Despite their popularity, foldable phones eventually died out when the first touchscreen phones appeared. After countless rather catastrophic iterations and attempts to conveniently combine a flexible, flexible display with all the other necessary components, we ended up with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 on August 25, which I’m testing for you today.
The smartphone, weighing 187g, comes with a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED panel with a FullHD+ resolution of 2640 x 1080 pixels as the main display. It’s HDR10+ certified and, in addition to its 425ppi pixel density, has a 120Hz variable refresh rate. According to Samsung, the display has a peak brightness of 1,200 nits. Plus, we’re treated to a separate AMOLED external display with 1.9-inches – albeit a lower resolution of 512 x 260 pixels, which still results in a remarkable pixel density of 302ppi.
The frame is made of shiny aluminum, the outer cover is made of rough tempered glass – which is extremely valuable. The inside of the Z Flip4 is mostly plastic in favor of flexibility – an extra protective film on top of the flexible AMOLED display to be precise. The second screen is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus+, which also covers the main camera.
The latter offers a team of two cameras, each with 12 megapixels, one of them as a 24mm wide-angle lens with an aperture of 1.8 and optical image stabilization as well as autofocus. two pixels. The other is an ultra-wide-angle lens with an f/2.2 aperture. Videos up to 4K60, HDR10+, panoramic photos – it’s all included. The 26mm wide-angle lens inside, meanwhile, has just 10 megapixels with a 2.4 aperture and can shoot a maximum of 30 frames per second with 4K recordings.
A Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 runs in Samsung’s latest flip phone, which is complemented by 8GB of RAM and the Adreno 730 as the GPU. The internal memory is 128, 256 or 512 GB. Otherwise, everything usual is at the start: 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, inductive charging up to 15 W, inductive reverse charging at 4.5 W and of course USB Type-C (2.0). Android 12 in the form of Samsung’s One UI 4.1 goes without saying, everything is waterproof according to IPX8.
As the Z Flip4 is my first rodeo with foldables, I’m greeted more enthusiastically than someone coming from its predecessor. The haptics are excellent, the device is of high quality, and opening and closing could hardly be more satisfying. But the external design weaknesses quickly became apparent: when closed, the gap towards the hinge becomes bigger and bigger. Here, one immediately notices that the device acts as a lint and dust collector inside a trouser pocket. I often felt like lugging around a microfiber cloth so I could wipe down the screen after opening it. Not cool.
When unfolded, the aluminum frame feels way too smooth, almost slippery. You will search in vain for the grip and in the end everyone will probably have to buy a corresponding case for the Flip4. I was most excited about the official Samsung silicone case itself, which comes with an elastic fabric strap in a neon contrast.
The bracelet has two uses: you can slide your fingers between them, which then has the same effect as those cell phone ringtones that I thought were ridiculous until now. On the other hand, it covers a large part of the hinges and thus offers additional protection. It’s all well and good, but to be honest, I mostly found the look refreshing. Unfortunately, the latest version was sold out, so I had to fall back on the predecessor – which, apart from a slightly offset flash cutout, fits the Galaxy Z Flip4 perfectly.
When opened, a high-contrast Super AMOLED display gleams before you: colors are crisp, black is black, and an animated wallpaper that moves to the motor process is the crowning glory – a thrill for me. At least until I notice the crease – and I’m not just talking visually. The crease in the middle of the flexible AMOLED panel caused by the design is not only ugly, but noticeable with every swipe.
If feel is really important to you, you’ll struggle with the Flip4 in the long run. A visible and noticeable crease in the display somehow looks cheap. I was also annoyed by the dust particles that collected in the bulge of the selfie camera screen protector. According to the Internet, the foil can be removed, but serves as additional protection for the sensitive front panel. The film is supposed to come off anyway at some point – in my few weeks with the device, however, I didn’t notice anything.
The operating system
As you’d expect, the Snapdragon 8+ does quite a bit. You can tell that Samsung has been working on OneUI for many years, so I can’t complain about the 4.1 version. On the contrary, we thought about certain places. The useful quick menu sits on the right-hand side and all of the company’s first-party apps – i.e. news, gallery, calendar – even the infamous Galaxy Store all look tidy and act quickly.
Of course, the system has been supplemented with functions related to the flip phone itself: you can specify the behavior of applications that are not adapted by the house for the folded handle. Samsung calls this mode Flex and, in addition to multi-window operation, offers, for example, to use the lower half of the screen as a touchpad or media control. Nice gimmick, which I only used once in practice, for this test. The trailer for the device even showed that videos can be recorded this way like with a regular camcorder – but even I would have been ashamed of that on the road.
The fingerprint sensor is integrated into the power button of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4. It is quite natural to hold the mobile phone in your hand so that your thumb automatically rests in place. The device is unlocked at the same time, which is fast. Google or Samsung Pay also works with the device. Unfortunately, paying when it was closed didn’t always work, but it did when it was open. This has proven to be tedious in practice, as mobile payment has the advantage of not necessarily requiring both hands.
Unfortunately, all that glitters isn’t gold with the Z Flip4 either: the notifications in particular created frustration on a daily basis. To this day, I still don’t understand why the notification bar notifications and badges on the app icons themselves are initially only incremented by push – but no longer reset after app verification . Imagine the following situation: there are three notifications on Twitter – each in the notification bar and in the form of a small 3 on the icon itself. Twitter is open, messages are checked and when you return to the home screen, you notice: the badges and entries in the notification bar is still there.
To get rid of both, the latter must be deleted or erased. This is just one of the many little things that bothered me during my time with the Galaxy Z Flip4. Of course, the device itself can’t do much for the software and overall the package remains cohesive – but in combination with the bulk it all leaves a bad aftertaste.
The volume buttons are also a bit lower than on the previous model, but those aren’t the only things that are difficult to reach with one hand. This applies to almost all elements at the top of the screen. The notification bar in particular is difficult to open. Playing the corresponding gestures on the power button, which then opens the notification bar when swiping down, may help some people. However, this function also caused frustration: this gesture was often recognized at times when it was not wanted. Overall, Samsung’s OneUI user experience on the Galaxy Z Flip4 still seems immature.
The Samsung flip phone’s cameras made a good impression in the test. Of course, the two times 12-megapixels don’t come close to the monster lenses of other flagships – like those of the Galaxy S22 Ultra. However, they are suitable for everyday use and the results are impressive in good lighting conditions. However, in darker environments, the image quality decreases and the typical network of compression artifacts prevails.
At least the optical depth sensing is good and I was really impressed: taking a photo and then placing a virtual blur on the background, even managing the matching studio and color gadgets was fun. The internal selfie camera is barely worth mentioning and is inferior to almost anything I’ve used in the last couple of years.
What is really cool, on the one hand, is the fact that you can open the mobile phone half open and place it on a table or similar for group photos. On the other hand, the second screen on the outside allows either to show the viewfinder to the person or group to be photographed – or to take quick selfies. Programmed accordingly, a double press of the power button is enough to activate the external camera, so that you can take selfies when it is closed. Of course, including the typical Samsung hand gesture and remote triggering.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 is more mature than its predecessor. The processor, of which even the flagship S22 Ultra should be jealous, makes a big difference and the biggest range of functions for the external additional screen is the clear USP – at least in my eyes.
On the other hand, some defects in the software and the crease still perceptible in the middle of the screen are a pity. The solution offered by competitor Oppo would have been better here: with their Oppo Find N, which is unfortunately not available in this country, the screen is not bent, but rather drop-shaped in a cavity of the case . I’m pretty sure Samsung will copy this trick for future releases – I even hope so. Because it is precisely the noticeable crease, although visually less noticeable with the right angle and in everyday life, that makes the whole thing look and feel really cheap.
However, the workmanship and main cameras are compelling and if anyone is looking for something new, after all uniformity is looking for a new boost in terms of smartphones, they should have fun with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4.
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