Samsung’s foldable phones have evolved a lot over the years, and they’re no longer just an expensive experiment. In fact, both Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4 are two of the best foldable phones you can buy on the market right now. However, that doesn’t mean they’re flawless devices. They’re both easy to recommend compared to many others out there — and they’re some of the only foldables available in the U.S. — but they’re at least one generation shy of truly hitting their stride. 2023 will be a big year for foldables, and we hope Samsung addresses some shortcomings to deliver a considerably better user experience.
We already have a Galaxy Z Fold 5 wishlist where we’ve highlighted some ways Samsung can improve its productivity powerhouse to compete with new options on the market. Now, we turn our attention to its smaller model. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is already more popular than the bigger model, but here are five things that Samsung can improve with the Galaxy Z Flip 5 to make it better than other clamshell foldables.
A bigger cover display
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 features a tiny 1.9-inch cover display that works decently as a second screen, but it could definitely be bigger and better in future models. Unlike the external screen on the Galaxy Z Fold 4, the Z Flip 4’s second screen only lets you glance at your notifications, answer or decline calls, use quick settings, or add some basic widgets to show you useful information. Sure, you can use something like CoverScreen OS to add more functionality, but that’s merely a workaround for a problem that shouldn’t exist in the first place. It’s also entirely reasonable to ask for an expanded external display because there are phones like the Oppo Find N2 Flip and the Motorola Razr out there right now that offer it.
The lack of a bigger external display on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 means you can’t really use it without unfolding the display. It may not sound like a lot at first, especially when you can just flip this phone open to turn some heads, but suppose you unlock and use your phone over a hundred times a day. In that case, you’ll appreciate having a bigger external display to interact with important notifications without unfolding it as frequently.
Get rid of the display crease
This is an improvement we’ve also added to our Galaxy Z Fold 5 wishlist because it’s a glaring design flaw. A display crease in the middle sounds like an obvious compromise for a foldable, but what if we told you other manufacturers have already made the screen crease less noticeable? Here, take a look:
The harsh crease — which only becomes more prominent over time — is due to the folding mechanism used by Samsung in its hinge design. While the current hinge is solid and quite durable, other foldable devices have a different hinge design that folds the panel at a softer angle to keep them from developing a harsh and more visible crease in the middle. Foldables like the ones in the OPPO Find N series, for instance, use a “waterdrop” hinge that tucks the display into a cavity built into the chassis instead of folding it at a single point like you’re folding a paper in half.
Pressing down on the folding point may have long terms implications for the display’s durability, and it’s just not as nice to look at compared to more recent Chinese foldable screens. The display crease is particularly more noticeable in the case of the clamshell model as you tend to run your fingers through the crease while, say, scrolling your social media feeds or a web page.
We just hope Samsung is aware of the competition in the foldable space now because there’s no reason for it to continue using the old hinge design.
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 can take some good photos, but it fails to keep up with other flagship phones. It packs the same 12MP sensors as the Galaxy Z Flip 3, meaning there’s no telephoto lens, and the main sensor doesn’t have a high-enough resolution for any decent digital zoom. It’s not necessarily a dealbreaker for a fancy lifestyle phone, but the lack of a versatile camera system on the Z Flip 4 is one of the key disappointing areas.
Consider the Galaxy Z Flip 4 vs. the Galaxy S22+, for instance. Both phones carry the same $1,000 price tag, but the Galaxy S22 Plus trounces the Galaxy Z Flip 4 with its triple camera setup. The main camera of the S22+ not only packs more pixels but also has a large image sensor. Not to mention, the S22+ also has a telephoto zoom lens, which the Z Flip 4 lacks entirely
The Galaxy Z Flip 5 will need more than just a minor upgrade in the camera department.
The Galaxy Z Flip 5 will need more than just a minor upgrade to stand out against similarly priced slab phones in the camera department. It would be nice to see a telephoto lens, but we at least need a sensor that supports a higher resolution, so we can zoom in without losing quality. The selfie camera on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 also leaves a lot to be desired, but you can safely ignore that and use the main camera with the help of the Cover Screen to take better images. This is also why we want Samsung to add a larger cover screen. It just plays a very important role on a fun foldable like the Flip to uplift the overall user experience.
Support for faster charging speeds
While Samsung improved the overall battery life of the Galaxy Z Flip 4, it didn’t do much to improve the charging experience. The Flip 4 only got a modest upgrade to 25W charging from 15W on the Flip 3, but it’s unimpressive considering how the competition pushes the limits with faster charging speeds. It’s particularly annoying because Samsung doesn’t even bundle its phones with a charger. We’re hearing rumors about Samsung sticking with 25W charging for its regular Galaxy S23 this year, but we hope that’s not the case for the foldables. We doubt there’s room for a bigger battery inside a small clamshell model, but Samsung can always improve the overall user experience with faster charging speeds.
A lower price tag or a “Fan Edition” model?
Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 4 is already cheaper than many other foldable devices on the market. Still, there’s an argument to be made about its “expensive” price tag considering the specs and features it brings to the table. There’s only so much you can do to democratize a new form factor without compromising the quality, so why not bring a Galaxy Z Flip “Fan Edition” (FE) with a cheaper price tag? We already discussed a possible Galaxy Z Flip FE in the past and how Samsung can make it happen by cutting the right corners. It’s worth revisiting that idea as we enter a big year for foldable devices.
Samsung left the door open for improvements last year, so we’re expecting to see some substantial upgrades this year with the Galaxy Z Flip 5. We’re not expecting the smaller clamshell to move the needle in the foldable space like the Galaxy Z Fold. Still, it will need more than just a recolor to attract some attention in 2023, especially when other foldables like the Honor Magic Vs and OPPO Find N2 Flip are set to arrive globally.
If you don’t want to wait for the Galaxy Z Flip 5 to hit the shelves, you should consider buying the Galaxy Z Flip 4. It may not have all the bells and whistles to go against the top flagships on the market in 2023, but it’s still a fun phone that gets many things right. You may also find good deals on Galaxy Z Flip 4 right now, which can save you some money that you can spend on one of the best cases.
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is a clamshell foldable that combines the compact form factor of yesteryear’s phones with a modern Android experience. It’s also equipped with the most powerful Qualcomm chipset and cutting-edge foldable OLED technology.
What do you want from the Galaxy Z Flip 5? Let us know in the comments below.