When you think about folding devices, the first company that comes to mind for everyone I believe is Samsung. They’re the company that first brought folding phones to the mass market. And they’ve embraced this new segment by re-aligning their launch dates and updating the devices on a yearly basis.
We now know to expect two major Samsung launches each year: The S-series at the beginning of the year and the Z Series towards the fourth quarter. I think that shows commitment on Samsung part. It shows they really believe in smartphones that can fold.
I’ve had the new Galaxy Z Flip 4 for a couple of weeks and in this review I am going to share with you my thoughts, my experiences, and whether or not you should buy one.
If you’re about to say it’s an expensive device, then wait for the bit where we discuss the payment plans Samsung has introduced this year. So let’s get rolling!
What’s good about foldables?
While there are now a couple of Android companies making foldables, I’ve only ever interacted with those made by Samsung. I’ve touched the FOLD, but I’ve only ever used the FLIP Series as my main device.
I believe the FOLD series are the best implementation of folding screens, however I find the FLIP series to be the trendier, more exciting form factor. Please let me know which one you prefer.
Whenever I am asked what’s the good thing about foldables, I always have one single answer: They have displays that can bend!
Yep, that’s all to it. And while people may want to say things like that’s boring, who asked for this, why do we need this? I think what they miss is the fact that this is the beauty of technology. The beauty of development.
It’s the same way we have huge cameras on phones nowadays. It’s the same way the processors on our devices are more powerful than we’ll ever put to full use, but we still buy and upgrade our devices. So yes, no one asked for foldables, but that doesn’t mean they’re not exciting.
The fact that they can fold gives rise to new features normal phones can never have, or would never implement.
For example on the new Galaxy Z FLIP 4:
- There’s an extra screen on the outside – here you can put different widgets, see notifications and customise things to your taste. You don’t need to always keep the full screen open and on. The extra display also acts as a viewfinder if someone is taking a shot of you, or if you prop up the device on a stand and want to take photos or videos of yourself using the more powerful back cameras.
- You also get cool multi-tasking options – The fact that the phone folds essentially allows you to be able to do more with the upper and the lower parts of the screens when you have it half open in Flex Mode. This comes in handy for things like the camera app, when you’re video calling someone, when you’re watching a video, or even when you’re just using the phone on the desk or your hand. Flex Mode makes multi-tasking all the more exciting, and given the aspect ratio of the device, each app when multitasking feels much more usable.
- It’s also tiny when you need it to be – meaning you can hide it in small pockets. Something people have been marveling at whenever they’ve touched my Flip 4 is how light it feels on the hand. A tiny and light phone that you can easily completely cover with your palm… nice.
Are foldables fragile?
When you walk around with a foldable, the main question you get is this: how fragile is it? Which is a valid thing to ask, to be honest. I mean the whole fact that the screen folds in half means it’s not very strong, yeah?
Well, this is fourth generation foldable technology from Samsung. Samsung has grown more confident with the design and you can feel it with the new FLIP 4. The very thin layer of glass that’s bonded with the plastic display feels tougher. The new hinge is really really good. It’s tougher and allows for more flexibility unlike the hinge of the Flip 3.
The crease at the middle is still there, but that’s okay because when the phone is on, you don’t see it. It never affects your daily use.
At the back there’s the Gorilla Glass Victus+ which means scratching or breaking will be hard.
The phone also uses armor grade aluminium for the frame, and is IPX8 rated for water resistance of up to 1.5 meters deep for 30mins.
Dust particles remain the biggest problem for this device. Though the hinge is well sealed, significantly small particles can still slip in, while significantly large particles can scratch the main display.
Which means only those who are constantly exposed to dust should be worried. If you’re someone who takes care of their current device pretty well, this device won’t be a problem for you.
Why is the Galaxy Z Flip 4 expensive:
Here’s another question I am constantly asked: If the whole point is that it folds, why is it so expensive? (Currently, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 will cost you an upward of KES 142,000.)
Well, first of all the folding mechanism means you need to re-engineer a couple of things. You need to make a hinge that must be smooth and be able to open and close many many times without having issues.
You also need to make a display that folds and opens many many times without any issues, and without scratching easily. You also need to have a protective layer around the display. You need to re- work various internal components – for example the battery – to either be smaller or be aligned differently to allow for the bending of the device.
But Samsung didn’t stop at that. They also gave the phone flagship specs. The device is powered by the 4nm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. It comes with up to 8GB of RAM and 512GB internal storage. There’s now a larger 3700mAh battery which supports 25W fast charging and from my use offers more screen-on time compared to the Flip 3 from last year.
The specs and the re-working to engineer a folding mechanism are what contribute to its 1000 dollar pricing.
In Kenya though, our exchange rate for the shilling plus taxes are what contribute to its final price being quite high.
If you’re interested in getting one Samsung now has partnerships with Badili for purchase plans to help lower initial acquisition costs. You can trade in your older Flip phone and Samsung will top up an extra 20,000 shillings to the value Badili will give your older phone. You will then top up the difference for a brand new Flip 4.
What are the cameras like? is another question I’ve received. And I think the best thing to do is to show you samples I’ve taken over the few weeks I’ve been using the device. Watch the video above for the samples.
The main 12MP camera at the back is pretty good. It handles dynamic range pretty aggressively, which is a good thing for showing the contrast in pictures. You will be able to enjoy a lot of nice point and shoot photos both in good and low light conditions. Portrait shots also look good.
Comparing the Flip 3 and the Flip 4 photos you will see in the video that they’re pretty much almost similar in camera output. However, you’ll see the Flip 4 has an edge on colour and on vibrance.
The 12MP ultrawide angle on the other hand experiences a dip in quality and sharpness that’s significant. But I believe you’ll be using the main sensor mostly.
The 10MP selfie camera is apt. If you’re a content creator though, thanks to the back display you can use the sharper rear camera for photos and videos. See this in action in the video above, where the back display functions as a viewfinder.
When Samsung first introduced foldables, I said this (last paragraph on linked article):
As we’ve seen with fingerprint scanners, iris scanners, bezel-less devices, and now bendable displays, most times, it is not really about whether users want something, or whether or not it is a solution to an existing problem. Nope. It is about the joy of being able to do something, the excitement of our abilities as humans to innovate.
That’s the beauty of technology, and that’s the fun of the new Flip 4 device: having something that’s different, something that stands out. A phone that allows you to hang up phone calls like in the early 2000s!
What are your thoughts on the new Galaxy Z Flip 4? With the new purchase plans are you considering getting one? Tell me in the comments below.
Cameras - 80%
Display - 95%
Software - 85%
Battery - 75%
Pricing - 65%
Wow Factor - 100%
The Flip4 is a really good device, the problem in my view remains pricing. However, Samsung has really tried to find ways to help with financing and trade-ins to boost acquisition.