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  • Bryan Tan

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 Review: Chasing Refinement

Samsung is back this year with the newest reiteration of their flip phone, the Z Flip4 and to "simplify", there are only slightly more bells and whistles on this than its predecessor. It's not an essential upgrade for everyone but definitely, a welcomed one.

Build-wise, Samsung has managed to shave off a few millimetres of physical dimensions for the Flip4 and still maintain the same overall aesthetics of the Flip series. The few millimetres of difference might feel superficial when you hold both products side by side though but you can expect a similar experience design-wise. The camera protrudes a little more on the Flip4 and now sports a matte texture on the outer side as opposed to the glossy finish on the Flip3 so you won't have any issues with fingerprint stains here.

It's also IPX8 water resistant and its armour aluminium frame claims to allow it to withstand tougher drops and scratches. We won't be trying to challenge this claim here of course but for those of you who tend to drop your phones a lot, here's the verbal assurance from Samsung.

On the other side of the phone, you get a 6.7-inch AMOLED panel with a 21 by 9 aspect ratio along with a 1.9-inch Super AMOLED panel on the outer cover. The main display has a variable refresh rate of up to 120hz and does quite a good job of quickly switching refresh rates for conserving battery life while the outer screen retains a constant 60hz.

The aspect ratio also means that you can effectively fill the whole screen for movies. While the crease goes pretty unnoticeable on brighter contents, when the screen is darker or on contents with a more muted palette it still sticks out like a sore thumb.

Nothing noteworthy with the speakers here, they perform as they should with adequate separation and loudness, could use a touch more bass though but to each their own.

While there are no changes to the outer screen, it now supports a bunch of handy new widgets like being able to "speed dial" preselected contacts and programming quick automation with your smart devices using SmartThings, but the best upgrade of all in our opinion is no doubt, the support of GIF.

All of these new widgets are made possible with Samsung's own One UI based on Android 12. Not much to note here as well considering One UI has been pretty much the same with minor refinements. You get slightly more customisation options as compared to say, stock Android and the edge panel is still around allowing you to quickly pull out two apps on split screen or picture in picture. Generally, the UI runs pretty smooth with no stutters and hiccups during our test run with it and other than Samsung's suite of Galaxy apps, bloatware is pretty much non-existent here.

Powering One UI on Flip4 is the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SOC with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for our unit here. Nothing out of the ordinary in terms of benchmark numbers but real-world performances though, the throttling of the SOC is very apparent. Lighter games like Pokemon Unite will have no problem maintaining a consistent 60fps over a sustained hour-long session, on heavier games like Diablo though, do expect a few dropped frames here and there if you are planning to push out the highest setting possible, heavy loads also heats up the device pretty quickly and due to the folding design of the phone, all of the heat is distributed to the camera side, making it quite uncomfortable to hold for longer periods, especially if you have sweaty palms.

Another thing to note if you are planning to pick one up for yourself is that the Game Launcher of One UI automatically loads your games into it so don't be alarmed if you've installed a game but couldn't find it anywhere, chances are, it's in the Game Launcher.

Next, cameras, the Flip4 is kitted with a 12MP f/1.8 Main, a 12MP f2.2 Ultrawide and a 10MP f/2.4 front camera. The setup hasn't changed a whole lot from the Flip3 so don't be expecting groundbreaking innovation here. There's a good level of contrast and saturation to make these photos good to go on your social media accounts. In low light situations, the main and ultrawide will hold their own but the front camera will be struggling quite a bit on that end. Thankfully, Nightography is still a thing in Samsung phones so make full use of it whenever possible. The cameras also shoot up 4K at 60FPS, no 8K here.

The unique part about the camera experience on the Flip is that you can make use of the folding nature to help with your selfies, triggering the shutter on hand detections, camcorder-styled video taking and our personal favourite, outer screen preview, making selfies with the main camera possible!

A bit of a weird experience with the software here is that when you press preview with the outer screen on the camera app while the phone is opened, the camera feed is pushed out to the outer screen but turns itself off when you fold the phone. Activating the outer screen preview while the phone is closed requires you to double press the power button. It's a little weird that you can't seamlessly transition from open to closed outer screen camera preview but just a minor nitpick on our end which can easily be fixed with a software patch if Samsung wanted to.

Lastly, with a slightly bigger battery at about 3,7000mAh, battery life is less of an issue on the Flip series now. We did manage to barely get by the day with a mixture of general usage and light gaming, all while having location and Bluetooth on. As per the norm now, the only thing included is a type C to C cable which can juice up your phone in about 30-40 mins, provided you use a 25W adapter. Aside from that, 15W fast wireless charging and reverse wireless charging are also available if, say, you have a Galaxy Buds you need to quickly juice up on the go, speaking of which, do follow our channel over at Audiofied where we will be covering the new Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro.

With that shameless plug out of the way, let's talk pricing. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 starts from S$1,398 or RM4,099 at its lowest spec of 128GB storage with 8GB of RAM and goes up to S$1,748 or RM4,899 at its highest capacity of 512GB. It comes in Bora Purple, Graphite, Pink Gold and Blue.

With that pricing, it is a rather difficult pill to swallow and if you are already an existing Flip3 user you'll probably have to weigh the pricing with the minor improvements. For non-Flip series users, if you are keen on the experience that the Flip series brings, perhaps you like to relive the good old days of the flip-style phone, then this Galaxy Z Flip4 is, quite literally, the best flip phone out right now!

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