The Galaxy Z Flip 3 was a hit. When it launched last August, I was impressed, and according to Omdia, Samsung sold more units of the Flip 3 in just five months than all other foldable phones combined in 2021.
Nobody’s perfect, though, and while I loved last year’s Flip, I had to admit its flaws: slow charging, limited battery life, and a fairly basic camera by flagship standards. .
However, it is obvious that Samsung thinks the same. Even though this year’s Z Flip 4 is an iterative update (and make no mistake, it is), nearly all of the tweaks the company has made are aimed at improving those pain points, at least to some degree. measure.
Granted, the Flip 3’s slow 15W wired charging has been bumped up to 25W. That’s still relatively slow by Android standards, but it’s in line with Samsung’s other current flagships, and not too far off either what Google offers on its Pixel phones.
The battery was one of the biggest drawbacks last year: the Flip 3 barely lasted a day at launch, and battery life is only getting worse.
This year, Samsung opted for three improvements to fix the problem, with a more efficient AMOLED display, a significantly more efficient Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, and an increase in actual battery capacity.
I haven’t tested the Flip 4 long enough to say how long it lasts now, but Samsung reps told me it averages three hours of typical usage more than the model in the last year, and they’ve seen it run for up to 36 hours.
Again, it’s unlikely to challenge better-battery handsets, but it does put the Flip closer to the average and less of an outlier.
Then there is the camera. At first glance, nothing seems to have changed: there are still only two rear lenses, a main camera and an ultra wide angle, and both use 12 MP sensors.
Inside, things have changed more: the main camera uses a new larger sensor. Samsung says it’s 65 per cent brighter, with bigger pixels, now 1.8μm.
In practice, this means photos come out brighter and more detailed, with higher dynamic range. The improvement is modest in bright conditions, but the new sensor is revolutionary in low light conditions.
The Z Flip 4 (second photo) captures more detail and better colors, and all by properly exposing light sources:
A disclaimer needs to be made: no, this doesn’t bring the Z Flip 4’s camera in line with other flagship Android phones. Samsung’s own Galaxy S22 range is still more powerful than the Flip 4, plus it has a telephoto lens.
But while the Flip 3’s camera seemed basic for its price, the Flip 4’s is quite good. No, it’s not exceptional. No, it still doesn’t offer optical zoom (neither does the iPhone 13 or Pixel 6).
But it’s closer to the camera than you might expect from any other phone at this price, and it’s powerful enough that only serious photo enthusiasts will find much to complain about.
These are not the only novelties. But Samsung’s other changes (hinge design adjustments, widget screen coverage, adding a 512GB storage option) are not fundamental phone performance improvements.
The problem is always durability. Last year’s Z Flip 3 was sturdier than expected; I even dropped my sampler on a cobblestone street, which resulted in a nice dent right at the hinge, and it still worked.
Yet, I know two people who bought the phone and after a year of daily use, the screen started chipping and cracking along the hinge.
Samsung says it has made improvements here too. The hinge has been redesigned, the crease is shallower, and the “ultra-thin glass” used in the display has apparently changed as well.
It still has last year’s IPX8 water resistance certification (which is still unique among Samsung foldables) and Gorilla Glass Victus+ and Armor Aluminum cover the glass body and metal frame respectively.
That’s all good news, but after 20 minutes of using the Flip 4, I’m not entirely sure if it’s durable enough to last a year or two of use. That’s something I won’t be able to tell either when I try it for a week to write my exam.
The Flip 4 looks sturdier than before, but any potential buyer will have to accept the risk.
Last year’s Flip sold so well that Samsung’s goal this year is consolidation: gaining a little more market share, gaining a few trusted customers, and proving that the Flip 3 wasn’t a chance.
In this sense, it makes sense that Samsung has corrected the weak points of the phone and given a second chance to buyers who last time resisted the battery or the camera.
Millions of buyers were willing to trade in the Flip 3, missing out on Samsung’s best features for a foldable phone. This year, Samsung hopes millions more won’t have to.
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 has a starting price of $1,099 and can already be reserved on Samsung’s site.
Original article published in Tech Advisor.