Announced earlier this week, the Galaxy Z flip 4 and Galazy Z fold 4 are the Korean tech giant’s latest duo of folding phones, and, based on first impressions, they look set to continue Samsung’s dominance of this growing category.
From the outside, both phones look almost identical to the ones that came before them. The fold 4 opens up (like a book) into a small tablet, while the smaller flip 4 opens up like a clamshell, transforming from a cute, beermat-sized square to a regular-sized phone.
Rather than make any drastic changes to the form factor, this year’s generation have received iterative, baby-step updates. Tweaks have been made to the software powering them, the cameras have been lightly upgraded, the screens widened ever so slightly, hinges refined, new functions added.
Pre-orders for both phones are available now ahead of their release date on 26 August. The flip 4 starts at £999 and the fold 4 at £1, 649. That’s slightly more expensive than previous years’ phones, plus presumably reflects the rising costs of manufacturing a premium device you can literally fold in half.
We’ve been testing both phones to bring you our hands-on impressions. We’ll focus on the smaller and cheaper Galaxy Z flip 4, as it’s this compact form factor and relatively affordable pricing that we feel stands the most chance of breaking through to the mainstream.
How we tested
We’ve been testing the Samsung Universe Z flip 4 since it was announced, paying close attention to the folding phone’s build quality, changes in functionality since the previous model, the particular performance of the battery throughout the day, and the added features enabled by the form factor.
We’ll bring you our full review when we’ve spent more time with the device, but for now we can share our first impressions.
- Main display: 6. 7in Full HD AMOLED, 120Hz
- Cover display: 1 . 9in AMOLED
- CPU : Snapdragon 8 Plus
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB
- Battery: 3, 700mAh
- Size (unfolded): 165mm x 72mm x 6. 9mm
- Size (folded): 85mm x 72mm x 15. 9 to 17. 1mm
- Main camera: 12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide
- Selfie camera: 10MP
Pros: Beautiful folding display, improved durability, better battery
Cons: Minor upgrade over last year’s model
Unless you placed the flip 4 alongside last year’s model and went over both with a magnifying glass, you’d struggle to tell where Samsung has made the nips and tucks. The phone’s own mother wouldn’t be able to tell the flip four apart from the flip 3. If you ever want to embarrass a tech journalist, challenge them to tell these phones apart.
But hold the flip 4 in your hand and you might feel the difference. The hinge doesn’t poke out as much when the phone is closed, shaving millimetres off the height. The particular slimmer bezels surrounding the particular screen have enabled Samsung to tighten up the casing around the corners. It’s subtle, but the change it there.
The biggest changes have happened underneath the bonnet. The newly shaped bezels have given Samsung more space to fit a larger battery in there – 3, 700mAh vs 3, 300mAh – which should address criticisms of poor battery life with the old phone.
The turn 4 has also had a CPU upgrade and now runs on the latest Snapdragon processor – the same you’ll find in many Android flagships – meaning performance is fast and responsive throughout. The underlying specs get everything right. Even the relatively modest 8GB of RAM should be enough for most users.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the display is the same as last year’s model too. The Galaxy Z flip 4 sports the same gorgeous 6. 7in AMOLED screen running at 120fps, meaning it feels buttery smooth when scrolling, and while the crease that runs across the centre of the phone is noticeable when the phone is held at an angle, it essentially vanishes when looked at straight-on.
On the outside of the phone, Samsung has kept the teeny 1 . 9in cover display, which shows notifications, schedule reminders, and generally gives you some degree of control over your phone without having to open it. This year, the cover display get some added functionality. You can now control your smart home with SmartThings, and access your own Samsung Wallet while the phone is shut.
Whereas the fold 4 was treated to a more significant camera upgrade, the flip 4 gets only a slight improvement. The main lens now has a larger sensor capable of capturing more light, which Samsung says will result in low-light performance. We’ll bring you more details on camera performance in our full review.
So , what advantages does a folding phone actually bring to the table, besides letting you chuck the flip 4 into a bag without the main display being eviscerated by your housekeys? A few. The design of the hinge enables it to be opened at any angle up to 180 degrees, so pop the flip 4 on a desk and you can make hands-free video calls like you would with a laptop. You can also watch YouTube videos like this, which is fun.