There Is nothing groundbreaking about a smartphone that can fold. Is the engineering impressive? Absolutely. Are they just plain cool? Totally. But while these devices do make certain tasks easier in some instancesthey don’t completely overhaul the way we use smartphones. That’s been my experience with Samsung’s fourth generation Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Fold.
These folding phones feel just as unique as the original models that 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 sand and salt. I love that it was tiny enough to fit in my shirt pocket too. The Galaxy Z Fold4 accompanied me on a road trip to Washington, DC—having a messaging app on one side of the large screen and Google Maps on the other was a great perk. Are the conveniences they afford worth the $1,000 and $1,800 asking price, especially when you can get a great phone for as low as $450 these days? Most likely not, but it says a lot that after two weeks, I don’t want to part with these handsets just yet.
Catch You on the Flippity-Flip
I have previously noted all the upgrades Samsung has added in the latest generation of foldables, but in short, these are all-around more durable devices. Both are speedy, thanks to the latest Qualcomm processor, and they both have wonderfully sharp screens that get plenty bright on the sunny days.
In use, the smaller Z Flip4 feels the most “normal” of these two folding phones. That’s because when it’s unfolded, you get a traditional smartphone experience. Fold it in half and it will fit in small pockets and tiny purses. It also looks cute, especially if you customize its shell colors with Samsung’s Bespoke Studio.
Battery life might be one of your biggest concerns for the Flip4 since its predecessor was lacking when it came to runtimes. The 3,700-mAh capacity cell in the new model is larger and usually lasts about a full day, but not much more. It hit 10 percent by midnight on the day I took it to the beach, where I used it for photos, navigation, and reading in the sun. It’s reliable enough, but heavy users might still want to bring along a portable battery.
The IPX8 water-resistance rating means a drop in the pool or freshwater won’t destroy it, and I’ve yet to see a scratch on the display, which has been upgraded to be tougher than ever. When I was at the beach, I was worried 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 did not test it for dust resistance, though the lack of testing doesn’t mean it’s vulnerable).