SmartphonesTech

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4: The DANAMIC Review

In a period where almost every smartphone is just a flat slate, foldable screen technology makes them stand out from the crowd. Indeed, not only has it provided tablet-like phones that can fit in your pocket, but it has also brought back the flip phone functionality that was so popular in the mid-2000s — the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 being the poster child for it.

Honestly, the idea is rather ingenious. With phones slowly getting bigger in screen size, having something compact is becoming more of a rarity. This smartphone gives that without sacrificing the screen real estate for big phone lovers.

But the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 is still very much a work in progress. Despite the name, this is only the third generation Flip phone from the series and has some things that keep it from being a daily driver smartphone that someone can use for many years. Still, some interesting features may intrigue some to try out this modern flip phone.

Design

Not much has changed with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 compared to its predecessor. Much of the main body still sports that uniquely Samsung colour aesthetic, with choices like Bora Purple, Pink Gold, and Blue among the more vivid options that customers can pick.

But it isn’t just limited to those colours. People who want something more personal or one that gets the attention of others can opt for the Bespoke Edition of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4. The panels for the front and back, as well as the phone’s frame, can be customised with different colourways, with up to 75 different variations.

While the aesthetics remain bright and cheery, they have improved upon the build of the overall device. The Flip4 now uses Gorilla Glass Victus+ on the panels, which is supposed to be tougher and makes the phone more durable. While I didn’t go out of my way to roughhouse the device, the phone has survived a couple of falls from short heights without any damage.

Putting aside any comparison to its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 stands out as a ridiculously compact phone. When folded, it is barely larger than the casing for your typical wireless earbuds — it goes without saying that you will have no trouble when carrying it around.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4: Compact size
The compact Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 is in line with wireless earbuds for portability

Such is its compactness when folded, that it momentarily tricks you into thinking that it is smaller than it actually is. However, once you open up the device, you’ll find that it is bigger than the usual phones that a typical person would use. The Flip4 unfolds to a display of 6.7-inches; that is a considerable amount of screen space. Despite the size, the phone doesn’t feel hefty at all, which is another plus, but those with small hands like me might still have trouble clasping it.

The hinge, which has a slightly reduced size, remains sturdy enough to lock the phone at any angle you desire. However, the caveat is that you’ll probably need to get used to using two hands to open it because of how firm it is; one-handed is possible but too troublesome to execute consistently.

Screen

As mentioned, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 has a huge 6.7-inch screen that is an AMOLED display with a 1080p resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate.

Samsung’s phone displays usually come off vibrant and sharp; the same is true for the Flip4. Bright colours are the main highlights when using the screen, and though the resolution isn’t as high as other phones, it still retains a lot of detail from what is on screen. Brightness is also not an issue with the phone, remaining visible to use even under brightly-lit environments.

The 120Hz refresh rate also adds to the overall experience of using the phone, offering a satisfying smooth feeling when navigating through the phone. Of course, there’s still the matter of the crease, which is still present on the Flip 4, but while I didn’t have much of an issue with it, I can understand if others may take some time to get used to it, especially when scrolling.

Beyond the main display, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 retains the cover screen at the front. It is the same as on the Flip3 — a 1.9-inch AMOLED display. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4: Cover Screen
The cover screen comes with animated display faces to personalise your device

While it exudes a degree of quirkiness with the special designs for the screen, I still wished it was a little bigger, but some new tricks are enabled, like quick responses for text messages.

Performance

Internally, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 is equipped with the latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. As expected, the processor runs the phone perfectly well, showing no visible stutters or lag during my daily use with multiple apps in the background. 

One of the software features native to the Flip4 is Flex Mode which intuitively splits the UI whenever it detects that the screen is folded. This feature is best experienced on optimised apps like YouTube, which cleanly separates the video at the top while the bottom displays the video details.

It is a cool feature when it works. Instagram, for example, uses it with Stories, having the top portion show the camera feed while the bottom half offers the options (i.e. filters, text, etc.) — great when you have the phone propped up. I did, however, experience that it didn’t apply Flex Mode on one occasion. After rebooting the app, it worked fine again, so I hope this encounter is just a one-off.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4: Flex Mode
Flex Mode works with apps like Instagram to seamlessly take advantage of the foldability

Flex Mode works with apps like Instagram to seamlessly take advantage of the foldability  

Not all apps are optimised for Flex mode, though. TikTok is one particular app that doesn’t work with it natively. You can, however, force it through the Flex Mode panel in the settings, but your mileage may vary since some apps work with it better than others.

Cameras

Sadly, there is also not all that much difference regarding the cameras on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4. The rear still uses the 12MP primary and 12MP ultrawide dual-camera system from the Flip3. The primary camera does, however, have a larger sensor inside.

For environments in broad daylight, the camera works decently well, emphasising contrast and colours. There is also plenty of detail retained in the image, which overall produces a sharp photo.

It gets more tricky once the brightness in your surroundings is reduced. Samsung employs noise reduction to smooth out the image in the Flip4, but generally, the photos usually come out average. The same goes for the night mode here; while they are serviceable, it is noticeably not as good as other flagship phone cameras.

Rather, the highlight of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 cameras is that they offer a remarkably different photo-taking experience. The phone is designed to get you to prop it up on a ledge or surface, which presents a greater degree of flexibility for taking candid photos. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4: graphy
There are more options to go about taking photos on the Flip4

With Flex Mode integrated into the camera app, my experience using the Flip4’s unique photography quirks was fun and easy to do. Most times, I could simply set the phone over at a spot and either take a photo or record a video, all while having my hands free. 

That’s one use of the Flip4’s photography; the other involves the cover screen. So instead of relying on the front camera for selfies, you can fold the phone and use the rear camera to take the shot, with the cover screen becoming the viewfinder for your preview. This feature itself isn’t new, but Samsung has added new functions.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4: Cover Screen Photography
Cover screen photo-taking returns to help with selfies

By double tapping the cover screen, you’ll be able to see the actual aspect ratio of what the final image will look like when you take the shot. Before, the preview usually crops off the top and bottom. It is a neat feature but ultimately isn’t ground-breaking since the screen’s small size makes it difficult to get a good look.

Battery

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 comes with a 3,700 mAh battery, an upgrade from the previous 3,700 mAh capacity from the Flip3. 

The increase certainly helps. I got a full day’s worth of use of browsing and video streaming from the Flip4, with some battery left to spare. You can also get it to fast charge with the updated 25W charging, which will help get over half of the battery back in half an hour.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 still needs a couple of tune-ups before it can justify itself as a device that will be a daily driver for years. 

That’s not to say the Flip4 is a bad smartphone. The specs on the phone are still decent, but the highlight is certainly its quirks; they are intimately unique to this phone and can provide a fun experience when using them. As it is, the Flip4 remains a cute concept.


If you are interested in purchasing the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4, you can buy it directly from Samsung’s Online Store or their official shop on Shopee.


Photos by Russell Loh of the DANAMIC Team.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4

7

Overall

7.0/10

Pros

  • Vibrant aesthetic design
  • Unique photography experience
  • Decent battery life

Cons

  • Cover screen is still too small
  • Average cameras

Russell Matthew Loh

Watcher of films and player of games. Dabble with writing in between.

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