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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 Review: finally an everyday foldable phone

by Warren

Making the jump over to a foldable phone used to have many compromises until last year’s Galaxy Z Flip3, which Samsung has done a significant hardware revamp with a new design that has better durability and is priced way cheaper than the Z Flip, but that’s not to say that it was a perfect foldable as it has a lackluster battery life and slow charging speed, while Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 processor that powers it also isn’t quite up to par in offering decent performance and efficiency.

A year later, the Galaxy Z Flip4 made its debut and my expectations were initially low considering it looked just the same, but after having a brief hands on session before the launch, I was impressed and even more so after using it for a week, this is finally a foldable phone that I can daily drive and one that you can safely make the jump from a conventional looking smartphone.

Galaxy Z Flip4 Video Review

The Z Flip4 might resemble its predecessor but that doesn’t mean it feels the same when you hold it on hand, the frame now feels more premium with a polished aluminum finish, the hinges are slightly slimmer and opening the phone now feels a lot smoother than before, though I am still looking forward to the day where we can just press the power button and it opens and closes automatically, as you still require two hands to do that.

Z Flip4

The phone continues to be IPX8 rated water resistant but you will still need to be careful of dust and debris, which is one thing that can really kill the hinges and possibly the ultra thin glass inside the phone if you aren’t careful, but in the case of accidental bumps and bents, the Z Flip 4 is still protected by Samsung’s very own Armor Aluminum which actually saved me a few times when I accidentally dropped it about two feet from the table.

The Z Flip4’s display is still the same beautiful 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel that refreshes at 120Hz with excellent outdoor brightness and viewing angles, though sadly you will still notice the crease in the middle but I also find it to be slightly thinner than the Z Flip3, the stereo loudspeakers also sound about the same with good volume and bass.

Powering the Z Flip4 is the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, which is probably the biggest improvement over the Z Flip 3’s Snapdragon 888 and it is also a much better chipset than you’d find on the S22, the Z Flip4 performed so much smoother and more efficient than its predecessor that I didn’t detect any lags despite only having 8GB of RAM, it also doesn’t heat up quite as often when I’m using it moderately for checking my social feeds and web browsing, the top part of the phone gets reasonably warm during games which I don’t find uncomfortable to hold.

Speaking of gaming, the Z Flip4 is very capable if you don’t mind the crease in the middle of the screen and when I mean capable, it isn’t just about the performance but also power efficiency, I was very surprised with the power drain as I merely detected a 5% drop in battery after 10 minutes in Genshin Impact, which of course you shouldn’t compare with phones that has larger battery capacities, but the slight battery capacity increase over the Z Flip3 and more efficient processor does make a big difference.

Software wise, the Z Flip4 ships with One UI 4.1 on top of Android 12 which overall feels quite the same with the S22 in terms of general usability, but on the Flex side of things, no pun intended, the Z Flip4 has a few software tricks that’s worth mentioning, my favorite would be the improved split screen feature where I can simply just swipe two fingers from the bottom to have two apps open at the same time and I can save the pair of apps as a shortcut to my home screen if I want to have that set up again, I can also make the app pop up as a floating window and have two of them minimized.

Z Flip4

Like its predecessor, the Z Flip4 has certain apps optimized to be shown at the top part of the display when you fold it up, but this round Samsung has added a new Flex Mode touch pad which essentially lets you use the bottom part of the screen like a laptop trackpad to scroll webpages and social feeds, it can be useful if you want a more comfortable viewing angle while working on something instead of looking straight down on a flat angle, but I barely use it as I find the tracking and gestures not as precise and I could navigate around faster by just touching the screen.

When it comes to the cover screen, the Z Flip 4’s clock can now show videos on top of the usual set of animated backgrounds and it remains just as customizable as before, you can also finally reply to incoming WhatsApp messages with templates or by using your speech to text which works very well for me

There is also a new contact widget that lets you set up to three favorite contacts and call them directly from the cover screen with the loudspeaker turned on, and finally, my favorite is the flex camera, which you can finally take photos in the 4:3 aspect ratio and you can double tap on the cover screen to see the full live view instead of a cropped view, you can even take landscape photos and videos by just turning the phone in landscape, though that 2-inch display is still really small to notice anything unusual on your shots but it is nonetheless a huge experience improvement.

Galaxy Z Flip4 Camera Samples

The Z Flip 4 maintains a dual 12MP camera array with a wide and ultrawide camera in service, Samsung has increased the sensor size of the main sensor that promises better low light performance and I can definitely testify that in this food shot I took, it was a restaurant with a dimly lit yellow lighting and the camera was able to take really good looking photos with excellent colors, detail and low noise levels.

As for outdoor shots, the Z Flip 4’s cameras take very favorable looking photos with popping colors just like what you’d expect from a Samsung flagship phone, even the ultrawide sensor has very impressive dynamic range with very minimal distortion and no soft focusing issues, this is definitely an A+ camera experience you’d get on a foldable device.

Galaxy Z Flip4 Selfie Camera Samples

The front 10MP camera is good for selfies if you still prefer that instead of using the main camera.

In terms of video recording, there is no 8K video recording like you get on the S22 Ultra but you do get up to 4K 60fps on both the main 12MP and front facing 10MP cameras, the ultrawide camera is limited to 4K 30fps which I think is a shame but not a deal breaker. On a plus point, this is an excellent short form video camera as Samsung has optimized apps like Instagram to support the flex mode camera when fold up the phone, but this feature hasn’t reach TikTok at this point of time, and I think TikTokers are going to love it when the update arrives.

Now, I already mentioned how good the Z Flip4’s power efficiency is when it comes to gaming, and despite that larger 3700mAh battery, the Z Flip4 is still going to require a charge daily when I end my day with a 3.5 hour screen on time, I usually unplug it with 100% at 8am and when I reach home about 11pm, I still have about 10-15% of battery left, this is already much better than the Z Flip3 and with the faster 25W fast charging, I no longer had battery anxieties when I use the Z Flip 4.

Z Flip4

With all of these improvements in place, Samsung has sadly raised the starting price of the Z Flip4 to RM4,099, which to be honest still isn’t too bad with a RM100 premium, but hold your horses right before you say this is an expensive phone, because if you managed to get Samsung’s preorder deal including getting a RM600 instant rebate on top of trading in an old phone and getting some other freebies, it really doesn’t feel so expensive anymore for a foldable phone and I commend Samsung for doing that to get people transition to their foldables.

The bottom line, the Z Flip4 is finally an everyday foldable phone for anyone and I highly recommend it.

The Galaxy Z Flip4 can be purchased at Lazada, Shopee, Samsung.com and authorized resellers nationwide.

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