Is it nonetheless value it in 2023?

Smartphone display sizes have elevated dramatically through the years, to the purpose small telephones are actually a rarity. For me, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is the proper compromise if you happen to’re searching for one thing much less large. Basically you get a big 6.8-inch show however in a type issue that folds in half for simpler pocketability.

We usually had solely good issues to say in our preliminary Galaxy Z Flip 4 assessment, although nothing is ideal. Half a 12 months later, is the Galaxy Z Flip 4 nonetheless holding up properly? On this revisited Galaxy Z Flip 4 assessment we’ll be reexamining Samsung’s foldable flagship, particularly now that new 2023 flagships have arrived.

The nice

Efficiency holds up properly in 2023

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Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Full disclosure: this isn’t my first expertise with the Flip household. I truly used the unique Galaxy Z Flip as my every day driver for practically a full 12 months. Whereas it was a superb telephone, it fell wanting what you’d count on from a premium system. The hinge was a lot bigger and tougher to open. There have been additionally sacrifices when it comes to the SoC, digicam, and battery. It felt very very similar to a first-generation product.

Fortunately, that’s not the case with present technology member of the household — except for just a few small caveats that we’ll deal with all through this assessment. The design appears to be like and feels polished. It mainly handles like a Galaxy S when it comes to pace and efficiency; it simply occurs to fold in half. The hinge is way smaller, and it’s simpler to open and shut. It additionally made main enhancements to its cowl show. We’ll speak concerning the final level a bit later on this second-look assessment.

In fact not the whole lot is ideal. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 nonetheless has a fairly noticeable crease on its essential show. Each time I exhibit the telephone I hear the identical criticism. “That crease would get tremendous annoying,” all of them say. The excellent news is you alter to it extraordinarily rapidly. It’s additionally value mentioning the crease is way smaller than the one on the unique Z Flip.

The Z Flip 4 packs flagship degree efficiency, albeit with some small compromises.

Specializing in the specs, it has a still-bleeding-edge Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a number of storage configurations. The one telephone to launch with a more recent SoC up to now is the Galaxy S23 with its Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC. Six months later, this telephone nonetheless flies. Transitions between apps and menus are quick and fluid. Video games run flawlessly. There’s actually nothing the Galaxy Z Flip 4 can’t deal with.

The unique Z Flip acquired actually scorching beneath heavy hundreds, uncomfortably so. Even the Z Flip 3 had some points with warmth, although not practically to the identical extent. I used to be curious if the Z Flip 4 would have related heating points, so I ran it by way of a number of benchmarking instruments to emphasize the telephone out. Whereas it might warmth up when pressured, it was by no means to the purpose it felt uncomfortable.

Sure, there will probably be quicker telephones in 2023. That stated, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is loads highly effective, appears to be like stunning, and is admittedly the one flip telephone recreation in america that really issues. (Sorry, Motorola.)

The Z Flip 4 takes stable photos, minus zoom capabilities

Cameras have by no means been the Z Flip sequence’ robust swimsuit. It’s not that the cameras are dangerous, it’s that they have an inclination to really feel a bit dated in comparison with the Galaxy S sequence and different flagship telephones. The handset continues the outdated twin digicam method, however don’t let this idiot you. This digicam takes nice photos.

Similar to final 12 months, the Z Flip 4 has a 12MP essential digicam however the pixel rely has risen from 1.4μm to 1.8μm. The bigger pixels make for significantly better low-light pictures than its predecessor. Samsung has additionally launched enhancements to AI processing and “Stereo Depth” mapping for higher element in pictures.

Throughout my time with the telephone, I’ve discovered the images I’ve taken look nice, not less than to my novice eyes. The main points are good, as are the shadows and highlights. The colour recreation is much from excellent although, with sure shades showing bolder than they’re in actual life.

The Z Flip 4 retains its predecessor’s 10MP selfie shooter and 12MP rear ultrawide digicam. For those who’re searching for a superb digicam for on a regular basis pictures, this telephone suits the invoice. Simply remember its zoom capabilities are nowhere close to the competitors and it’s lacking just a few different cutting-edge options as properly.

The quilt show is genuinely helpful, and solely getting higher

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Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

I’ll be trustworthy, I not often used the Galaxy Z Flip cowl show. The small dimension and restricted features made it extra hassle than it was value. In distinction, I take advantage of the Z Flip 4’s cowl show dozens of instances a day. The exterior show is way bigger than the unique Galaxy Z Flip and has much more performance.

Apart from the apparent use case of checking notifications each day, there are a number of widgets that allow you to management your music, handle alarms, verify the climate, set a timer, and verify the calendar. There are even extras like with the ability to flip in your flashlight or to maintain monitor of what number of steps you’re taking. Samsung continues to roll out new widgets recurrently, so count on the Cowl Display screen expertise to solely get higher over time.

The Z Flip 4’s Cowl Display screen has continued to get higher over time.

The primary goal of the duvet show is to avoid wasting you from flipping open your telephone a whole lot of instances a day simply to verify fundamental info. As an insomniac, I additionally discover it actually helpful for these moments once you get up in the course of the night time.

I’ll usually get up to verify the time or confirm I correctly set my alarm. It’s simply sufficient glanceable data to fulfill my obsession with checking my telephone, however I don’t get flooded by a bunch of display mild that makes it tougher to return to mattress.

There are just a few different tips which can be made attainable utilizing the Cowl Display screen, akin to the power to take selfies utilizing the entrance digicam. As you in all probability guessed, the Cowl Display screen acts as a viewfinder in these conditions.

Software program and updates

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Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

I already extolled the virtues of the Cowl Display screen and its widgets, however what about the remainder of the Z Flip 4 software program expertise? When you flip open the telephone the expertise isn’t too terribly totally different from some other Samsung flagship.

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is powered by Android with Samsung’s One UI on prime. This pores and skin packs a ton of helpful options that can assist you higher customise your expertise. I usually discovered myself double urgent the facility button to launch the digicam, reaching for the Edge panel to leap into my most used apps, or fiddling round with Samsung’s totally different themes within the Samsung Retailer.

Though some accuse One UI of being a bit bloated, there are sufficient helpful additions to make the sacrifice value it. It was additionally simple sufficient to take away the few pre-packaged apps I knew I used to be by no means going to make use of.

One factor you received’t discover on conventional Samsung telephones is Flex Mode. It is a Samsung Labs characteristic that provides additional performance when your Flip is folded in half. Sadly, not that many third-party apps use it in a means that you simply’ll discover actually helpful.

Few smartphone producers can compete with Samsung’s pedigree for software program help and well timed updates.

Almost all third-party apps, and even a handful of native apps, use Flex Mode in the identical means. Fold the display in half and the underside turns into a panel for taking screenshots, controlling brightness, or opening up a trackpad. Why would you need a trackpad? Except you pair it with a Bluetooth keyboard and use it because the world’s most awkward mini-laptop, I don’t know both.

The place Flex Mode turns into extra fascinating is once you use choose native apps. For instance, Samsung Calendar helps you to add occasions and connect stickers to your calendar entries from the underside display. Most likely probably the most helpful implementation could be discovered on the Digital camera, because of its Flex Cam characteristic. This lets you fold your telephone, sit it on a flat floor, after which take a bunch selfie just by waving your hand.

What’s even higher concerning the Z Flip 4 is Samsung continues to make enhancements to its software program on a regular basis, as it is rather devoted to software program updates and help. It started its life with Android 12 and One UI 4.1.1. Since then it’s had just a few updates, together with a leap to Android 13 and One UI 5.0.

As with all fashionable flagship Samsung telephones it additionally comes with the perfect replace coverage. The Z Flip 4 guarantees 4 years of Android model updates and 5 years of safety patches. That leaves three extra main Android updates and safety updates into 2027.

The not so good

The shape issue isn’t with out its compromises and quirks

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Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

I’ve little or no to complain about in the case of the Z Flip 4, however its foldable type issue isn’t and not using a few attainable pitfalls. Let’s begin with its dimension.

One of many issues that drew me to the Galaxy Z Flip sequence was how simple it was to suit into your pocket. It’s far more snug to hold round within the entrance of my denims than a standard smartphone, as I don’t have an enormous show jabbing into my leg as I stroll anymore. That stated, smaller type elements include new challenges. An enormous telephone like my Pixel 6 Professional could be very noticeable in your pockets, to the purpose it may be annoying. On the flip aspect, I by no means ever neglect to depart residence with out it. I can’t say the identical for the Galaxy Z Flip 4.

It could be chunkier, however the compact design makes it tougher to note whether or not it’s there or not. The smaller footprint additionally makes it simpler to misplace round the home. In spite of everything, a large rectangular hunk of steel is simply simpler to identify than a foldable telephone. For those who use purses, I can think about the smaller type issue could be tougher to search out in a cluttered bag as properly. Over time I’ve gotten used to the telephone and not actually have these points. The larger level is the smaller type requires an adjustment interval.

Talking of changes, let’s speak concerning the crease. I already talked about that I don’t discover it a deal breaker but when it turns you off, you would possibly wish to wait off till the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5. Just lately Samsung confirmed off a prototype foldable show that makes use of a waterdrop-style show construction and a hinge that leaves nearly no hole when folded. The top result’s a display with a virtually invisible crease. Present rumors counsel this tech might make its method to the Z Flip 5, and even when they don’t, OPPO has already proven us with the Discover N2 Flip that it’s attainable to make a folding clamshell with little or no seen crease.

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Ryan Haines / Android Authority

All these factors above are fairly minor gripes that simply require you to get used to the Flip 4. A barely greater concern is the longevity of the telephone. Our firm bought the unique Galaxy Z Flip in 2020 earlier than coming to me in 2022. Whereas it acquired its justifiable share of use earlier than coming to me, the Flip was solely two years previous when it gave up the ghost.

In January of 2023, the telephone developed a problem with the hinge which shuts off the telephone any time you fold it. Samsung’s declare for the Z Flip was that it might survive 200,000 folds earlier than failing, greater than sufficient for a lifetime. Even with my fixed twiddling with it, I extremely doubt the telephone noticed that many folds. What probably occurred is that mud or particles acquired into my telephone’s hinge over time and claimed its life early. From what I’ve learn, this has been a fairly frequent situation for OG Z Flip homeowners.

The excellent news is the Z Flip 4 has a significantly better hinge, so there may be much less room for mud, particles, or sand to get in. Nonetheless, it’s onerous to disclaim this design is extra delicate than a regular telephone. You’ll be able to’t essentially deal with it the identical means you’d a typical smartphone and it requires a bit extra babying. Nonetheless, a superb case and a few fundamental warning must be sufficient.

Once more, if you happen to alter your habits and are cautious with the telephone, there’s actually nothing to be involved about.

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 digicam might actually use a telephoto lens

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Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 has a superb digicam, however the lack of a telephoto lens feels unusual in 2023. Whereas Almost each different flagship telephone has moved on from the dual-cam configuration by now. Clearly, this restricts how helpful the zoom operate is on this telephone. In fact, you possibly can nonetheless zoom digitally as much as 10x with crops of the primary sensor, however going over 4x zoom goes to lead to a variety of element loss. Even then you definately’ll want pretty good lighting.

For instance, I used to be at my daughter’s archery competitors and was many rows again. I made a decision to seize just a few pictures for posterity. The lighting within the health club was robust, so no shock the pictures got here out wonderful at 4x. A number of days later I used to be in an analogous state of affairs with my son who was doing a small skit for college. I used to be sitting about the identical distance again however this time the lights had been pretty dim. I needed to sneak my means nearer with the intention to get a shot that was manageable.

If you’re spending round $1,000, a telephoto lens isn’t a tough requirement but it surely’s shut. It’s one thing many people have grow to be used to, and will probably be seen as a step backward to adopters coming from extra fashionable digicam configurations. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 digicam isn’t a deal breaker. Simply remember it’s a bit behind 2022’s flagships, not to mention newer 2023 flagships just like the Galaxy S23 sequence.

It’s additionally attainable that the Galaxy Z Flip 5 might convey greater modifications to the digicam this 12 months that assist it sustain a bit higher, however that’s actually simply hypothesis proper now.

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 battery life is best than its predecessor however has some room for enchancment

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Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

The Galaxy Z Flip sequence has a singular design that leaves little or no additional room for parts just like the battery, which is why the Z Flip sequence traditionally had lower than spectacular battery life. The Z Flip 4 is the primary try and right this situation, and it comes shut.

The Flip 4 packs a 3,700mAh battery with 25W wired charging — the identical because the vanilla Galaxy S22, and a 400mAh improve over the Flip 3. It additionally has the benefit of a extra battery-efficient Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 SoC.

Since I earn a living from home, I don’t depart the home that a lot on a typical weekday. On nowadays, I can simply make it by way of my day with as a lot as 40% or extra battery life left over. Even on days after I’m out and about extra, I can simply get 5 hours of display time or higher.

For those who push it tougher with gaming, GPS, and different draining actions, it’s completely attainable to place this telephone within the grime earlier than the day is up. Nevertheless it doesn’t occur usually. In case you are the type that strikes round loads although, I can see the way you would possibly wish to contemplate a telephone with an even bigger battery life such because the Galaxy S23 Extremely. Or you can at all times pair the telephone with a transportable energy financial institution.

I’d prefer to see an even bigger battery life within the Galaxy Z Flip 5, just like the 200mAh upgrades the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus noticed over their predecessors. Nonetheless, the excellent news is the battery life is greater than manageable. I additionally actually recognize the improve in quick charging, which for me makes up for the shortage of an enormous battery.

Utilizing a 25W charging you possibly can take this telephone from empty to full in about 80 minutes. Even only a few minutes is sufficient to preserve going for hours longer.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 assessment revisited: The decision

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Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Contemplating the place I work, it’s protected to say I get pleasure from smartphones, however I used to essentially love them. Every time I acquired a brand new shiny toy, it was like having a courageous new world to find. New software program tweaks. New type elements or display sizes. After which, through the years, the modifications slowed down. Quickly I discovered myself floating adrift in a sea of sameness.

It didn’t actually matter what telephone I used to be rocking, something mid-tier or flagship degree would work about the identical anyhow. That’s why I used to be so enthusiastic about the way forward for foldable. Certain, flip telephones don’t add new killer use circumstances. Nevertheless it represents a way forward for telephones that really feel and work otherwise. That sense of newness and discovery is lastly again for me. And that’s one thing I’m keen to put money into.

In a sea of sameness, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is your life preserver.

Does this sound such as you? If that’s the case, the larger query is that if the Z Flip 4 is the precise foldable to put money into. For those who’re curious about a flip telephone type issue proper now, it’s truly your solely choice. Sadly, we simply can’t advocate the Razr 5G ($599.99 at Amazon) as its specs and efficiency quirks aren’t value it for many patrons.

For those who occur to reside within the UK or China, the Oppo Discover N2 Flip (£849 at Amazon) is the most effective various by far. The competing flip telephone appears to be like fairly just like the Z Flip, except for an even bigger cowl show. It’s additionally cheaper than the Z Flip 4 within the UK even with Samsung’s frequent reductions.

There’s additionally the Galaxy Z Flip 5 if you happen to don’t thoughts ready. Whereas nothing is official, the telephone is predicted to be introduced in August of 2023. We are able to’t say precisely what will probably be new right here. The Galaxy S23 household noticed moderately modest updates that targeted on enhancing little issues like battery life and digicam efficiency. It’s probably the Z Flip 5 will see related positive aspects.

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 would require you to sacrifice some battery life, digicam efficiency, and even probably some longevity over a standard flip telephone. Don’t just like the sound of that? You could be higher off with a standard smartphone just like the Galaxy S23 ($799.99 at Samsung) or the Pixel 7 ($299 at Mint Mobile).

If all these quirks sound like a good commerce for one thing eye-catching and a thrill to make use of, I wholeheartedly advocate the Z Flip 4.

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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

Environment friendly efficiency • Strong main digicam • Compact design

The reasonably priced foldable

Whereas it nonetheless prices a fairly penny, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is far more reasonably priced than a variety of different foldable telephones. It additionally has a retro vibe to it resulting from its clamshell design. However there’s extra to the telephone than appears to be like alone — it additionally packs loads of energy, a stable essential digicam, and much more.