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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 vs. Galaxy S22

In many ways, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is the best foldable phone for most people interested in foldable technology. It utilizes its folding screen to create a more compact device, reminiscent of classic flip phones, and is almost half the price of its big brother, the Z Fold 4. However, before flipping for the Flip 4, it’s worth taking a look at how it stacks up to Samsung’s more mainstream mobile phone, the Samsung Galaxy S22. After all, why pay more for the Z Flip 4 if you can get as good an experience out of the Galaxy S22? We took a look at the two phones to see how they stack up.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S22
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
Size 146 x 70.6 x 7.6mm Unfolded: 71.9 x 165.2 x 6.9mm

Folded: 71.9 x 84.9 x 17.1mm

Weight 168 grams 187 grams
Screen size 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X Main: 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X

Cover screen: 1.9-inch Super AMOLED

Screen resolution 2340 x 1080 pixels (425 pixels per inch) Main: 2640 x 1080 pixels (426 ppi)

Cover screen: 512 x 260 pixels (302 ppi)

Operating system Android 12 with One UI 4 Android 12 with One UI 4.1
Storage 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
MicroSD card slot No No
Tap-to-pay services Google Pay, Samsung Pay Google Pay, Samsung Pay
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
RAM 8GB 8GB
Camera Rear main: 50-megapixel primary, 12MP ultrawide, and 10MP telephoto

Front: 10MP

Rear main: 12MP primary, 12MP ultrawide

Front: 10MP

Video 8K at 24 frames per second, 4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 240 fps, 720p at 960 fps, HDR10+ 4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 240 fps, 720p at 960 fps, HDR10+
Bluetooth version 5.2 5.2
Ports USB-C USB-C
Fingerprint sensor Yes (in-display ultrasonic) Yes, side-mounted
Water resistance IP68 IPX8
Battery 3,700mAh

25W wired charging

15W wireless charging

4.5W reverse wireless charging

3,700mAh

25W wired charging

10W wireless charging

4.5W reverse wireless charging

App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support All carriers All carriers
Colors Phantom Black, white, Pink Gold, green, Graphite, Sky Blue, Violet, Cream Bora Purple, Graphite, Pink Gold, Blue
Prices $800 $1,000
Buy from Samsung Samsung
Review score 4 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

Design, display, and durability

These are two radically different phones. The S22 is a slab with no moving parts, while the Flip 4 folds in half. However, when unfolded, they actually have similar dimensions; but when folded, the Flip 4 measures 84.9mm by 71.9mm by 17.1mm. Basically, it reduces in length by 50% but doubles in thickness in a very similar manner to an old-school flip phone.

The advantage for the Flip 4 here is that you don’t need as long of a pocket to carry it in, making it ideal for carrying in a bag, purse, or short pocket. This extra thickness when folded may make it bulge out more in some pockets, and so the change in overall size is more of a readjustment of shape than a reduction in volume. Whether or not this design is actually beneficial to you will depend largely on the clothes you wear or the accessories you regularly carry.

Beyond size and foldability, the Flip 4 and the S22 are largely similar in their layout, except that the Flip 4 has an exterior 1.9-inch cover screen beside its camera array. This allows you to check notifications and the time and take selfies using the main camera, all without having to fully open the phone.

The Flip 4 features a larger 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X 1080 x 2640 pixel display, compared to the 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X 1080 x 2340 pixel display of the Galaxy S22. Both phones have great-looking displays and run at up to 120Hz, though it’s important to note that Flip 4’s screen isn’t as durable as the S22’s, and it still has a crease in the middle where it folds. Because of those caveats, which one has the better display is really a matter of personal preference.

The folding screen of the Flip 4 is inherently more delicate than a rigid, unmoving slab like the S22. It’s unfortunately a simple physical fact that moving parts are more vulnerable to wear and damage than unmoving parts.

The biggest problem with the Flip 4 can be seen in its IPX8 rating. In such a rating, the first number after “IP” denotes resistance to solids (such as dust and sand), while the second number indicates its resistance to water. The rating of “X” for solids means that the Flip 4 has practically no resistance to dust and other solids, while the rating of 8 for liquids means it can be fully immersed in water down to a depth of 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. Therefore, if you take your Flip 4 to the beach, you can safely dunk it in the sea, but drop it in the sand and it might be game over.

With the S22 you get an IP68 rating, which means that it’s safe from both sand and surf alike.

In the end, both phones have very different design philosophies and pros and cons. There’s not a clear winner, and in regard to design, the choice between the Flip 4 and S22 becomes a matter of preference.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S22

Performance, battery, and charging

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 with CoverScreen OS and app drawer
CoverScreen OS brings a full-fledged app drawer to the cover display. Nadeem Sarwar / DigitalTrends

The S22 and Flip 4 both feature 3,700mAh batteries, but there is some disparity in how long each takes to chew through that battery capacity. The S22 will give you roughly four to five hours of screen time and maybe last through a work day with moderate usage. The Flip 4 only lasts for approximately three to four hours of use, which will still probably get you through the day, but without much wiggle room to spare. This difference in battery life probably stems from the larger screen of the Flip 4, as well as its additional front screen.

The S22 and Flip 4 are nearly identical in terms of charging specs and performance, with the S22 edging ahead by a nose thanks to its 15W wireless charging as opposed to the 10W wireless charging found in the Flip 4. Expect these phones to perform similarly when it comes to charging speed, except in the case of wireless charging where the S22 will fill up considerably faster.

Both the S22 and the Flip 4 have 8GB RAM and offer a base 128GB storage, though the Flip 4 gets a bit of a leg up in terms of storage if you opt for the more expensive 512GB model, whereas the S22 only offers up to 256GB. The Flip 4 is a newer phone with a newer Qualcomm Snapdragon processor that outpaces the slightly older Snapdragon processor found in the S22, and you can expect better performance and improved efficiency from this newer processor. A good example of what this means in the real world is how the S22 struggles to maintain high frame rates at max settings when playing a demanding game like Call of Duty: Mobile, while the Flip 4 easily maintains high frame rates at maximum settings.

Winner: Tie

Cameras

The back of the Galaxy Z Flip 4, showing its cameras and cover screen.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

In terms of video capabilities, The S22 can record 8K at up to 24 fps, 4K at up to 60 fps, 1080p at up to 240 fps, and 720p at up to 960 fps. The Flip 4 can do the same except for 8K since none of its camera sensors has a high enough resolution. 8K video is, however, a fairly niche feature that’s impressive in concept but isn’t really very useful to the average person.

It’s really no contest which phone is packing the best camera array. The S22 has an ultra-wide 12MP camera, a 50MP wide angle camera, and a 10MP telephoto camera. The Flip 4 has the same ultrawide camera, a wide-angle camera with only 12MP, and no telephoto camera. Both phones feature a 10MP selfie camera.

The Flip 4 camera array is really the absolute bare minimum when it comes to modern mobile photography. You will be able to capture decent shots with it, but it’s very limited compared to the S22. A telephoto camera is a very useful tool to have on a smartphone, so the lack of this feature on the Flip 4 is a big deal. The S22 wins by a landslide here.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S22

Software and updates

Game Plugin on Samsung Galaxy S22
Samsung Galaxy S22 and the Game Booster Plus system in the Plugins system. Nadeem Sarwar/Digital Trends

Both the S22 and the Flip 4 run Android 12 with One UI 4.1 and will soon receive an upgrade to Android 13. This means that with either device, you are getting the latest version of Android available on Samsung devices, along with all the software features that entails. As both devices were released within the same year, you can expect them to stay up to date for a similar length of time, which by Samsung’s standard is four major Android updates and five years of security patches.

Thanks to the differences in design, the Flip 4 has a few extra tricks up its sleeve, so despite running the same operating system, it’s not quite identical. The Flip 4 has special software running to enable extra functionality around its folding screen and small front screen so that apps can automatically adjust to only take up one-half of the display using flex mode and so that UI elements shift depending on the position of the display. Because of this extra functionality, the Flex is a little more advanced than the S22 in terms of software.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

Special features

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 sitting on a table.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The Flip 4 has a flashy and obvious party trick that definitely places it ahead in the special features department. The folding screen is eye-catching and fun, with some utility as well, thanks to software features like Flex Mode. Beyond that obvious point, the Flip 4 can capture selfies using the main camera thanks to the front screen, as well as record photos and videos when the phone is folded closed.

By contrast, the Galaxy S22 has a more normal approach. It has two voice assistants built in, 5G, and a number of special Samsung additions, like the Gaming mode. However, it’s very much a standard smartphone, and while this is an advantage in some ways, the Flip 4 wins the top prize in terms of special features.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

Price and availability

The Flip 4 is significantly more expensive, starting at $1,000 compared to the $800 starting price of the Galaxy S22. That’s a lot extra to pay for a slight performance bump and a foldable screen, especially when you consider all the other sacrifices made in the design of the Flip 4. Both phones are available right now.

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy S22

The Samsung Galaxy S22 beats the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 where it really counts, and in terms of practicality, it’s the obvious choice. The Flip 4 is certainly a more interesting and innovative device, but it’s hard to justify given the high price and the sacrifices its design makes to accommodate a folding screen.

Most people are better off opting for the Galaxy S22. Its more durable design, better camera array, and lower price are particularly significant advantages. However, despite all our criticism, the Flip 4 is undoubtedly a great phone. It’s powerful, stylish, and fun, and maybe the excitement of something new and different is worth the tradeoffs still necessary to experience a foldable screen.

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