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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 3: Should you upgrade?

Samsung’s Z Flip series is helping foldables make their way into the mass market. For $999, you get a flippy phone with an AMOLED display, good cameras, special features, and a snappy processor. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is no different. While it looks similar to the predecessor, there are meaningful improvements under the hood. But does that mean you should upgrade from the Galaxy Z Flip 3 to the Z Flip 4?

We put the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 against the Galaxy Z Flip 3 to see if the new version packs enough weight to be worthy of an upgrade.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
Size Unfolded: 165.2 x 71.9 x 6.9mm (6.5 x 2.83 x 0.27 inches)

Folded: 84.9 x 71.9 x 17.1mm (3.34 x 2.83 x 0.67 inches)

Unfolded: 166 x 72.2 x 6.9mm (6.53 x 2.84 x 0.27 inches)

Folded: 86.4 x 72.2 x 17.1mm (3.4 x 2.84 x 0.67 inches)

Weight 187 grams (6.60 ounces) 183 grams (6.46 ounces)
Screen size Main: 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED (1Hz-120Hz)

Cover screen: 1.9-inch Super AMOLED

Main: 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED (1Hz-120Hz)

Cover screen: 1.9-inch Super AMOLED

Screen resolution Main: 2640 × 1080 pixels

Cover screen: 512 x 260 pixels

Main: 2636 × 1080 pixels

Cover screen: 300 x 112 pixels

Operating system Android 12 with One UI 4.1.1 Android 12 with One UI 4.1
Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB 128GB, 256GB
MicroSD card slot No No
Tap-to-pay services Google Pay, Samsung Pay Google Pay, Samsung Pay
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
RAM 8GB 8GB
Camera Rear main: Dual-lens 12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide

Front: 10MP ultra-wide

Rear main: Dual-lens 12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide

Front: 10MP ultra-wide

Video 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 5.1
Ports USB-C USB-C
Fingerprint sensor Yes, side-mounted Yes, side-mounted
Water resistance IPX8 IPX8
Battery 3,700mAh

25W fast charging

10W fast wireless charging

4.5W reverse wireless charging (Wireless PowerShare)

3,300mAh

15W fast charging

10W fast wireless charging

4.5W reverse wireless charging (Wireless PowerShare)

App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support All carriers All carriers
Colors Bora Purple, Graphite, Pink Gold, Blue, Bespoke Edition
Cream, green, lavender, Phantom Black, white, pink, gray
Prices $1,000 $1,000
Buy from Samsung, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart
Samsung, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart
Review 4 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

Design and display

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is a tad bit narrower than the Z Flip 3 at 165.2mm versus 166mm. But it feels the same in hand, which means it has a solid in-hand feel and can be folded and unfolded with a single hand. At 187 grams, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is 4 grams heavier than the Z Flip 3, but it is still one of the lightest flagship smartphones on the market. You won’t feel the weight difference when you hold both of them side by side. Both of them have a side-mounted fingerprint sensor and are IPX8 rated for water resistance that can protect your Flip from splashes — but don’t take it underwater or on the beach.

Samsung made a handful of design improvements this year, starting with the Flip 4’s aesthetics. On the back, you get a frostier, matte finish compared to the Flip 3, and the frame is flatter this time around. Plus, the hinge holding the phone together is slightly smaller than before. These differences might go unnoticed on paper, but they really make a huge difference in real-world usage. The matte glass panels also feel luxurious while hiding fingerprints.

Both devices feature a 6.7-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The Z Flip 4 can go down to 1Hz, rather than the 10Hz limit on the Flip 3. The duo has the same 1080 x 2640 resolution and a similar screen-to-body ratio. There’s a 1.9-inch cover display on the front of the Flip 4 and Flip 3, and it can be used as a glance screen to look at notifications, date and time, and other snippets. While we would have preferred a bigger cover display, Samsung’s design philosophy with the Flip 4 seems to be “don’t fix what isn’t broken.”

The main display on Flip 4 looks outstanding with vibrant colors, excellent viewing angles, and high brightness levels when outdoors. However, the crease is still there – so much so that you can clearly see it in certain lighting conditions. Like the notch on the iPhone, after just a few hours of use, the crease becomes something you subconsciously ignore on the Flip 4.

As for the cover display, it is great for checking notifications, sending quick replies to text messages, viewing upcoming calendar appointments, or enabling SmartThings scenes. But it is still small, and you can’t reply to messages like you can on the foldable Motorola Razr 5G.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

Performance and battery

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is powered by 2021’s flagship SoC, the Snapdragon 888 chipset. It was paired with 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage. However, the high power consumption of this Qualcomm processor resulted in mediocre battery life on the Flip 3. It packed a 3,300mAh battery with support for 15W fast charging.

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 runs on the latest Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor. It is more power efficient and has better NPU, GPU, and CPU performance. This could result in a better camera, battery, and day-to-day performance. The processor is paired with 8GB of RAM, and Samsung is offering three storage variants: 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. Apps open instantly, menus scroll flawlessly, and graphically demanding games like Call of Duty: Mobile play without a hitch. The Flip 4 can heat up during long gaming sessions or multiple hours of hotspot use, but it never gets to an uncomfortable point.

As for the battery, it gets a big boost to 3,700mAh with 25W fast charging capabilities. As a result, the battery life is markedly better than it was on the Flip 3. But don’t expect out-of-the-blue results, as it is still only good enough for one full day of use.

Both devices can be charged wirelessly as well. While they can reverse wirelessly charge your smartwatch or earbuds, the battery capacity may limit this. However, we expect the Flip 4 to last longer than the Flip 3 due to the bigger battery and more efficient processor.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

Camera

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4.
Andrew Martonik/Digital Trends

Samsung hasn’t changed the camera configurations from the Flip 3 to the Flip 4. Both foldable smartphones sport a dual rear camera setup that includes a 12-megapixel primary camera with optical image stabilization (OIS) and a 12MP ultrawide lens with a 123-degree field of view. On the front lies a 10MP shooter with an 80-degree field of view.

Samsung says the primary camera on the Flip 4 is 65% brighter this generation. In practical usage, it is a very minor improvement over the Flip 3.  But it is a solid camera package and should serve most people just fine. However, it isn’t a camera system that would rival the likes of the Pixel 6, Galaxy S22 Ultra, or iPhone 13 Pro.

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 has a tendency to oversaturate greens and yellows to the point that they look artificial. As for low-light photography, the Flip 4 manages to brighten the scene so you can make out the details. Coming to the ultrawide-angle lens, we have been mostly happy with its performance. While you lose some of the finer detail you’d otherwise get with the 12MP primary sensor, the 123-degree field of view is convenient, and color reproduction is very similar to the primary shooter. The 10MP front camera is a perfectly adequate sensor that works well for selfies and video calls. You can also use the primary 10MP sensor for selfies, thanks to the Flip 4’s folding design and cover screen. It would deliver better results.

There aren’t many differences here, so this is a tie.

Winner: Tie

Software and updates

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4.
Andrew Martonik/Digital Trends

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 shipped with Android 11 but it is now upgradable to Android 12 based on One UI 4.1. On the other hand, the Z Flip 4 ships with Android 12 based on a more advanced One UI 4.1.1 out of the box. The new device should last a year longer with major Android updates as well as security patches. In a nutshell, if you’ve used a modern Samsung phone within the last couple of years, you’ll be right at home with the software experience on the Flip 4.

Winner: Galaxy Z Flip 4

Special features

The Flex mode panel on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Both clamshell foldables can be their own tripods, thanks to Flex Mode, which allows both the Flip 4 and Flip 3 to half-fold. It works with any app, and for certain applications like YouTube and the camera app, they’ll automatically shift UI elements around when half-folding the devices.

Here’s how the feature works: If you enable Flex Mode for an app and open that app on the Flip 3 or Flip 4 when propped upright, the app moves to the top portion of the screen and leaves the bottom half available for various controls.

Winner: Tie

Price and availability

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 was launched at $999 for the base 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. Samsung is keeping the $999 price tag for the Galaxy Z Flip 4, with the same amount of RAM and storage. However, you can customize your Flip 4 with Bespoke Edition. It’s available in Bora Purple, graphite, pink gold, and blue color options. But color option availability will depend on the markets. Both devices are available across all major retailers.

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4.
Andrew Martonik/Digital Trends

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is an iterative upgrade over the Galaxy Z Flip 3. It sports the same design, display, and camera hardware. But there are meaningful improvements under the hood that can result in vastly different results in day-to-day usage.

The Z Flip 4’s Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 could not only result in better camera performance but also combine it with a bigger battery, and you are looking at a solid one-day phone on a single charge. The refreshed design looks and feels as good as we could have hoped for. The hinge feels fantastic, and the processor has more power than you could ever need. Plus, the display looks amazing.

If you want a flagship with industry-leading cameras, multi-day battery life, or lightning-fast charging, there are plenty of other options for you to choose from. That being said, if your Z Flip 3 is going strong after a year and you don’t need a new smartphone, you should stick with it. But with a tempting trade-in offer, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 will only cost you a fraction of the price, which makes it an exciting deal and a no-brainer of an upgrade.

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