Review: The fourth year into its existence yet the charm of using a foldable is still fresh. And for many, it’s more with the Flip as the style takes back to the early Moto Razr days or their first yesteryears Samsung clamshell. Plus, it’s a foldable device which is in the range of a price of a regular flagship (Rs 89,999 onwards), which is the real deal here.
Samsung’s got a clear approach. The flagship Fold means business (read productivity). The Flip, on the other hand, is about style with utility. And while both the phones have a clamshell design, Samsung hasn’t simply aped the features from the Fold to Flip. Instead, the latter is refined and designed for utilising the cover screen much more than just glancing through the notifications.
Aesthetically Appealing: It’s an all-touch phone that folds into half the length of the normal smartphone with similar specs and something extra. You get a 1.9-inch outer cover screen (when folded). Yes, it is small but good enough to quickly glance through the notifications and even respond to some, with the preset options. This was convenient and increased my productivity – a quick look was enough at times. I was less tempted to open the Flip 4, which reduced the endless loop of mindless scrolling and app browsing. More can be done on this small outer screen - like adding widgets - music controls, voice recording, calendar, add favourites (to be called with a touch from the cover screen) – which are accessible with just a swipe. I was able to answer the incoming calls on the speaker, without opening the flip - a boon. But to dwell deeper into apps, the Flip 4 has to be unfolded. My only complaint, I can’t just jolt open-close the Flip (like the good old Moto Razr). For one, fear of damaging the main inside screen, and two the hinge is still stiff to hold at angles and is not a free-flowing one.
When folded, it’s half the length of an Android at 84.9mm tall with a thickness of 17.1mm. Otherwise, it is sleek at 6.9mm and 165.2mm tall when unfolded. Controls - volume and power button (bundling fingerprint scanner)- they continue to stay on the right edge. It’s just that they move to the top half when flipped open. A little too much towards the top that it had to slightly readjust the grip to reach the volume buttons in the first few days of testing this device.
Samsung has added an IPx8 rating making it water resistant, which is great. But high time dust resistance should be added too as I fear dust-particle being pushed inside the hinge every time I unfolded it.
Inside screen: When unfolded to 180 degrees, there’s this 6.7-inch AMOLED 2x display - just like a regular smartphone. It is bright, and vibrant with great colour accuracy and supports a 120Hz refresh rate. Kudos to Samsung, as the crease is very much there, but almost unnoticeable. But it can be felt while scrolling through emails or webpage.
Flex Mode: Other than the cover screen and the inside display, there is also the Flex mode that brings in some interesting functionality onboard. Thankfully, Samsung hasn’t just aped the functionality from the Fold to Flip. Instead, this one had got its own features. When folded at a 90-degree angle or placed on the table (say in L-shape), in some apps, the bottom half of the screen turns into a touchpad for easy navigation and has additional controls too. Like, when using Gmail, the bottom half of the screen has options such as touchpad, screenshot, brightness and volume control and quick access to notifications. And while composing an email, the bottom half took over as the QWERTY keyboard. This feature is extended to a few more apps including video calls, streaming videos on YouTube, camera, messaging, and camera among others.
Productivity: When unfolded, the Flip 4 is just like any other Android flagship, especially in terms of performance. Samsung has upgraded the Flip 4 with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen1 chip with 8 RAM, making it capable of handling everything thrown at it with ease, including the heavy graphic games. And just in case you think you require more, an additional 8 GB of RAM can be squeezed from the memory but a quick restart. Although not as big a size as the Fold 4, it still can have two apps running simultaneously. All this is supported with a 3700 mAh battery that easily lasted me a day with still about 20% charge remaining. And my usage involves hours of calling, constant emails and Whatsapp messaging, photography, gaming, browsing the web, and documentation.
Photography, and tricks: Samsung hasn’t gone overboard on camera on this one. Instead, it does not match what you get on the Galaxy S22 Ultra or the Fold 4. There is a dual camera rear setup housing a 12-MP main lens along with a 12-MP wide angle, and a 10 MP for the front camera for selfies. The main camera has a larger sensor resulting in better shorts, especially in low light. Even during gloomy mornings with no sun, the images captured were sharp and had perfect colour. It captured details with great clarity such as the water droplets and ants too. The shots captured during bright daylight had nothing to complain about. With the tap on the top, I was able to convert the cover screen into a viewfinder too. And while the 10MP selfie camera does a fairly decent job, I was able to use the rear camera for a selfie too. When folded, double pressing the power button launched the rear camera and the cover screen converted into the viewfinder. Just by swiping left and right, I was able to switch between photo, portrait and video modes. And swiping up and down helped in zooming in and out.
Verdict: Instead of restricting the foldable technology only to a select few willing to spend over a lakh and a half for the Fold, Samsung has democratised it with the Flip series. And the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is a complete package with nothing to worry about. For Rs 89,999, you might get similar specifications along with a better camera at a lesser price but this one’s about convenience and using the foldable tech. And as most of these purchases are beyond the rational and following what your heart desires, pick the Flip 4 if you have a leeway of a few extra grand.
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