The new fourth-generation Samsung Galaxy Z series has been making the headlines for the past month, and here we are finally, ready to give you the lowdown on how it really feels to use a foldable phone. More specifically, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 Specs:
- Processor: Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, 4nm Octa-Core Processor
- Display: 7.6” HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X (Main Screen), 6.2-inch HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X (Cover Screen)
- Memory: 12GB RAM + 256GB/512GB/1TB ROM
- Rear Camera: Triple camera, 12MP Ultra Wide + 50MP Wide Angle with OIS + 10MP Telephoto
- Front Camera: 10MP Selfie Camera (Cover), 4MP (Under-display camera)
- Battery: 4,400mAh dual battery
- Operating System: Android 12L, One UI 4.1.1
Build & Design
On the outside, the Samsung Galaxy Fold4 looks identical to the Fold3. There are minuscule changes, but not enough to be visible at a glance, like the narrower bezels and slimmer hinge – by just a fraction of millimetres, according to Samsung. There really is no difference between the two when held in hand.
As a foldable phone novice, there are some things I had to get used to when I first got the phone: it’s thicker and heavier than conventional bar phones, the screen is a little too narrow when folded, yet a little too large when unfolded.
That said, all I needed was a change of perspective. Thinking of the Fold4 as less of a smartphone but more of a tablet made everything so much better. Tablets are great for multitasking and used in lieu of a laptop while on the go; that’s exactly what the Fold4 excels in. More on its performance later.
In fact, the Galaxy Z Fold4 is really a tablet that can become a smartphone when you need it to be. How many tablets can fit into your pocket? Here’s one.
The unique form factor of the Galaxy Z Fold4 makes for odd aspect ratios that may be jarring to some at first. However, thanks to Android 12L, most apps are optimized to allow videos to fit the entire screen, so watching Youtube or Netflix is as pleasant as ever, if not more. It’s worth noting that the Fold4 is also the first smartphone to carry Android 12L out of the box.
Size aside, both displays on the Fold4 are quite outstanding. The colours are vivid, and the screen is bright enough to be clearly visible even under direct sunlight. When the phone is opened up flat, the crease is barely noticeable and easy to ignore once you get used to it.
The Galaxy Z Fold4 is equipped with a 4MP under-display camera on the main screen. That means there is no physical punch hole or notch on the 7.6” main screen, making for a great viewing experience. The large screen is great for watching videos, and a bonus point goes to the fact that it can be propped up on itself without any external support!
Pro tip: Open up your Fold4 like a laptop while watching on apps such as Netflix or Youtube to trigger the Flex Mode Panel, which places your video on the top half and related functions such as comments, video details, and playback controls in the other half.
One of the biggest upgrades on the Fold4 was on its camera. Now with a 50MP main camera accompanied by a 10MP telephoto lens and a 12MP ultrawide lens, the Galaxy Z Fold4 now sports the same flagship camera specs that elevate the mobile photography experience and make Samsung’s famed Nightography possible on the Fold4.
Apart from that, the Fold4 retains all of the Flex Mode features existing in the previous generations under a new and optimized FlexCam. That means rear camera selfies, hands-free photos, and cover screen previews are all still possible on the Fold4, with a bonus: FlexCam is not just built into the camera app, but also helps improve compatibility with social media applications.
Software & Performance
Powering the Galaxy Z Fold4 is Snapdragon’s newest processor and one of the fastest chips on an Android, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. Along with 12GB RAM and up to 1TB of internal storage, the Fold4 is an almost-laptop that can do… not everything, but almost.
Designed specifically for multitasking and productivity, the Fold4 can support up to three split screens running three different applications at the same time. In our testing, the phone held up awesomely with Youtube, Chrome (6 tabs), and the Note app without any freezes or lags.
Besides that, the Fold4 also sports a new Taskbar feature that acts exactly like its namesake on a Windows computer – keeping your favourite and recently open apps on a convenient sidebar so you can switch between apps with a quick touch.
Gaming performance is interesting, to say the least. The 120Hz display allows for buttery smooth graphics and vivid colours, but my primary discomfort with gaming on the Fold4 is not so much on the performance but rather the feel – it’s both a little too big and a little too small.
While the game looks awesome on the huge main screen, there’s a reason why most tablets aren’t made for gaming. It’s impossible to reach for the controls in the upper parts of the screen with your thumb while gaming and the extra imbalanced weight means it gets uncomfortable to hold up after a period of time.
On the other hand, the cover screen is a little too narrow and a little too thick for a comfortable grip. While you can reach all of the controls on the screen now, everything is so much closer to everything else mishaps are inevitable. That said, I believe this is really a matter of getting used to the size rather than a problem with the performance.
The Galaxy Z Fold4’s battery has the same capacity as its predecessor, the Fold3, but thanks to software optimizations, its battery life actually lasted a little longer based on our tests. With regular use (social media browsing, watching Youtube, casual gaming), the foldable phone held up for the entire day on a full charge, plus about 8 hours of standby overnight.
It’s still not the best battery life we’ve seen, but it’s good enough, all things considered. The Fold4 supports fast charging, so you can get from 13% to 100% in just under an hour, from our experience.
Admirably, Samsung has been incorporating eco-conscious designs in its devices in an effort to keep to its commitment to sustainability. For the Galaxy Z Fold4 and the other devices in the same lineup, the same effort has been made.
Starting with the package, the Samsung Galaxy Fold4 comes in a box made with 100% recycled paper, including the inserts, cable ties, and more, and is 58.2% smaller than the first generation. This makes it one of the most eco-friendly packaging in the smartphone industry.
Besides that, several internal components of the Galaxy Z Fold4 are made with recycled ocean-bound plastics and recycled post-consumer materials. To further reduce e-waste going into landfills, Samsung has offered trade-in services for consumers to turn in their older Galaxy devices in return for a discount on a new device.
Our rating: 8/10
- Superb for multitasking
- Bright and vivid display
- Flagship-level rear camera
- Decent battery life
- Thick and heavy
Who is it for?
Made primarily for the multitaskers and the productive who find themselves constantly working on the go, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 is truly a multitasker’s best friend. While incremental, the upgrades on the Fold4 significantly improve the foldable experience, from the Taskbar to the upgraded camera system.
However, the price point and unconventional form factor make it less for the mainstream, and more for tech enthusiasts who have to have the most advanced gadget on the market – which is what the Fold4 is.
Buy: The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 is priced from RM6,799, in Graygreen, Beige, Phantom Black, and Burgundy, with freebies amounting up to RM1,398:
- Samsung Care+ 1-Year Extended Warranty
- 3 Protective Film Replacements
- 1 Free Galaxy Watch4 Bluetooth 40mm
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