Samsung has just announced its next generation of foldables, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4. These new smartphones are accompanied by brand new accessories such as the Galaxy Watch 5, Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. For this impression piece, we’ll only be looking at the new smartphones. If you were expecting major upgrades like we got with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 smartphones, you might be a little disappointed. The new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 are iterative updates with slightly tweaked designs, upgraded cameras, and a current-gen processor. However, some of the changes, albeit small, are quite meaningful and could be enough to win the favour of prospective buyers.
Let’s begin with the Galaxy Z Fold 4. It’s priced starting at $1,799.99 (approximately Rs. 1,42,830 before taxes). According to Samsung, the main highlights of the new Fold are its flagship-grade cameras, a more powerful SoC, and a lighter body. The latter is the first thing I noticed and even though this model still weighs 263g (the Z Fold 3 is 271g), the weight now feels better distributed. It’s still very chunky and the two halves of the phone don’t sit flush with one another when closed, like with the Flip.
The metal frame is flatter this time and all the ports and buttons are in their familiar positions. The overall dimensions are also said to be slightly smaller compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 3, although it’s really hard to tell without seeing both devices side by side. The hinge of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 feels solid and it can be opened at various angles, depending on how you wish to use this device.
Samsung has borrowed some of the camera hardware from the Galaxy S22 series and the Galaxy Z Fold 4 now supports the ‘Nightography’ features, which is the company’s marketing-speak for better low-light photos and videos. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 features a 50-megapixel primary camera with OIS, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera, and a 10-megapixel telephoto camera with 3X optical zoom and up to 30X zoom digital zoom. The selfie cameras seem unchanged.
The inner and outer displays of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 are the same size as on the older model but there are a few changes. The outer display is now protected by Corning Gorilla Victus+ and has an adaptive refresh rate of 48Hz to 120Hz, while the inner folding display has a more power-efficient refresh rate range of 1Hz to 120Hz.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 runs OneUI 4.1.1 based on Android 12L. The software is largely similar to what we’ve seen with the Galaxy Z Fold 3, but Samsung has added a new taskbar feature so the bottom row of apps on the homescreen stays pinned alongside the navigation controls whenever you open any app fullscreen. Samsung had introduced this concept as a Labs feature on the Galaxy Z Fold 3, but this implementation on the Galaxy Z Fold 4 feels less intrusive.
The taskbar will also show you recently opened apps and multi-window app pairs, if any. Besides pinned icons, there’s a drawer to access the rest of your apps. I think this could be a better multitasking solution than using the slide-out app carousel, which I’m not a big fan of, but that’s still an option if you wish to use it.
Coming to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, it too gets the flattened-frame treatment. The phone looks stylish in this purple trim, although I’m not a big fan of the glossy texture of the frame. Our biggest gripe with the Galaxy Z Flip 3 was its battery life, and thankfully Samsung has fitted a larger 3,700mAh (vs 3,300mAh) battery this time for better performance in that regard. The battery is also said to be able to charge from zero to 50 percent in just 30 minutes. This device will be priced starting at $999.99 (approximately Rs. 79,350 before taxes) when it goes on sale internationally.
The hinge on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is now smaller at 1.2mm. The cover screen sadly hasn’t gotten any larger. It can still perform all the same tricks such as letting you capture a selfie when the phone is folded, and now Samsung says you’ll also be able to send automated replies to certain messages from the outer display, although I wasn’t able to test this.
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 features similar ‘Flex mode’ features in certain apps when you have the phone folded halfway. Flex Cam is something new, and lets you initiate a timed capture by holding your palm to the camera. The Flip 4 also boasts of ‘Nightography’ features from the Galaxy S22 series, but the sensors seem to be the same 12-megapixel pair for the wide and ultra-wide cameras that the Z Flip 3 has.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 are both powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC. Both have IPX8 ratings for water resistance, as well as stereo speakers and wireless and reverse wireless charging. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is available in three variants with up to 512GB of storage, and all of them have 8GB of RAM. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 can be fitted with up to 1TB of storage and all variants will have 12GB of RAM. We will have to wait and see which variants actually make it to India, and at what prices.
Even though both smartphones are iterative updates over their respective predecessors, the upgraded cameras and newer SoC does make them more competitive and might help justify the premium pricing. For the Galaxy Z Fold 4, the lower weight should make a difference in prolonged use, however that might be moot if you plan on using a case with it. The Galaxy Z Flip 4’s larger battery should address the biggest gripe we had with its predecessor. We’ll be bringing you full reviews of both these smartphones closer to their India launches, so do stay tuned.
Disclosure: Samsung sponsored the correspondent’s flights and hotel for the trip to Bengaluru.