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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review — what I hate and love about it

The cover screen as a viewfinder is as useful as a white crayon

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
(Image: © Future)

Laptop Mag Verdict

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is an engineering masterpiece that appeals to content creators and travelers who prefer to pack light, but I’m not convinced that Galaxy Z Flip 3 owners should upgrade.

Pros

  • +

    Beautifully engineered phone

  • +

    Great for content creators/solo travelers

  • +

    Flex Mode is *chef’s kiss*

  • +

    Compact and pocketable

  • +

    Decent battery life (relative to other foldables)

Cons

  • -

    Boring upgrades

  • -

    Gets warm quickly

  • -

    Power button annoyingly invokes Bixby

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 should win an award for launching the most boring upgrade of 2022. I talked smack about the iPhone 13’s less-than-exciting improvements from the iPhone 12. But you know what? Samsung’s new-gen foldable snatched the “unremarkable upgrade” medal from Apple’s trophy cabinet.

“But you shouldn’t fix something that’s not broken, right?” you’re likely thinking. Yes, but they also say, “If you want to stand out of the crowd, give people a reason not to forget you.” And unfortunately, save for one or two alluring tweaks, the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s improvements are definitely forgettable.

I may sound a little tough on the Galaxy Z Flip 4, leading you to believe that I don’t adore the cutesy foldable, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! I love that I can drop the Galaxy Z Flip 4 into my jeans' front pocket — and it’s not exposed in a way that will make pickpockets salivate. Plus, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 has an impressive leap in battery life over the Z Flip 3.

Galaxy Z Flip 4

Galaxy Z Flip 4 (Image credit: Future)

After taking my Galaxy Z Flip 4 with me on several day trips (from Yosemite National Park in California to Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York), I have a pretty good idea of its strengths and weaknesses. I may not crown this Samsung foldable as one of the best smartphones of the year, but I’ve concluded that it’s ultra-beneficial for a specific niche (hint: it’s perfect for those with wanderlust). Stay tuned to find out whether you’re a part of that cohort.

Galaxy Z Flip 4 price and configurations 

No, I’m not one of those folks who will complain about how “pricey” the $999 Galaxy Z Flip is. In the grand scheme of things, its price tag is not that bad. The launch price of Surface Duo 2 was $1,499, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 has a starting price of $1,800, and the Motorola Razr 2022 has an MSRP of $1,399. Compared to the rest of the foldable market, that $999 seems a lot sweeter now, doesn’t it?

Galaxy Z Flip 4

Galaxy Z Flip 4 (Image credit: Future)

All Galaxy Z Flip 4 configurations feature 8GB of RAM and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset. That $999 base model comes with 128GB of storage. An upgrade to 256GB of storage requires you to shell out an extra $60, but as of this writing, Samsung is offering this model at the same price as the 128GB variant. It’s a sweet deal! More storage for less.

Want a maxed out Galaxy Z Flip 4 (512GB of storage)? That will be $1,180, please! However, if you own a good-as-new phone, you can get a shocking amount of credit toward your purchase (up to $900). For example, if you own the Z Flip 3 or the Galaxy S22 Ultra, and it’s free of cracks, you’ll get a trade-in credit of $900. That means snagging the entry-level Z Flip 4 will only cost you $99.

Granted, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 doesn’t have a cornucopia of flagship-tier features, so I understand the “too expensive” claims, but I’d argue that Samsung knows that “top-of-the-line specs” are not its strongest selling points. Instead, its innovative splashiness and engineering marvels are its greatest seductive powers. 

You can pre-order the Galaxy Z Flip 4 now via Samsung.com. (opens in new tab)

Galaxy Z Flip 4 design 

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is a two-toned eyesore. Yeah, I said it! I cannot stand this new color-blocking trend. I blame the Google Pixel series. Smacking two contrasting colors together is not attractive — unless you’re Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard. 

Galaxy Z Flip 4

Galaxy Z Flip 4 (Image credit: Future)

When fully extended, my Galaxy Z Flip 4’s top half (above the hinge) features two colors: black for the cover screen and Bora Purple for the rest. The bottom half (below the hinge) is blessed to not sport the two-toned nightmare; it features Bora Purple in all of its lilac glory. It should be one or the other — all black or all purple. The two-toned design cheapens the look of such an expensive device.

The funky foldable reportedly features a “stronger” armor aluminum frame (I’d do a drop test to determine how true that is, but I don’t think Samsung would appreciate that). The cover screen, the most vulnerable display due to its external placement, also has some fortification enhancements, thanks to its brand spankin’ new Gorilla Glass Victus+ display. Samsung boasts that the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s edges are glossier than its predecessor — er, that’s great, I guess. I’m sure there’s someone reading this who cares about that.

Galaxy Z Flip 4

Galaxy Z Flip 4 (Image credit: Future)

Its IPX8 water resistance may appeal to some readers, though, allowing for submergence of up to five feet for 30 minutes. It's worth noting that the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is not dust resistant, so please don't go trekking in the Sahara Desert with it.

Drab design aside, the engineering team behind the Galaxy Z Flip 4 deserve a pat on the back. Pocketability is what makes this foldable spectacular — hands down. From a 6.7-inch slate, this bad boy can fold into a compact form factor that’s as grippable as a pack of Post-it notes. 

I know this sounds a little dramatic, but as I hinted at the outset, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 brings with it a lifestyle change. You no longer need to accommodate your phone because it demands too much space. Au contraire! It perfectly molds itself into your lifestyle. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 can fit into most small compartments and pockets; today's space-hungry phones could never!

As a cherry on top, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 harkens back to the golden age of flip phones when we’d satisfyingly slam our clamshell devices shut with an air of “cool aggression” — but there’s just one problem.

Galaxy Z Flip 4

Galaxy Z Flip 4 (Image credit: Future)

With the Z Flip 4, you can’t do the ol’ one handed, badass maneuver of flipping the top lid open. Why? The hinge is too rigid, but this is by design. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 can be positioned between the angles of 30 and 120 degrees (ish) — and its tightly wound hinge helps lock these poses into place. While I understand the Z Flip 4’s hindrances, I was more disappointed than I thought it would be. What good is having a flip phone if I can’t do the one-handed whip back so I can stunt on my “haters”?

Galaxy Z Flip 4

Trying to open the Galaxy Z Flip 4 with one hand (not dramatized). (Image credit: Future)

While folded, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 features a "power button" (you'll see why that's in quotes soon) that doubles as a fingerprint sensor on the right side; there’s also a volume button. The SIM card slot is on the opposite side. The USB-C port is on the bottom edge. While we're on the subject, I hate that Samsung configured the power button as a Bixby invocation by default. In other words, pressing the power button alone only brings up the Bixby app. If you need to shut down the Galaxy Z Flip 4, you must hold down the power button while pressing the down-volume button at the same time. 

Unfolded, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is 0.2 inches thick. Folded, it bulks up to 0.6 inches. It weighs 6.6 ounces. Now, let's take a look at the Galaxy Z Flip 4's competitors: the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Microsoft Surface Duo 2. The former has a thickness of 0.24 inches (unfolded) and 0.62 inches (folded). The latter is 0.21 inches (unfolded) and 0.43 inches (folded) thick. The Fold 4 weighs 9.3 ounces while the Surface Duo 2 weighs 10 ounces.

Galaxy Z Flip 4 display 

Does the crease on the display bother me? Not at all. I forget it’s even there. And this is coming from a nitpicker who can’t stand the notch on the iPhone. What does bother me is that the 6.7-inch, Dynamic AMOLED 2x, HDR10+ display is “skinnier” than what I’m used to — I’ll dive into this in a moment.

Galaxy Z Flip 4

Galaxy Z Flip 4 (Image credit: Future)

I fired up the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever YouTube trailer and it was sharp enough to highlight the subtle wrinkles that decorated Letitia Wright’s left eye as she adorned a white veil. Winston Duke’s forehead furrows were striking on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 as he looked up to the sky with a worried expression. I could spot tiny tufts of white hair poking out of Angela Bassett’s Isicholo (a Zulu hat).

YouTube on the Galaxy Z Flip 4

YouTube on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 (Image credit: Future)

The panel recreates colors well, but it’s not as vivid as other displays. The Dora Milaje’s warrior costume, emanating stunning hues of rich reds, golds and browns, seemed slightly muted on the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s display, but it’s nothing that would catch your attention (unless compared side-by-side to the Galaxy S22 Ultra).

It’s also worth noting that, on YouTube, videos are noticeably less “screen filling.” Compared to my Galaxy S22 Ultra, wider letterboxing flanked videos on the 1080 x 2640-pixel display, no matter which video I watched. However, I didn’t experience this on Netflix. Arcane, the video game adaptation of League of Legends, took up the entire screen. Peacock had some letterboxing as I watched The Office, Black Phone and The Book of Eli, but it’s much narrower compared to YouTube.

Galaxy Z Flip 4 netflix

Netflix on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 (Image credit: Future)

To sum it up, watching YouTube will remind you that the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s display is narrower than today’s most popular flagship phones, making you miss the extra screen real estate featured on other devices. On the plus side, I loved flipping through the home screen apps with the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s adaptive refresh rate matching the speed of my gestures. When I fired up mobile Android games such as Hello Neighbor and Subway Surfers, the refresh rate skyrocketed to as high as 120Hz.

Now, let's get into the display benchmarks! The Galaxy Z Flip 4 has a DCI-P3 color gamut coverage of 132.2% on Vivid (its default setting). This beats the Duo 2's measly  87% scope, but doesn't measure up to the Galaxy Z Fold 4's spectacular 158% coverage.

As far as brightness is concerned, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 can reach a peak of 772 nits. Its pricier foldable sibling, the Galaxy Z Fold 4, hovers around a peak of 905 nits. The Surface Duo 2 continues to disappoint, however, with a peak brightness of 672 nits.

Galaxy Z Flip 4 cover screen 

The Galaxy Z Flip 4’s 1.9-inch, 260 x 512-pixel cover screen features the foldable’s most noteworthy upgrades, including additional widget controls, Samsung Pay support and launching calls. It even lets you reply to text messages without opening your phone.

Galaxy Z Flip 4

Galaxy Z Flip 4 (Image credit: Future)

It’s also convenient in that you don’t need to go through the hassle of unfolding the Galaxy Z Flip 4 to check notifications, emails, missed calls and more. You can pause, play and skip Spotify tracks via the cover screen, which I appreciate.

The cover screen doubles as a selfie viewfinder, but ugh, let’s talk about this because I am baffled. What the hell is Samsung thinking? You cannot see much of anything on that tiny 1.9-inch panel, so this feature is completely useless. 

Galaxy Z Flip 4

Galaxy Z Flip 4 (Image credit: Future)

Instead of squinting to high hell, I’d rather unfold the phone (which takes less than a second) and utilize the 6.7-inch display as a viewfinder instead. Samsung also boasts that the cover screen now offers previews of your photos and videos in their accurate aspect ratios, but again, I would never use it for that purpose — it’s too damn small.

Galaxy Z Flip 4 audio 

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 features a stereo setup with a bottom-firing speaker and another built into the earpiece. There’s nothing to write home about when it comes to the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s sound quality — it’s simply alright.

I tested its speakers by playing “La Mamá de la Mamá” by El Alfa, Chael Produciendo, CJ and El Cherry Scorn. While the raspy vocals of the reggaeton artists sound crisp and clear, when the drums and bass kicked in, they sounded a little too tinny for my taste, especially at max volume. Music on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 doesn’t sound as rich and well-balanced as it does on the latest Galaxy S series phones, but that’s alright, you can always use one of the best wireless headphones instead. 

Galaxy Z Flip 4 performance 

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is packed with the latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset. According to Samsung, it has better NPU, GPU and CPU performance compared to its predecessor’s Snapdragon 888 processor.

Galaxy Z Flip 4

Galaxy Z Flip 4 (Image credit: Future)

With its 8GB of RAM, I tested the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s multitasking muscle by opening an avalanche of apps, including Netflix’s Stranger Things game, Google Chrome, Peacock, Spotify, YouTube, Gallery, LinkedIn, Outlook, Facebook, and several other apps. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 had no issues hopping in and out of the opened apps, however, it did get warm very early into the stress test. This is expected, I guess; the Samsung foldable surely has powerful, heat-generating hardware under the hood.

When we ran the Geekbench 5 test on the Galaxy Z Flip 4, it generated a multicore score of 4,105. Surprisingly, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 shares the same chipset as the Galaxy Z Flip 4, but it output a lower score of 3,831. The Surface Duo 2, packed with an older Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, attained a score of 3,384.

On the Jetstream benchmark, which tests how quickly Web pages load, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 wiped out the competition with a score of 134, dominating the Galaxy Z Fold 4 (87) and the Surface Duo 2 (93).

Galaxy Z Flip 4 battery life 

Samsung slimmed down the hinge to make room for a 3,700 mAh battery, a step up from the Z Flip 3’s 3,300 mAh battery. Samsung claims that the new-gen foldable offers three more hours of battery life than its predecessor — and it's right on the money.

Galaxy Z Flip 4

Galaxy Z Flip 4 (Image credit: Future)

As we mentioned in a recent report about the Galaxy Z Flip 4's battery life, according to our official battery results (involves continuous web surfing at 150 nits on a mobile network), the Samsung foldable lasted 8 hours and 33 minutes, a big leap from the Z Flip 3's 5-hour runtime.

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 also beat the Z Fold 4 (8:17) and the Surface Duo 2 (7:38). It’s also worth noting that the Galaxy Z Flip 4 now supports fast charging at a max of 25 watts

Galaxy Z Flip 4 cameras  

Before we dive into cameras, let’s talk about Flex Mode, my favorite Galaxy Z Flip 4 feature. As I mentioned in my Galaxy Z Flip 3 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 4 face-off, Flex Mode is the position that lets you transform the foldable into a chair-like posture. I cannot stress how useful Flex Mode is for solitary content creators (e.g., vloggers and Instagram influencers).

Galaxy Z Flip 4

Galaxy Z Flip 4 (Image credit: Future)

Whether you need to record yourself eating trendy dishes in a popular restaurant or prop your device on a rock to snap photos of funky content, Flex Mode makes it easy for individuals to capture meaningful moments for their viewers and followers. As you can imagine, Flex Mode is a life saver for solo travelers, too, who can’t bear the thought of asking strangers to take their pictures.

It’s also worth noting that Meta’s apps support Flex Mode, including Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp.

Wide camera 

The Z Flip 4’s 12MP, f/1.8 wide camera features the same specs as the Z Flip 3, except for the pixel size. The Z Flip 4’s 1.8µm wide camera is an upgrade from the Z Flip 3’s 1.4µm wide lens. A larger pixel size means more light is gathered. In other words, low-light photos should be enhanced on the Z Flip 4.

I took the Galaxy Z Flip for a spin as I captured points of interest across Lower Manhattan, from Pier 35’s stunning East River views to the lively streets of the Lower East Side. I took a picture of the eye-catching Metronome public art installation in Union Square. In person, it’s quite odd looking, but with the striking yellow cabs, verdant trees, clear blue skies, and towering buildings framing the shot, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 made this artistic landmark look epic. It perfectly captured the sprawling gold flecks on the public timepiece while the taxis fought for the Metronome’s spotlight with their mustardy hues.

I also snapped a photo of my lunch that day, capturing the delicious texture of my chicken tenders and crispy fries. You can see the green-herb flakes sitting atop the fried meat and a cup of pale-yellow garlic parmesan sauce poking its head out of the tray’s corner. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 made my junk food look scrumptious.

Even from afar, the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s wide lens did an excellent job at recreating the striking red-and-white sightseeing vessel that cruised across the East River. In the background, the Manhattan bridge jutted out of the salt-water estuary with sharp, crisp details.

Ultra-wide camera 

No, there’s no change to the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s ultra-wide camera, but I’m not complaining. Yes, this is one of those, “Why fix something that’s not broken?” moments. Like the Galaxy Z Flip 3, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 comes with a 12MP, f/2.2, 1.12µm ultra-wide camera with a 123-degree field of view.

Galaxy Z Flip 4 sample

Galaxy Z Flip 4 ultra-wide sample (Image credit: Future)

The ultra-wide camera is my absolute favorite, allowing me to capture more scenic backdrops that truly capture New York City’s bustling energy, jaw-dropping skylines and eye-catching historic edifices. At one point, I took a wide-lens picture of the Empire State Building, but it just didn’t do it justice.

I switched to the ultra-wide camera, and wow, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 finally captured this architectural marvel’s intimidating, imposing character as it towered above busy Midtown. The wide lens framed the famous skyscraper, cutting out the hustle and bustle of the sidewalk and streets. However, the ultra-wide lens captured all of that and more, giving you a better perspective of how commanding and grandiose the Empire State Building really is.

Galaxy Z Flip 4 sample photo

Galaxy Z Flip 4 ultra-wide sample (Image credit: Future)

Thanks to the ultra-wide camera, not only did I capture the Brooklyn Bridge’s spectacular pointed arches, but also stylish pedestrians while the Freedom Tower poked its beautiful little head out in the distance. It’s a stunning shot!

Selfie camera 

Again, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 made no changes to its 10MP, f/2.4, 1.22µm selfie camera. On paper, it may not measure up to the 12MP and 40MP selfie lenses on the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Galaxy S22 Ultra, respectively, but I’m still impressed.

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 leans toward warmer tones, which I appreciate because it elicits bronze-like hues from my complexion. I can turn up the heat even more by selecting the Warm filter (there are 12 in total). It’s also sharp enough to capture the wayward hairs from my messy, unkempt eyebrows. It’s so crisp, the lines on my red top were highly delineated — so much so that they induce hypnosis if you stare for too long.

One aspect I adore about the selfie camera is that its zoom out prowess supersedes the capabilities of the Galaxy S22 Ultra, my daily driver. If I wanted to capture more background scenery with my selfies, I’d leave the Galaxy S22 Ultra at home and bring the Galaxy Z Flip 4 along instead. 

Night Mode and low-light photos

Samsung says low-light photos should be better with its upgraded wide camera, so I put it to the test.

Galaxy Z Flip 4 sample photos

Galaxy Z Flip 4 night mode sample (Image credit: Future)

I spotted a procession of 15 geese in my local park, so I snapped a photo of the flock as they headed toward a lake. The pixel size upgrade was certainly evident, gathering more light into the photo. However, keep in mind that night mode requires stillness for clarity (it simulates long exposure for up to 5 seconds), and unfortunately, the geese refused to stop waddling for their photoshoot. As such, the picture is not as sharp as I’d like it to be. Still, you can’t deny that the stunning reflections in the lake (the stillest part of the photo) add a certain je nais se quois to the picture.

Galaxy Z Flip 4 sample photos

Galaxy Z Flip 4 night mode sample (Image credit: Future)

I also captured a photo of the Valley Stream Community Center, a park-dwelling building that comes alive at night. It’s one of the best night-mode photos I’ve ever captured of the edifice. With the trees’ reflection dancing on the lake and the ombre blue sky adding to the picturesque scenery, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 made the NY-based community center look like a rustic lake house in the middle of the woods.

Galaxy Z Flip 4 software and warranty  

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 runs on Android 12 with the One UI version 4 skin.

Samsung promises four years of major software updates along with five years of security updates. In other words, Galaxy Z Flip 4 users will get some Samsung love all the way up to Android 16 (at the very least).

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 comes with a one-year limited warranty. 

Bottom line  

No, I can’t flip the phone open in a millisecond like a badass in a late 90’s action film, but the Galaxy Z Flip 4 can enhance my solo-travel experiences, whether enjoying its pocketability for lighter journeys or using Flex Mode for Instagrammable snapshots.

On top of that, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is elite when it comes to zoomed out selfies, capturing more background details than my Galaxy S22 Ultra. So yes, I’d recommend the Galaxy Z Flip 4 for solitary content creators and solo travelers. But would I encourage a Z Flip 3 owner to upgrade to the Z Flip 4? I'd lean toward no because the improvements are minimal, but if you're a Z Flip 3 owner who desperately wants more battery life, it might be worth it for you. Plus, if you're Z Flip 3 is still in excellent condition, you'd only pay $100 for the Galaxy Z Flip 4, thanks to Samsung.com's trade-in promotion. (opens in new tab)

Even if you want to have a funky foldable device, consider the Galaxy Z Fold 4 instead. It’s a cooler technological titan that lets multitasking mavens take full advantage of its dual displays.

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!