Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 Review: Flippin' Awesome

You can pick up the Z Flip 4 in Bora Purple, Graphite, or Pink Gold and two variants, both with 8GB of memory – the 128GB storage variant retails at Rs. 89,999

author_img Tushar Kanwar Published :  24th September 2022 06:10 PM   |   Published :   |  24th September 2022 06:10 PM
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

I’m going to come right out and say this – the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 has truly convinced me that the foldable form factor is ready for prime time. I’ve been carrying this Bora Purple in my pocket for nearly a month now, alongside an assortment of new candy-bar phones, and I’ve got to say this – I don’t think I have enjoyed a phone quite like this in a long while. That extra refinement, the extra nips and tucks, and improvements all around hold the Z Flip 4 in good stead. 

Before we begin, a quick check on how much Samsung’s “accessible” foldable will set you back. You can pick up the Z Flip 4 in Bora Purple, Graphite, or Pink Gold and two variants, both with 8GB of memory – the 128GB storage variant retails at Rs. 89,999, and twice the storage sets you back by an additional five thousand (Rs. 94,999). If you want to mix it up a little more, there’s a Bespoke Edition available for Rs. 97,999 where you can mix and match panels for a Z Flip 4 that’s even more novel than the regular edition… and that’s saying something!

Place the Z Flip 4 alongside the Z Flip 3 and it may feel like a game of “Spot the Difference''. The changes are by way of refinements – the flattened edges are grippier, and the new hinger is thinner yet robust and not sticky to operate. It’s still a gorgeous looker, with that matte finish on the rear contrasting well with the cover screen and camera module, and both are covered by Gorilla Glass Victus+. In a world where every phone tests the physical limits of your hands and pockets, the ultra-portability and the sheer ability to fit into any pocket and hand (despite being a tad tall) of the Z Flip 4 is refreshing. The most interesting bit is that one month down, the novelty of opening it up hasn’t worn off, for me at least – and the very conscious act of opening the phone to use it means that you can use the cover screen as a filter to avoid getting sucked into some trivial nonsense on social media, while still staying connected to the notifications that matter. That fold-flat hinge inspires confidence in the durability of the device, as does the continuing tradition of IPX8 water resistance. 

Flip it open and Samsung hasn’t messed around with the 6.7-inch AMOLED panel (2600 x 1080 pixels, with 120Hz dynamic refresh rate) that it used in the Z Flip 3 last year, although it has thinned the bezels down to lend the Z Flip 4 a more modern look even with the same screen. It’s still pretty wild that we’re folding screens here, even as Samsung’s successive generations of Folds and Flips make it feel completely normal. But what’s wilder is that Samsung hasn’t compromised the screen and you get the same high-grade display that you’d expect on the S22+ - same high vibrancy, good brightness levels, little to complain and no tradeoffs per se. What you do need to get used to is the feel of the display, both in terms of it being softer to the touch (due to the protective plastic layer on top of the glass screen) and the crease in the middle of the screen where it folds. It’s not discernible when you’re watching content head-on, but you do notice it when the screen is off-axis or when you swipe across it. It’s not that much of a bother, but I’d hoped Samsung would have moved past this in this generation. 

The outer 512 x 260-pixel cover screen on the rear is the same size and resolution as that on the Z Flip 3, which shows you the time alongside some neat animated avatars (that you can customise to your likeness) and the notifications, which which you can interact with albeit in a limited manner. There are widgets for music playback, timers/alarms, weather, etc, and one way to look at this cover screen is that it’s a bit like a smartwatch, allowing you to triage all your notifications and open the phone only if you want to. You can, of course, go all out with this free app called CoverScreen OS, which lets you launch apps, and access settings and the like, but that’s quite honestly a bit excessive. What I liked this time around is the ability to use the cover screen as a viewfinder for the rear camera, which lets you take high-resolution selfies from the clearly-better rear cameras (primary and ultrawide) in a pinch without unfolding the phone. 

The Z Flip 4 packs in the same Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip that had made an appearance on the OnePlus 10T and other recent flagships launched globally. From my experience on the Z Flip 3, the phone is smooth and feels fast, with no lag or slowdowns even if you plan to game on this device. You’re getting your money’s worth in terms of performance, and the combination of fast UFS 3.1 storage and LPDDR5 memory keeps things humming along nicely no matter the workload. One wishes the base variant had at least 256GB storage – 128GB doesn’t cut it anymore with the way storage fills up with high-res video these days (the Z Flip 4, like most Samsung flagships off late, does not ship with expandable storage). Also, know this – the folding design does pose some restrictions on how Samsung can cool the chip under heavy performance loads, so you may see some throttling of performance over extended gaming sessions post 40-45 minutes. 

If you’ve read up about the new Snapdragon chip, you’ll know it’s more power efficient than the 8 Gen 1 on the early 2022 flagships like the S22 Ultra. When combined with the slightly larger (3700mAh) battery, the Z Flip 4 has managed to fix one of the biggest complaints with the Z Flip 3 – this phone lasts past the five hours screen-on-time to make it to the end of a routine day with some gaming, streaming music, notifications and maps on mobile data. None of that crippling battery anxiety that had plagued the previous generation, which in and of itself is a huge relief. If there is one complaint, it’s that Samsung is still very conservative about pushing faster-charging tech on its flagship devices, and the Flip 4 can charge only at 25W wired speeds for a zero-to-full in a little under an hour and a half. Flip side? You do get 15W wireless charging and 4.5W reverse wireless charging. 

Off late, I’ve made my preferences clear about Samsung’s One UI skin, and the company continues its strong run with regular software updates and the best commitment to platform and security upgrades in the industry. In the Z Flip 4, the new highlight is the Flex Mode, which lets you fold the phone to a 90-degree angle and run compatible apps in the top portion of the phone, sort of like a mini all-screen laptop, with the lower half turning into a trackpad or playback controls. Use it for video calling, taking photos, or watching YouTube and reading the comments in the lower half. Neat.

Samsung hasn’t changed the camera configuration with the Z Flip 4, so you get a 12MP primary and 12MP ultrawide, and no zoom that one would spot on the S22 Ultra or the Z Fold 4. The primary sensor is a new 12MP sensor with larger pixels, which coupled with the better image signal processing on the Qualcomm chip makes a substantial leap in terms of images as compared to the Z Flip 3. Outdoor shots are excellent, with a good dynamic range and well-saturated colors that one would expect from a premium Samsung phone. It’s in low light that the improvements are seen, with little to no noise levels and enough retention of detail for images to be usable on social media. The ultra-wide was equally good in daylight conditions but occasionally faltered in low light scenes. The 10MP selfie shooter was good, but quite honestly, I switched to the convenience of using the rear cameras with the cover screen as a viewfinder (available both in folded and open configurations), and the added flexibility of using a regular and ultra-wide shooter rather than a fixed selfie camera is liberating. 

Samsung took what worked with the Z Flip 3 (design), fixed what didn’t (battery and cameras), and improved upon stuff (performance) that makes for a very credible flagship experience, and that’s not even touching upon the fact that… it folds! This more than any other foldable, the Z Fold 4 included, is the kind of phone that brings the foldable experience into the hands of more people. If you’re the sort who’s been waiting to dip your feet into the next generation of phone factors, the Z Flip 4 is the “good thing that comes in small packages” that you cannot refuse. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
Pros: Pocketable form factor, good 120Hz screen, excellent performance, improved battery life, durability and water resistance, software updates, good cameras
Cons: Visible display crease, slow charging speeds, throttles under extended gaming sessions, no telephoto camera
Rating: 9/10
Price: Rs. 89,999 onwards