It’s Unpacked day, which means there are new Samsung Galaxy phones. This time around, it’s the Galaxy Z lineup that’s getting refreshed with the new Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4. Both phones have been heavily leaked and are no mystery to anyone who follows tech news closely, but there’s still plenty to talk about.
The Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 are the latest in Samsung’s foldable arsenal. The company was one of the first to introduce a mass-market foldable smartphone with the Galaxy Fold in 2019, and now we’re seeing what a few years of evolution will do to the design, feature set, and durability of the device line.
Spoiler alert: there’s not a lot that’s new compared to last year. The Z Fold 4 is a very similar variation of the Fold 3, and the Z Flip 4 almost looks exactly like the Flip 3. Even the prices are remaining the same, with Samsung charging $999.99 for the Flip 4 and $1,799.99 for the Fold 4. Both devices will go on sale August 26th, with preorders starting today.
That being said, there’s still plenty to talk about. I obviously can’t lie and say they’re the most exciting foldables Samsung has released, but they do seem like solid iterations that will further help the company perfect its formula for these device segments. I’m hoping to get my hands on one or both of them soon, so stay tuned for my thoughts.
Until then, here are the deets!
Galaxy Z Flip 4
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 has the least amount of upgrades year-over-year compared to the Z Fold 4. It looks just like the Z Flip 3, with only a few cosmetic differences with slightly flatter sides and shinier materials. Samsung is sticking with the same 6.7-inch Full HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a variable 120Hz display, as well as the same 1.9-inch 260×512 Super AMOLED Cover Screen. The company says the foldable display is 45 percent stronger than before, and the crease won’t be as noticeable as it was on previous Flips.
It comes in four colors: Bora Purple, Graphite, Pink Gold, and Blue. It’s also IPX8 certified for water resistance at up to 1.5 meters of submersion for 30 minutes. (Still no dust and dirt protection, however.)
With the Z Flip 4, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Samsung is using the speedy Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor (the same one found in the OnePlus 10T) that clocks in at 3.2GHz. RAM isn’t changing compared to last year, however, with the same 8GB present across every configuration you can buy. As for storage, Samsung lets you choose 128Gb, 256GB, or 512GB.
Fortunately, the battery is getting bigger this time around, which might be the thing I’m looking forward to the most in the Z Flip 4. While the Flip 3 had a 3,300mAh cell, the Flip 4 increases that to 3,700mAh. Obviously, Samsung is claiming the battery can last all day, but it’s still a thin phone with a big and fast screen, so real-world testing will determine whether it’s true.
When it’s time to recharge, Samsung includes 25W fast charging which can take the Z Flip 4 from zero to 50 percent in about 30 minutes. This is far from the fastest charging performance you can get, but it’s not terrible.
The cameras are seeing an improvement this year. The 12MP f/1.8 main shooter lets in 65 percent more light compared to last year, and the 12MP f/2.2 123-degree ultra-wide should also deliver a more pleasing picture. Of course, Samsung is still shipping its signature set of camera features that take advantage of the folding screen, like FlexCam (letting you prop the device up to take photos and videos) and Quick Shot (selfies with the rear cameras and using the Cover Screen as a viewfinder).
Speaking of software features, Samsung is using some of them to improve the Cover Screen experience. The company is making widgets more useful with new SmartThings and Samsung Wallet options, adding Galaxy Themes to the screen for a more personalized UI, new clock designs and backgrounds, and the ability to create your own background with a photo or video.
Out of the box, the Z Flip 4 will come with One UI 4 based on Android 12. Android 13 is expected to arrive on the device before the year’s end, but there’s no official word on specifically when it’ll drop. Luckily, Samsung says it’ll provide four years’ worth of software upgrades and five years of security patches.
Galaxy Z Fold 4
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is probably the foldable most people have had their eye on, if only because it beats the Z Flip 4 in the amount of year-over-year upgrades. Samsung had a lot of interesting things to say about the device onstage, and one of them is the shape of the phone.
This year, Samsung is making the Galaxy Z Fold 4 a little stubbier than the Z Fold 3 and Fold 2 were. The outer 6.2-inch HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display drops the 25:9 aspect ratio of the Fold 3 for a new 23.1:9 ratio, which makes it slightly wider. This should make it easier to type on and overall more useful.
That being said, this screen is very similar to the Fold 3 in all other aspects, as is the foldable 7.6-inch Infinity Flex Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. It’s still plenty sharp at 2176×1812, it’s still 120Hz, and it still works with Samsung’s S Pen. New with this generation is an improved under-display selfie camera that’s now more discrete and higher-quality than the one on the Fold 3. In addition, like the Z Flip 4, the Z Fold 4’s foldable display is 45 percent stronger and won’t show the crease as much.
Another big upgrade year-over-year are the cameras. Whereas the Z Fold 3’s camera setup consisted of nothing but 12MP sensors that Samsung didn’t really care about, the Z Fold 4 boasts a 50MP f/1.8 main lens, a 12MP f/2.2 123-degree ultra-wide, and a 10MP f/2.4 telephoto that supports 30x hybrid zoom. You get all the camera tricks the foldable display affords you, and Samsung says these sensors will let in more light and detail compared to the previous generation.
Under the hood, the Z Fold 4 sports the snap Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 as the Z Flip 4, 12GB of RAM, and up to 1TB of storage. There’s a 4,400mAh battery that’s the same size as the Fold 3’s, and it supports the same 25W fast charging.
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 comes with One UI 4.1.1 based on Android 12L like the Z Flip 4, and Samsung provides even more customizations on top like a repositioned task bar, new multitasking tools, and a new touch pad in Flex mode to turn the device into a really tiny laptop. Rounding things off, the Z Fold 4 is still IPX8 certified, it’s a bit lighter at 263g compared to the Fold 3’s 271g, and it’s shinier with more reflective materials. It ships in Graygreen, Phantom Black, and Beige.
Impressions from afar
There’s no questioning that Samsung didn’t try to reinvent the wheel here. Compared to last year’s foldables, the Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4 seem like very iterative updates, which is by no means a bad thing. The Galaxy Z 3 series laid a very solid foundation for Samsung to build on as they were the most reliable foldable smartphones the company ever shipped. These new Z 4 series devices are just that, but even better.
I preordered a Galaxy Z Flip 4 and am expecting it to arrive by the end of the month, so I’ll keep you guys updated on my thoughts and experience once I have it. I’m looking forward to checking it out, if only to see if the cameras and battery are as much of an improvement as Samsung’s making them out to be.