Samsung owns the lion’s share of the foldables category, which coincidentally, was coined by the brand when it announced the Galaxy Z Fold and the Z Flip back in 2019. Over the years, the range has become increasingly widespread and the company’s efforts have prompted other brands to venture into the segment too.
And, to keep the ball rolling, Samsung recently announced the Galaxy Z Flip4 and the Galaxy Z Fold4 (review) in the country, which replace the year-old Z Flip3 (review) and Z Fold3 (review) handsets. On paper, the newer foldables bring a host of enticing features but it remains to be seen how they fare against their predecessors. So, today, I will compare the all-new Z Flip4 to the Z Flip3 and talk about all the upgrades the newer device brings to the mix.
Design and Display
On the off chance you’ve been living under a rock, the Galaxy Flip range of devices offers a clamshell design and the smartphones can be folded shut akin to a traditional flip phone. Over the years, the company has strengthened the structural integrity of its Flip range, however, the Flip4 draws a lot of parallels to the Flip3 which was launched over a year ago. To wit, the newer model looks identical to its ageing sibling; from a distance, it’s hard to tell one from the other.
Now, Samsung did introduce the Flip4 in new colourways, so you can always opt for those if you want to stand out. Furthermore, the device adopts a smaller footprint than the Flip3 and measures 165.2 x 71.9 x 6.9mm and weighs 187 grams. In contrast, the Flip3 was slightly taller and wider and the smartphone measured 166.0 x 72.2 x 6.9mm, albeit weighed less at 183 grams. Regardless, both phones are among the most pocketable flagships in the market and you’ll rarely notice the devices press against your legs when they’re stowed inside your jeans.
I should also add that the devices appear equally rugged, at least on paper. In fact, both phones come with IPX8 certification and as such, can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes. Furthermore, the duo feature the company’s armour aluminium hinge which, in conjunction with the Ultra Thin Glass displays, has been rated for at least 200,000 folds on both phones. If anything, buyers opting for the newer model will be greeted with Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus+ layered on the front and back cover of the Flip4. The Flip3, on the other hand, gets Gorilla Glass Victus, which might not be as adept at keeping scratches and scuffs at bay.
The same goes for the smartphones’ displays too, mind you. Spec-wise, both phones ship with a 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x panel that refreshes at 120Hz. Unsurprisingly, both the screens offer excellent viewing angles and can relay both, HD as well as HDR media from OTT services like Netflix. That’s not all, as both the displays can get equally bright too – 1,200 nits, to be exact. As for the outer cover display, both phones ship with a 1.9-inch, Super AMOLED panel that can relay notifications on the fly. You can even add a host of widgets on the outer screen, including a timer and music player. That said, you will get more widgets with the Flip4, so make of that what you will.
Performance and Software
One of the biggest changes that set the Flip4 apart from its predecessor is the inclusion of Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC. The Galaxy Z Flip3, on the other hand, is backed by the Snapdragon 888 chipset which is still plenty fast, albeit isn’t as efficient as Qualcomm’s latest SoC. For storage and memory, both phones come equipped with UFS 3.1 storage and LPDDR5 RAM.
Spec differences aside, both the phones perform quite well, although you will be better off with the Galaxy Z Flip4 in the longer run. In fact, I did run a slew of synthetic benchmarks on the phones, which paint a similar picture. To wit, the Flip4 outclassed its predecessor in both Antutu as well as GeekBench, netting 8,38,855 points in the former and 1,312 and 3,856 points in the latter. The Flip3, on the other hand, secured 7,08,157 points in its Antutu test run and yielded 618 and 2,205 points in GeekBench’s single and multi-core tests respectively. Much to my surprise though, both the devices are equally susceptible to thermal throttling. In fact, while the Flip4 managed to overturn higher instructions per second (3,79,687 GIPS vs 2,24,410 GIPS) in the CPU throttle test, the device could only sustain 58 percent of its peak performance after 30 minutes. The Flip3, on the other hand, throttled to 57 percent of its max throughput.
Similarly, in 3DMark’s extreme stress test run, the Galaxy Z Flip4 overturned a higher best loop score of 2,840 points. In contrast, the Flip3’s score peaked at 1,535 points. That said, Flip3 overturned a higher system stability at 59.7 percent. The Flip4, on the other hand, capped out at 40 percent. Going by the benchmarks, it is clear that the Flip4 is considerably snappier, although the device has to contend with its fair share of thermal throttling issues as well. As for software, both phones boot OneUI v4.1, which comes layered on top of Android 12. The handsets also come with July’s Google security patch and will be supported for at least four years since the time of their launch.
Samsung has seemingly improved Flip4’s photography chops as well. Spec-wise, the phones come equipped with a pair of 12MP sensors comprising a wide and an ultrawide snapper with a 123-degree FoV. For selfies, the devices get a 10MP snapper up front, however, you can use rear cameras to snap high-res portraits on both the phones as well. In doing so, the cover displays on the Flip3 and the Flip4 act as a viewfinder, which is neat.
But, coming to the meat of the matter, the Flip4 clicks slightly better stills than its predecessor. For instance, in the slider attached above, you’ll notice that the Flip4 has tackled lens flaring emanating from the sun more admirably. Furthermore, at a closer crop, the handset has resolved the details in the scene better, which is evident if you zoom into the centre and glance at the building’s frame, or look at the transmission tower positioned towards the back of the composition.
That said, I noticed that the Flip3 doesn’t blotch bright colours as much as the Galaxy Z Flip4. The same is evident if you look at the photo of the red flower in the slider attached above wherein, you can make out the petals more clearly in Flip3’s snap.
The wide angle images, on the other hand, were neck and neck. The handsets offer ample sharpness towards the centre, albeit tend to gloss over the details of the objects positioned around the periphery of the frame.
The Flip4’s main camera edges in front of its predecessor in lowlight scenarios quite comfortably. In fact, shots taken after the sun had set exhibited better sharpness and minimal lens flaring on the Flip4. The Galaxy Z Flip3’s image, on the other hand, has glossed over the objects positioned towards the edges of the frame. Furthermore, the device has introduced a pinkish tinge in the composition too, which isn’t ideal, to say the least.
For videos, the duo can record clips in 4K resolution at up to 60FPS. That said, I stuck with 1080p60fps clips for my testing. On that note, the handsets can record stellar videos with excellent stability. If anything, the colours appeared more realistic in Flip4’s footage. But, barring that, the clips were on par with one another.
One of the biggest pain points of the Galaxy Z Flip3 was the handset’s sub-par battery backup. The device is backed by a 3,300mAh cell which barely saw users through the end of a heavy work day. The Flip4 improves upon its predecessor in this regard and features a bigger 3,700mAh battery.
What’s more, while the handset still struggled to last an entire day, I was getting a significantly higher screen on time (around five hours) with the set. As for charging, both phones can fast charge at 25W. That said, the devices support wireless charging (15W) too, which is great.
It goes without saying that Samsung’s latest foldable comes with a host of improvements, including but not limited to better battery backup, faster charging times, improved photography chops and faster SoC under the hood. That said, much like the Flip3, the Galaxy Z Flip4 could do with some tweaks to improve its performance over extended periods. But, that covers all the upgrades Samsung’s latest foldable brings to the table. Do let us know if you’re eyeing the handset in the comments below and stay tuned to our blog for more tech updates.