High Tech

What we want to see from the next foldable

Samsung Galaxy Flip 3 purple side profile — Galaxy Z Flip 4 what we want to see

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 was a fantastic addition to the company’s family of folding phones. Though it’s not as powerful as the larger Z Fold 3, it is a much more user-friendly piece of hardware that’s also affordable to a wider range of people. We really liked the toughened exterior, improved display, and pleasing design of the Z Flip 3. Moreover, the Bespoke Edition made it possible for people to build their own for the ultimate in personalization.

That said, the third-generation Z Flip had a handful of shortcomings that we believe can be rectified. Here’s how Samsung can improve the Galaxy Z Flip 4.

Primary target: Longer battery life

Samsung Galaxy Flip 3 front and back showing hinge

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Galaxy Z Flip 3‘s biggest failing was its battery life. The phone has a tiny 3,300mAh capacity battery, well below the 4,000mAh to 5,000mAh batteries available in similarly-priced — though non-foldable — flagships. In our review, we found screen-on time to last just over four hours, significantly behind the six or more hours we’ve gotten used to. While we understand the constraints of the folding form factor, which greatly reduces the internal space available for the battery, we think Samsung can do better with the Galaxy Z Flip 4.

See also: Charging habits to maximize battery life

And it’s not just battery life. Charging power could be improved, too. The Z Flip 3 supports just 15W for wired charging and 10W for wireless charging. Samsung could easily boost those numbers to at least 25W for wired and 15W for wireless. Those specs would still trail the competition, but they’d be an improvement.

Sharpened focus: Clearer cameras

Samsung Galaxy Flip 3 rear profiles folded showing cameras — Galaxy Z Flip 4 what we want to see

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Apart from battery life, the Z Flip 3’s biggest bummer was the camera suite. Samsung carried the two-camera configuration over from the older Z Flip 5G. That meant a pair of aging 12MP shooters, including one standard and one ultrawide sensor. These cameras performed acceptably, but not exceptionally. Daytime shots came off pretty well, but low-light photos were a mixed bag. We saw plenty of noise in images across the board and focus wasn’t always the cleanest it could be. Other phones in the same price range often outperformed the Z Flip 3’s camera system by a wide margin. Samsung would do well to ditch the 12MP sensors and pick the latest photographic silicon it can for the Z Flip 4.

Check out: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Z Flip 3 — Camera shootout

In addition to improved, modern sensors, the most important upgrade Samsung could give the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is a telephoto lens. The majority of Samsung’s best phones, including the Galaxy S22 series, pack standard, ultrawide, and telephoto cameras. The added flexibility of this lens arrangement really opens doors when it comes to mobile photography, making it possible to capture subjects from a greater range. Please, Samsung, do the Z Flip 4 a solid and aim for killer cameras.

Touch here: A more powerful cover screen

Samsung Galaxy Flip 3 outer display

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Samsung upped the ante a whole lot between the Cover Screen of the Z Flip 5G and the Z Flip 3, but we think Samsung can go even further. The Cover Screen of the Z Flip 3 was a 1.9-inch Super AMOLED panel that acted as an always-on display (AOD) thanks to the way it showcased the clock and notifications. It also introduced a handful of widgets, including alarm, calendar, music, timer, weather, and Samsung Health. The widgets were limited in their functionality, but made it possible to handle a few key actions without opening the phone up.

Our thoughts: I found the perfect use for Wear OS, but it’s not a watch

Our pipe dream would be a much larger Cover Screen that features basic Android OS functionality, like the external panel of the Z Fold 3 — meaning you could put actual app icons on the screen and open/run full Android apps, even if they were small or Wear OS versions. That would likely add too much to the Z Flip 4’s price, so we’d settle for something in between, such as a larger Cover Screen with a greater collection of more fully-realized widgets.

Fold this: Get rid of the crease

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 unfolded on couch — Galaxy Z Flip 4 what we want to see

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

With all due respect to the complicated technology that goes into creating a bending piece of glass, the unsightly crease in the middle of the Z Flip 3’s display has got to go. We made the same request of Samsung in our take on the Z Fold 4. The crease was acceptable — expected, even — on the first few generations of folding displays, but the competition has caught up and their designs are (nearly) creaseless.

See also: The best foldable phones you can get right now

In recent months, both the Oppo Find N and Honor Magic V have launched with screens that unfold flat and clean. There’s no visible crease nor is there one you can find by feel. With the Z Flip 3, you can both see and feel the crease quite easily. Perhaps it isn’t really fair to request that the crease disappear completely, but we expect the Z Flip 4 to make significant progress in reducing the visibility of the display’s fold-y middle part.

Pen to glass: S Pen support

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra S Pen in hand

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Samsung has changed the story regarding its S Pen and what devices support the note-tackling tool. For many years, only the Galaxy Note series included an S Pen and packed stylus-specific software. The S Pen eventually expanded to the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the S22 Ultra (which replaced the Galaxy Note in all but name.) While it’s likely a big ask, we’d love to see S Pen support land on the Z Flip 4. There are a couple of reasons why.

Read: The ultimate guide to Samsung’s S Pen

First, the Z Flip 4’s display will have the necessary real estate. The S Pen has traditionally been made available to Samsung’s largest screens and the Z Flip 3 (and presumably Z Flip 4) has a very large display. Adding stylus support would make it even easier to multitask on the smartphone. Second, this could help boost the Z Flip 4’s credibility as a productivity device. Further, the tech is pretty much there. Samsung was able to bring stylus support to the folding panel of the Z Fold 3, so why not add it to the Z Flip 4? Surely Samsung’s marketing department could come up with a good story for S Pen support here. As for where to store the S Pen, well, that’s a different story.

Demanding times: Drummed up durability

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 bottom edge folded — Galaxy Z Flip 4 what we want to see

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

It was a huge surprise when Samsung announced that the Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 3 would reach the market with IPX8 ratings. The IPX8 certification allowed both phones to be submerged in up to 1.5m of water for up to 30 minutes. In other words, Samsung dramatically improved the potential lifespan of both devices by giving them a chance to survive mishaps along the way. Samsung also added toughened Gorilla Glass Victus and Armour Aluminum. Taken together, these measures truly help folding devices. Samsung could go a step further.

To start, it could add support for dirt and dust ingress protection. This is clutch. The complicated hinge mechanism of the Z Flip 3 is a wonder, but it is susceptible to dust and dirt. Small granules can get in there, gum up the fine-tuned gearing, and cause damage. Sealing up the hinge mechanism against intruding particles would be a fantastic addition to the Z Flip 4.

More: The best waterproof phones you can buy

We’d also like to see stronger display glass. The very nature of bending displays makes them fragile things that must be treated with care. Toughening up the Z Flip 4’s display glass (which Samsung would need to do to add S Pen support) could help extend the lifespan of the Z Flip 4 even further.

What do you want to see most on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4?

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