Earlier this year, at Galaxy Unpacked 2022, Samsung announced additions to its Galaxy Z Series line, including the Galaxy Z Fold4 and the Galaxy Z Flip4. You can access my full write-up on the event here. In the last three years, foldable phones have become a mainstay in the smartphone market. Samsung is the leader in foldable phones, but with that comes a temptation to add incremental improvements instead of significant innovations with each new generation. I have spent the last couple of years testing Z Series Foldables, and a good amount of that time was using the Galaxy Z Flip3. You can read my full review here.
I think one of the most significant opportunities of the foldable form factor is business users looking for larger displays to run productivity and business applications. The devices are well suited for the era of hybrid work, and I believe Samsung is continuing to live out its B2B play with its foldable devices. I know that Samsung made some welcomed improvements to the Galaxy Z Flip4, but like most, I like to evaluate the device after extended use. Samsung sent me a Galaxy Z Flip4, and I used it extensively over four days. Let's dig into my experience.
Right out of the box, the Galaxy Z Flip4 looks like an optimized version of the Galaxy Z Flip3. The "hamburger" style of the Galaxy foldable lineup is compact and easily fits your pocket. The Galaxy Z Flip4 hinge is slimmer, the frame is flatter, and the device has a matte glass finish on the outside covering. The external changes are very subtle, but with the foldable form factor only a few years old, each design iteration will only see subtle tweaks. The matte glass on the external covering of the device is a very premium feeling but slick, and sometimes it's hard to hold on to the device. I hate to admit that I dropped the machine several times while walking with it in my hand, but it happened. The device is also durable with Gorilla Glass Victus+ and an IPX8 water resistance rating. It also should last up to 200,000 folds or around five years of use.
My review unit came in Bora Purple, a little flashy for my taste. The color waves add some flare, but I usually opt for a more neutral color. The smaller 1.9" external display is excellent for checking notifications quickly without having to unfold the entire phone. I use it primarily for checking time, messages, and battery life. When the device is closed in your pocket, it protects the main display from being scratched by keys or a metal wallet.
I appreciate the 6.7" and 120Hz main display, which is incredibly snappy and responsive. Samsung was one of the first smartphone manufacturers to implement these high refresh rate displays, and it provides a great user experience, but it is a drain on the battery. If you are concerned, you can always toggle down to a 60Hz refresh rate to squeeze out more battery. The main display is 2640 x 1080 resolution with a 22:9 aspect ratio. It is an odd aspect ratio and results in a narrow and long display, but it does not hinder me in any personal use cases. I enjoy streaming videos and watch many history channel YouTube content each night before bed. I like that you can bend the display slightly to prop the phone up for watching videos. I found myself doing this while watching a video and eating lunch simultaneously. The cameras, power button, volume buttons, and sim card slot seem to be in the same place as the last generation, which makes sense. I don't advocate for "if it isn't broke, don't fix it," but this design has been solid from the beginning.
The Galaxy Z Flip4 addresses some of the challenges of hybrid work because of its versatile design and flagship specs. The new Galaxy Z Flip4 has the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 octa-core processor, and my review devices had 256Gb of storage and 8GB of memory.
This chip powers many other flagship Android smartphones and is top of the line in terms of performance. Through Samsung’s partnership with Qualcomm, it was able to equip and Z Series devices with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is a much more impressive SoC compared to the Snapdragon 8 Gen1 and puts it on par with the Galaxy S22 Ultra in terms of performance. Throughout the time I spent with the Galaxy Z Flip4, I didn't see any noticeable lags or hiccups. I quickly ran conferencing apps like Teams and Google Chat and productivity apps like OneNote and Google Drive.
I like that you can fold the display in half, run a video call on Messenger, and go hands-free. The Dolby Atmos speakers are loud and crisp if you want to stream audio aloud. One of my favorite ways to use the foldable display is to run OneNote in a lower portion of the display and have an Edge browser on the top for web research and taking notes.
One thing I appreciate about a foldable design is that there are infinite combinations of applications you can run simultaneously depending on your use case. You can watch a video while taking notes or video conference and check your email. For someone interested in multitasking, this is a great device.
I even had my son-in-law log in to his Clash Of Clans account to test some gaming performance, and the phone held up great. Mobile gaming on a 120Hz display feels excellent compared to the 60hz displays mobile gamers have used for years.
The cameras on the Galaxy Z Flip4 mirror what was on the last generation Z Flip3. With two rear cameras and a front-facing selfie camera. The rear cameras are a 12MP F1.8 wide lens and a 12MP F2.2 ultrawide lens with a flash sitting right below both cameras. The selfie camera is a 10MP F2.4 camera.
I used the wide and ultra-wide cameras to get shots of my french bulldogs sleeping, and the results had vibrant colors and sharp detail. The selfie camera doesn't seem as sharp as some Samsung devices I have used in the past, but it isn't a deal breaker. The selfie camera, like previous designs, is a punch hole, and it can get in the way when watching videos if you zoom in to fill the whole display.
One unique feature of the Galaxy Z Flip regarding cameras is that since the phone folds in half hamburger style, you can use the rear cameras to take selfies while the main display is closed. It is not a huge use case for me, but it is always nice to have options. Overall, the Galaxy Z Flip4 cameras will provide good image quality, but they won't compare to Samsungs Galaxy S22 Ultra.
When I evaluate a phone, what matters to me is if I can get full days of use out of the device. The Galaxy Z Flip4 toted the line of what I would consider a full day's worth of use throughout my testing. The downside is I was only getting 5-6 hours of battery life with heavy productivity use case running business apps, streaming video, emailing, and other general tasks on my Galaxy Z Flip3. With the Galaxy Z Flip4, there was a slight upgrade in battery life longevity during heavy use. Instead of getting 5-6 hours, I was consistently experiencing 7-8 hours. I streamed the occasional YouTube video, made phone calls, and lightly used productivity apps for a few days. On days with lighter productivity, I went to bed several times with the Galaxy Z Flip4 still at over 50% capacity.
On the bright side, Samsung bumped up the charging from 15W with the Z Flip3 to 25W with the Z Flip4. Samsung upgraded to faster 25W charging, and the company also increased the battery capacity from 3300 mAh to 3,700 mAh. So, you will be happy for users who want faster charging and more battery capacity. The Galaxy Z Flip4 also supports Fast Wireless Charging 2.0.
I am confident that most users can get 10+ hours of daily usage on this phone. I do not take it easy on my devices, and I like to know what my worst-case scenario will be with battery life. I still spend much time in airports and on planes, so a realistic battery life measurement is essential to me.
Like the previous generation Galaxy Z Flip3, the Galaxy Z Flip4 starts at $999.99 with 128GB of storage. If you need more storage, the upgrade to 256GB will run you $1099.99 and 512GB up to $1219.99. If you preorder the Z Flip4, you can get a free upgrade from 128GB to 256GB of storage, which is a benefit of preordering. The Galaxy Z Flip4 is available on August 26th from most retailers.
Like the Galaxy Z Flip3, the $999.99 entry price point may be inciting enterprise customers looking for a robust, affordable device for hybrid work.
Some people may claim that Samsung isn't making big jumps with each iteration of the Galaxy Z Flip, but I would politely disagree. The luxury of building a quality product on the first iteration is that you can gather market feedback and make meaningful but subtle design improvements to the device to improve each generation's experience. Samsung packed in a slimmer design, more battery life, and solid performance in the Galaxy Z Flip4. The device isn't perfect, but no one smartphone can do everything well at once.
It's still early days for foldable smartphones. It's exciting to think about where the form factor could be in 3-5 years. It takes a lot of investment and risk to move to an unproven form factor, but Samsung is the right horse to bet on in this race. If Samsung can get business users to adopt a foldable smartphone design for increased productivity in an era of hybrid work, this could become a sticky business. For me, its hard to go back to a regular smartphone after getting used to running multiple apps at once on a foldable. With the company's commitment to improving both foldable designs like the Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Fold, I think we will continue to see more foldable devices for years to come. Excellent work, Samsung.