike previous years where the 888 Plus is barely faster than the 888 while using more power, this year the 8 Plus Gen 1 is made with a different fabrication process than the 8 Gen 1, and that actually leads to some pretty significant gains.
The Z Flip 4 is around 10% faster for games than the S22 in the beginning, but impressively, it thermal throttles way less after 10 minutes, it’s about 50% faster than the S22. However, because this is a flip phone, only half of it can be used for heat dissipation. The top half of the phone does get pretty hot to about 39 degrees Celsius on both the back and the screen, which can definitely be uncomfortable for long gaming sessions. Whereas, the S22 is around two degrees cooler across the board.
So for the gamer out there, although the Flip is still a very thin phone that does thermal throttle and get really hot, it is a whole lot faster than the Snapdragon S22, and not to mention, the Flip will actually last around longer. So yeah, this phone has surprisingly good performance, it’s quite a bit faster and longer lasting than the S22.
The screen on the back is a cute, novel feature that I would love to see in more phones, but at this thousand dollar price range, its camera system doesn’t really match up to the iPhone 13 Pro, which is the same price or even the S22. But if you like this form factor, the Z Flip 4 will not disappoint.