Nearly six months after its global launch, Samsung’s new Galaxy Flip Z4 will soon be available in India. Suman Tarafdar gets his hands on one and tells us about what’s good and what’s not.
Sometimes, just sometimes, some stuff stages a comeback. Even in the ever-evolving world of consumer tech. Sure, in an updated, more contemporary fashion. Think BMW’s Mini. Or now Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip4. One would have thought that the heydays for flip phones would have peaked with Motorola’s RAZR V3, which reportedly sold over 130 million units but was released in 2004.
Well, Samsung has made us relook at the flip. Not just for nostalgic reasons, but for what the device has to offer. Of course, the ‘flip’ makes it most convenient for stowing away, a feature that has been especially appreciated by women with tiny handbags. However, it just as easily fits into a shirt or jacket pocket, making it super portable and therefore alluring for the other gender too!
Of course, this isn’t Samsung’s first flip phone, not even the series. Flip4’s predecessor, Flip3, was reasonably well received, though it was panned for features such as the image placement once the device was folded, camera quality and battery life.
Of course, its most obvious features – a slender body with 6.7-inch screen with a 21.9:9 display ratio – that folds into half is easily its most attractive. It isn’t the only one – by far. The regular user should be satisfied with the screen resolution, something Samsung has been working on for a while. There is the selfie camera and the ultrawide camera, both of which seem to have seen upgrades. The main camera has a new sensor, improving image quality. To some the image colours may seem enhanced, but there is acknowledgement of generally excellent quality of images in the Flip4. Another feature, not often realised, is the fold also allows for more camera angles.
The Flex mode, which allows you to fold the device into half and have two options visible on the two parts of the screen. Folded, the apps move to the top half, while tools and settings are at the bottom. You could, if you wish, keep an image on the top half and open a copy to edit in the other half. Or if having a device against something was an issue for you, you could have it lean not on anything if you want to watch something!
The Flip4 is slightly larger than its predecessor – by just a few millimetres, somehow the feel is much better. The Ultra-Thin Glass (UTG) certainly helps improve quality.
The storage comes in three options. While all the devices have 8GB RAM, the storage options go from 128GB to 256GB and 512GB internal storage.
There are other mentioned advantages – such as the ability to be submerged in 1.5 meters of freshwater for up to 30 minutes. I did not try and sincerely hope that I never have the occasion to test it!
… and what’s not
In what is increasingly becoming the most important reason for people updating their phones – the camera quality – the review is mixed. While the main camera is – in keeping with Samsung’s S and A series, of quite good quality, especially during the day and even in low light. Night time pictures however still are not best in class, often fuzzy and lacking in quality.
Another area that could improve is battery life, which was sometimes iffy. Occasionally I found heating to be an issue, which is not an issue in other Samsung phones I have used. As someone who often takes hundreds of pictures in a day – though not every day, having a device that feels heated is not a welcome feeling. The cooling off was quick each time though. The new Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip, should give a longer battery life. Fortunately, charging for the phone is usually swift.
The price is another downer. Priced at ₹89,999, making it more expensive than even a touch laptop – say Dell Inspiron, seems to be asking for a lot from the consumer. Of course, its almost simultaneous launch Fold4 was priced at ₹1,54 K. Does that make the Flip4 sound reasonable?
Why it works
The Flip4 has personality. It speaks – to the user and just about anyone seeing it. Though it looks similar to the Flip3, the Flip4 has received some tech upgrades, such as a more durable main screen with Gorilla Glass Victus Plus and new look aluminium sides. The crease continues, but as it doesn’t show up when the device is open, it is not a frequent quibble. It certainly does not bother me.
It’s the look and feel where it scores. The colours are fresher if still pastel hues, and significantly in a matt finish, giving it rich tonality. Yes, there are colour options, but the purple seems to be the most visible.
It also feels comfortable to hold. As a long time Samsung has had some great phones, but also some clunkers. Samsung has succeeded in making it feel good to hold the Flip4, not too heavy, not too slender either. It just feels right, and right down to the almost imperceptible click when you fold it. This combination of features, perhaps its biggest draw and making it fly off the shelves, albeit discounts and exchange offers make it more alluring.
A note – it is widely expected that the Flip5 is just about to be released. How that factors into your decision about the present iteration is of course an individual decision. But on its own, this is still a great option.