It’s no secret that a lot of people, even in today’s time, would love to go back to the times when we used to flip, fold and/or slide on an hourly basis. Yes, I’m talking about the flip and folding mobile phones of the past. The Moto Razr was one of the OGs (originals) but there were so many others out there. There were the likes of the Nokia E90 Communicator, Nokia 7650, Ericsson T28, Sony Ericsson P910, Nokia 7200, Sony Ericsson W508, and the list goes on.
Fast forward to 2022 and Samsung has brought back the fun times. It’s not the same, yes, but at least we can feel like we’re on the path toward having fun and affordable folding phones in today’s market.
Just about a month ago, Samsung came out with its fourth iteration of folding phones. There’s the Galaxy Z Flip 4 (that folds neatly enough to fit into shirt pockets without a fuss) and the Galaxy Z Fold 4 that can unfold into something resembling a tablet and make working on spreadsheets a pleasurable experience. Samsung has made it certain that it once again wants to lead the brigade of modernizing something we all loved in the early 2000s.
Samsung, for what it's worth, is content with making small, but incremental upgrades to its foldable phones, to entice new users toward them. It doesn’t expect any older Flip or Fold consumers to upgrade, but it wants to keep the eyeballs firmly upon these smartphones year after year.
What’s New For The Galaxy Z Flip 4 & Galaxy Z Fold 4?
The major changes come to the outer screens. The Fold 4’s outer screen is shorter and wider which means that it's more like a typical smartphone. The Fold 4’s Cover Screen is 2.8mm wider than its predecessor but those few millimetres make a world of difference. The Cover Screen is what you use dozens of times a day to send WhatsApp messages to your friends and the difference is immediately noticeable. Being slightly wider also means that one-handed usage is now far more comfortable than ever before thanks to the slightly wider keys. The Fold 4 is also slightly lighter than before.
The Flip 4’s Cover Screen is now as useful as a smartwatch. You can send canned responses to messages, check your notifications and do a few other tasks. The best part though is the Flip 4’s camera experience. It takes advantage of the Cover Screen and uses it as a viewfinder. To get some high-res selfies with the main cameras you don’t have to unfold the device. The quality improvement, when using shooting with the rear cameras is instantly noticeable.
These Aren’t Perfect Foldable Phones
While Samsung has done a lot to allay fears that the hinge on these devices would easily break, it’s not yet as flipping fun as it was in the early 2000s. The Flip 4 is easier to hold, with an aluminium frame, which makes it more sturdy than before. Still, flipping it dozens of times a day can give anxiety to certain customers. Having to pay almost Rs 1,00,000 for the Galaxy Flip 4, and then breaking it (without even dropping it), would not be something customers would want to see during their time with the device.
The same goes for the Galaxy Z Fold 4. There’s the fear that a mere graze against a wall would damage the outer screen. Samsung, for its part, has made the displays stronger. The foldable display comes with Gorilla Glass Victus+ for more durability.
The Galaxy Flip 4 also doesn’t have the camera chops as a Galaxy S22 Ultra from the same company does. While the Galaxy Fold 4 doesn’t stay still on a flat surface.
Who Are These Phones For?
I’ll have a lot more to say about these smartphones in my full reviews, but for now, I can safely say that Samsung has made iterative changes that are very useful and make these smartphones an absolute delight to use. You’ve just got to figure out whether you’re the target audience or not because buying one of these two smartphones means spending a lot of your hard-earned money. They don’t come cheap.
For first adopters, or those wanting to have the latest and greatest in tech innovation, the Flip 4 and Fold 4 will be the perfect daily drivers. Samsung has done a whole lot right with these smartphones and there is hope that developers will also push the boundaries and make use of both screens. It’s just the price barrier that will put off a lot of potential buyers. The Flip 4 comes in just short of Rs 1,00,000, but even some of those who want to relive the good old times of flipping fun might be put off. The Fold 4, on the other hand, is a pure luxury device, coming in at just over Rs 1,50,000.
For now, an innovative design that blends form and function with a dash of fun is what these phones are all about. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4 represent the future, and once other manufacturers catch up and push Samsung to the limit is when these foldable phones will become mainstream.
Stay tuned for my detailed reviews of each smartphone in a few days.