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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 review

As the name suggests, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 represents the fourth generation of Samsung foldables. It is very similar to the Galaxy Z Flip3. However, Samsung has pretty much addressed all of the weak points: The camera performance in low light conditions has improved, as has battery life and charging speed. And of course, the new Z Flip4 is powered by the fastest Android chipset, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1.

The internal Dynamic AMOLED 2X and external Super AMOLED displays, on the other hand, have been inherited from the Z Flip3. IPX8 protection against water is also still on board, a feature that only Samsung offers in its third and fourth generation of foldables. On paper, the Galaxy Z Flip4 has pretty much everything for a real flagship – only a zoom camera is missing. Our Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 review clarifies whether it is enough for a recommendation.

Unboxing

The Galaxy Z Flip4 comes in a fairly compact and lightweight box. A thin paper compartment houses the USB-C cable, the usual instructions and the SIM tool. And that’s all.

There is no charger or case in the retail box. Therefore, you need at least a 25 watt power supply to charge the Flip4 at maximum speed.

Design

The Galaxy Z Flip4 looks very similar to the Flip3, and that’s not a bad thing. Samsung has focused on design refinements rather than innovation this year. It now has tougher Gorilla Glass Victus+ panels with a new matte finish. The aluminum frame has also been upgraded with stronger material and a flatter profile. This also applies to the hinge.

But probably the most obvious changes are the smaller bezels around the foldable screen, making the current Flip a bit shorter. Samsung also continues to install the protective film on the foldable OLED display. Removal is strongly discouraged as you risk damaging the screen. There have been cases where users removed the Flip4 protection and had no problems for months. But it can also happen that the display breaks.

We would normally remove the protective foils, as they scratch easily and take away some of the brightness of the display. At least Samsung seems to have improved the protective film – it feels a bit smoother than the Flip3 and fingers slide over it more easily. However, dust still gets stuck between the film and the frame.

On the back of the Galaxy Z Flip4 you can see the thinner frame surrounding the Gorilla Glass Victus+ panels. And instead of a matte frame and glossy lens, the current version now has a glossy frame finish and matte lens.

Finally, the new Flip4 is IPX8 waterproof, which means it can withstand up to 1.5m of clean water for up to 30 minutes. The X means there’s no dust cover, so at the beach the Flip4 should be handled with care. The tiny particles can damage both the hinge and the folding display.

The display looks great even with the protective film on – bright and colorful and just the right size for a foldable phone. The crease in the middle is there and it’s a bit annoying at first, but you get used to it eventually. Above the screen, etched into the frame, is the earpiece, which also acts as the second stereo channel.

The back of the Flip4 is also covered with Gorilla Glass Victus+. The lower part is completely flush and empty, although under the glass is the wireless charging coil. Reverse wireless charging is also available. The top half also consists of a single glass, which is glossy at the top to protect the external display and cameras, while the rest is matte.

The 1.9-inch Super AMOLED panel alongside the dual camera is also the same as the Flip3. It can show the clock, various notifications, widgets or the time to fully charge. The resolution is still 512 x 260 pixels and the refresh rate is 60 Hz. It supports both touch control and an always-on mode. Of course, it also serves as a viewfinder for selfies with the main cameras. Plural, because you can now record in full resolution with both cameras. And view the whole thing in full screen by double-tapping the small screen.

The internal display was also taken over from the Z Flip3. The Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel has a diagonal of 6.7 inches and the same resolution of 2,640 x 1,080 pixels (426 ppi, 22:9). It supports a dynamic refresh rate of 120 Hz, HDR10+ and a peak brightness of up to 1,200 nits. A small update from the Flip3 is that the adaptive refresh rate can now go as low as 1Hz.

The hinge size has actually been reduced slightly since the Flip3, although you can only tell by comparing it directly to the Flip3. The most important thing about the hinge – it works and clicks beautifully and should last at least 200,000 cycles before showing the first signs of wear. Also, there are no fixed positions – you can use the Flip4 at any angle you want.

A single microphone sits at the top of the frame, with two more, including the primary, located below near the USB-C port and secondary speaker. The SIM slot is on the top left. The top right side houses the volume and power buttons. The power button also contains the fingerprint sensor, which did an excellent job in the review.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 is about a millimeter shorter than the Flip3 at 165.2 x 71.9 x 6.9 mm. At 187 grams, it is also 4 g heavier than its predecessor.

Color accuracy

The color settings on most Samsung smartphones are handled in a similar way. There are two color modes on the Z Flip4 – Vivid and Natural. You can also adjust the color temperature in each case. The default setting is Vivid, which corresponds to the DCI-P3 color space, and accuracy is excellent with an average deltaE of 2.6. The Natural color mode switches to sRGB. Accuracy is excellent here with an average deltaE of 1.5.

Refresh rate

The Galaxy Z Flip4 display supports two refresh rate modes – Adaptive (up to 120Hz) and Standard (fixed at 60Hz). Adaptive switches dynamically between 1Hz and 120Hz depending on the content being displayed. For example, 1 Hz should be used for static images to save battery life.

The Android 12 support APIs list the following modes for the Galaxy Z Flip4: 10Hz, 24Hz, 30Hz, 48Hz, 60Hz, 96Hz and 120Hz. The built-in refresh rate display showed 24Hz for static images and movies, 60Hz for some apps that weren’t compatible with 120Hz and 48Hz for some videos. And of course, 120Hz was available for Samsungs One UI skin and most apps and games.

This is obviously not the behavior described by Samsung. A look at the GPU Watch tool in Developer Options showed that the display’s refresh rate and the frame rate at which the GPU outputs new images are not necessarily the same, and the phone varies both values ​​by content as well as by activity. The display never fell below 24 Hz, while the frame rate dropped to the promised 1 fps with static content.

HDR and streaming

The Galaxy Z Flip4 supports HDR10+ content and features Widevine L1 DRM. Amazon Prime and YouTube had no trouble streaming high-resolution HDR10 content. Netflix also reproduced HDR reliably.

Battery

One of the most notable Flip4 updates is the larger 3,700mAh battery. The cell now also charges a little faster at 25 watts. The Galaxy Z Flip4 performed very well in on-screen tests. It managed 13:42h surfing the web, versus 10:00h on the Flip3. The video playback time is up to 14:19h versus 11:43h on the Flip3.

Charging speed

The Galaxy Z Flip4 now supports fast charging with up to 25 watts, but you need the matching 25 watt charger from Samsung. Fast wireless charging reaches 15 watts. Using the cable, our Galaxy Z Flip4 reached a battery level of 55% in 30 minutes. A full charge takes 75 minutes – not exactly fast, but not catastrophic either.

Speaker

The Galaxy Z Flip4 has the same audio setup as the Z Flip3. It offers stereo speakers where the earpiece takes over the second channel. Depending on the orientation in landscape mode, the smartphone dynamically switches between the left and right channels. In portrait mode, the top speaker takes over the left channel.

The Flip4 performed well on the volume test, compared to a very good result from the Z Flip3. Of course, the top speaker is quieter and less bassy than the bottom one. Tuning and balance are great though. The audio quality from the speakers is satisfactory. Voices and high notes sound good. Bass is also present, but less present than on some other phones.

Android 12 with OneUI 4.1.1

The Galaxy Z Flip4 runs on Android 12 with Samsung’s One UI. This can be used to activate an always-on display, for example. However, there is no separate setting – if the AOD is active on the cover display, the same applies to the main display. However, the cover display has its own designs, which you can adjust to your Galaxy Watch if you wish.

Swyping in all four directions on the cover screen does different things. A swipe up launches Samsung Pay, while a swipe down reveals quick toggle features – WiFi, Bluetooth, Sound. Airplane mode, the flashlight and a brightness setting for the cover display.

On the right you get to the notifications, which you can then scroll up and down and which you can also expand. On the left you can access up to eight widgets – music player, weather, calendar, alarm clock, Samsung Health, voice recorder, direct dial and timer.

Cover Display Settings

Double-clicking the power button with the Flip4 closed activates the rear camera and the external display acts as a viewfinder. By swiping you switch between the recording modes and cameras. Double-tapping the screen opens photo mode and the full-size viewfinder, which wasn’t possible on the Flip3.

Always-on also works on the internal display. It’s the familiar simplified version of One UI 3. There are a few clock styles to choose from and music info is also supplied. The feature can be always off, always on, scheduled, only appear when new notifications are available, or only appear for 10 seconds.

Always-on-display

OneUI 4 looks even cleaner than v.3.x, but the basics remain the same. There is a home screen, widgets, the notification center, the task manager and the app drawer.

Home Screens / App Drawer / Task Manager / Notifications / Quick Settings

Samsung’s smart widgets can combine some different data and take up less space. They’ve also become a lot more customizable. The Samsung keyboard is now more feature-rich and customizable than ever, with more emojis and stickers.

Smart widgets

One of the new features of One UI 4 is color palettes, an implementation of Android 12’s background colors. There are usually four color palette suggestions in addition to One UI’s default blue/black. These are automatically selected by the software depending on the current wallpaper. The color you choose will become the main color of the newly created theme. The accent colors are applied to the phone app, quick settings, app icons, and other elements.

Color palette

The settings menu includes a new privacy dashboard. Here is a quick overview of which apps use which data protection-related permissions. One can control the camera and regulate access across apps, opt for clipboard access notifications (useful when copying passwords, social security numbers, IBANs etc.) and of course there is a full-fledged permissions manager.

Privacy Dashboard

DeX does not support the Galaxy Z Flip4. However, there is a Link to Windows feature that provides an interface between the PC and the phone, allowing one to copy pictures, manage notifications, or even make calls from the PC.

Another option along these lines is continuity apps on other devices. To do this, you need to be signed into the same Samsung account on both devices, connect them to the same Wi-Fi network with Bluetooth enabled, and use the Samsung Internet browser or Samsung Notes. Then you can copy and paste text and images and open the same tabs in the browser.

Edge Panels / Gallery / File Manager

Other longstanding proprietary Samsung features include the Edge panels. The panels are displayed via Swype from the side. They provide tools and shortcuts to apps and contacts. Game Launcher, Samsung’s gaming hub, is also on board. There’s an internal browser (Samsung Internet) which is vital for many of the advanced S Pen features, as well as a reasonably powerful file manager. The Samsung gallery is also further on board.

Labs / Flex mode off/on

Finally, when partially unfolded (between 75 and 115 degrees), the Flip4’s Flex mode splits an app’s UI. The preview is then displayed at the top while interacting with the app below, as seen in the camera app above. Some apps support it natively, like YouTube or Samsung’s own gallery and calendar. For others, one can force a generic panel for flex mode.

CPU / Benchmarks

The Galaxy Z Flip4 runs on the latest Qualcomm chipset, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. The main improvements include better efficiency and a slight increase in performance, which could be seen in the ROG Phone 6 Pro or its big brother, the Galaxy Z Fold4, for example . The same applies to graphics tests – the Adreno 730 GPU is one of the most powerful mobile GPUs currently available.

The Galaxy Z Flip4 always has 8GB of RAM under the hood, there’s no other option. In terms of UFS 3.1 storage you can choose between 128, 256 or 512 GB. However, the Flip4 offers much less space for the mainboard and chipset than conventional smartphones and therefore also for suitable cooling. So throttling is a bigger problem than with other smartphones.

GeekBench 5 Single Core Benchmark

GeekBench 5 Multi Core Benchmark

AnTuTu scores are slightly lower than on other devices with similar hardware. This is because the Flip4 throttles the hardware more due to the thermal limitations.

AnTuTu 9 benchmark

Our gaming tests didn’t show any limitations, even in longer sessions. Some games even surpassed 60 fps. On the other hand, if you really open the gates and simulate 100% CPU load over a longer period of time, the Z Flip4 maintains its maximum performance for about 5 minutes. After that, throttling kicks in and performance collapses. The same applies to the GPU.

Camera: photos

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 features a dual camera setup on the back and a single selfie camera on the foldable display. All three cameras share the same resolutions as on the Flip3 – a 12-megapixel primary and a 12-megapixel ultrawide on the outside and a 10-megapixel selfiecam on the inside. There’s an upgrade though – the main camera now has a larger sensor with a different lens.

The main camera of the Galaxy Z Flip4 uses a Samsung S5K2LD sensor behind a 24mm f/1.8 lens. This is the same sensor that’s under the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S21 main cameras. It distributes large 1.8 µm pixels on a 1/1.76 inch sensor. A pretty decent improvement over the last generation’s 1.4 µm pixels and 1/2.55 inch sensor. Features include PDAF and optical stabilization.

The Ultrawide is based on the same 13 megapixel Sony IMX258 sensor as on the Flip3, a 1/3.06 inch chip with 1.12 µm pixels. The resolution is 12 megapixels and the aperture is f/2.2. The inner selfie camera is based on Samsung’s 10-megapixel S5K3J1 sensor, which is also known from the Galaxy S20 series. It’s a 1/3-inch sensor with 1.22µm pixels behind a 25mm f/2.4 lens. The focus is fixed.

Camera app

The camera app on the Flip4 is mostly identical to what you would get on any other recent Samsung phone. There are a few changes to take advantage of the Flip4’s form factor, though. The basics are as usual – swiping left and right toggles between the available modes, which you can also rearrange. Vertical swiping in both directions toggles between the front and main cameras.

There are two zoom levels on the viewfinder – 0.5x and 1x. With a pinch gesture, three more appear – 2x, 4x and 10x. The viewfinder features the standard icons with the settings cog in the top left corner of the screen. The usual things like grid lines, location data, etc. can be found in the menu. Exclusive to the Flip, there is a small icon in the top right corner that allows you to activate the cover display for viewfinder purposes.

Pro mode provides full control over ISO (50-3200), shutter speed (1/12000s – 30s or up to 0.5s on ultrawide), manual focus (with peaking) and white balance (by light temperature, with icons next to the number corresponding to a common light source). Metering mode and AF area options are also available, as are a range of image controls for contrast, saturation and so on. As usual, a live histogram is nowhere to be found.

Camera app in Flex mode

A Flip4 specific point is the option to have the viewfinder in either half of the display. That’s particularly useful when using the half-folded phone for waist-level or overhead shots.

When the Flip4 is closed, you can start the camera by double-tapping the power button and use the cover display as a viewfinder. Sideswipes switch between stills and video, while swiping up or down toggles between the main and ultrawide cameras. The only catch is that the display is oriented in landscape mode as opposed to the portrait position of both sensors.

Samsung has opted for a central cut-out from the sensors so that the display is completely filled. Another double-tap on the small screen zooms out and shows the full picture. Square images, a special feature of the Flip series, are still available as an option. By default, the aspect ratio is 4:3 for photos and 16:9 for videos.

Image quality in daylight

The main camera’s 12-megapixel daylight photos are superb. There is a lot of resolved detail and low noise. The finish is competent and delivers a balanced and natural look. Contrast is great and dynamic range is good but not over the top as Auto HDR won’t lighten up every shadow. The typical Samsung color vibrancy is also present, but not too extreme.

Thanks to the larger sensor of the main camera, the picture quality in daylight is definitely better than on the Flip3. Trees or grass show more detail. The difference is not big, but visible.

Macro shots

The 12 megapixel photos from the ultrawide camera look good and are surprisingly detailed. The sharpness is also okay, but cannot keep up with the main camera. The automatic distortion correction is good, although the corners aren’t as sharp as the center. Colors, contrast and dynamic range correspond to the main camera and are convincing across the board.

Selfies

Thanks to the external display, the main camera can and should be used for selfie purposes as it offers autofocus, higher resolution, OIS and a better sensor. The pictures show great sharpness and a large dynamic range. Thanks to the f/1.8 aperture, there is no need to simulate blur as you get natural bokeh. In our opinion, the main camera combined with the external display is the best option for Flip4 selfies.

If you want to blur the background even more, you can always activate portrait mode. Of course, ultrawide selfies are also possible. But you should hold the cell phone as far away as possible, otherwise the motifs will be blurred.

Image quality in low light

The Galaxy Z Flip4 offers automatic night mode as part of the standard photo mode. In our experience, there is no way around this in low light, so all shots below were taken with the automatic night mode. There’s enough detail, the noise reduction does a good job here, and the dynamic range is pretty good. The exposure is great in all scenes, although the algorithm tends to make the photos brighter than they are in real life. The color saturation is excellent.

Compared to the Flip3, Samsung had promised an improvement in terms of camera performance, especially in low light conditions. And kept their word – the Flip4’s images are sharper, show more detail, less noise and slightly better colors.

The automatic night mode also works with the ultrawide camera. It stores bright photos with good dynamic range, bright skies and pleasant color saturation. Auto HDR also helps. The details, on the other hand, don’t come out well and what’s left is further processed by the noise reduction.

Since there is no dedicated zoom lens, the rest of the images in 2x, 4x and 10x are simply upscaled by the main sensor. The quality is okay for a snapshot, but nothing more.

Camera: videos

The main camera of the Galaxy Z Flip4 records videos up to 4K at 60 fps. The ultrawide and selfie cameras max out at 4K at 30 fps. Optical stabilization is only available on the main camera, while electronic stabilization is available for all cameras if desired. Once activated, EIS does an excellent job of stabilizing footage at the expense of a slightly smaller field of view and a bit less sharpness.

The 4K material runs at a video bit rate of 48 Mbit/s using the h.264 codec. The audio bitrate is around 256 kbps. Audio is in stereo.

The ultrawide camera’s 4K videos are solid. They offer a lot of detail and colour while contrast and dynamic range correspond to the main camera. The corners are a little soft, but that’s unavoidable with a 13mm lens. Overall, the ultrawide camera’s 4K clips are very good.

The main camera’s 4K footage looks excellent. The detail resolution and contrast are high, the colors are true to life and the dynamic range is good but not excessive. The processing is also pleasing – leaves, buildings or people all look natural.

Finally, our usual action video test against a GoPro action cam. The Galaxy Z Flip4 cannot really keep up here, despite activated OIS and EIS. But it doesn’t do badly either.

Alternatives

The new Flip4 started at an RRP of $999.99, which is on par for a flagship but significantly cheaper than the $1,799 for a Fold4. One could say the price is reasonable. The most obvious and cheaper alternative is the Galaxy Z Flip3, which costs around $150 less than the Flip4. It’s pretty much the same device, but with shorter battery life, slower charging speeds, and a slightly inferior camera.

The Motorola Razr 2022 currently costs well over $1,000. It’s based on a 6.7-inch foldable display, just like the Flip4, but has 1B colors and a 144Hz refresh rate. The chipset is the same and the camera experience is similar. The Razr has a larger external display that is easier to use when the phone is closed.

The remaining foldables, such as the Galaxy Z Fold4, come with significantly larger dimensions. The Fold4 in particular has one of the largest OLED displays ever on a smartphone and an under-display camera for video chats. There are also four other cameras, and the external display is one of the best currently available on the market. It’s thick (16mm) and heavy (263g) though, other than that, nothing to complain about.

Xiaomi announced the Mix Fold 2 earlier this year, which is even thinner than the Fold4. The displays are a bit larger and the camera setup was developed in cooperation with Leica. It has a slimmer design and charges faster, but is currently only available in China.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G / Motorola Razr 2022 / Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 / Xiaomi Mix Fold 2

Those eyeing the Flip4 for its compact form might want to consider some of the smaller flagships currently available as well. Like the Galaxy S22, which you can get new for less than $600. It has a 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display, powerful hardware and a triple camera including 3x telephoto on the back.

The $800 Zenfone 9 is even smaller, with a 5.9-inch 120Hz Super AMOLED display, the latest Snapdragon chipset, and a similar dual camera with high-quality digital zoom. The Zenfone 9 also offers excellent battery life.

There is also the Apple iPhone 13 mini with its 5.4 inch display, the smallest flagship on the market. It’s the most powerful small phone in the world right now, and the only downside is the 60Hz OLED display.

Samsung Galaxy S22 / Asus Zenfone 9 / Apple iPhone 13 mini

Verdict

8.7Expert Score
Verdict Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 scored with a very good display, the currently fastest chipset on the market and an unrivaled compact form factor.

Design
9
Display
9
CPU / Benchmarks
10
Battery
8
Camera photos
8
Camera videos
8
Pros
  • superb foldable display: bright, color accurate, 120Hz, HDR
  • excellent design, Victus+ glass, robust aluminium
  • Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset
  • very good all-round camera setup
  • improved battery life, faster charging
  • IPX8 water protection
Cons
  • heavy throttling under 100% CPU/GPU load
  • no charger in the box
  • Cover display with untapped potential
  • no DeX support

The Galaxy Z Flip has gone from fad to full-fledged flagship in just a few generations. The Flip4 is what the Flip3 should have been from the start – a powerful foldable smartphone with very good camera performance and decent battery life.

But it’s also not flawless. It takes a while to get used to its design and form factor. Also, you have to live with the crease and the plastic screen protector over the display. In addition, there is severe throttling under continuous load. And there is no zoom camera.

However, the fourth generation of the Z Flip puts the series in a bright future and does everything right with the technology currently available. If you want to own a unique phone that is small and yet powerful, there is currently no way around the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4.

Stefan Andres

Stefan Andres

Contact | Android, iOS, Apps | Cell phone: Google Pixel 7

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