Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 review: A no-compromise foldable phone that competes for the mainstream

The world of Android phones is booming with the awesomeness of visuals. The bigger the width, the better they are supposed to be. We expect brands to conjure up something new with each new installment, and we quickly judge and decry those who don’t fit in that box.

Every now and then, someone comes along and changes the game. The clock has been reset. Like Samsung did with the Galaxy Fold in 2018. Who knew screens could bend like that, right? Android phones will never be the same again.

Read also | Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 hands-on review in pictures: A quick first look at design, specs, features and more

Despite the difficult start, Samsung has not stopped making foldable phones. It has become better. Last few years Galaxy Z Fold 3 (Review) It was almost perfect. It has brought a sturdier design, smoother touch response and water resistance. It was also in the pocket a little more than the older models. Samsung has achieved its goal and the fold has fulfilled its purpose.

The question is, where do you go from there? The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is here to answer that.

Design and Screen (Displays)

Samsung has taken the Fold 3 base design and added some of it Galaxy S22 (Review) Its elements to make the fold 4. The outer frame, for example, is more striking when you look at it. It is shinier and more visible than the relatively more restrained and more discreet 3 fold style. The hinge is a little smaller.

All this together makes the Fold 4 more compact – and easier to pull – than its predecessor. It measures 15.8mm when folded (versus 16mm in the previous generation) and weighs around 263g (versus 271g). The overall fit and finish have been improved although it’s hard to say how much unless the latest model was particularly shabby. You have to hold it to believe it.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 review
The 7.6-inch foldable screen has an aspect ratio of 21.6:18. (Image credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

The body is made of advanced Corning Gorilla Glass Victus Plus. The frame and hinge are made of armored aluminum. Still not resistant to dust and debris. You get the same water resistance as before. The hinge gap and center crease remain the same.

But whatever it is, everything from opening and closing it to propping it up at an angle, feels solid and satisfied. It’s great, and although there are some speed bumps along the way, the experience remains exhilarating, if not better.

Samsung has made similar subtle – but effective – changes to the side of the screen. You get the same 7.6-inch QXGA dynamic foldable 120Hz AMOLED display as the Fold 3 but it’s a bit wider (21.6:18) and can reach 1,300 nits (versus 1,200 nits).

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 review
Cover screen 23.1:9. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh / Financial Express)

The cover screen is basically the same – 6.2-inch Dynamic 120Hz AMOLED – but here, too, the aspect ratio has received a slight update. It’s now 23.1:9. Does that mean it’s more beautiful to write? Well, no, but it’s a nice upgrade nonetheless and a step in the right direction.

Overall, there’s more screen real estate at both ends without any significant jump in size and that’s appreciated. As for the quality, both screens are great considering the rich contrast and impressive performance. There is support for the S-Pen stylus but again, there is no garage to park it and it is an optional purchase.

performance and cameras

While much of its design is incremental, the Fold 4 is all-new on the inside. The biggest update comes easily in the camera department and that’s great because Samsung has kept top-shelf camera hardware out of the range of these so far. The Fold 3 had the same cameras as the Fold 2.

This is the same company that makes the ultimate killer camera phones like Galaxy S22 Ultra (review)-Why don’t you use this here?

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 review
Put Flex to work. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

Although it doesn’t exactly do that per se, it’s good to see the Fold 4 getting some attention in this regard. Samsung uses the same setup here as S22 and S22 Plus (review) That is, you get a 50MP main sensor behind the f/1.8 lens with optical image stabilization. This is paired with a 12MP ultra-wide angle and another 10MP telephoto for a combined 30x “space” (3x optical) zoom.

This is a powerful combination and the output is impressive. Like the S22 phones, the Fold 4 takes amazing photos with a good amount of detail and nice, interesting (but not overly saturated) colors. HDR performance and dynamic range are simply off the charts. Night mode is also seeing a significant increase over the last generation.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 review
The physical fingerprint reader is fast and reliable. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

But what stands out even more is that superfast imaging and telephoto are not just fillers for specs but are already qualified with the main sensor on almost every level, be it color science, detail or sharpness. Video recording (which can go up to 4K @ 60 fps), too, is more spot-on in low light.

The cover screen has the same 10MP camera as the 3 foldable camera. It can pull in ample detail especially when there is plenty of light and take some great photos in perfect conditions.

The 4MP camera from last year gets an update with a new scatter-type sub-pixel arrangement, so it’s less distracting than before. However, the image quality is not much better. It’s best kept for quick video calls.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 review
The dual speaker setup becomes nice and loud. Solid touches. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

It’s all driven by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 and we have nothing but good things to say about it. The Fold 3 with Snapdragon 888 was prone to heating when pressed and although the Fold 4 can get warm at times, when playing a graphically demanding game like Genshin or running a benchmark, it’s simply on another level when it comes to efficiency. Same reason, the same 4,400mAh battery lasts longer in the fold 4 than it did inside the fold 3. and there’s no noticeable throttling either.

This is key for a device like the Fold 4 being marketed as production powerhouse. We can go out and say he delivers on that promise.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 review
Fold 4 brings a new berth at the bottom. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

Samsung has been making some software audio selections since it released the first foldable version and every year, there’s something more recognizable to talk about. The Fold 4 runs a custom version of Google Android 12L with a large screen called OneUI 4.1.1. Not that previous versions were slow, but this new version adds more ways to multitask including a lower taskbar that launches every time you open an app for smooth switching.

You can additionally dock a vertical row of frequently used apps that stay running no matter where you are on the home screen/app drawer or which app you’re using.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 review
Creases are more likely, but they are present. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

App Continuity allows apps running on the cover screen to automatically switch to the inside screen when you open it. Flexible mode allows you to run two apps simultaneously or have an extra set of controls for one when your phone is folded vertically (at 90 degrees). Multiple windows let you launch three apps together, resize and even pair them for quick launch later while floating windows can add up to five other apps to the list.

There’s so much to explore, so much to do on this phone, that it wouldn’t be a mistake to call it a byte-sized computer in your pocket. What’s amazing is that despite the abundance of features, none of them feel like a gimmick. Everything works without lag or stutter, too.

SAMSUNG GALAXY Z FOLD 4 | Should you buy it?

It’s easy to see where Samsung put its money this year in trying to give you a more comprehensive experience of hardware and software. This will be the performance – especially the software and battery life – and the cameras. In both areas, the Fold 4 winner comes out with flying colors. Those were the only big flaws in fold 3. So, you could say, the circle is – now – complete.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 review
The Fold 4 is a better foldable phone than the Fold 3. (Image credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

The Fold 4 is a better foldable phone than its predecessor in every sense except for one – pricing. Samsung launched it at a starting price of Rs 1,54,999 for the version with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The version with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage will set you back Rs 1,64,999. You can also get the Fold 4 with 1TB of storage for Rs 1,84,999. In contrast, the Fold 3 cost Rs 1,49,999 (12GB/256GB) and Rs 1,57,999 (12GB/512GB) at launch.

Read also | First impressions of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4: Small steps make big changes

Does this mean fold 4 is exaggerated? of course no. There are several reasons why it costs the way it does, including the devaluation of the rupee against the US dollar, but even in the US, the Fold 4 is priced the same as the Fold 3. Samsung is making a big deal about how they want to make foldable devices popular. Several generations into the basic design and no major changes to the basic design, one would think, Samsung had come up with a way to make these devices a little bit cheaper. But that is not the case, at least at the time of writing. Perhaps, the Fold 5 will do that, or perhaps it will offer a new design. we will see.

As for the Fold 4, there is absolutely nothing quite like it on the market today which is why Samsung deserves all the credit.

Positives Negatives
Excellent build Still big and bulky
foldable display No dustproof
fast performance Long-term durability concerns remain
spot program The price
Fantastic cameras
Good battery life