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Fold me closer, tiny dancer

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Samsung got almost everything right with the new Galaxy Z Flip 4. The foldable hasn’t changed significantly over last year’s model, but features that were underpowered in 2021, are boosted this year.

Whether that’s enough to solve the Flip’s problems will depend on how much you use your phone and what you want to get out of it.

This is the closest Samsung has come to flipping perfection. The tech giant still has a lot of work to do next year, especially as competition in the folding phone market heats up, but for now, it’s the best small foldable in Canada and the most interesting phone I’ve used in years.

Main Screen: 6.7-inch FHD+ 120Hz display, Dynamic AMOLED 2X, Infinity Flex Display (2640 x 1080) | Cover Screen: 1.9-inch Super AMOLED Display (260 x 512)

6.7-inch Foldable FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 2,640 x 1,080 pixels, 120Hz refresh rate | Cover display 1.9-inch Super AMOLED 260 x 512 pixels

6.6-inch Flat Dynamic AMOLED, 1,080 x 2,400 pixels, 20:9 aspect ratio, 120Hz display, HDR10+, 240Hz Touch Sampling in Games

128GB, 256GB and 512GB of storage

Unfolded: 165.2 x 71.9 x 6.9mm | Folded: 84.9 x 71.9 x 17.1mm (Hinge) – 15.9mm (Sagging)

Unfolded: 166 x 72.2 x 6.9mm | Folded: 86.4 x 72.2 x 17.1 mm

12 MP, f/1.8, 27mm (wide), 12 MP, f/2.2, 123˚ (ultrawide)

12-megapixel (f/1.8) + 12-megapixel (f/2.2)

50-megapixel (f/1.8, wide) + 10-megapixel (f/2.4, 3x zoom) + 12-megapixel (f/2.2, 120-degree FOV, ultrawide)

10 MP, f/2.4, 26mm (wide)

Capacitive Fingerprint sensor (side), Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyro sensor, Geomagnetic sensor, Hall sensor, Proximity sensor, Light sensor

Fingerprint sensor (side mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity sensor, compass, barometer

Fingerprint (in-display), accelerometor, gyro, proximity, compass

Bora Purple, Graphite, Pink Gold, Blue and Bespoke customizations

Colours: Cream, Green, Lavendar, Phantom Black, Gray (Samsung.com Exclusive), White (Samsung.com Exclusive), Pink (Samsung.com Exclusive)

Colours: ‘Phantom Black,’ ‘Phantom White,’ ‘Green’ and ‘Pink Gold’ as well as Samsung exclusive colours ‘Gray,’ ‘Cream,’ ‘Violet’ and ‘Light Blue.’

Main Screen: 6.7-inch FHD+ 120Hz display, Dynamic AMOLED 2X, Infinity Flex Display (2640 x 1080) | Cover Screen: 1.9-inch Super AMOLED Display (260 x 512)

6.7-inch Foldable FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 2,640 x 1,080 pixels, 120Hz refresh rate | Cover display 1.9-inch Super AMOLED 260 x 512 pixels

6.6-inch Flat Dynamic AMOLED, 1,080 x 2,400 pixels, 20:9 aspect ratio, 120Hz display, HDR10+, 240Hz Touch Sampling in Games

128GB, 256GB and 512GB of storage

Unfolded: 165.2 x 71.9 x 6.9mm | Folded: 84.9 x 71.9 x 17.1mm (Hinge) – 15.9mm (Sagging)

Unfolded: 166 x 72.2 x 6.9mm | Folded: 86.4 x 72.2 x 17.1 mm

12 MP, f/1.8, 27mm (wide), 12 MP, f/2.2, 123˚ (ultrawide)

12-megapixel (f/1.8) + 12-megapixel (f/2.2)

50-megapixel (f/1.8, wide) + 10-megapixel (f/2.4, 3x zoom) + 12-megapixel (f/2.2, 120-degree FOV, ultrawide)

10 MP, f/2.4, 26mm (wide)

Capacitive Fingerprint sensor (side), Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyro sensor, Geomagnetic sensor, Hall sensor, Proximity sensor, Light sensor

Fingerprint sensor (side mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity sensor, compass, barometer

Fingerprint (in-display), accelerometor, gyro, proximity, compass

Bora Purple, Graphite, Pink Gold, Blue and Bespoke customizations

Colours: Cream, Green, Lavendar, Phantom Black, Gray (Samsung.com Exclusive), White (Samsung.com Exclusive), Pink (Samsung.com Exclusive)

Colours: ‘Phantom Black,’ ‘Phantom White,’ ‘Green’ and ‘Pink Gold’ as well as Samsung exclusive colours ‘Gray,’ ‘Cream,’ ‘Violet’ and ‘Light Blue.’

What it’s like using a folding phone in 2022

When fully unfolded, this is one of the tallest phones around.

My folding phone experience began with two days folding the big boy, the Z Fold 4, before handing the device off to Dean Daley for his review. Then I unfolded the Flip 4 and haven’t let it go since.

My first impressions of the Flip were positive overall. Was I really living in the future of smartphones? For a few days, it felt like it. I was having a blast folding, and unfolding, and folding, and unfolding the phone. Being able to prop it up at a 90-degree angle and watch YouTube videos while lying down was novel. Somehow Samsung even added a tiny trackpad and mouse pointer to the Flip 4, though once again, Dex didn’t make the cut.

“I was having a blast folding and unfolding, and folding, and unfolding …”

I used the foldable sideways in camcorder mode like Samsung shows in its ads, and to my surprise, I loved it. Even Toronto’s coolest nerd Shevon Salmon wanted to try out my phone. The Flip 4 is hype, and after years of stale slab-like phones, it felt so good to have a cool™ foldable.

However, roughly a week into folding and unfolding the Flip 4, the process started to become more tedious. Once when I was walking around and my group chat started to pop off, I truly wondered how many folds I’d put this phone through over a year or two if it were my daily driver. At home, I found myself leaving the Flip 4 unfolded a lot since it’s impractical to hide away the large screen unless I wanted to jam the device into a pocket.

There’s no denying the Galaxy Flip 4 is cuter when folded and easier to place onto wireless charging pads since there’s less room for error within its compact frame, but the tiny front screen is so limited I didn’t use it for more than checking the time, weather and play/pause controls.

The new hinge on the Flip 4 is a little slimmer than on the Flip 3.

You can reply to a text with voice dictation without unfolding the phone, and this feels like talking into a futuristic communicator, but it was more of a hassle than just texting.

I don’t know how possible it would be without making the phone thicker, but it would be great if Samsung added a Cover screen large enough to text on. After seeing tiny phones like the Unihertz Atom over the years, it would be great to see the full front of the Flip 5 be a screen running a very condensed, but still usable version of Android.

Imagine a world where the full front of the phone was all screen…

A small note worth mentioning is that the folding aspect of the Flip 4 makes it double as a fidget toy, for better or worse, and over the course of my review, I found myself absent-mindedly folding and unfolding the smartphone and turning over the small square shape of it in my hands way more than I expected. Slamming it closed after a call is also as satisfying as you imagine.

Regardless of its ability to fold, the Flip 4 is IPX8 water resistant, so it can be submerged in shallow water for 30 minutes. I never took it that far, but the phone survived a few showers and getting soaked at Niagara Falls and still functions fine. While a dustproof rating would be nice to have, the fact that this phone folds and can be submerged in water is mindblowing.

At the end of the day, it’s a fine foldable, but not a fast phone

The folding aspect of the Flip 4 may be a feat of engineering, but there’s no getting around the thermal management issues Samsung had to include. During quick one-off tasks, the foldable is flagship levels of fast, but after a bit of stress testing, it can slow down and get warm. You can game on it, but if Android gaming is your number one priority, I’d look at the OnePlus 10T instead.

The Flip 4 also seemed to be closing apps in the background a bit more than I was used to, but that’s probably for the best since Samsung needs to pull every software trick in the books to get passable battery from this phone. This averaged out around 3-4 hours of screen on time, which is a lot less than I’d get from other phones at this price point.

That means while it does have a 120Hz display, you’ll probably want to limit that to 60Hz to give you a chance of getting past that three and a half hours of screen-on time wall. We do live in modern times, so a top-up while driving or at your desk isn’t that hard to do, but compared to the phenomenal battery life I was getting out of the OnePlus 10T, the Flip 4 doesn’t hold up.

Samsung has a power-saving mode that limits CPU power to 70 percent, decreases brightness/refresh rates, and turns off 5G. I used that for most of my testing. It didn’t help enough to convince me that this is a flagship battery.

25-watt fast charging feels slow after using the OnePlus 10T.

It’s still a usable battery, but you’re going to be tied to a charger more than you would be if you had a phone that cost this much and didn’t fold. There’s no brick included in the box, and it can only fast charge at 25 watts. So from zero, it still takes over an hour to fill. Everything about this phone feels so futuristic it feels bad to see it held back like this.

The screen feels more like glass this year which is nice, but the foldable features such a tall aspect ratio that reaching the top corner with one hand is pretty difficult. Even the volume buttons are placed strangely high, making it a feat of finger gymnastics to crank a tune.

The other issue with this tall screen is that you can’t use it with polarized sunglasses. This issue doesn’t affect the Fold 4 luckily, but the Flip gets a distracting rainbow tint on it when you view it through polarized lenses. It’s usable, but I found myself taking off my sunglasses to use it more than any other phone, so it’s worth noting if you’ve got a pair of prescription/polarized sunglasses that you’d rather not part with.

All of that being said, it’s 2022 and even phones that might not be the fastest, are still fast enough. I never really had any complaints with the Flip 4 in day-to-day use. It’s modern, quick in most use cases, and more than powerful enough.

Underdog cameras

The new camera sensors can capture a bit more light and have improved stabilization.

One area that impressed me about the Flip 4 was how fun it makes taking videos. Maybe I’m a sucker for vintage-inspired design, but holding the device folded at 90 degrees and using it like a camcorder is too much fun. Everyone I showed the feature to loved it as well.

The stabilization from the primary lens is also fantastic. Combine that with Samsung’s stellar colour processing, and you’ve got a great video camera. I don’t know how Samsung has done it, but the true-to-life colours with cool/magenta undertones and really pleasing yet subtly stylized reds have me wishing I could add this colour style to my Fujifilm camera.

Photos from the primary lens and the ultra-wide are clean and the 12-megapixel sensors perform perfectly. There’s an argument to be made that until phone lens can get larger, 12-megapixels is the ideal photo size and I have no complaints with the sensor’s performance here. I haven’t been a fan of Samsung cameras in the past but this year’s S22 series and now the Flip 4 have brought me on board.

Beyond the great photo experience, there are a few quirks that take advantage of the folding nature of the phone. Depending on how often you film or take photos of yourself or your friends, these may be very handy.

The most useful is the Cover screen feature which acts as a viewfinder to take selfies, portrait mode photos or videos. This is a huge perk and can help anyone setup up their selfie game. The front-facing camera is mid so having access to the tremendous main sensor for selfies is a huge win. If you film yourself, it’s also beneficial to frame up shots. Not to mention that you can fold the phone and set it up like a little tripod. This is undeniably useful for content creators, but likely not for everyone.

You can also fold the Flip 4 to 90 degrees and shoot with it in waist-level viewfinder mode. I didn’t get a ton of use out of this, but it’s an exciting concept for street photographers. However, the lens choice doesn’t lend itself super well to street shooting. If this phone had a telephoto lens like a $1,300 phone should, this mode would be awesome.

The camera is the only area where I liked the ultra-wide aspect ratio of the phone’s screen. I’m a sucker for panoramic XPan shots, and you can use this phone’s full display to take very wide 9:22 shots that definitely help scratch that ultra-wide itch for me. Like XPan mode on OnePlus phones, this is just cropping the sensor, but it’s still enjoyable to shoot with and a nice perk.

Full resolution photos are available here

Compared to the 50-megapixel shooter on the Fold 5, the Flip captures slightly less detail, but under most circumstances, the device’s shooters are equally as good. It’s a bit annoying to see Samsung market the Fold as a much better system, which in turn, makes the Flip appear to be lacking, when in reality it’s really not.





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