The foldable phones market is getting busy, with the Huawei P50 Pocket showing how feature-packed clamshells folds can be. For Samsung to stay competitive through its upcoming Galaxy Z Flip4, it’ll need to be a fantastic device.
Each new version of Samsung’s foldable phones has seen significant improvements from the last. The original Galaxy Z Flip was said to be rather fragile and had a small cover display, and I can say for a fact that the Galaxy Z Flip3 I’ve been using is more durable than I assumed, plus it has a larger cover display that allows me to use more functions.
I’ve been using the Z Flip3 for more than six months now, and I’ve affectionately named it Fillipé. Over time, what I’ve noticed is that the pickup rate for this phone in Malaysia isn’t exactly the best. It’s not a phone I’ve seen many strangers carrying around, nor do phone accessories stores stock up on phone cases for the Z Flip3.
Perhaps it could be the hefty RM3,999 price tag for a subpar flagship competitor, or maybe Malaysians aren’t willing to invest in something that still needs major improvements to be a go-to phone.
While the launch of its successor is still a distance away (Q3 2022 seems like a reasonable prediction), these are some improvements I’d like to see in the Galaxy Z Flip4 when it launches, based on my experience with the Z Flip3.
1. A longer battery life, please
One persistent complaint about Samsung’s flip phones has been their battery life.
Each phone so far is packed with two batteries (one in each half) with the Z Flip3 carrying a combined power of 3,300mAh. However, this makes the Z Flip3’s 120Hz screen refresh rate—which is a nice perk to have—an underutilised feature because it drains the phone’s juice too quickly.
For it to last a whole day (other than having a power bank on hand) is by keeping the phone on power-saving mode at all times, which meant using 60Hz.
That’s due to change with the Z Flip4 (but not by much), according to rumours. It is speculated that the upcoming Z Flip4 will get two batteries, as usual, but this time using batteries with a 100mAh higher capacity than its predecessor. In total, the phone should offer a capacity of 3,400mAh.
2. A shorter height when unfolded
Obviously, pocketability is a huge pro to having a phone that folds. The security I get from slotting my Z Flip3 in tiny pockets without any part of it sticking out never gets old.
But when unfolded, the phone does feel a little too tall, making it hard to use it one-handed as it measures 166mm x 72.2mm x 6.9mm. Videos don’t fit into the right dimensions, and you’ll get two black borders on either side of the screen when watching horizontally. Not a hindrance, but it takes away from the “full screen” experience.
Also, videos on TikTok are zoomed in to fit the dimensions, which cuts out some text and details from the content on the left and right borders.
According to leaked dimensions, the Z Flip4 will measure 165.1mm x 71.9mm x 7.2mm when unfolded. That makes it a hair shorter and wider, but thicker than the Z Flip3. Win some, lose some?
3. More functions for the cover display
The Z Flip3’s cover display can do a few things. Check the time, weather, calendar, today’s schedule, and notifications. You could also set a 10-minute timer, start a voice recording, and play, pause, or skip your music.
My issue with some of its functions is that while you can view your notifications from the cover screen, there are no “quick reply” options. Even some smartwatches can do that, despite having much tinier screens.
For the 10-minute timer, you don’t have the option of changing its duration through the cover screen. My instant noodles only take three minutes, where’s that option? The same applies to the music widget, where you’d have to open up the phone to choose a track.
Swiping up on the cover screen opens Samsung Pay, which in my experience, has been difficult for NFC readers to register when the phone is folded (unfolding the phone fixes this issue).
Needless to say, while the cover screen does provide some conveniences, they’re only surface-level ones. I’ve even tried downloading third party apps in hopes of making my Z Flip3’s cover screen more usable. To my dismay, they were paid services.
Based on rumours, the Galaxy Z Flip4 is speculated to feature a larger external cover display, though exact dimensions are not known yet. But the size of the cover display doesn’t really matter. What I want is to be able to just continue watching my YouTube video or Netflix series while my phone is closed.
Also, this is purely aesthetics but worth a mention: I wished there were more clock designs available. Currently, the options are similar to what you’d find from your Always On Display clock styles with limited options for cutesy graphics.
4. A better hinge
I’m so far impressed by the durability of the Z Flip3. Having now dropped it multiple times, it’s still completely intact and has zero scratches on the screen despite the long nails I’ve been keeping and lack of a screen protector.
The sturdiness of the Z Flip3’s hinges has been withstanding my dramatic phone shutting and being whipped open, but there’s room for improvement.
Currently, the Z Flip3 has a slight gap in between the displays when the phone is folded. Ideally, I’d like to see an improved hinge that mimics the Huawei P50 Pocket’s ability to fold completely flat.
Not only will it make the phone look more polished, but it’ll also protect the internal screens from dust (which the Z Flip 3 is extremely prone to) and other kinds of damage.
While on the subject of dust, I sincerely hope that the Z Flip4 comes with better dust resistance than the current model which is rated IPX8 but is not dust-resistant.
An updated hinge could also lessen (or get rid of) the crease in the middle from where the display is folded in half.
While I’ve not had a hands-on review of the phone, other reviewers have said that a creaseless foldable is possible when you look at the Oppo Find N that mitigates this design flaw. Perhaps Samsung could take a page out of Oppo’s book for a better-looking Galaxy Z Flip4.
5. Better cameras
While the cameras on the Z Flip3 aren’t bad, for its hefty price tag, they could be better. For one, it lacks a telephoto lens, and in terms of the specs, it’s exactly the same as the old Z Flip.
That being said, by no means are the Z Flip3’s cameras awful. When using photo and portrait mode, the details captured are alright. The selfie camera is okay, but it’s nothing to shout about either.
You can use the cover display’s Quick Shot to take a quick selfie by clicking the lock button twice. A cool function that impresses, but realistically speaking, Quick Shot is mostly useful to me as a mirror to check on my hair and lipstick.
According to rumours, the Z Flip4 is said to come with a triple camera setup, which will ideally be a telephoto lens able to capture crisper images. And with that, there’s just one last thing I’d like to see.
Not an improvement, but a request
I’m really hoping that Samsung keeps the side-mounted fingerprint scanner.
I’m not a fan of under-display fingerprint readers. Having tested phones with them, my opinion hasn’t changed as physical fingerprint scanners tend to have higher accuracy and quicker unlocking time for my screens.
The Z Flip3’s side-mounted scanner makes it extremely user-friendly. It’s a sensible feature on a foldable as it’ll allow you to naturally unlock them while opening the display.
Based on rumours, the Galaxy Z Flip4 is said to have a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, which will be a relief to those who share my perspective. You could say that all my wishes are potentially coming true, so far.
Price is a major factor in my decision when purchasing devices. Seeing that the Z Flip3 starts at a much lower price (RM3,999) than the Z Flip did (RM5,888 at launch), it can be speculated that the Z Flip4 will see a further reduction while keeping all of its useful features (fingers crossed).
The Z Flip4 should definitely be an upgrade from the Z Flip3, and I hope that Samsung will continue to attempt to make it a more accessible device for everyday users, not just early adopters.
VP Verdict is a series where we personally try and test out products, services, fads, and apps. Want to suggest something else for us to try? Leave a comment here or send the suggestion to our Facebook page.