As you may already be aware, here at the Man of Many office we absolutely loved the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4, which our review described as “the most innovative and advanced smartphone on the market”. However, one of the quibbles we had with that particular piece of screen-folding wizardry was its high price. Not that we believe it to be unjustified – it’s clear where every single penny of that asking price went in to the design and construction of the device – but it does put the Fold4 beyond the reach of many.
Fortunately, Samsung has a similarly impressive yet more affordable (AUD$1,000 more affordable to be precise) foldable offering in the form of the Galaxy Z Flip4. While it serves up a completely different experience to that of the Fold4, it provides further evidence that Samsung is hellbent on inventing the future.
Design & Functionality
Something we should be very clear about from the outset is that the Flip4 is not a more affordable substitute for the Fold4. These devices serve very different purposes and meet different needs. But what they have in common is a harnessing of innovative foldable technology in order to open up (geddit?) new possibilities for what smartphones can do.
Positioning the Galaxy Z Flip4 within the smartphone landscape, Samsung has clearly made the assessment that this is a device that will appeal mostly to women and particularly those highly engaged with the latest social media trends. And while that’s fair enough, we see the Flip4 as a device with a far more universal appeal – just as at home in the pocket of the bloke on the worksite down the road as in the designer purse of the influencer on TikTok.
Picking up the Flip4, the first thought we had was how reminiscent it is of the old flip phones like the Motorola RAZR from the early 2000s. But whereas those devices could be literally flipped open and closed with a sharp flick of the wrist, the hinge around which the Galaxy Z Flip4 is built is far more sturdy, offering up a firmness that requires it to be opened with two hands.
Doing so reveals a generous 6.7-inch 1080p AMOLED display that to our eyes looks every bit as bright and sharp as those found on non-folding flagship devices. The subtle crease running across the centre of the screen, while present, does not in any way interfere with the use of the device and when looking at the screen front on it appears to vanish completely – in our humble opinion it’s actually far less intrusive than Apple’s new “Dynamic Island” introduced with the iPhone 14.The firmness of the hinge means you don’t just have to choose between having the Flip4 opened completely flat or completely closed. Instead, you can open it to any angle that suits your needs: 30 degrees, 32 degrees, you name it… 31. Seriously though, this is very handy as it enables the Flip4 to act as its own stand, which is useful for watching your favourite streaming service, video calling someone, or – if you’re so inclined – taking selfies. This is particularly the case in the wild, where you can sit your phone on any flat surface, stand back, hold up an open palm to take a shot and say cheese.
The Flip4 also has a small 1.6-inch external screen that lets you check notifications without opening up your device. There’s a small but significant benefit to this in that it enables you to monitor notifications without distraction, meaning you can be more mindful of the frequency with which you use your phone – having to open it every time will make you hyper aware of how often you’re doing so. The external screen also provides the added benefit of acting as a handy viewfinder, enabling you to take selfies using the phone’s more powerful external camera.
Galaxy Z Flip4 Camera
Speaking of which, the Galaxy Z Flip4 features a pair of 12MP cameras – one wide, one ultrawide – on the outside of the device and a 10MP one on the inside. While they’re not as flash as the camera offering of the Z Fold4 or the Galaxy S22 Ultra, we found the results to be perfectly sharp and colour-accurate, particularly when using the external cameras.
The Galaxy Z Flip4 also comes packing Samsung’s signature “Nightography” functionality, which always results in impressive low-light image capture and the Flip4’s results were no different – sometimes it’s impossible to figure out just where it’s sourcing all the light that’s being jammed into the frame. It really is something.
What sets the Flip4 camera experience apart has more to do with the phone’s build than the cameras themselves. The hinged design enables you to capture angles and place the camera in locations a normal phone simply could not access. Ultimately, this is not a phone designed to capture award-winning wildlife footage, but rather photos and videos for social media and in that regard it does a perfectly admirable job. Could the cameras have slightly heftier specs? Sure, but you’d have to make sacrifices in terms of the remarkable form factor, which would be a shame given that what’s on offer here will more than do the job for the vast majority of users.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 Battery Life
The Galaxy Z Flip4’s battery sees a significant bump over its predecessor, increasing in size from 3,300mAh to 3,700mAh. This has meant that we were able to comfortably make it through the day with the Flip4 as our primary device without any fear we might run out of juice before we made it home. In fact, most days ended with somewhere around 30 per cent of the battery remaining. Even on days when we spent much of our time outside, forcing us to crank the screen’s brightness right up, there was never any concern of a flat battery.
We definitely use our phones more than most – hence the earlier comment around being mindful of the frequency with which we open our phone – but the Flip4 never struggled. The only time we’d find ourselves in search of a charger was if there’d been plenty of battery left at the end of the day and we left it uncharged, meaning the flip4 would need a top up some time after lunch the next day.
While we’re not brave enough to throw our review smartphones down stairwells or drop them from the tops of buildings, they do encounter the usual wear and tear one would expect to come with daily use. Even without a case the Flip4 came through unscathed. We dumped it in bags with keys and other paraphernalia, chucked it thoughtlessly on the table after coming through the door and generally made an effort to treat it like you would a smartphone you’ve had for over a year that you’re no longer precious about. The Flip4 came up unscathed and looks as slick as it did when we first took it out of the box.
We should note that the Flip4 also has an IPX8 rating, which makes it water-resistant (as opposed to waterproof, which is an important distinction). According to Samsung, after extensive testing the Flip4 has been certified to withstand being submerged in up to 1.5 metres of freshwater for up to 30 minutes. However, as we’re sure you can understand, we were not overly keen to put that to the test.
What we Didn’t Like
There’s not much we didn’t like about the Galaxy Z Flip4. If we were to buy one we’d probably pick the Graphite colourway over the Bora Purple, but that’s a preference rather than a critique of either colour – you might choose the Pink Gold or the Blue. The external screen could be a little bigger and we imagine future generations will be, but we think it’s perfectly suited to what this phone is using it for: a subtle and stylish way to receive notifications while moonlighting as a viewfinder.
During our time with the Fold4 we’d very occasionally encounter apps that weren’t optimised for that device’s form factor, but we never encountered anything like that with the Flip4, so no complaints there. Finally, like its more expensive sibling, sometimes the Flip4’s internal screen will collect a light coating of dust after spending some time in a pocket, but that’s to be expected.
While the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 inevitably stands in the shadow of its larger, more expensive foldable sibling, you’d do well not to underestimate it. This is an innovative and remarkable – not to mention more accessible – smartphone in its own right that reveals its unique advantages the more you use it. There’s no right or wrong way to use the Flip4, it just offers a flexibility – beyond the very literal – that means it will ultimately bend to suit your needs very nicely.
Pricing for the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 starts at AUD $1,499 for the 128GB model. You’ll pay AUD$1,649 for the 256GB model, and the range tops out at AUD$1,849 for the 512GB model.