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The Galaxy Z Flip 4’s best trick is hiding in plain sight

Samsung’s latest foldable phones are here, and this time around, the focus is more on making improvements that matter. This is true in particular for the Galaxy Z Flip 4 — the latest $1,000 clamshell foldable from Samsung — which gets a bigger battery, better cameras, and the customary chip upgrade.

But one area where the Galaxy Z Flip 4 truly stands out is the sheer scope of aesthetic flexibility. When was the last time a brand sold one of its phones in 75 unique color tones? That’s the number of color combinations on the table for the Galaxy Z Flip 4. In an era where brands play it safe with muted colors, the Bespoke Edition initiative from Samsung is a massive step forward.

The good old days

I still remember when Motorola came out with the concept of its Moto Maker. Moto X buyers were able to pick the color of their phone, with over 15 choices on the table. The best option of them all was the wooden rear panel, which looked majestic. For folks with a more refined taste, they could go with leather.

There was also the flexibility to choose between the trims, with white or black bezels on the front. And finally, you had the option of getting a few words of your choice engraved on the Moto X’s rear panel.

Interface of the Moto Maker for the Moto X
The interface of the Moto Maker customization tool for the Moto X DigitalTrends

I badly wanted the phone after reading countless blog posts extolling its virtues and thinking what a cool idea it was. But for a school-going kid back then, convincing my parents to spend a few hundred dollars on a pure Android phone was an unsuccessful mission.

Instead, I took the other (read: cheaper) way around to customize the look of my phone — changing the rear panel. It’s wild to think that it was once possible to just pop off a phone’s rear panel and get a new one in its place. Meanwhile, Apple will charge $599 to replace the glass rear panel of the iPhone 13 Pro Max if you don’t have Apple Care+ protection.

Nokia Lumia 525 3
My test bed, back in 2014, was the mighty Nokia Lumia 520. I had the trim with a yellow rear panel but scratched the heck out of it within a few months. All it took was a trip to a thrift phone shop, and in return, I got a pack of rear panels for my precious Windows Phone in six colors for the equivalent of $12.

All of them were plastic, of course, and didn’t offer the privilege of a matte surface finish. But those bright colors — especially the yellow, green, and red — were unlike any other phone out there. It was a style statement, and I basked in the glory of it all through my remaining school days. Nokia even released official design files so that users could 3D-print their own case with custom designs on top.

NuAns Neo
Customization options for the short-lived NuAns Neo project Image used with permission by copyright holder

But the trend of removable back panels on smartphones soon came to an end.. and with it, the idea of customizing your phone. NuAns tried to bring back the concept with the Neo, offering a bevy of two-tone rear panel designs, but it couldn’t really make a dent in the market.

The fresh style of glass-and-metal sandwich design was upon us. Every company suddenly started chasing the minimalist, industrial design language. Occasionally, a few brands mustered some courage and dabbled with bright colors, like Apple and its iPhone XR.

But you were still stuck with the same color after giving Apple your hard-earned money. There was no scope for customizing the looks of your phone, except for cases. In 2022, Samsung is changing that with the shiny new Galaxy Z Flip 4.

Changing the game with a Flip

Samsung calls it the Bespoke Studio. Here, you can pick the frame color, the shade of the rear panel, and the glass portion on the upper half. For the metallic frame, your choices are black, silver, and gold. As for the front and back glass portions, you get a choice between five colors: green, navy, red, white, and yellow.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 custom styles
Styling up the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 with the online Bespoke Studio Image used with permission by copyright holder

The entire customization process is fairly simple and doesn’t need any exclusive app or sign-in shenanigans either. Just head over to the official Samsung website, choose the colors, and hit the Buy Now button.

There’s a high chance that you will end up with a phone that looks unlike any out there. I tried the all-green look with a black frame, and it looks magnificent. You can also try pairing the gold frame with an all-white glass exterior for some bling appeal.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
Bespoke color options for the Galaxy Z Flip. Image used with permission by copyright holder

The best part? Samsung is not charging anything extra for the perk. If smartphone history is any indication, asking the target audience to pay for standout experiences doesn’t always work, especially when the boring, default choices can work just as well.

I’ve seen friends bombarding Discord chats with customized Galaxy Z Flip 4 looks and asking for advice on the best combination to splurge on. There are polls on Twitter, and some hot takes on Reddit, of course.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 Bespoke Edition. A very cool idea.

— Nadeemonics (@nsnadeemsarwar) August 12, 2022

At the end of the day, the idea is neat, and users are liking it. I, for one, am totally sold on the concept. After all, if you’re splurging a thousand dollars on a phone, it better look the part. The ability to tweak the design so it suits your personal style? Yes, please!

It also helps that the Z Flip 4 is a clamshell foldable phone that really feels cool to pop open and slide comfortably in your jeans pockets. You get one of the world’s most powerful processors, good cameras, and an assurance of long-term software updates. Sounds like a smartphone dream, right? I’d say it’s very, very close.

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Nadeem Sarwar
Nadeem is a tech journalist who started reading about cool smartphone tech out of curiosity and soon started writing…
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