Samsung updates the Galaxy Z Flip with a revamped cover screen, slimmer hinge and new camera features and it’s well worth picking up
- Substantial battery life increase
- Big leap in performance via Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1
- Display colour accuracy is hugely improved
- Slight price increase
- Design changes are minor
- No microSD slot or dual-SIM capabilities
Our favourite foldable smartphone of 2021 has returned. Announced during Samsung’s twice-annual Galaxy Unpacked conference, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 appeared alongside a revamped Galaxy Z Fold 4, Galaxy Buds 2 Pro ANC earbuds and a pair of new Galaxy Watch 5 health-centric wearables.
And just like the rest of these devices, Samsung has decided to make a few tweaks to the award-winning formula of the Galaxy Z Flip 4, instead of reinventing the wheel. There’s still a lot to like with this year’s model, it’s just that those changes aren’t as headline-grabbing as previous releases.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review: What you need to know
The fourth-gen Flip might be more of a refinement than anything else but there are plenty of quality of life changes for this iteration. The design has been slightly tweaked for easier one-handed use, it now comes with the top-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset, and it has a larger 3,700mAh battery for improved overall stamina. Not to mention that it also comes in a new range of colours.
IPX8 water resistance returns, as does last year’s durability claims: notably, a strengthened inner screen and hard-wearing metal frame. The 6.7in display is the same as the previous version, with a resolution of 2,640 x 1,080 and a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. It also comes with 8GB of RAM and a choice of either 128GB, 256GB or 512GB of storage.
The Flip 4 has a pair of 12MP rear cameras, consisting of a main unit with an f/1.8 aperture, alongside a 123-degree (f/2.2) ultrawide lens. There’s no fancy under-screen selfie camera like the one you get on the Fold 4; instead, you’ve got a run-of-the-mill 10MP (f/2.4) selfie embedded inside a U-shaped screen cutout.
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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review: Price and competition
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is £50 more expensive than its predecessor at launch, costing a minimum of £999 if you opt for the model with 128GB of storage. Double that to 256GB and it costs £1,059, with the top-end 512GB variant coming in at £1,199.
This slightly inflated starting price still makes the Galaxy Z Flip 4 the cheapest foldable you can buy, with rivals such as the Huawei P50 Pocket (£1,099) costing a little more. Samsung’s own Galaxy Z Fold 4 comes with a much larger screen than the Flip but you pay a hefty premium for it, with prices for that handset starting at a far more expensive £1,649.
But, of course, last year’s Flip 3 is still being sold as new, with prices as low as £600 on Amazon. That’s a heck of a deal and really makes you wonder why it’s worth paying an extra £400 for the newer model.
Not to mention that, at £999, the Flip 4 comes up against some big-hitting non-folding smartphones as well. The iPhone 13 Pro, for instance, starts at £949, as does the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus and, if you spend a bit more, you can buy the excellent Oppo Find X5 Pro (£1,049), too.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review: Design and key features
With the new Moto Razr launch in limbo – it was pulled from release mere hours before its scheduled unveiling – and the Huawei P50 Pocket still absent in the UK, the Z Flip 4’s folding design remains unique in our small patch of Europe. Functioning as a more modern take on the old school clamshell phone design, the Z Flip 4 folds in half from a ‘normal’ sized handset to a pocketable square with half-size dimensions.
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This is a trick that still works wonders and, personally, it’s a design I prefer to the flip-to-enlarge design of the Galaxy Z Fold 4. I’d much rather have something that can shrink in size and fit in a smaller space, such as a tight jeans pocket or a space-limited handbag.
The Z Flip 4’s design has actually changed a little this year, although you’ll struggle to notice much of a difference with the naked eye. According to Samsung, the phone’s hinge is slightly slimmer, and the bezels have been decreased for easier one-handed use. Again, this isn’t something I noticed while testing the phone but the frame is now a reflective silver instead of a matte plastic and that you do notice.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4’s colour options are livelier than its more serious business-focussed Fold counterpart. At launch, you can pick up the phone in either “Bora Purple”, which I was sent for review, alongside “Graphite”, “Pink Gold” and blue. There’s also the option to customise the panels and frame with further colour options via Samsung’s “Bespoke Edition” personalisation service either at Samsung.com or in one of its stores.
Like the Fold, the Galaxy Z Flip is IPX8 water resistant, although this means there’s no certification against dust or particle ingress. This is still a big boon for the foldable, though, and the Gorilla Glass Victus Plus protection should help against scratches and cracks, too. It’s no thinner than last year, though – in either folded or unfolded positions – and its weight has slightly increased to 187g, although this is only a 4g change.
Something that’s always useful is that the side-mounted power button also doubles a fingerprint sensor and this can be used to unlock both the front and inner screens. The only fly in the ointment is the lack of a microSD card slot, so you’ll have to make do with the storage you choose at the checkout. There’s also only enough space for a single nano SIM, too, which again is disappointing.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review: Displays
The inner Dynamic AMOLED 2x display measures 6.7in across the diagonal, with a resolution of 2,640 x 1,080 and an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. Meanwhile, the secondary “cover” screen is a slim 1.9in, 512 x 260 touchscreen bar on the rear of the Galaxy Z Flip 4, which sits below the phone’s two rear cameras, stretching across the width of the phone.
This secondary display has a handful of new features and customisability options in the Flip 4. You can now switch between analog and digital clock styles, add AR emoji characters, set the background with your own photos and even reply to messages using a list of pre-set responses, emojis and text-to-speech without having to unfold your phone.
Open up the phone and the inner display is pretty darned good. It generates 95.6% of the sRGB colour gamut and scores an average Delta E colour variance score of 1.13 in the phone’s “Natural” profile, which is a huge improvement in colour accuracy over the previous iteration.
Brightness has also been increased, with a measured luminance of 800cd/2 with the auto-brightness setting engaged and a torch shining on the phone’s ambient light sensor. The Z Flip 4’s inner display peaks at around 1,200cd/m2 during HDR playback, too, which is pretty much as good as it gets at the moment.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review: Performance and battery life
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor, and it comes with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB, 256GB or 512GB of storage. This isn’t expandable, so choose wisely.
As we’ve seen with other 8 Plus Gen 1 smartphones, the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s performance in both CPU and GPU-related processing tasks is as rapid as they come. Running the Geekbench 5 test, the Z Flip 4 achieved a multi-core and single-core result of 1,298 and 4,025 respectively – that’s a huge performance boost of up to 16% on the previous version.
Gaming gets a major shot in the arm, too. The Flip 4 scored an average frame rate of 119fps in the GFXBench on-screen Manhattan 3 benchmark, which is effectively perfect considering the screen’s maximum 120Hz refresh rate. It’s also 13% faster than last year’s score.
The battery is 12% bigger than last year’s model, at 3,700mAh in capacity, and the phone supports 25W wired charging (charger not included) as well as wireless and reverse wireless charging.
Battery life is significantly improved as a result. Running our in-house battery drain test, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 lasted 21hrs 11mins before dropping to zero. That’s a massive five hours more than the Z Flip 3, making it the longest-lasting foldable smartphone we’ve tested (at the time of writing).
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 also launches with Android 12 pre-installed, with the promise of four years of Android software updates (bringing you all the way to Android 16) and five years’ worth of security patches. Samsung’s OneUI 4.1 software tweaks are found throughout, and this is generally one of the least obtrusive of the long list of Android skins.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review: Cameras
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 uses a dual-camera setup, which comprises a main 12MP (f/1.8) sensor with OIS and a secondary 12MP (f/2.2) 123-degree ultrawide. This is a similar arrangement to last year’s model, with the exception that Samsung says the main sensor is supposedly superior this time around. The selfie camera is an identical 10MP (f/2.4) number.
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Despite little change, there’s still a lot to like about the Z Flip 4’s photographic capabilities. There’s a good amount of detail in every shot, with effective use of HDR and relatively subdued saturation and contrast. You can capture excellent shots that pop with colour, with impressive proficiency in low light as well.
In fact, I preferred the Z Flip 4’s nighttime shots over the more expensive iPhone 13 Pro Max. Samsung’s foldable cut through the darkness more effectively, without losing much in the way of detail or applying an unnaturally warm tint. Portrait images were a dead heat, where I preferred the Z Flip 4’s blurred backgrounds, but the iPhone added a touch more detail.
With the 12MP ultrawide camera, however, there’s a big drop in detail and images looked a little washed out. I rarely find much use for a wide-angle camera, especially since the trade-offs are usually too heavy for what little benefit you get for being able to squeeze more stuff in the frame but the Z Flip 4’s ultrawide images are serviceable in a pinch.
Video tops out at a maximum 4K resolution at 60fps. This is fully stabilised and footage looks rock-steady with crisp details and speedy autofocus. However, based on my testing, it doesn’t appear that Samsung has made any changes in this regard, with the video looking identical to the previous iteration.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review: Verdict
As with all of Samsung’s August 2022 products, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 looks remarkably similar to its predecessor, with scatterings of subtle tweaks thrown about here and there for good measure and that’s largely a good thing.
Indeed, the performance improvements via the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 might be its best new feature and when you consider that one of our biggest complaints with the previous model was its less-than-stellar battery life, the stamina increase is worth the upgrade on its own.
Despite the modest price increase, then, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is the best foldable you can buy right now. An ideal blend of price, form factor and performance, there’s a lot to like with this updated model, and if you’ve got the money you really can’t do much better.
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is available to preorder right now, with a release date scheduled for 26 August. We’ve also rounded up our favourite SIM-free and contract deals in the run-up to launch, with neat freebies including a year of Disney Plus and bags of 5G data.