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At less than $70, the Cingular Flip IV is one of the most affordable phones available from AT&T. Despite its simple design, this flip phone has some advanced features that make it worth a try. If you use AT&T but would prefer to avoid buying a smartphone, then the Cingular Flip IV is a solid option.
FYI: AT&T has special discounted plans just for seniors. To learn more, read our guide to AT&T senior plans.
Cingular Flip IV Pros and Cons
Affordability: At $62.99, the Cingular Flip IV is one of the most affordable phones from a major wireless carrier.
Free apps: The Flip IV won’t give you the countless apps of Apple and Android smartphones, but its KaiOS app store gives you free access to Google Maps, WhatsApp, and Facebook, among others.
Voice-to-text: Flip phones aren’t known for quick messaging capabilities, but the Flip IV features extensive voice-to-text capabilities, allowing you to speak messages rather than using predictive text.
Good battery life: In our tests, the Flip IV lasted about seven hours of talk time and nearly two days on standby.
Limited memory: The Flip IV has only 4GB of internal memory, but it has a MicroSD slot that allows for up to 32GB of additional memory.
No Wi-Fi calling: The Flip IV does not support Wi-Fi calling, so you’ll always have to use 4G service.
Cingular Flip 4 Design
The AT&T Cingular Flip IV has a classic flip-phone design. It’s compact enough to be held comfortably in one hand or stored in a pocket. On the exterior, you’ll find a screen that notes the time; on the inside, there’s a larger primary screen where you can access the phone’s features.
On the side, you’ll find a dedicated volume rocker, as well as a button to activate the camera. On the other edge of the phone are its 3.5-millimeter headphone jack and the micro USB charging port.
You’ll find the battery by removing the back of the phone. There’s also a slot for a SIM card and a microSD card. The Flip IV has only 4GB of internal storage, but you can add 32GB of memory with a microSD card.
The battery provided about seven hours of talk time and almost two days of standby use. That’s pretty standard for a flip phone, but we still appreciated it considering flip phones are something of a rare bird these days.
The Flip IV accommodates networks up to 4G LTE. When used on AT&T’s network, it also supports HD voice, which provides pretty good call quality. In our test, all the calls came in crisp and appropriately loud.
The Flip IV is also compatible with Bluetooth, and it’s rated M4/T4 for hearing aid compatibility.
Its one noteworthy omission is Wi-Fi calling. Even though the Flip IV can connect to Wi-Fi, you’ll have to rely on 4G for all your calls, which may be a pain if you’re not on an unlimited plan.
Flip phones are notorious for their clunky messaging interfaces, and, at first glance, the Cingular Flip IV appears no different. You can type individual characters with the dial pad or have a go at the predictive text feature. Neither works all that well, however, especially compared to the full keyboards available on most smartphones.
Luckily the Flip IV also supports voice-to-text capabilities. When typing a text message, you can hold down the center key to activate the feature and speak what you wish to type.
Voice-to-text can be used on just about any text-entry field, whether it’s a text message, a WhatsApp chat, or browsing the web. In my experience, the feature worked pretty accurately, and it definitely beats using the dial pad.
Similar to the Alcatel Go Flip, the Flip IV has the KaiOS store. It definitely won’t give you the massive number of apps available on iPhones and Androids, but there are some useful apps. The Flip IV has a simple audio and video player for files stored on the internal memory or microSD card. Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp may be the most useful, and all of them are free.
The phone also has a web browser, Google Maps, and a Find My Phone feature that allows you to use another device to track your phone’s location.
Most of these apps — particularly the web browser — are a bit clunky to use on a flip phone. Text-to-speech makes things a bit easier, but web pages often take a long time to load, and videos are rendered in low definition.
The Flip IV is definitely no substitute for a smartphone, but there are some useful tools if you want a bit more functionality than calls and texts.
The Flip IV has one 2-megapixel rear-facing camera that can take photos and videos, but the image quality is not very good.
Photos come out dark and with inaccurate colors even in good lighting, and they’re often out of focus. The phone can take videos of up to 1080p resolution, but they’re of similarly poor quality.
Don’t count on capturing album-worthy images with this phone, but you can certainly get the gist of an image when needed.
Cingular Flip IV vs. Alcatel Go Flip
In terms of basic flip phones, Cingular Flip IV and the Alcatel Go Flip are two of our favorite options, and while the two phones differ slightly in terms of specs, practically speaking, there’s not much that differentiates them.
For starters, both phones have alphanumeric keypads that support T9 texting. Both phones also support the KaiOS app store, allowing you to use programs like WhatsApp, Facebook, or a variety of email clients. Both phones also have a 2.8-inch internal display. The Flip IV’s 1.77-inch external display slightly edges out the Go Flip’s 1.44-inch one; however, the external screen only displays the date, time, and incoming calls, so larger doesn’t necessarily mean better.
Additionally, both phones feature 2MP cameras that perform about as abysmally as you’d expect. In terms of battery life and call quality, both phones perform equally.
Really, the only significant difference here will be Alcatel’s use of Google Assistant for voice commands. Particularly on a flip phone, having voice commands makes the device much easier to operate. Otherwise, the phones are on par with one another, and your decision will likely come down to which one you can find for a lower price.
Subpar camera aside, the Cingular Flip IV is one of the most affordable phones we’ve come across. Despite its simplicity, it features enough app functionality — not to mention voice-to-text — that gives it an edge.
If you’re looking for an affordable flip phone, this one will be hard to beat.
To learn more about our favorite phones and providers, check out our helpful guides.
Amie has been writing about senior care products and services for the last decade. She is particularly passionate about new technologies that help improve the quality of life for seniors and their families. Seeing her parents and grandparents age made Amie ask herself, “Would this be good enough for my loved ones?” In her spare time, Amie enjoys outdoor adventures and spontaneous road trips. Learn more about Amie here