This has been a year of incremental updates for Samsung’s devices – we saw this with the Galaxy S22 series and those iterations have trickled to the Fold lineup and especially the Z Fold 4 that was launched two months ago and for good reason.
Samsung’s premium Fold line has come a long way since 2019 and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 brings all the improvements that the Fold 3 needed. A new modified design, new software for the large screen, battery life improvements, and new camera and processor upgrades.
Unlike the Fold 3, we now have a thinner hinge and a lighter phone with even smaller bezels and a wider body. The hinge is firmer and now serves as a tripod for taking videos and photos plus as a stand when you’re watching movies or tv series.
The stronger hinge is accompanied by the Armor aluminium sides for tougher drop and scratch resistance and Gorilla Glass Victus Plus that makes the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 feel more premium and sturdy.
The Fold 3 uses regular Gorilla Glass Victus for protection.
It’s worth noting that this is the only foldable with IPX8 water resistance thanks to the anti-corrosion material, rubber sealants and waterproof components Samsung developed. The tradeoff is that we get a less flat panel. The Fold 3 has the same waterproof standard.
The Fold 4 has no protection against dust but there are brushes inside the hinge to keep dust out and also sweep any dust that makes it through the hinge. For assurance, Samsung says that its foldables can hold up to 200,000 folds.
We also get stereo speakers tuned by AKG located at the bottom and top. The bottom has USB Type-C 3.2 charging port and a side-mounted fingerprint reader.
The top speaker functions as an earpiece when you fold the device.
The Fold 4 supports two Nano SIM cards and one eSim. The Fold 4 also has three microphones at the top and one at the bottom. There’s no support for external microSD card.
The Fold 4 has a much wider cover screen at 6.2” and a 7.6” main screen – both of which are Dynamic OLED screens with 120Hz of variable refresh rate. The main display has a plastic screen protector(which you shouldn’t remove), Schott’s Ultra-Thin Glass and other structural layers. The screen protector goes all the way to the bezels to prevent dust accumulation.
The stylus is only compatible with the main screen however and you’d need a S Pen Fold Edition or the S Pen Pro(all sold separately) rather than using the regular S Pen from the S22 Ultra.
They’re the best screens across the board at 1200 nits brightness with support for HDR10+. The S22 series sport 1750 nits brightness.
I enjoyed consuming content on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. From binging Netflix and YouTube, scrolling social media, browsing the web, reading books and interacting with news apps. This is the perfect TikTok phone by the way.
The stereo speakers are absolutely amazing – you won’t miss not having a headphone jack. For multimedia consumption, the Fold 4 is the perfect pick. It’s relatively louder than the Fold 3.
It is pretty light compared to the Fold 3 at 263 grams vs 271 grams.
Fold 4 comes in Phantom Black (our unit), beige, Burgundy and graygreen while the Fold 3 comes in Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, and Phantom Green
Fold 4 uses two copper digitizers and an AI-based prediction algorithm. It uses magnets at the edge so that the fold actually closes and the magnetizing force is lowered when it is unfolded so that the electromagnetic energy doesn’t interfere with the digitizer that detects the S –Pen.
Before we get under the hood, Samsung improved the 4MP under-display camera that Samsung says they hid it a little bit better thanks to them increasing the pixel density in the display area over the camera.
Overall, I really like the design. New improvements across the board. It’s lighter and has a wider cover screen and the more square aspect ratio makes it easier to type on. The screens are the brightest even when put against other foldables. The reinforced hinge is pretty welcome and the IPX8 standard waterproofing is the cherry on top.
We have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 plus gen 1 and Adreno 730 GPU paired with a 12GB of RAM that you can expand upto 20GB with the additional 8GB Virtual RAM. You also get 256GB UFS 3.1 fast storage. Storage options go all the way to 512GB at least in Kenya.
Apart from that, we have Android 12L and OneUI 4.1.1. It’s worth noting that the Fold 4 was the first to ship with Android 12L. It’s also set to get Android 13 upgrade before the year ends.
Android 12L is Google’s mobile OS for foldables and tablets and ChromeOS devices. You get a persistent Taskbar Samsung has placed at the bottom of the screen and many of Google’s own apps come in two columns. This is handy as it is more comfortable to navigate on this square display and some apps follow this interface too.
The Fold 3 comes with the regular Android 11 powered by the older Snapdragon 888 5G chipset and Adreno 660 GPU.
And as productivity device, the Fold 4 nails it as a powerhouse. There’s a dedicated taskbar for multitasking and you can launch up to four apps and an additional pop-up app. And you can create app pairs.
The taskbar will show you a minimized version of your dock icons when you’re not on the homescreen which is nice and would only work on a large screen. You can also have it show recently opened apps and you can drag them to the screen to launch them in multiwindow mode.
You also get a shortcut to the app drawer.
App pairs are a sweet addition to Android 12L and the groupings will sit within the Recents app on the dock so that when you tap on them, they open in split view.
I really enjoyed using the taskbar-turned-dock as it makes switching between apps really easy. This productivity-driven feature makes the fold 4 so appealing.
Another handy feature is Flex mode which lets you have controls on the bottom for some apps when you fold the phone half-open. Apps like the Gallery, Camera, Clock, YouTube and more.
The Fold 3 doesn’t have this option.
Other apps are still awkward with this whole-screen real estate. Instagram is one of those apps that sit in the middle with the option to align the app to the left or right. I’m not surprised as there’s no Instagram app for the iPad too. The Meta-owned app needs to make a new Instagram for the large screens from the ground app.
For those curious about the synthetic benchmarks, the Fold 4 shows impressive numbers. On Geekbench, it scored 4125 for multi-core and 1341 for single-core performance. The Fold 3 scored 3239*
Gaming is amazing on this phone. Most games played at their maximum frame rates thanks to the speedy processor and gigantic RAM amounts plus the high refresh rate screen. From Asphalt, Dead effect, and Ninja Arashi 2.
The animations and scrolling is really smooth – perfect for immersive gaming on the Fold 4.
Overall, I loved the feature-rich software and the faster and newer processors.
For optics, the Fold 4 has five cameras and the main lenses are an upgrade from the Fold 3. There’s an under-display camera much improved from its predecessor but still the same 4MP. It is still visible but now less distracting unless you are really looking for it. It’s usable for video chats but I used it the least.
The under display camera is better on the Fold 4 than the Fold 3 as the colours are much better.
Portraits are better as it has better edge isolation.
We have a 10MP selfie camera in the punch-hole cutout just like the Fold 3. Selfies are better on the Fold 4 as it does a relatively good job of capturing skin tone.
Selfies and Portraits – and Lowlight
The main cameras get a much-needed upgrade from the Fold 3. We get a 50MP main, and a 10MP telephoto with 3X optical zoom which is an improvement over the 2X zoom of the Fold 3. The Fold 4 can do 30x digital zoom. We also get a 12MP ultrawide. The Fold 3 has a 12MP main, a 12MP telephoto with 10x maximum digital zoom and a 12MP ultrawide.
The Z fold 4’s 3X zoom is more versatile as you can get a little closer to faraway objects without losing quality.
For video recording, resolution starts at 8K 24Ffps, 4K 60fps, 1080p 60fps and 240fps and 720p 960fps. The main and the telephoto can do 4K at 30fps and 60fps while the ultrawide does 4K maxed out at 30fps.
The under display camera supports 1080p at 30fps and 60fps.
The selfie camera on the cover screen does 4K 30 and 60fps and 1080p 30 and 60fps.
Video stabilization is available on all modes on all cameras. Sweet!!!
The fold 3 main cameras supported shooting video at 4K 30fps and 1080p 30fps The Fold 3 also lacks OIS on its ultrawide camera.
The photos and videos are really good in comparison to the Fold 3– from the detail to the contrast to the saturation to the natural bokeh of the shots and dynamic range. This translates to the lowlight and night performance.
The main cameras can be used for selfie shots and videos and you get that blur. The ultrawide gives you a good view.
The main selfie camera has wider field of view and shooting is better at 30fps rather than 60fps. And there’s no background blur.
You literally have so many options to shoot with. Its photography performance still exceeds its rival foldables.
It still can’t compare to the S22 ultra. That’s the only downside.
It can do more.
On batteries, the Fold 4 comes with a 4400mAh battery that uses 25W fast charging and 15W fast wireless charging. Oh and there’s no charging adapter included in the box.
It takes 30 minutes to go from empty to 50%. The Fold 3 charges slowly as its takes the same time to get to 33%. To full, you need 1 hour and 19 minutes while the Fold 3 takes 1 hour and 46 minutes.
Even with its large screen, you can pull a full day. I was getting at least 8 and half hours on average with heavy use. Light use will get you a day and a half which is impressive.
No more battery anxiety with Fold 4.
The Fold 4 is a great foldable and showcases refinement over its predecessor. The company views foldables as key to the future of its mobile lineup and them having over 80% market share inherently makes them shape the foldable market as a whole.
For the premium price, the Fold 4 does everything and some more. It’s a significant step up. With nice-to-have features from the more polished and solid look, amazing displays with trimmed-down bezels, to the much-needed camera upgrades and optimized software that is important to multitasking and productivity and the improved fast charging. It being lighter makes it easier to use even with one hand when it’s closed.
The crease is still an issue and Samsung says that they are working to reduce it by either using different materials or making it larger as it would put less stress on the display and possibly make for a less noticeable crease as it will be spread more smoothly.
PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
The Z fold 4 starts at Ksh 257,000 for the 12GB/512GB option at official Samsung retail stores countrywide. It is also available on e-commerce sites like Masoko.
Samsung has partnered with Badili to allow for trade-ins. You can trade-in your current/old device and get an additional Kshs 25,000 on the residual value to purchase the Z Fold 4 with the remaining balance of the actual cost to be covered by you.
Samsung has also partnered with Aspira to let you buy the Fold 4 in instalments. You pay Ksh 34,270 for six months with 0% interest and the purchase gets you the Standing cover with S Pen and Samsung Care Plus 1 year free screen protection. This is available at any of Samsung Experience Stores across the country.