Samsung’s Galaxy Foldables Are Finally on Par With Its Flagship Phones

Samsung’s fourth-generation bendy screens no longer feel like experiments.

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A photo showing the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4
Samsung has introduced its new Galaxy Z Flip 4 (left) and Galaxy Z Fold 4 (right).
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

As the rumors and leaks had foretold, Samsung today announced the fourth generation of its foldable smartphone lineup at its virtual Unpacked event. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4 are on sale this month. They feature updated hardware, including better processors, cameras, and a more durable chassis. Based on their spec sheets, they finally seem up to par with Samsung’s Galaxy flagships, a welcome change compared to the previous generations of Samsung’s foldables, which felt like test subjects made of leftover bits.

I’ll have to put Samsung’s next foldables through their paces before I can truly speak to how capable they are compared to the Galaxy S22 series. But I’ve gone hands-on with these devices and can tell you what’s inside the Galaxy Z Flip 4, the clamshell foldable, and the Galaxy Z Fold 4, meant for folks who want access to a tablet-style device in a pinch. I’ll also tell you what they felt like, as I managed to get a first look at both the Flip and the Fold. Both phones also boast a bevy of new software features. It’s everything you expect from a Samsung phone launch, but with bendable screens.

Galaxy Z Flip 4: Still cute

A photo of the Galaxy Z Flip 4
Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 4 is a delight.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo
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I was not shocked to hear that Samsung classifies the Flip series as its most popular foldable. The clamshell form factor invites an air of fun, and the sheer act of shutting it closed immediately transforms me back to a time when all phones were built that way.

Samsung updated the design on the Z Flip 4 only a tiny bit. It has a smaller hinge and is relatively thinner throughout, though the bezels around the rim seem unchanged. Samsung says it’s 0.3mm smaller and 1.6mm shorter, making it feel less narrow than its predecessor. The Z Flip 4 still comes pre-lined with a screen protector to help maintain the flexible display. The volume and power buttons on the side are the same and in the same place as the Z Flip 3.

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A photo of the Z Flip 4
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 opens up into a regular-sized flat phone.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 has a 6.7-inch Full HD+ Dynamic AMOLED display, though Samsung acknowledges in the fine print that the “actual viewable area is less due to the rounded corners and camera hole.” It’s, honestly, fine; if you’re buying a foldable like the Flip, you’re getting it because it smushes down compact, not because it’s the biggest screen you can get. Samsung says the Flip 4’s display is 45% stronger than the last model. The screen features Gorilla Glass Victus+ protection, while the rest of the device is built on Armor Aluminum, featured on the Galaxy S22 series that launched early this year. It’s also IPX8 water resistant. The display has a 120Hz refresh rate, which is about standard for Android smartphones at this price point.

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The Z Flip 4’s front Cover Display hasn’t changed from last year. It’s still a 1.9-inch Super AMOLED display, though rumors hinted it would be slightly bigger to accommodate more software elements. Regardless, the Cover Screen is still plenty capable. Samsung added features like upgraded Quick Shot abilities with the primary cameras, including an accessible portrait mode. You also fold over the phone while live streaming to use the Cover Screen as a preview window with FlexCam, though it’s only available in select apps like Meta’s Instagram and WhatsApp.

A photo showing the Z Flip 4's new portrait mode
Samsung has added new camera features to the Cover Screen on the Z Flip 4.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo
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Surprisingly, Samsung updated the processors on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 rather than opting for something older and cheaper. The Z Flip 4 runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip with 8GB of RAM. Technically, the chip inside is an upgrade to the flagship Galaxy S22 series. But the Z Flip 4 is only available with 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of internal storage.

It’ll be interesting to see what battery life is like on the Galaxy Z Flip 4. It was a little disappointing on the Z Flip 3, and this year’s release has only a slightly larger 3700 mAh battery compared to last year’s 3300 mAh, which Samsung says nets to an extra three hours of screen time. The company’s attempting to sweeten the deal with fast charging, advertising 50% battery life in just half an hour on the charger, plus wireless fast charging. It’s nothing compared to what OnePlus is hawking with its SuperVOOC technology.

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A photo of the cameras on the Z Flip 4
Samsung’s Z Flip 4 features a dual primary camera system.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

The main cameras on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 include dual 12-MP cameras; one is the primary wide-angle camera with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and an f/1.8 aperture, while the second camera is an ultra-wide camera with a 123-degree field-of-view (FoV) and an f/2.2 aperture. There’s also a 10-MP selfie camera with an 80-degree FoV and an f/2.4 aperture. Samsung claims its primary camera sensor is about 65% brighter than the last Z Flip release. I’ll be pitting them against the Galaxy S22+ for comparison in my review.

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Despite the notable improvements, the Z Flip 4's hinge mechanism doesn’t seem much different from its predecessor’s. There’s still a bit of resistance to shutting the phone closed like on the previous model, which required a bit of a “break-in period” before I could quickly flip it closed with just one hand.

The accessory offerings are also a little different this time around. Samsung showed off a silicon cover with a chic gold clasp across the front of the Z Flip, which departs a bit from the playful aesthetic of the cases marketed with the Z Flip 3.

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A photo of the Galaxy Z Flip 4's different colors
The Z Flip 4 will come in four main colors, though a Bespoke program is also available if you want to customize your own.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 comes in four colors: graphite, bora purple, pink gold, and blue. Samsung is offering a Bespoke program that will be available for this particular phone, totaling 75 ways to build a custom Z Flip 4 with the online builder, which includes additional colors. The Z Flip 4 starts at $1000 and is officially on sale on Aug. 26, with pre-orders starting now.

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Galaxy Z Fold 4: Multitasking made better

A photo of a hand holding the Z Fold 4
The Z Fold 4 looks like a regular smartphone from the front.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo
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The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is Samsung’s phone-tablet foldable, which is still a bit more niche than the Flip’s form-factor. The Fold looks like a regular smartphone from the front. Once you start to turn it, its hefty hinge gives it away, and then you can open it up to be a full-blown tablet device.

The Z Fold 4 has a 6.2-inch HD+ Dynamic AMOLED display on the front—also called a Cover Screen—and a tablet-sized 7.6-inch QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED display on the inside. Both the inside and outside have 120Hz adaptive refresh rates. The display is about 3mm wider than last year’s release, and Samsung calls out its “minimized bezels” and “a slimmer hinge.” The company also built this device to be more durable, and it’s rated IPX8 for water resistance.

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A photo of the Galaxy Z Fold 4
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 folds outward to reveal a tablet-style device on the inside.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

The specifications on the Fold are much more in line with the Galaxy S22 Ultra than the two smaller regular S22s that launched earlier this year. Like the Galaxy Z Flip 4, Samsung opted for the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. But this device comes with 12GB of RAM, which will better accommodate the bigger screen. It’s available with up to 1TB of internal storage. The Z Fold 4’s 4400 mAh battery pack remains the same as its predecessor and boasts fast charging capabilities akin to the Z Flip 4's.

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The cameras are more in line with the Galaxy S22 Ultra, at least in capacity. Like the S22 Ultra, the Z Fold 4 has five cameras. It consists of a primary 50-MP wide-angle camera with OIS and an f/1.8 aperture, a 12-MP Ultra Wide camera with a 123-degree FoV and f/2.2, and a 10-MP Telephoto camera with OIS and an aperture of f/2.4. The primary camera offers 30x Space Zoom, which is fancy terminology for digital zoom. The selfie camera embedded on the front Cover Screen is 10-MP with an 85-degree FoV and OIS, and there’s a 4-MP under-display camera on the inside of the device so that you can engage in video chats while in tablet mode. It’ll be interesting to see how these cameras compare to the S22+ and S22 Ultra.

A photo of the Galaxy Z Fold 4
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 has a rear-facing three-camera system.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo
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Samsung has improved some of the interface elements on the Galaxy Z Fold 4. Google is still working on tuning Android in a way that plays more nicely with tablets. At the very least, Google built the upcoming version of Android 13 with more tablet-sized screens in mind, and Samsung’s likely to take advantage of that for the Z Fold in particular. This phone runs on Samsung’s One UI 4.1.1 out the box, built on Android 12L, the predecessor to Android 13.

Once you open up the Z Fold 4, you’ll get a different Android interface from the more standard one on the front. One UI populates a Taskbar at the bottom that looks much like the one on Windows 10/11. You can tap and drag an app icon from the Taskbar onto a part of the screen, making it much easier to launch apps into split screen mode. Samsung’s introducing new swipe gestures, too, which I plan to try out when I get the phone for review. The Z Fold 4 also has S Pen support, and you can buy it with a matching case to get Note-like capabilities on the inside screen.

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A photo showing the new Taskbar on the Z Fold 4
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 features a Taskbar that makes it easier to drag and drop windows into split-screen mode as needed.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

This will be my first time wielding the Galaxy Z Fold-style of smartphone. I’ve been eager to get my hands on a device that can take advantage of Android’s new tricks. I’m also curious to see if a smartphone can truly double as a tablet-style device in a pinch. Will I feel the same comfort typing out work on screen with the Z Fold 4’s display as I would a larger standalone Android tablet? I’m also curious how the phone’s thickness feels when compared to carrying around the smaller Z Flip 4, which sometimes feels like a makeup compact when buried at the bottom of a bag. Things to look forward to!

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The Galaxy Z Fold 4 comes in three colors: gray green, phantom black, and beige, which looks a little more femme than what I consider beige to be (you can see the pink/beige colorway in the main image up top). There will be an exclusive burgundy color available online at Samsung.com. The Z Fold 4 is available for pre-order starting at a whopping $1800 and will also go on sale on Aug. 26.