What is happening
Samsung has just announced the Galaxy Z Flip 4, the latest iteration of its foldable flip phone.
Why it matters
Foldable phones have been widely available for about three years, but they still make up only a small part of the smartphone market. The Z Flip 4 and Fold 4 are Samsung’s attempt to change that.
Samsung will launch the Galaxy Z Flip 4 on August 26, starting at $1,000.
announced the Galaxy Z Flip 4 on Wednesday during its as part of its latest promotional efforts . The Z Flip 4 has new software that takes advantage of its foldable design, improved cameras with better low-light photography, and a bigger battery. It goes on sale August 26 and starts at $1,000 (£999, AU$1,499).
Thehas proven to be the most popular foldable to date according to market research estimates. But in the industry, high prices, cameras and battery life that are worse than standard phones, and a lack of compelling features have hindered the general appeal of foldable devices. With the Galaxy Z Flip 4, Samsung addresses some – but not all – of these issues. More importantly, it also advances the audience’s understanding of foldable devices like the Z Flip.
Samsung is trying to prove that the appeal of the Z Flip 4 is more than its compactness. That’s why it’s targeting flexible mode, the feature that splits apps between the top and bottom of the screen when it’s folded in half. You’ll now be able to use the bottom half of the screen as a trackpad to navigate the top of the screen — an update that should make it easier to manipulate apps in flexible mode.
This feature is new to both the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4, though Samsung said it would appreciate the ability to use it for older foldable devices as well. In the short time I spent with the Z Flip 4, this seemed to work quite easily after turning on the feature in the settings menu.
The Z Flip 4’s title screen also gets a few new additions. You’ll be able to send quick replies to text messages, make phone calls and take photos in portrait mode from the external display.
Taken together, these upgrades are a step in the right direction for the Z Flip 4. It’s unclear whether the expansion of Flex Mode and the added functionality of the flip display will be enough to convert those who aren’t already interested in foldable phones. But it does show that Samsung is paying more attention to software in addition to hardware, which is critical to proving the promise behind foldable phones.
Otherwise, the Z Flip 4 gets a handful of routine updates that you’d expect to see in any new smartphone — foldable or not. Will continueprocessor, a slightly improved version of the chip it powers composition. Although the resolution of the main camera is the same as in (12-megapixel wide and ultra-wide lenses), the Z Flip 4 inherits . This means it will have a brighter wide lens and larger pixel size in addition to support for portrait mode shots in the dark. The Z Flip 4’s battery size is also increased to 3700 mAh capacity compared to its predecessor’s 3300 mAh battery.
These are all welcome changes that reduce the trade-offs you have to make when choosing between the Z Flip and Samsung’s non-folding Galaxy S phones. The previous Z Flip 3’s battery life was underwhelming, and the camera system felt like “the equivalent of the cameras you’d find on a $700 phone,” as my colleague Patrick Holland put it.
The design of the Z Flip hasn’t changed much, apart from some improvements. The hinge is slightly smaller and now has a glossier finish than the Z Flip 3. The Z Flip 4’s internal display is 45% more durable, while the exterior is coated with Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus Plus. Color options include the new Bora Purple that Samsungalong with rose gold, blue and graphite. These differences aren’t immediately noticeable when you pick up the device, but you can see them when you look at the Z Flip 3 and Z Flip 4 side by side.
The Z Flip 4’s $1,000 price tag is still probably too high for many people, especially since there are so many compelling entry-level phones on the market that cost hundreds of dollars less. With a few new software improvements and routine camera, processor and battery upgrades, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 doesn’t feel like a monumental upgrade.
But it still represents a turning point for Samsung’s foldable devices. Samsung has moved away from simply making apps run smoothly on bendable screens. It’s finally trying to find new ways to interact with apps that you couldn’t get with a non-folding phone.