There is nothing innovative about a smartphone that can be folded. Is the engineering impressive? Absolutely. Are they cool? Totally. But although these devices facilitate certain tasks in some cases, they don’t completely overhaul the way we use smartphones. This has been my experience with Samsung’s fourth-generation Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Fold.
These flip phones feel just as unique as the original models Samsung debuted a few years ago, but more refined and more durable. I took the Galaxy Z Flip4 to the beach and it came out unscathed by the sand and salt. I love that it was small enough to fit in my shirt pocket. The Galaxy Z Fold4 accompanied me on a road trip to Washington, DC—having a messaging app on one side of the big screen and Google Maps on the other was a huge plus. Are the conveniences afforded worth the $1,000-$1,800 asking price, especially when you can get a great phone for as little as $450 today? Most likely not, but it says a lot that after two weeks, I still don’t want to part with these phones.
Catch You on the Flippity-Flip
I’ve previously pointed out all the upgrades Samsung has added to the latest generation of foldables, but in short, these are more durable devices. Both are fast, thanks to the latest Qualcomm processor, and both have wonderfully sharp displays that get really bright on the sunniest days.
In use, the smaller Z Flip4 feels the more “normal” of these two flip phones. That’s because when it unfolds, you get a traditional smartphone experience. Fold it in half and it will fit in small pockets and small bags. It also looks beautiful, especially if you customize the case colors with Samsung’s custom studio.
Battery life might be one of your main concerns for the Flip4, as its predecessor lacked when it came to runtime. The new model’s 3,700mAh capacity cell is larger and usually lasts about a full day, but not much longer. It reached 10 percent at midnight the day I took it to the beach, where I used it to take photos, surf, and read in the sun. It’s reliable enough, but heavy users still want to carry a portable battery.
The IPX8 water resistance rating means a drop in the pool or fresh water won’t destroy it, and I’ve yet to see a single scratch on the screen, which has been upgraded to be tougher than ever. When I was at the beach, I was worried that some sand had gotten into the Flip4’s hinge mechanism, but it was totally fine. (You should still be careful, as the “X” in IPX8 means Samsung didn’t test it for dust resistance, though a lack of testing doesn’t mean it’s vulnerable.)