Reviews

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 Review: 3 months of love and commitment

Finally held in my hands the popular phone in K-dramas

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The Galaxy Z Flip4 is already the fourth iteration of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip from 2020 — but admittedly, it’s my first time EVER using a foldable as my daily driver.

Being used to large phones for so long, can the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 live up to my expectations?

Through the wise words “I want to take up the challenge” of LE SSERAFIM’s Huh Yunjin in their The World Is My Oyster intro track, I dared to make the Galaxy Z Flip4 my main phone not just for two weeks, not even a month, but for three long months.

Fearless Flip

Fearless — that’s the first quality that goes into my mind when I see people who rock foldables.

Seeing the littlest population of Samsung Flips in a crowd full of the ever-popular iPhones alongside gargantuan Android slabs felt like they dared to let go of the already good things on a phone just for the sake of portability and compactness.

But when I actually held the Galaxy Z Flip4 for the first time, I understood what it meant. The ability to fold your large phone in half is a massive challenge in technology and engineering. Just like its niche market, Samsung was fearless and dared to defy the odds.

Much like its predecessor, the Galaxy Z Flip4 is rated to last up to 200,000 folds — which translates to about five years of continuous wear and tear. That’s more than enough before you actually upgrade to a newer flip (or switch back to a regular smartphone). And by that time, I’m pretty sure Samsung has already managed to create more refined foldables, or maybe even a rollable.

When I close the phone, it always gives me that sudden kick of nostalgia of the old flippy clamshell phones from the early millennium.

SEE ALSO: Samsung’s Flip Phone Innovation Over The Years

When unfolded, it felt light and right in the hands.

With its responsive side-mounted fingerprint scanner, you can quickly unlock the phone without ever-worrying about removing your masks.

But if you’re coming from an iPhone and got accustomed to FaceID, the Galaxy Z Flip4 still includes a Face Unlock feature. Quite unsure though if it’s already fool-proof.

Antifragile Display

Do you think I’m fragile? Maybe I am, but the Galaxy Z Flip4’s display isn’t. With its revolutionary and improved Ultra Thin Glass (UTG) material and an added layer of plastic, folding and unfolding the phone won’t feel as fragile as it seems.

But don’t let the “flimsy-looking” display fool you. The screen of Galaxy Z Flip4 is surprisingly bright indoors even if brightness level is just around 10% to 15%.

While I never held last year’s Galaxy Z Flip3, the Galaxy Z Flip4 is said to have slimmer bezels. Not that it’s a reason for existing Flip3 users to upgrade.

Weak Hero Class 1 is a MUST WATCH! And I’m sure I’m very weak for Park Ji-hoon 🥺

Now that we’ve started to unfold the Galaxy Z Flip4, I can already hear most of you ranting about its crease. But during the course of time that I used it, I really had little to no issues about the crease that annoys a lot of you.

It is there but most of the time, it did not distract me. The closest explanation I can say are the notches on the iPhone — which also bugged a lot of people but not a dealbreaker when you’re actually using the phone.

The crease will obviously show if you use the phone parallel to a direct source of light or just outdoors. But in most scenarios, I wasn’t worried — even if I’m a huge dark mode user.

The Good Parts

Much like one of my favorite B-sides by LE SSERAFIM, the Galaxy Z Flip4 naturally has its good parts.

Content-friendly + Entertainment-ready

I go to ride ’til I die die — as long as Kazuha is the driver 😍

With its lightweight form factor, the Galaxy Z Flip4 is ideal for viewing and consuming entertainment. Holding the phone one-handed never felt like a burden. Unlike my iPhone of (almost) the same size with the same exact display size, the Galaxy Z Flip4 is just on the taller side of aspect ratio at 22:9 (versus 19.5:9).

I just wanna love my weakness, and LE SSERAFIM is one of them 🥵

The speakers may not be the loudest among all phones, but its bass and clarity are decent enough when you play music or watch movies in an environment where there’s less noise. And yes, it’s still ideal for your concert sessions (while showering, duh).

IDC if it’s weird but I am shipping Si-eun and Soo-ho I mean look at them

As aspect ratio was previously mentioned, one thing I love about the Galaxy Z Flip4 is watching K-Drama content. It makes more sense since Samsung is heavily investing the Galaxy Z Flips not just via BTS and the Bora Purple colorway, but also through South Korean dramas. No wonder why a lot of fans and viewers have been envious to own this phone over anything else.

From titles such as Weak Hero Class 1, Cheer Up, and even Bad Prosecutor, all the way to 21:9 K-Pop music videos like NewJeans’ Hype Boy and IVE’s Love Dive, I enjoyed watching them using the narrow Dynamic AMOLED 2x display of the Galaxy Z Flip4. And even if the content is the regular 16:9, you will still love watching cropped-in content as it looks more immersive.

You made me boost up

Looks can really be deceiving. Despite the Galaxy Z Flip4 being compact, its power-packed with a flagship-grade Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset.

Paired with a sufficient 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM plus a speedy UFS 3.1 storage ranging from 128GB to 512GB, you won’t feel little using this phone no matter what tasks you run.

For instance, I was able to play Asphalt 9: Legends with ease. My gameplay was smooth and very responsive.

The same thing can be said when I played my new favorite game similar to the one I play on my PC: Bus Simulator Ultimate.

However, if you’re a huge Genshin Impact player, don’t get too much of your hopes up.

When I opened its graphics settings, the default graphics mode is at medium. While it shows the gameplay will be “smooth”, the game is still very graphics-demanding. The complicated form factor of the Galaxy Z Flip4 and its unconventional cooling system might not be able to hold up if you choose to ramp up the game settings to High.

More-than-satisfactory cameras

Unlike other Samsung phones with their trio (and even quadruple) set of camera sensors, the Galaxy Z Flip4 features a pair of rear cameras.

While its 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera was literally unchanged, the 12MP f/1.8 regular wide camera has an overall bigger and better sensor  (1/2.55″ vs 1/1.76″).

Surprisingly, despite not having the best camera hardware, photos taken with the Galaxy Z Flip4 turned out satisfying — at least to my preferences. Take a look at the samples below for you to judge.

Daylight shots look astonishing whether you use the regular lens, ultra-wide, or even its 2x digital zoom…

AI sometimes overdoes saturation but that can be turned off depending on your preference. Personally, I just tone it down a little bit.

Food shots always looked appetizing and mouth-watering…

Heck! Night mode even saves you in situations where there is little to no light.

Concerned about portraits?

Samsung did a good job when it comes to foreground and background segmentation for that bokehlicious goodness.

And here’s a random mirror selfie just because the Bora Purple Galaxy Z Flip4 complements my Nike Waffle One in the Coconut Milk Crimson colorway #NotSponsored

Hands-free selfie-taking

Aside from its ultra-wide sensor, the 10MP f/2.4 punch-hole selfie camera of the Galaxy Z Flip4 was also unchanged. But this is one reason why you shouldn’t judge a phone just by looking at hardware specs.

Personally, I don’t like taking selfies. More so if the phone applies a significant amount of beautification. Fortunately, Samsung takes natural-looking selfies. And with Flex Mode, taking selfies was a breeze.

It was more enjoyable than conventional as you can take them hands-free! You just need to fold the phone at a certain angle. After that, you can show your palm or use a voice command like saying “cheese” — or “kimchi” if you’re a proud Koreaboo like I am.

The punch-hole camera also has an ultra-wide mode meant for duo/bestie selfies, #CoupleGoals selfies, and groufies.

Clearer self-portraits

If you prefer taking “clearer” selfies, you can still use Flex Mode with an extra step for you to toggle: that’s turning on the Cover Mode.

From there, you can use any of the wide and even ultra-wide cameras and frame yourself using its 1.9-inch Super AMOLED Cover Display — but now with the addition of Portrait Mode which the Z Flip3 can’t do.

It even works at night…

And just an extra, I used the Galaxy Z Flip4 to take a photo of my half-body #KOTD (Kicks of the Day)

Five-year software support

Usually, Android smartphones only get three years of software updates. That’s one of the main reasons why I can’t last long with Android and keep getting back to iPhones.

But with the Galaxy Z Flip4, Samsung promised users that they will continue to support it for five years. This comes with four major Android OS updates. Considering the phone is rated to last five years, it goes hand-in-hand with its software support. It’s just up to the user if they can keep the Flip4 unhinged after those years.

The Impurities

Just like me and any other products out there, the Galaxy Z Flip4 is far from being perfect.

Will-o’-the-wisp

If you’re not familiar with such metaphorical term, it just means a misleading and impossible to reach hope or goal.

The same can be said with the battery life of the Galaxy Z Flip4. Even though the battery capacity was bumped up from Flip3’s 3300mAh to now 3700mAh and a more power-efficient 4nm processor, I can’t say its promised battery life is enough for a single-charge use case.

Case in point: After fully-charging the phone around five in the morning, the phone went dead at around 2:30 in the afternoon. That’s not even more than half a day of use.

The breakdown of my usage during that time are as follows:

  • 3 hours of Facebook and Messenger
  • 2 hours on Apple Music
  • 1 hour of video playback on YouTube
  • 45 minutes of Twitter
  • 21 minutes of gaming

And just as a usage bonus, I was able to play a 10-minute 4K YouTube video plus a 3-minute Netflix title from 3% before it died down to 0%.

Another instance was when I went out for a work meeting. I unplugged the phone around 6AM. But because I wanted to continue using it as my laptop’s hotspot (and maximize its 5G capabilities), I needed to charge it around 3PM. The results weren’t very different from my first usage.

Luckily, the Power Saving Mode saves the day. The obvious compromises would be the dimming of its already-bright display. Aside from that, 120Hz will be turned off in favor of a slower 60Hz refresh rate. Lastly, you can’t use 5G and will just be limited to 4G LTE. This shouldn’t be a dealbreaker to most people who don’t rely on super-fast data connection.

The result? The phone’s standby duration lasted for more than 15 hours with a screen on time of around nine hours. That’s double the amount of what you can have without power saving turned on. You just have to deal with its compromises.

Super fast charging?

In this new generation of smartphones, bundling a charger out of the box is now considered a luxury more than a necessity. And we all know Samsung followed the footsteps of Apple towards a “sustainable future” 🤧

I’m not much different. Even though Samsung provided me this review unit, they also didn’t give me any of their Super Fast Charger adapter nor cable. They promised though that using their 25W Fast Charge adapter can charge the phone to 50% in thirty minutes.

Still, I used the fastest 100W charger I own — one with a USB-C port capable of a maximum output of 40W. That’s more than enough as the Galaxy Z Flip4 can only reach max 25W fast charging.

BTW, that’s something the Galaxy Z Flip3 doesn’t possess as its limited to just 15W of wired charging. Even wireless charging support was leveled up from 10W to 15W.

Here are the results of “Super Fast Charging” the Galaxy Z Flip4 using a third-party charger and high-speed USB-C to USB-C cable.

Regular (daytime) charging:

  • 5 minutes = 4%
  • 10 minutes = 14%
  • 15 minutes = 20%
  • 20 minutes = 31%
  • 30 minutes = 43%
  • 45 minutes = 67%
  • 60 minutes = 85%
  • 1 hr 5 minutes = 90%
  • 1 hr 21 minutes = 100%

Overnight charging:

  • 5 minutes = 4%
  • 10 minutes = 11%
  • 15 minutes = 16%
  • 20 minutes = 22%
  • 30 minutes = 37%
  • 45 minutes = 48%
  • 60 minutes = 55%
  • 1 hour 15 minutes = 61%
  • 1 hour 30 minutes = 68%
  • 1 hour 45 minutes = 74%
  • 2 hours = 82%
  • 2 hours 30 minutes = 96%
  • 2 hours 38 minutes = 100%

Inconsistent 5G and Wi-Fi hotspot

Again, I know it’s not a huge dealbreaker to most. But for someone like me who relies on more than 100mbps internet speeds when working outdoors, this is one cause for concern.

I’m unsure if it’s only limited to my unit but during my time with it, 5G speeds were inconsistent. I’ve used the same 5G sim on a different phone but it displayed consistent speeds all throughout. Another thing was that, mobile hotspot keeps disconnecting – whether I switch the hotspot settings from 5GHz down to a slower 2.4GHz.

If I’m not alone in this issue, I’m hoping Samsung will address it through a future software update.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Months after its release, the base model of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 still starts at PhP 58,990 / SG$ 1398 / US$ 249.99 with four default color options: Bora Purple, Pink Gold, Blue, and Graphite.

If you want to get more extra, you can pre-order a customized Galaxy Z Flip4 Bespoke Edition. You have 75 color combinations to choose from. Unfortunately, it’s not available in the Philippines.

Even though I was never able to use the Galaxy Z Flip3 a year ago, I can tell that Samsung has addressed all the concerns users have experienced with their past Flip. Aside from aesthetic changes, such as thinner and more durable hinge design plus slimmer bezels, the hardware improvements are there too. The Galaxy Z Flip4 is a pure refinement of what was already a great piece of hardware.

Still, that doesn’t mean Z Flip3 users have to upgrade to the latest one. Give Samsung a little more time to make their innovation more mature before you buy one of their foldable offerings.

I used to deny that I’m part of the Gen Z population. However, as the Galaxy Z Flip4 is meant towards the Gen Z line, I can attest that it’s a quirkly-looking phone that’s fun to use. Not to mention, it’s a head-turner when I open and flip the phone out in the crowd.

Disregarding all the “impurities” that these phone has, I still recommend it for those who are looking for or want to switch to a foldable without breaking the bank. After all, I’ve listed more good parts in this review write-up.

Being able to pack a lot of punch in such a compact and precisely-crafted piece of engineering marvel makes this phone stand out from the crowd. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 is a worthy recipient of The GadgetMatch Seal of Approval.

Computers

Apple M2 Mac mini Review

More Affordable, More Powerful

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Apple silently revealed the 2023 M2 Mac mini to the world.

Back in 2005, the Mac mini G4 was the cheapest Mac you can buy for US$ 499.

Almost 18 years after, the Mac mini still is the cheapest Mac at just US$ 599.

That’s still a lot of savings versus buying a US$ 1299 iMac.

The biggest difference? The newest Mac mini runs two of the most powerful chips right now — the M2 and M2 Pro.

But is it actually the right Mac for you?

Watch our Apple M2 Mac mini review now!

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Gaming

Forspoken review: Outspoken with little to speak of

Wait for a sale

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Forspoken

It doesn’t take a lot to create a decent roleplaying game. All you need is a fish-out-of-water character, a vast open map, and a seemingly endless list of objectives. Though it has all three, Forspoken struggles to keep up with its pretenses as a Western roleplaying game.

First, the good

Credit to where it’s due, Forspoken is a fun game for the first few sections. Exploring the incredibly huge map with magical parkour is enjoyable. Eclipsed only by Elden Ring’s Torrent, magic parkour is one of the most innovative ways to quickly traverse large distances, especially after learning more advanced techniques.

Likewise, fighting balanced enemies with limited powers provides enough of a challenge to keep players on their toes in Athia. Neither the player nor the first enemies feel overpowered.

Unfortunately, the game’s novelty quickly evaporates after you figure out that you have to repeat the same motions dozens upon dozens of times. Forspoken’s map is much larger than it ever should have been. Though abundant in number, every point of interest is separated by large distances, some platforming challenges, and a battle sequence. The greater map is empty. Do this over and over, and the game gets stale quick. With adequate rewards, this shouldn’t be a problem, but Forspoken also suffers from a communication issue.

A communication issue

For most roleplaying games, completing an objective on the map usually nets palpable rewards for the player: a significant experience boost, new skills, new gear, or a bag of loot. An open-world game necessitates a lot of exploring. Even if a game is repetitive, earning substantial rewards is satisfying, at least. Forspoken does not have this — not in an easily discernible way, at least.

Treasure chests, which account for most of the points of interest on the map, reward players with a litany of crafting materials. Most of which will go unused because the game doesn’t easily tell players how to use them. After a dozen hours of collecting materials, I had a wealthy cache of each ingredient to make practically anything. Even then, I had little idea where each one went.

The map’s major rewards — new cloaks, new nail arts, and experience — also do little to explain how Frey improves with each completed objective. Clearing out an enemy camp, for example, rewards players with +1 magic. The game does not tell you how much damage that conveys. Certainly, after completing a few of these, Frey feels stronger, but it’s not easy to see how much stronger, especially when most enemies are bullet sponges with absurd health pools anyway.

Plus, these don’t even scratch the surface of objectives wherein the main reward is literally just a lore dump you have to read from a menu.

Forspoken

Difficulty shouldn’t always mean more enemies

Another issue with clearing out Athia’s large map is how Forspoken handles difficulty. Though there are options to adjust difficulty, the game relies on a limited bag of tricks to make it more difficult for players: increasing enemy health and quantity. In moderation, relying on this strategy works. However, Forspoken does this to an obnoxious level.

Prepare to fight five mini-bosses in one encounter for a lore entry. What compounds this issue more is an insane enemy health pool which causes encounters to last a lot longer than they should. One mini-boss encounter took me 15 minutes, even with appropriately leveled gear and the right spells.

Because of the sheer number of enemies, an encounter can stun-lock Frey for an absurd amount of time. The player can hardly prevent this since it relies on chance. Despite offering a wide array of moves, the risk of knockbacks shoehorn players into a slow run-and-gun tactic (which might not even play into an enemy’s weaknesses), instead of using each ability to the max.

On paper, Forspoken’s combat offers a fluid way to take down enemies by seamlessly switching between spells and moving through the battlefield with magic parkour. Unfortunately, an imbalance in enemy strategies bogs the game down in prolonged sequences that often reward players with only middling boosts.

Forspoken

A lack of optimization

For a game released on modern hardware, Forspoken took a while to launch. The game was delayed a few times. Given how delays often work, you’d think that it would release in a fairly optimized state. It’s not.

Though I haven’t hit major game-breaking bugs, there were a number of performance dips throughout the game. Even on performance-focused settings, framerates dropped to a standstill when there were high particle effects on screen. Frey constantly clipped through the terrain and found herself stuck on finnicky edges (which sometimes required reloading from previous saves).

The game is also dragged down by numerous cutscenes. Though not a bug per se, it’s not a great sign of optimization that the game has to pause for a cutscene just to show enemies arriving. For a game featuring fluid movement and combat, Forspoken often takes players out of the action by pausing for unnecessary cutscenes.

Forspoken

Better on sale

Overall, Forspoken is persistently flawed. However, amid the game’s shortcomings, the title still has an exciting combat and movement system. Plus, if you disregard the tedious open world, Forspoken’s linear story, featuring the wide range of abilities, are enjoyable. My interest always bounces back after beating one of the game’s main bosses.

Still, it’s hard to call Forspoken a game worthy of its AAA price tag. It might be better to wait for a discount.

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Computers

MSI Summit E16 Flip review: Creator on the go

A plethora of ways to be as productive and creative as possible

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We all love a good 2-in-1 device that gives us everything we need all in one go. From portability to productivity, devices like these truly bring out the best in everyone no matter what kind of use case you throw at it. Such is the case for MSI, a brand notably known for gaming hardware but has their fair share of productivity-focused laptops, as well.

One such 2-in-1 device under MSI’s portfolio is the MSI Summit E16 Flip, complete with hardware and features for the more well-rounded user out there. With a rather slim form factor, the device would ideally mix both portability and productivity in one. Also, it comes with some external hardware that elevates the productivity just a bit further, as well.

With all these in mind, is the MSI Summit E16 Flip a worthy option for all your productivity needs?

Performing above expectations

The MSI Summit E16 Flip performs rather fantastically for any given situation; whether you’re working or watching, it has the hardware to keep up. Inside this machine is a 12th generation Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM — a standard for most productivity-laden devices. Most applications run smoothly on this device, which is expected as a daily driver for most tasks.

It also comes with a 16:10, QHD+ anti-glare display, which does provide a bigger canvas for multitasking with multiple windows open. This IPS touch display is quite bright and color-accurate, especially at peak brightness and in broad daylight. Whether you’re working during the day or watching movies at night, this device is perfect for these activities.

Gaming and creating on the go

Much like all other MSI laptops, the MSI Summit E16 Flip comes with a dedicated NVIDIA RTX 3050Ti GPU inside. Although not as powerful as oher mobile GPUs, this one packs a punch for a good balance of gaming performance with high quality graphics. When throwing in Esports titles, the device poured in high frame rates suited for competitive play.

Of course, a powerful GPU also enables greater performance when editing photos and videos in high quality, as well. This is also helped out by the display having a 165Hz refresh rate with a 1ms response rate, so you don’t miss out on any out of place pixels. From our tests, render times for HD videos were decent enough — about 2 minutes for a 15-second video with many visual elements.

A pen and large display for your notes

Part of the package for the MSI Summit E16 Flip is the addition of the MSI Pen for those who prefer a pen over a mouse/trackpad. This additional accessory links up quite quickly, and lasts for more than a day on a full charge. Also, it comes with a few magnetized areas so it sticks to the side of the laptop or the top of the display for ease of access.

Ideally, you’d need something like the MSI Pen if you’re more into drawing illustrations or taking down handwritten notes — and it shows. From legible handwriting to brush strokes, the device was able to pick up on these inputs well. It even supports other Windows gestures like zoom, drag, and multi-select — essentially replicating the wide trackpad.

Although, from our usage of the device, the display has this slight problem with rejecting palms on top of it. While writing with the MSI Pen, it is natural to rest your palm somewhere on the display yet even inputs from that get picked up. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but something to be wary of.

Lasts decently long for consistent productivity

Longevity is another thing the MSI Summit E16 Flip provides, specifically on the battery side of things. Throughout our usage of the device, on normal usage, it lasts around 10-11 hours which is pretty decent for the hardware. Accounting for higher quality videos playing, the device lasted for 9-10 hours on average.

When gaming full time or even rendering higher quality videos, the battery does take a hit, as expected. For full time video rendering, it drained its battery after three and a half hours on average, while gaming cut it down to around two to three hours.

Although, if you need to get back into your productivity workflow, the MSI Summit E16 Flip restores its battery quickly with the charger it comes with. On average, charging the device took around two hours from nothing to full, which should put you back in action.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Starting PhP 130,999, the MSI Summit E16 Flip has everything you need in a 2-in-1 device when you’re on the move. From the hardware to the accessories, it’s a well-rounded machine designed for the multihyphenated or those who work and play hard. Also, its overall design makes it a bit easier to bring around.

If money isn’t entirely an issue, this laptop is one great upgrade option out there both as a work machine and a creator hub. Accessory-wise, the MSI Pen should be on your list of must-haves when purchasing this device, in case a mouse doesn’t suit your liking.

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