Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 First Impressions: Iterative Upgrades

Samsung has given its new phones some meaningful upgrades, but nothing major has changed

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 First Impressions: Iterative Upgrades

The Galaxy z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4 are the latest foldables from Samsung

Highlights
  • The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is lighter at 263g
  • The Galaxy Z Flip 4 has a larger, 3,700mAh battery
  • Both phones are powered by the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC

Samsung has just announced its next generation of foldables, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4. These new smartphones are accompanied by brand new accessories such as the Galaxy Watch 5, Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. For this impression piece, we'll only be looking at the new smartphones. If you were expecting major upgrades like we got with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 smartphones, you might be a little disappointed. The new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 are iterative updates with slightly tweaked designs, upgraded cameras, and a current-gen processor. However, some of the changes, albeit small, are quite meaningful and could be enough to win the favour of prospective buyers.

Let's begin with the Galaxy Z Fold 4. It's priced starting at $1,799.99 (approximately Rs. 1,42,830 before taxes). According to Samsung, the main highlights of the new Fold are its flagship-grade cameras, a more powerful SoC, and a lighter body. The latter is the first thing I noticed and even though this model still weighs 263g (the Z Fold 3 is 271g), the weight now feels better distributed. It's still very chunky and the two halves of the phone don't sit flush with one another when closed, like with the Flip.

The metal frame is flatter this time and all the ports and buttons are in their familiar positions. The overall dimensions are also said to be slightly smaller compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 3, although it's really hard to tell without seeing both devices side by side. The hinge of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 feels solid and it can be opened at various angles, depending on how you wish to use this device.

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The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 has a tweaked design and is lighter than its predecessor

 

Samsung has borrowed some of the camera hardware from the Galaxy S22 series and the Galaxy Z Fold 4 now supports the ‘Nightography' features, which is the company's marketing-speak for better low-light photos and videos. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 features a 50-megapixel primary camera with OIS, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera, and a 10-megapixel telephoto camera with 3X optical zoom and up to 30X zoom digital zoom. The selfie cameras seem unchanged. 

The inner and outer displays of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 are the same size as on the older model but there are a few changes. The outer display is now protected by Corning Gorilla Victus+ and has an adaptive refresh rate of 48Hz to 120Hz, while the inner folding display has a more power-efficient refresh rate range of 1Hz to 120Hz.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 runs OneUI 4.1.1 based on Android 12L. The software is largely similar to what we've seen with the Galaxy Z Fold 3, but Samsung has added a new taskbar feature so the bottom row of apps on the homescreen stays pinned alongside the navigation controls whenever you open any app fullscreen. Samsung had introduced this concept as a Labs feature on the Galaxy Z Fold 3, but this implementation on the Galaxy Z Fold 4 feels less intrusive.

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Samsung has addd some new multitasking features to OneUI for the Galaxy Z Fold 4

 

The taskbar will also show you recently opened apps and multi-window app pairs, if any. Besides pinned icons, there's a drawer to access the rest of your apps. I think this could be a better multitasking solution than using the slide-out app carousel, which I'm not a big fan of, but that's still an option if you wish to use it.

Coming to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, it too gets the flattened-frame treatment. The phone looks stylish in this purple trim, although I'm not a big fan of the glossy texture of the frame. Our biggest gripe with the Galaxy Z Flip 3 was its battery life, and thankfully Samsung has fitted a larger 3,700mAh (vs 3,300mAh) battery this time for better performance in that regard. The battery is also said to be able to charge from zero to 50 percent in just 30 minutes. This device will be priced starting at $999.99 (approximately Rs. 79,350 before taxes) when it goes on sale internationally.

The hinge on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is now smaller at 1.2mm. The cover screen sadly hasn't gotten any larger. It can still perform all the same tricks such as letting you capture a selfie when the phone is folded, and now Samsung says you'll also be able to send automated replies to certain messages from the outer display, although I wasn't able to test this.

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The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 has a larger battery than to the previous model

 

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 features similar ‘Flex mode' features in certain apps when you have the phone folded halfway. Flex Cam is something new, and lets you initiate a timed capture by holding your palm to the camera. The Flip 4 also boasts of ‘Nightography' features from the Galaxy S22 series, but the sensors seem to be the same 12-megapixel pair for the wide and ultra-wide cameras that the Z Flip 3 has.

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The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 boasts of a larger battery and a smaller hinge

 

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 are both powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC. Both have IPX8 ratings for water resistance, as well as stereo speakers and wireless and reverse wireless charging. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is available in three variants with up to 512GB of storage, and all of them have 8GB of RAM. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 can be fitted with up to 1TB of storage and all variants will have 12GB of RAM. We will have to wait and see which variants actually make it to India, and at what prices.

Even though both smartphones are iterative updates over their respective predecessors, the upgraded cameras and newer SoC does make them more competitive and might help justify the premium pricing. For the Galaxy Z Fold 4, the lower weight should make a difference in prolonged use, however that might be moot if you plan on using a case with it. The Galaxy Z Flip 4's larger battery should address the biggest gripe we had with its predecessor. We'll be bringing you full reviews of both these smartphones closer to their India launches, so do stay tuned.

Disclosure: Samsung sponsored the correspondent's flights and hotel for the trip to Bengaluru.


What should you make of Realme's three new offerings? We discuss them on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Very good build quality, IPX8 rated
  • Software optimised for multitasking
  • Very good system and gaming performance
  • All-day battery life
  • Improved main, telephoto cameras
  • Bad
  • Still a bit bulky when folded
  • Expensive
Display (Primary) 7.60-inch
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
Front Camera 10-megapixel + 4-megapixel
Rear Camera 50-megapixel + 12-megapixel + 10-megapixel
RAM 12GB
Storage 256GB, 512GB
Battery Capacity 4400mAh
OS Android 12L
Resolution 2176x1812 pixels
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Vibrant folding display
  • Excellent build quality
  • Compact when folded
  • Top-tier performance
  • Water-resistant design
  • Bad
  • Cover screen functionality is still limited
Display (Primary) 6.70-inch
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
Front Camera 10-megapixel
Rear Camera 12-megapixel + 12-megapixel
RAM 8GB
Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Battery Capacity 3700mAh
OS Android 12
Resolution 1080x2640 pixels
Comments

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Roydon Cerejo
Roydon Cerejo writes about smartphones and laptops for Gadgets 360, out of Mumbai. He is the Deputy Editor (Reviews) at Gadgets 360. He has frequently written about the smartphone and PC industry and also has an interest in photography. With over a decade of experience covering the consumer technology space, he is also an avid sci-fi movie and TV show geek and is always up for good horror flick. Roydon is available at roydon@gadgets360.com, so please send in your leads and tips. More
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