I hate to admit it, but I might have a new favorite phone. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 4 is the latest version of the company’s smaller foldable and with this generation, the company has addressed most of our problems with the previous model. It’s delivered longer battery life, increased durability and a slightly more useful external display. With the same $1,000 starting price as before, the Z Flip 4 costs about the same as an iPhone 13 Pro and a Galaxy S22+, but can fold into a square that you can hide in your palm. It’s a supremely fun phone to use, thanks to the different modes you can set it up in. The Z Flip 4 isn’t perfect, but by improving its battery life, Samsung’s finally made a foldable phone that’s ready for the mainstream.
One of the best things about the Flips is that you can fold them in half and easily stuff them in pockets, small bags or other tight spaces. As someone whose desk is chronically cluttered, I struggle to find a spot to place my gigantic Pixel 6 Pro, which, if not placed carefully on an even surface, would suicidally slide off a table and plunge to its death.
- It folds in half!
- Improved battery life
- Useful hands-free applications
- Low light photos could be better
- Lingering concerns over long-term durability
Thanks to its new matte finish, Flip 4 is not as slippery as its predecessor or the Pixel, so I was less afraid of putting it on top of keys or packs of snacks, for example. I’ve only dropped it once since I’ve had it, and so far, the case has survived without a scratch. And because the Flip is so small, I also had a much easier time finding somewhere to place it. On one occasion when I wore something with a particularly tight pocket, the Flip 4 still fit easily, though it was a bit uncomfortable. It still felt better than the iPhone 12 and Pixel 6 Pro that I regularly use, though, both of which peek out the top and make bending forward feel like I’d break the phone.
I’ve also been far less careful with my review unit of the Flip 4 than with prior foldables, tossing it into bags packed with keys and other hefty phones. I panicked for a second when I realized what I had done, because I still needed the phone to be in pristine condition for a photoshoot, but phew, the Gorilla Glass Victus+ covering on the Flip’s inside and outside has kept it scratch-free.
Many of the other changes the company made this year are less impactful. The smaller hinge, shinier edges and slightly sleeker lines make the new model look a little cleaner, and the external cameras protrude slightly more than before, but beyond those minuscule differences, it’s hard to tell the Flip 3 and 4 apart.
The easiest way for me to identify the Flip 4 is by its color. My sample is in Samsung’s “Bora Purple” hue, which is a nice lavender shade, but I prefer the blue version. When open, the two Flips are even harder to tell apart — the latest model is just a hair shorter.
Both their hinges feel similarly sturdy, and I could still, with a lot of careful maneuvering, open and close the Flip with one hand. I even created a spot on my home screen for my thumb to push into the panel for leverage when shutting the device, and so far I haven’t felt like I might break the display.
The Flip 4 still has a crease running across its display, but this time it seems shallower. It might just be because it’s new and over time it may get more prominent. But those hoping for a more minimal crease may be disappointed — it’s definitely still there and noticeable.
If you’re a fan of sensory experiences like I am, you might like to know that stroking this crease as you scroll long articles or Reddit posts still feels oddly satisfying. Running your finger up and down this depression feels like trying to massage a knot out of your back (except you don’t want to use nearly as much pressure). It’s not going to get in the way of your using the Flip, but if you’re into tendons it’ll just spice up the experience.
It’s hard to compare the Flip 4 to other phones because it’s the only viable one of its kind retailing in America. Still, it’s worth noting that at 187 grams (or 6.59 ounces), the Flip 4's lighter than other $1,000 phones like the S22 Plus and the iPhone 13 Pro. It’s just 13 grams heavier than the iPhone 13.
Displays and audio
The Flip 4 is also hard to categorize because of its unique screen. Though it measures 6.7 inches diagonally, its aspect ratio of 22:9 makes it slightly longer and narrower than most phones. I didn’t mind this — in fact, I found it easier to reach across the Flip’s display to hit buttons on the other side than on my iPhone or Pixel.
As usual with any Samsung mobile device, the Flip 4’s 1080p panel delivered rich colors and crisp details, and I love the 120Hz refresh rate for scrolling through my favorite subreddits. There is a slight issue with viewing angles when you fold the phone slightly, though. If you’re looking at it straight on, everything seems fine.
But sometimes from an angle, I’ve seen some discoloration along the crease. This isn’t a huge deal, since I’m rarely looking at the screen that way and it doesn’t really impact visibility.
I also spent less time reading things on the 1.9-inch cover display, but when I did use it to reply to messages or set alarms, it was easy to read. I love the colorful clock faces Samsung provides, which make the Flip 4 more eye-catching.
Using the cover display to play music from Spotify is convenient, and by default hitting play on this widget will start the last song you listened to. In general, the Flip 4’s speakers were loud enough to provide background sound while I worked, though I wish there were stronger bass for tracks like Taste by Tyga and INVU by Taeyeon. The music also sounded slightly different when the Flip was open versus when closed, with audio seeming a little canned in the latter mode.
In use when folded: Flex Mode and cameras
The Flip 4 is perfectly capable as a regular, non-bendy phone, but when it’s closed or half-folded, it’s truly unique. In those formats, it’s basically either a camera with its own built-in kickstand (perfect for the selfie-obsessed like myself) or as a less-disruptive pager-like device. I’ve loved using the Flip 4 to record an embarrassing number of yoga routine videos or document my outfits for the week. I’ve even attempted some of the trendy dance moves young people seem to do so much on TikTok. (Though, I will never share those clips.)
There are two ways to shoot with the Flip 4 when it’s flexed: With the external cameras and the cover display as a viewfinder, or with the internal camera while framing your shot with the top half of the main screen.
When I try to use the cameras on the outside to shoot selfies, it’s hard to find a flattering angle because the outside screen is so small I can never see my entire face in it unless I’m too far away to make adjustments. Even with the phone completely closed, using the cover display as a viewfinder is not worth the effort — I always ended up with awkward, unflattering angles. The internal camera is more reliable, but it doesn’t have the wide angle lens and generally produces less vibrant shots.