- The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the latest in Samsung’s Galaxy Fold series of foldables, which tries to offer the user the best of both smartphone and tablet worlds.
- In terms of design and appearance, the Fold 4 seems very similar to its predecessor, the Fold 3, but comes with a number of hardware and software improvements.
- At a starting price of USD 1499 / INR 1,54,999, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is more expensive than an iPhone 14 and an iPad Air taken together but is in a league of its own when it comes to foldables.
While other brands have been largely paying lip service to the concept of a foldable smartphone and showing us the odd prototype from time to time, Samsung has pretty much taken foldables to the market. And that too with two distinct form factors, the Z Flip and the Z Fold. The brand has been releasing regular versions of its foldables since before the pandemic and now has got to version number four with both the Flip and the Fold.
While the Flip has generally been targeted at those who want a phone with flaunt value (and have fond memories of the flipp-y bird that the Moto RAZR was), the Fold has been seen as the more “serious” foldable of the two. It is more functional than flashy and has a very strong productive side, with its ability to morph from a phone to a tablet and vice versa. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 continues this tradition, following in the footsteps of the very acclaimed Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 Review: Big, bulky, and bold (just like the Fold 3)
At first glance, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 is so similar to the Fold3 that you would not be able to tell the two Folds apart, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because we had no major complaints about the way in which Fold3 had worked and looked. Bad because the minor issues we did have with Fold3 are carried forward to Fold4 as well.
The Fold4 retains its slightly ‘Nokia Communicator’ looks, with a display outside and a larger display revealed when the device is unfolded. From the outside, it looks like a slightly thick and long phone, with a very prominent metallic frame, with Samsung branding on the left side. When opened, it slips into the guise of a very slim tablet. Its thickness makes it very distinct from other phones. You will not be able to tell it apart from the Fold3 at first glance, as both have similar 6.2-inch displays in front and turn into 7.6-inch tablets when open.
A closer look will show that the Fold4 is more compact than the Fold3 – it is 155.1 mm tall as compared to the 158.2 mm of the Fold3. But at 67.1 mm width (when folded) and 14.2 mm thick (thin it is not), it is very close to the Fold3, although the display in front is wider on Fold 4. It is slightly lighter than the Fold3 (263 grams as compared to 271 grams) and feels sturdy when shut, with Gorilla Glass Victus+ on the front and back.
It feels sturdy when opening in tablet mode, too, with well-built hinges and the armor aluminum frame running along its sides. It also is slightly more difficult to open than the Fold3, and opening it is very much a two-handed exercise. This is something we like, as it limits the chances of one opening it by mistake. It comes with IPX8 water resistance and can survive in 1.5 meters of water for up to half an hour. We are not fans of the very clear gap between the upper and lower portions of the Fold4 when it is folded – it makes the device look asymmetrical and also collects dust, which becomes very visible whenever you open the device. We also feel that the external display still seems very odd because it is kind of tall without being adequately wide.
Also Read: 25+ Samsung Galaxy Fold 4 Tips and Tricks
When shut, however, the Galaxy Z Fold4 looks solid and substantial. It will stop traffic, but by denting whatever hits it rather than by its svelte good looks. And yes, people will turn their heads when you use it because there is nothing quite like it in terms of appearance, although, as we pointed out earlier, they will not be able to tell whether this is the third or fourth Fold.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4: Great productivity promised
Its appearance might not be spectacular, but the spec sheet of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 certainly is. The Fold4 is, on paper, one of the most powerful mobile devices out there. The 7.6-inch foldable display that gives the device its name is a foldable version of the brilliant and bright Dynamic AMOLED 2X display seen on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, with a resolution of 1812 x 2176px and a refresh rate of 120 Hz. The external display is Dynamic AMOLED 2x with a 120 Hz refresh rate as well, although it is of a more modest 904 x 2316px resolution. The external display is wider than the one on the Fold3, but it remains narrow by regular smartphone standards.
Pulling the strings on the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the fastest processor in the Android world, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Generation 1 chip, aided by a massive 12GB of RAM across all variants, and storage options that go all the way up to 1 TB. The rear has three cameras – a 50-megapixel main sensor with OIS, a 10-megapixel telephoto sensor with OIS and 3x optical zoom, and a 12-megapixel ultrawide sensor. The external display has a 10-megapixel camera for selfies, and there is an under-display 4-megapixel camera on the internal display as well. Barring that internal display camera, this arrangement is very similar to the one seen on the Samsung Galaxy S21+, which was a terrific performer in this department.
This is a monster device in terms of productivity potential. And thanks to Samsung’s excellent implementation of OneUI on top of the tablet-friendly Android 12L, it delivers in spades.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: Great productivity delivered!
The strength of the Fold series has been its ability to switch from phone to tablet mode, and Samsung has been steadily improving this from the first, slightly erratic Fold. The Fold 4 lets you switch smoothly from phone to tablet mode with none of the lags and stutters that we saw in some of the earlier versions. And with that outstanding hardware, things moved with incredible smoothness, especially on the internal display. Yes, the crease in the middle remains an eyesore, but playing Genshin Impact and Call of Duty on that display with no lags is a stunning experience.
The external display remains a little cramped for typing but is very good for general viewing and browsing, and heck, if you want a better view, just open the device and check the view on the magnificent, larger display – something that really comes to the fore when you view a mail on the external display and then open the Fold4 to view attachments on the larger display. This is about as smooth as any open-to-become-a-tablet foldable device gets.
The cameras on the back are very capable ones – just remember to view the results on the larger display within than on the narrow one in front. Yes, colors get oversaturated frequently, but the cameras deliver good detail, and you are assured of very good-looking photographs and videos more often than not. Low light performance is right up there with the best of the S22 series, making these proper flagship-level cameras. That larger display is also a photo and video editor’s paradise, allowing you to zoom into details and frames and make changes. The selfie camera is a good one as well, but the under-display one is best used only for video calls.
There is a fair deal of software wizardry that makes the Fold 4 so formidable. The switch from narrow to wide views is often seamless, and banding in videos is much lesser, although the full-screen mode sometimes cuts away bits from the left and right sides of images. We, in particular, love the flex mode on the internal display, which lets you semi-fold the display in such a way that the lower part becomes the keyboard and the upper part remains the display. We would not go so far as to say that it works like a notebook, but it does make typing out large passages of text much easier; we could even compose the odd short article in this mode. Another favorite of ours was the split screen mode, which allowed us to open two windows on the internal display, splitting it into two halves – terrific for not just multi-tasking but even for comparing prices on different sites.
The split screen option has been available on Android for a while, but we have seldom used it as often and had as wonderful an experience as we have on the Fold 4. The Fold 4 also supports Samsung’s iconic S Pen stylus and comes with Dex support for those who want to connect it to a larger monitor for a desktop experience, although you will have to purchase the S Pen separately. The phone is also 5G which means you will be able to surf the fastest network of them if it is available in your area (Samsung is expected to send a software update in this regard). No matter how you look at it, the device is a productivity powerhouse.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4: Fantastic, but fallible
The Fold4 is perhaps the best foldable we have ever used, but it is by no means perfect. The external display is more useful than it was on the Fold3, but it still remains awkwardly narrow, and the 23.1:9 aspect ratio is not perfect for viewing. We would have preferred the display on the front to be slightly more proportionate, and making it a bit wider would have helped. Then there is the crease in the middle of the internal display. You get used to it, but it is never really a pleasant sight or feeling, especially in a phone with that big a price tag. And while Samsung has improved the software considerably, there are still occasions on which apps do not play nice on the larger internal display.
It also is a bit of a battery guzzler. Hardly surprising when you consider that it comes with two displays, one of which is a fairly large one. The Fold4 comes with a 4400 mAh battery, which with careful usage, will see you through the day. Use that internal display a lot, however, and you will struggle to get through the day. Charging speeds are also not the greatest – 25W, and with no charger in the box as well. Using a 25W charger will get the phone from 0 to 50 in about half an hour, but a complete 0 to 100 charge takes closer to an hour and a half, which seems sluggish when you consider that flagships with bigger batteries are now getting charged in well under an hour. The device supports 15W wireless charging and 4.5W reverse charging, but even those are well below what the competition offers.
Finally, there is the structure of the Fold 4 itself. Yes, the phone feels tough, but thanks to its shape and design, getting cases and tempered glass screen protectors for the device is difficult. And all that display real estate does demand some sort of protection. We have been using our unit extremely carefully, but the smudges and scratches are creeping in, and seeing them on such a premium device makes us wince.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 Review Verdict: The only foldable worth buying for work!
So should you be thinking of investing in the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4? At its starting price of USD 1499 / INR 1,54,999, it is definitely one of the most expensive phones out there. And as some will point out, it actually costs about as much as an iPhone 14 and an iPad Air taken together. But as a single entity, there is nothing quite like the Fold 4 out there. The Flip 4 might turn heads with its design and Razr-like flippability, but if you want a foldable for hardcore work then the Fold 4 is a no-brainer. Cynics might snort that it is basically a spec upgrade from the Fold 3, which was already a formidable device, but that does not change the fact that it is easily the best-performing foldable out there by some distance and can give any flagship a run for its money in terms of performance, No, it is not perfect (what is, for that matter!) but in our books, it is simply the only foldable worth buying for folks who want a foldable for function than for flaunt.
- A phone and a tablet in one
- Great inner display
- S Pen support
- Outer display is more usable
- Very good software
- Perfect for productivity
- Water resistance
- Outer display still narrow (and not full HD)
- Crease remains an eyesore
- Relatively slow charging battery
- Under display camera is of limited use
|Design & appearance||
At a starting price of USD 1499 / INR 1,54,999, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is more expensive than an iPhone 14 & an iPad Air taken together but is in a league of its own when it comes to foldables. Here's our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 review.