|Much improved battery life
|No telephoto camera
|Not much of an upgrade
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is almost identical to the Galaxy Z Flip 3, but the few upgrades it's had - including a bigger battery and a faster chipset - make all the difference.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is the latest in Samsung’s line of clamshell foldable phones, which is essentially a new breed of compact phone, as when folded shut it’s truly tiny – if on the thick side.
It’s also at once an excellent handset and a slightly disappointing one, building on the already superb Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, but not by as much as we’d like.
To find out exactly what’s new here and what’s still lacking, read on for our full Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4’s foldable screen is a 6.7-inch 1080 x 2640 AMOLED one, with 426 pixels per inch, a 120Hz variable refresh rate, HDR10+ support and a peak brightness of 1,200 nits.
Those specs are very similar to the screen specs of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus. Not identical – that phone’s screen is a tiny bit smaller but can get brighter – but similar. So you’re getting a high but not top-end display here, except of course that this one is foldable.
Samsung hasn’t used its foldable functionality to squeeze in a bigger panel – for that you’ll want to look to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. Rather, this is a normal-sized screen that can be folded down to leave you with a compact phone.
One thing to note however is that this is exactly the same screen as you’ll find on the Galaxy Z Flip 3. As is the 1.9-inch 260 x 512 Super AMOLED cover display. A screen which is handy for viewing notifications and framing selfies, but not big enough to use for most smartphone tasks. So you will have to rely on the main display most of the time.
Not only does the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 have identical screens to the Z Flip 3, but it also has a near-identical design, with very similar dimensions and the same overall look. Both phones are also water resistant to a depth of 1.5 metres for up to 30 minutes – though that remains an impressive spec for a foldable phone.
Samsung has refined some things for the Galaxy Z Flip 4 though. For one thing, this phone is tougher, with stronger glass on the screens, along with a tough Armour Aluminium frame. Samsung has also managed to shrink down the hinge and bezels, so the phone looks a little more modern, a little more expensive, and a little more built to last.
However, there’s still no real dust resistance, and when folded shut this is a chunky thing. So while it’s compact, it’s not as slim as we’d like. Still, to some extent that’s inevitable with a foldable. You can’t have it all.
Generally though the design here is great, just like it was on the previous model, and just a little better this time around.
We have no complaints when it comes to the power of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and in fact this is one of the main upgrades the phone offers, as it has a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset. That’s an enormously powerful chipset – the best one available for Android phones at the time of writing.
It’s more powerful than what you’ll find even in the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, and far more powerful than the chipset in the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3.
In practice, it’s also more power than you’re likely to need, but the real advantage of all this speed is that it should future-proof the phone, so it won’t be feeling slow a year or two down the line.
There’s also 8GB of RAM here, which isn’t an upgrade on last year – or the most you can find in a smartphone – but it doesn’t hold the Z Flip 4 back.
The camera is one of the more disappointing aspects of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, as it’s not been upgraded since last year, and it was slightly disappointing even then.
The phone has a 12MP f/1.8 primary camera and a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide one, with a 123-degree field of view. That’s it for the rear snappers, so as well as being fairly low on megapixels that’s a low number of cameras, and distinctly lacking in optical zoom potential. Still, the cameras that are there perform reasonably well. They’re not a match for the very best smartphone snappers, but they’re not too far off.
There’s also a 10MP f/2.4 selfie camera, which is fairly accomplished too. So while the lack of a telephoto lens is quite limiting, if you don’t care about taking zoom shots then you should be fairly satisfied with the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s cameras.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 runs Android 12 and comes with the promise of four years of software updates, plus five years of security patches, so the software will stay up to date and safe to use for a long time.
The phone has also been optimized for its foldable screen, letting you take advantage of having the phone folded at different angles, or run multiple apps in split screen across the two halves. They’re thoughtful updates, and while this isn’t quite the multitasking machine that the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is, there’s a sense that foldable phone software has now caught up with the hardware.
There’s a 3,700mAh battery in the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4. That’s not especially large, but it’s actually a significant upgrade on the 3,300mAh one in the Galaxy Z Flip 3.
The result is a phone that should see you through a day of use without too much trouble. We’re still talking fairly average life here, but it’s a notable upgrade on the last model, and much appreciated.
Charging is faster too this year, with 25W wired and 15W wireless charging offered, up from 15W and 10W respectively on the Z Flip 3.
Storage meanwhile comes in at 128GB, 256GB or 512GB – with no microSD card slot, and connectivity options include 5G, Bluetooth 5.2 and NFC.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is the best clamshell foldable phone available, and given its relatively affordable price (of £999 SIM free or from around £45 per month on contract) it’s also the foldable phone that we can most readily recommend to buyers.
That said, it’s barely been upgraded since last year, and it’s still imperfect – with the lack of a telephoto camera hurting it in particular.
So keen photographers may want to look elsewhere, and it’s unlikely to be worth upgrading from the Galaxy Z Flip 3 for, but for everyone else, this is a great foldable choice.