Now, before we dive in, we should set some expectations. This is a $1,799.99 device. It shouldn’t be treated as a trinket or a throwaway gadget with neat tricks.
For $1,800, we’re looking for daily usability that no other device can give you. We’re looking for something that the foldable screen enables that isn’t just a crease line on your screen.
Does the latest foldable from Samsung deliver on that? Is it even possible to reach that level of usability? Let’s see what reviewers thought.
The Fold 4, umm, folds in half to turn a 7.6-inch screen when in tablet mode into a more pocketable size.
When folded, there’s a 6.2-inch cover screen, made slightly wider and shorter than last year’s Fold 3. It’s essentially a more refined version of last year’s Fold 3.
Let’s see what reviewers are saying:
They call the display crease an issue, saying “it’s still as distracting as it was on the very first Fold device.”
Mashable spent a long time talking about the minor changes and how they added up to a device that’s “more pleasing to use in the long haul.” Things like the wider display, and the slightly lower weight, all make it feel more like a smartphone when folded.
The hinge and bezels were also slimmed down and considered a big plus, as mentioned by Phone Arena.
The thing is, you’re either interested in having a foldable screen, or you’re not. As long as the devices are good enough for the ‘interested’ camp, they’ll keep buying them.
The sci-fi feel is the draw, and form follows function here as the hinge is the literal pivot point.
Usability and productivity
So it folds. Can it do anything else? What’s the benefit of having a larger screen that you can shrink at will?
Well, PC Mag called the Z Fold 4 “the ultimate pocket computer.” That’s high praise, and they called out features like the multi-window mode and the fact you can use it easily with one hand.
The productivity accolades didn’t stop there, with XDA Developers saying it is “the king of productivity.” XDA felt the Fold 4 is the culmination of a decade of productivity knowledge, all the way back to the original Galaxy Note.
The Verge reviewer, Allison Johnson, notes that they hate tablets but couldn’t help being “tricked into liking a tablet.” Things like the taskbar being on the bottom now and subtle UI tweaks that made the Fold 4 feel more like an iPad or laptop.
Samsung knows its target audience and has years and years of productivity knowledge. The Fold 4 builds on that foundation and refines it into a usable device.
Battery life, power, and the cameras
This year, the battery size is the same as in the Z Fold 3, at 4,400 mAh. That said, the display is more efficient, with a 1-120Hz adaptive refresh rate, and the 4nm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset is also more power efficient.
The camera cluster now has a 50-megapixel main lens and a 3x telephoto lens. Are these now at the flagship level? What about the 4-megapixel under-screen selfie camera?
Well, let’s get the battery life out of the way first. TechDroider threw a bevy of tests at the Z Fold 4, and multiple other flagships.
If you’re interested, the iPhone 13 Pro Max had the best battery life performance out of the bunch.
The Z Fold 4’s camera – does it stack up?
We had high hopes for the main camera upgrade from 12 to 50 megapixels. But, it doesn’t look like everything is perfect with the new system.
PC Mag echoed those sentiments, saying, “Samsung fixed the cameras.” Again, that’s more of a drag on the camera system in Fold 3 rather than Fold 4 being good.
The only camera that didn’t make the grade is the 4-megapixel under-display one. That’s improved over the prior model, but it’s still lacking. At least you can fold the screen and use the front-facing camera for video calls.
Mashable liked the cameras, particularly the telephoto lens, which was clear and crisp at 4x magnification. Kudos to Samsung here.
So, should I buy the Galaxy Z Fold 4?
As we said earlier on, foldable devices are not for everyone. That’s fine, the more variations in the mobile market, the better, in our opinion.
Stuff says the “Galaxy Z Fold 4 makes a strong argument” for foldables being the next big thing for phones.
The Verge says the Fold 4 has no alternatives in the US, but you don’t need to upgrade if you have a Fold 3 already. That’s not to say that it isn’t worth buying if you have been waiting for the right foldable, however.
PC Mag echoed that solitary place in the US market, with the Fold 4’s high price tag being a decisive factor in buying decisions.
XDA Developers said the Fold 4 “is close to being the perfect phone for portable productivity,” at least until the Fold 5 next year…
The reviewers’ overriding sentiment is that the Fold 4 might be a great device, but the price tag is a big ask. Samsung does have some hefty trade-in rebates if you have the right devices to trade in, but that’s not going to be everyone.
We’ll leave you with this quote from Mashable, “it’ll be even more awesome in five years when more devices like this exist and they likely don’t cost nearly as much anymore.”