Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 review: A refresh with experience-focused upgrades



Samsung introduced its first foldable device, the Galaxy Z Fold, in 2019. Since then, it remains the only smartphone brand in India with foldable devices in its product portfolio. Leading the pack is the Galaxy Z Fold series, which was recently refreshed by the South Korean electronics maker for 2022. Named the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4, the foldable device is a minor upgrade over the Fold3 (revision). It’s essentially the same device tuned for new experiences.

The Galaxy Z Fold4 is a smartphone with a foldable form factor, which enables experiences not otherwise possible on conventional smartphones with a bar-shaped form factor. More on the experiences later in the review, the Fold4 is thick, heavy and bulky like a smartphone. This is despite Samsung’s continued efforts to reduce device flab with each generational upgrade. The Fold4, undeniably, is a compact smartphone with optimally utilized space, but it is not a pocket smartphone. For a device with two screens, including a large foldable one, the Galaxy Z Fold4 is appropriately sized, with evenly distributed weight for a good grip, especially when unfolded.

Unwieldy, but the fourth-generation Galaxy Fold device isn’t tricky. It features a durable aluminum body and Gorilla Glass Victus+ protection on the cover screen, back cover, and cameras. Additionally, the device is IPX8 rated for protection against water-related damage. These safeguards build confidence in using the device, but you can still use it with care. This is because the foldable screen is plastic and is prone to damage if pressed too hard or subjected to sharp objects. However, there is no reason to worry about the longevity of the device as long as you follow Samsung’s do’s and don’ts that are shown during the initial setup. Important to note, the Fold4 is not dust resistant and should be regularly cleaned and protected, if necessary, for the best experience.

Screenshot

Coming soon, the Galaxy Z Fold4 brings changes focused on ease of use, multitasking, and productivity. Take for example the new taskbar mounted on the bottom side of the Galaxy Z Fold4’s main foldable display. It displays five commonly used apps and two recent apps at the bottom of the main screen. Also, there is an app drawer to access all other apps.

Using the taskbar, you can quickly jump to another app from any window without minimizing or closing the open app. Plus, the taskbar allows for easy multitasking – press and hold the app icon to make the selection, then drag the app across the screen for a side-by-side view. The Galaxy Z Fold4 supports up to three app windows on the main foldable display.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4

Besides the taskbar, there are many other minor upgrades. Apps, including from Samsung, Google and Microsoft, are now optimized for foldable screens; cameras get enhancement features such as auto-framing and background effects for video calls; and drag-and-drop functionality is now available for more apps. Existing features such as Dual Pane Mode, App Continuity, Flexible Mode and News make the Galaxy Z Fold4 a better productivity powerhouse than any other smartphone today.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4

Rounding the package is imaging performance. The Galaxy Z Fold4 gets a new rear camera system for improved performance, especially when it comes to low-light shots and portraits. The star of the show is the 50-megapixel main sensor backed by optical image stabilization. It impresses with its fine details, natural colors and huge dynamic range. Also, the sensor is able to capture a natural shallow depth of field, which adds pizzazz to the captured frame. The ultra-wide sensor is also good, but with a different color calibration. The telephoto lens allows for close-up portraits and magnified shots, which add to the versatile imaging experience.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4

There are two other cameras on the phone, in addition to the triple camera system on the back. One on the cover screen for selfies, video calls and the phone unlock mechanism, and the other on the main screen covered under the screen. The camera on the cover display is good, but the one inside the main display is abysmal as it sits below the pixel-covered display for a distraction-free viewing experience. The pixels on top of the camera automatically turn off when the camera is in use, but this does not improve image quality. Still, there’s definitely an improvement in the overall imaging experience over the predecessor.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4

The show is provided by the 4,400 mAh battery, which lasts around a day with normal use. The device’s modest battery doesn’t pinch as much as trickle charging – it takes around an hour and a half to fully charge using a 25W adapter. Also, the device comes without a charger but just a cable with USB-C on both ends.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 is a device full of new experiences. With two screens, including a large foldable one, the device offers a refined experience whether as a smartphone for communication or as a large-screen device for productivity, entertainment and gaming. With no potential competitor in the foldable device market, the Galaxy Z Fold4 is the best foldable device despite only bringing incremental upgrades over last year’s model.

Prices and specifications

Display Main: 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X (1Hz-120Hz) Infinity Flex
Coverage: 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X (48Hz-120Hz) Infinity-O
Camera Rear: 50MP (Wide) OIS + 12MP (Ultra-wide) + 10MP (Tele) OIS
Front: 10MP
SVP: 4MP
Battery 4400mAh
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen1
RAM 12 GB
Storage 256GB/512GB/1TB
Price Rs 154,999 (12GB + 256GB), Rs 164,999 (12GB + 512GB) and Rs 184,999 (12GB + 1TB)

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4: Unboxing

Lance B. Holton