Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 could have a rotating camera, but there’s a catch

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip in the palm of someone's hand
(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is probably about to land, with leaks and even official teasers suggesting it will arrive on August 11. But we’ve already had a glimpse at what the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 might look like, and it could be in for some big changes.

A Samsung patent application filed with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) and spotted by LetsGoDigital, details a clamshell phone that looks a lot like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, except it has a much larger secondary screen and a rotating camera.

That camera is a dual-lens one that lives in the hinge, and you can rotate it to be useable when the phone is closed (with only the cover screen visible) or when it’s open, and to various angles in between. So this can be used both for selfies and all your other photography needs.

This wouldn’t be the first time a phone has had a rotating camera. The Samsung Galaxy A80 had one for example, as did the Oppo N1 – and that launched all the way back in 2013. But this would be the first foldable phone with a rotating camera.

The benefits are obvious – you get superior camera hardware for selfies, and the phone doesn’t need a notch or punch-hole to house any of its cameras. Housing the camera in the hinge would also help with delivering a larger secondary screen, as space wouldn’t need to be left for camera lenses next to the display.

Sketches from a Samsung patent showing a foldable phone with a rotating camera

(Image credit: Samsung / LetsGoDigital)

That’s all great, but if you’ve looked at the sketches above then you’ve probably noticed some problems with this implementation of a rotating camera. By housing it in the hinge, the hinge itself has to be a lot bigger, which makes the phone bigger too.

On top of that, the hinge and camera actually jut out a long way when the phone is folded open, so you won’t be able to lay it flat like that, and it generally looks a bit inelegant, which is not something you want with an expensive foldable.

For these reasons – coupled with the fact that patents often don’t become products – we’re not convinced that the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 will have this design. Samsung is rumored to be using an in-screen selfie camera for the Galaxy Z Fold 3, so we’d think it’s more likely that the company will continue down that path – making the camera components less visible and prominent, not more so.

Especially as rotating cameras have never really caught on, despite companies having been experimenting with them for years. We wouldn’t totally rule a rotating camera out for the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, but we’d say it’s unlikely to have one, especially with this design. A larger secondary screen is certainly possible though.

Via Phone Arena

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.