The Galaxy Z Flip4 looks a lot like the Flip3, and that's not a bad thing. This year Samsung has focused on design refinements rather than on innovations and changes.
The new Flip now has tougher Victus+ panels with a new matte finish. The aluminum frame has also been enhanced by using a stronger material with glossy polish and a flatter profile. This applies to the hinge, too.
But probably the most easily noticeable change is the smaller bezels around the foldable screen, which in turn made the whole Flip a bit shorter. The plastic frame around the AMOLED is still the same, but the actual bezels around the panel are smaller.
The protective film on top of the foldable OLED is here to stay, and should you remove it, you risk damaging the screen and Samsung strongly advices against peeling that off. We know users who have removed the Flip3 film and had no issues for months, but we've also seen the screen of a Flip3 die right after this protector liberation.
As reviewers, we always remove the factory protectors as they accumulate smudges and take away some of the screen greatness. But the Flip has to be the one of the few occasions we won't do it. On a positive note, it seems Samsung has improved the protective film as it is somewhat less smudgy than on the Flip3 and fingers glide more readily. How about that? Dust still gets caught between the film and the frame, though.
Looking at the back of the Galaxy Flip4 we can see the thinner framing around the Gorilla Glass Victus+ panels. And instead of a matte frame and glossy glass panels, we now get a glossy frame finish and matte glass - which we like.
While this finish swap changed how the Flip4 feels in hand, including its grip, it is still a so-so experience. Now, the Flip4 feels more secure in hand when closed rather than when opened. And that's not bad as we've dropped the Flip3 a couple of times while taking it out of our pocket, so we think this change is, in fact, for the better.
Finally, we cannot but applaud Samsung for making the Flip4 water-resistant. The phone is IPX8-rated for water protection, meaning it can withstand up to 30 mins in 1.5m-deep clean water. The X means there is no dust protection, so it's not a good idea to put the Flip4 in the sand as the tiny particles may destroy its hinge and/or foldable screen.
Now, let's look closer at this new Flip4.
The 6.7-inch foldable Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with extended 1080p resolution is exactly the same as on the Flip3. It has a small perforation centered around its top to make way for the selfie camera. While you can use the rear camera with the small screen for selfies, it's not ideal for video calls, and that's the reason Samsung has chosen to keep the inner camera alive. Plus, when the Flip4 is folded at 90-degrees, it is incredibly comfortable for video chats.Flip3 and Flip4
The screen, even with the protector, looks excellent - bright and colorful and just the right size for such a foldable smartphone. The crease in the middle is present, and at first, it's a bit annoying, but you will eventually get used to it.
Above the screen, etched within the frame, is the earpiece, which also acts as a stereo speaker.
The back of the Fold4 is covered in Gorilla Glass Victus+ panels. The bottom part is completely flush and empty, though beneath the glass is the wireless charging coil. Reverse wireless charging is available, too.
The top half is also made of a single glass, though it has been designed into two distinctive parts - the bottom, glossy one, covers the external screen and the cameras, while the rest is with matt finish.
The 1.9-inch Super AMOLED next to the dual camera is the same as on the Flip3. It can show the clock, various notifications, widgets, time until full charge when on charger, and it can also be used as a selfie viewfinder. There is an improvement here - you can now shoot in full resolution with either camera, and you can even view the full frame by double tapping on the small screen.
The dual-camera here has a minor change, too. Now the metal rings around the two shooters are jutting out of the glass, while on the Flip3 they were flush with the panel. The primary 12MP camera has also been upgraded with a larger sensor.
The frame has changed since the Flip3 - it is now glossy and flatter than before. It may look thinner, too, but this is probably an illusion because of the thinner hinge.Flip3 and Flip4
The hinge size has been indeed slightly reduced since the Flip3, though you are going to need an actual side-by-side comparison with the Flip3 to really see the small difference.Flip3 and Flip4
The most important thing about the hinge - it works and clicks lovely, and it should last at least 200,000 cycles before it begins to wear down. Plus, there are no fixed positions, and you can use the Flip4 in whatever angle you'd like.
Finally, the frame itself is not that busy. A lonely microphone sits on the top.
Two more microphones, including the primary one, are placed at the bottom, near the USB-C port and the second speaker.
The top left side has the SIM tray.
The top right side is home to the volume and power keys. The power/lock key also incorporates the fingerprint scanner - it's always-on and with great accuracy.
The fingerprint reader placement is thoughtful as your right thumb always rests right there. That is, if the phone is in the correct position of course. Which means that you will need to learn to put the Flip4 correctly in your pocket first. Until you do that, you will probably do quite a few awkward rotations in your hands before flipping it open.
So, the Flip4 measures 165.2 x 71.9 x 6.9 mm, which is about a millimeter shorter and a hair narrower than the Flip3. It weighs 187 grams, 4g heavier than the Flip3.
Overall, we had a great time working, taking photos and playing around with the Z Flip4. Once we got used to its design and learned its pocket peculiarities, we enjoyed using it day in and day out. It's a nostalgia-fueled smartphone that will be a treat for anyone missing the good ol' days. It's also a rather unique device that will be liked by those looking for something more than the next slab of a screen to put in their pocket.
The foldable form factor does have its benefits - it can double as a fashionable accessory when folded, is pocket-friendly, and is ideal for high-quality selfies. Being able to keep it open however you like does allow the Flip4 to act like a mini-laptop, too.
The Flip4 doesn't offer that much of a grip, but Samsung is offering plenty of cases to help you with that, some - quite exquisite, we must say. But it's not that bad of a grip either, it's best described as, well, so-so. Unlike the design and the overall build - which are excellent.