Entertainment Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 vs Galaxy Z Flip 3
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 vs Galaxy Z Flip 3
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is here, and it looks to be another sleek, compact foldable from the undisputed master of the format.
Even at this early stage, however, there are questions over whether it’s perhaps a little too similar to its predecessor, the Galaxy Z Flip 3. Has Samsung made any meaningful improvements? Should you buy the latest model, or shop around for a good deal on the older one?
Here we lay out what each Z Flip has to offer, what the Flip 4 improves upon, compared to the recipe of the Flip 3 and at which device it’s best to aim your wallets / purses.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 vs Galaxy Z Flip 3 price and availability
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 arrived on August 27, 2021. At launch it was priced at $999 / £949 / AU$1,499 for 128GB, and $1,049 / £999 / AU$1,599 for 256GB, though you’ll obviously find both cheaper these days.
Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is on sale from August 26 (September 2 in Australia). Pricing starts at $999.99 / £999 / AU$1,499 for 128GB model, moving up to $1,059.99 / £1,059 / AU$1,649 for 256GB. With the Flip 4, there’s also a 512GB model, which costs $1,179.99 / £1,199 / AU$1,849.
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is broadly the same price as its predecessor, then, though UK customers are facing a slight price bump.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 vs Galaxy Z Flip 3 design
The design of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4 are essentially the same. Both can be described as full-sized smartphones that fold in half, but the similarities run deeper than that.
Both phones have the same straight-sided look, with the same aluminum frame and the same black ‘visor’ covering the two rear camera sensors and the external cover display. The rest of the back is comprised of Gorilla Glass Victus in the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and slightly tougher Gorilla Glass Victus Plus in the Flip 4.
Samsung’s foldables have side-mounted fingerprint sensors, which some have found a little awkward to access when open.
There’s a slight difference in the color offerings. The Flip 3 comes in Phantom Black, Green, Lavender, Cream, White, Pink, and Gray, as well as the Thom Browne Edition, the Wooyoungmi Edition, and Dream White. Meanwhile the Flip 4 gives you Bora Purple, Graphite, Pink Gold, Blue, Yellow, White, Navy, Khaki, and Red.
Both phones can be had in a Bespoke Edition in certain markets, which lets you customise your phone with dozens of combinations. We presume this is going to be easier to access for the newer Flip 4 model.
To all intents and purposes, these two flip phones are the same size. At 165.2 x 71.9m, the Flip 4 is fractionally shorter and narrower than its 166 x 72.2mm predecessor, thanks to slightly shrunken bezels and a slimmer hinge. They’re both 6.9mm thick, while the newer phone is 4g heavier at 187g.
With the Galaxy Z Flip 4, the logo-engraved hinge doesn’t protrude quite as much as it did on the last model, but we’re talking marginal gains here.
Both phones offer IPX8 ratings, meaning they’re both resistant to water, but not so good at standing up to dust ingress. Even so, it’s an impressively quality that you won’t find on any rivals, at least at launch.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 vs Galaxy Z Flip 3 display
You’re looking at essentially the same display for both of these foldable phones. That equates to a foldable 6.7-inch Full HD+ (2640 x 1080) ‘Dynamic AMOLED 2X’ panel with a 120z refresh rate .
You also get the exact same 1.9-inch Cover Display with the same 260 x 512 resolution and 60Hz refresh rate.
We liked the main display in the Galaxy Z Flip 3, but weren’t bowled over by it. In our review, we noted that it was “comparable visuals to other flagship Full HD displays, though it’s not quite as crisp as phones with OLED displays”.
We also called the external Cover Display “the foldable’s least impressive feature”. It was simply too small to be particularly useful, although Samsung has worked to expand its usefulness through software improvements, to try and make the Flip 4’s external display more useful – and presumably the Flip 3’s too via an update – including a bunch of new and improved widgets.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 vs Galaxy Z Flip 3 camera
At first glance, Samsung appears to have stuck with exactly the same dual–12MP camera system in the Galaxy Z Flip 4 as it had in the Flip 3. Both phones have one 12MP wide sensor and one 12MP ultra-wide.
However, the Flip 4’s wide sensor is a notable improvement. It’s significantly larger than before, with correspondingly larger pixels (up from 1.4µm in the Flip 3 to 1.8µm in the Flip 4), resulting in up to a 65% brightness boost for stills and videos.
Together with improved OIS (optical image stabilization) and VDIS (video digital image stabilization), the Flip 4 performs better in all shooting conditions, especially in lower lighting.
Our time with the Flip 4 hasn’t unearthed any massive real-world improvements to picture quality, but it is better, with detail-packed shots, not to mention it’s distinct form factor certainly makes taking selfies more appealing.
The Galaxy Z Flip 4’s two other cameras appear to be identical to before, including a 10MP selfie camera, although sporting a new and improved chipset can improve the shots taken from such otherwise unchanged components.
Talking of that new and improved processor…
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 vs Galaxy Z Flip 3 specs and performance
Perhaps the biggest boost with the Flip 4 is to its performance. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 wasn’t a slow phone by any means, but its Snapdragon 888 chip is a generation-and-a-half older then the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1.
Both phones have 8GB of RAM as standard, but make no mistake, the Flip 4 is the much faster device.
In testing, the Flip 4 with its Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 mustered a Geekbench 5 multi-core score of 3980, lower than some similarly-specced rivals but still outclassing the Flip 3 by a notable margin; which produced scores closer to 2800, which means a roughly 42% CPU boost for the newer phone.
With the Flip 3, our reviewer observed that “whether we were browsing the web, watching media or playing games, the phone didn’t stutter or falter, and kept up with whatever we put it through,” and the Flip 4 is much the same, updated to remain relevant and future-proofed with four years of OS updates and five years of security updates from Samsung too.
In storage terms, both phones offer 128GB and 256GB options, but the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 also supplies a 512GB option at the top end.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 vs Galaxy Z Flip 3 battery
Another significant hardware improvement with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 appears to be its battery. The main reason for that increase in weight seems to be a meatier 3,700mAh battery, which is about a 12% increase in capacity over the 3,300mAh Flip 3.
This is an important improvement, as we called the Galaxy Z Flip 3’s puny battery its “biggest drawback”, with an inability to last into a second day. In truth, the Flip 4’s battery is still probably the biggest sticking point most users will find with it, but it’s unquestionably better. A day’s use per charge now seems attainable, whereas before it was a hope and a prayer that was seldom answered.
Elsewhere, Samsung has improved charging support for the Flip 4, with up to 25W wired and 15W wireless, compared to 15W wired and 10W wireless in the Flip 3. None of this is particularly fast compared to most other flagships, of course, and you’ll need to supply your own charging equipment in each case.
Reverse 4.5W wireless charging remains consistent across both phones.
After a breakthrough 2021 for Samsung’s foldable phones, 2022 looks to be a year of largely incremental upgrades. Given that we called the Galaxy Z Flip 3 “the best clamshell foldable you can buy, with specs and a price comparable with flagship phones”, that’s perhaps not a bad thing.
It would have been nice to see something more, as we’re being presented with essentially the same design and displays as before. Look more closely, however, and it becomes evident that the Flip 4 is the better phone.
Its main camera is a step up, it’s received a huge performance boost, and its battery capacity has also received a welcome upgrade. All this without the price bump (in most regions) that other phones are receiving.
While the step up isn’t as significant as we’d have liked and Samsung has definitely left the door open for further improvement, the Flip 4 continues Samsung’s winning streak amongst the best foldables out there and whichever side of the line you fall, especially with Flip 3 prices due to tumble, you’ll end up with a head-turner of a device that delivers.