It's faster. It's got a better battery. It's more optimized than ever before.
The Samsung Z Fold 4 has arrived.
Despite foldable devices still being in their infancy, Samsung's Z Fold lineup continues to improve year after year. It offers increased durability, better productivity features, and superior processing with every edition. Question is, has the Korean tech giant succeeded in making the best foldable phone once more?
The Z Fold 4 has made big strides over its predecessor, but this is one of the costliest phones on the market. Some users may not feel that there was a worthwhile upgrade to justify the price.
If you want the breakdown on the Z Fold 4, you've come to the right place. Join us as we take a deep dive into Samsung's best foldable phone.
Z Fold 4 Specs
From generation to generation, you won't often see huge leaps in smartphone processing power and battery capacity. The same holds for the Z Fold product line. There are incremental improvements from year to year.
Let's take a look at the key specs for the Z Fold 4.
Price, Storage Capacity, and RAM
As with all foldable phones, there is a steep entry price. This is understandable since you're getting a massive folding screen and a normal screen in one.
For the standard, entry-level 256GB version you'll pay $1,799. Storage options go all the way up to 1TB, which will cost you a cool $2,159.
Samsung does allow trade-in. You can hand over your old Samsung Galaxy and put it down as credit for a Z Fold 4. You can find it at most retailers, and there are purchase plans with most major carriers.
All versions of the Fold have 12GB of RAM. This isn't just a premium feature, it's essential. The Z Fold 4's split-screen mode requires the RAM to support multiple running apps.
Screen Size, Resolution, and Refresh Rate
The Z Fold 4, like its predecessor, has two screens: the cover screen (accessible when folded) and the big, unfolded wide front display.
The cover screen has a standard 6.2" diagonal length. It includes rounded edges with a flat bevel. This is a full-featured screen, not a preview screen like on Samsung's other folding phones.
This cover screen is a slight downgrade from the main screen. It's an HD+ Dynamic AMOLED. However, it still features an impressive 2316 x 904 resolution, with 402 PPI pixel density.
The main screen is where the Z Fold makes its name. You get a full 7.6" screen space, excellent for multi-tasking across various apps. Like in previous versions, a crease between the two halves allows the screen to fold.
The main screen features Samsung's QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED. You're getting vivid colors at a native 2176 x 1812 resolution. That includes 374 PPI of pixel density.
Like most flagship phones, you can get up to a 120Hz refresh rate. This high refresh rate makes apps feel smoother and improves the viewing experience. The 120Hz refresh rate works on both screens.
The screen protection uses the new and improved Gorilla Glass Victus+. This is a needed upgrade since the Z Folds have weaker screens to allow for folding.
That said, it's still ideal that you purchase a case. For almost $2,000, even a basic case will go a long way to protecting your almost $2,000 investment.
The Z Fold 4 comes in at 263g. Some users reported that it feels heavier and chunkier than the Z Fold 3, while others reported the opposite. Your mileage may vary.
Luckily, this Samsung version features a dual SIM. Chances are that you're looking at the Z Fold for the productivity features. This allows you to have them across multiple networks, or even multiple countries.
However, there is no option for a MicroSD card. If you need more storage, you should probably upgrade to the 1TB version. If you're going to sink almost $2,000 into a phone, that won't be a significant investment.
One of the common concerns with foldable devices is not only durability but water resistance. To allow screen folding, Samsung has to ensure that the seal holds all the way through the folding motion.
The Z Fold 4 has an impressive IPX8 rating. For reference, that means you can submerge your phone at a depth of 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes. For the price you're paying, that provides some needed peace of mind.
Not only is the price a concern, but so is keeping those screens safe. The Victus+ Gorilla Glass helps, but what about the aluminum frame?
Samsung advertises this as an "armor" aluminum frame. According to advertisements, this makes it tough against drops and scratches. This advertisement seems to be holding true, as some users on Twitter report only minor damage from drops.
However, you shouldn't rely on Samsung's advertising alone. This is one of the most expensive phones on the market by a longshot. You should make sure your protective case can withstand long drops without breaking the screen.
Since folding phones are newer, the technology is costly. A screen replacement could cost you a lot of dough. Do everything you can to protect your Z Fold 4.
With a wide front display on the Samsung, a stylus allows you to take notes and draw. Luckily, the Z Fold 4 supports styluses. You can even get a case that holds the pen for you.
The Z Fold 4 currently runs on Android 12L. This is, technically, a tablet operating system. That means the Z Fold 4 can take advantage of the many tablet optimizations ideal for its use case.
There's no news yet when you'll get Android 13. Android 13 is not a huge upgrade, though, and only features minor QoL updates.
The Z Fold 4 features the latest and greatest Qualcomm Snapdragon, the 8+ Gen 1. This 4nm chip not only improves performance, but efficiency as well. The Z Fold runs cooler during intensive processes compared to its predecessors.
This is a needed update, considering the Z Fold 4 is ideal for split-screen. This allows it to run several apps side-by-side without a noticeable dip in frame rate.
The Z Fold 4 has an impressive 5 cameras. On the backside, there are three cameras: 50MP main, 10MP telephoto, and 12MP ultrawide.
The cover screen has a typical 4MP selfie camera. When you unfold the device, you get a fancy under display camera. The pixel density is higher, meaning the camera circle is much less noticeable.
The Z Fold 4 can shoot in up to 4K at 60FPS. It includes HDR, LED flash, and other typical modes like panorama.
The Z Fold 4 has all the latest dual-band WiFi standards. It has hotspot features, the latest Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, and GPS. It also handles Hifi audio streaming such as aptX HD.
Even though the Fold 4 has ample screen space, you may want to pair it with the Watch 4. Just make sure you have the right protective case for it.
Battery and Charging
The Z Fold has a Li-Po 4400 mAh battery, which you cannot remove or replace.
Its fast charging is the same as last generation: 25W. This can give you about 50% charge in as few as 30 minutes. However, it will take up to an hour and a half to get a full charge.
The Fold has wireless charging, but this is limited to 15W as in most smartphones. It also has battery share, allowing you to charge other devices at 4.5W.
The USB interface is a USB-C 3.2.
The Samsung has two main security unlocking features: facial unlock, and fingerprint unlock. However, the fingerprint sensor is not under the screen as in the Samsung Galaxy. You can find it on the side, which doubles as a power button.
For some, this may come as a serious disappointment. Samsung's under display fingerprint readers are world class and more secure than the competition. Given the price of the Z Fold 4, one would expect this feature.
However, these may just be growing pains. Even the best foldable phone is new technology, and will require future iterations to smooth the rough edges. With luck, Samsung will release the Z Fold 5 with that under display technology.
New Z Fold 4 Hardware Improvements
The Z Fold 4 is Samsung's 4th generation phone, but has it improved enough to be a worthwhile upgrade over the previous version? Let's take a look at some of the new features.
Samsung phones have a reputation for some of the best cameras, second only to the iPhone. The Z Fold series has not carried on this tradition.
However, Samsung set out to change this with the Fold 4. It has a larger sensor, admitting more light to provide better photos.
Some users have reported that the difference between the Fold 3 and Fold 4 is subtle at best. For budding photographers, your best bet would be Samsung's premium Galaxy series.
Samsung also marketed an improved zoom. However, this is not the same telephoto lens as the Galaxy Ultra. While the telephoto zoom claims to go up to 30x, anything after 10x is of inferior quality.
What sets the Fold 4 apart from the competition is the ability to use any camera as a selfie camera. You can use the under display camera, the cover camera, or even the main camera.
The Fold 4 does this by using the cover screen either to control the camera, or show the frame of reference. This is helpful for your friends, who can better pose for their picture.
Adaptive Refresh on the Cover Screen
The cover screen in previous Fold versions was notably underwhelming. It served best for checking notifications and basic functionality. Of course, Samsung packed all the best features in the main display.
Now, the Fold 4 lets you get an optimal experience on the cover screen. Adaptive refresh is one such example. If you'd prefer to just watch videos on the cover, you can get a high quality viewing experience.
5G has been all the rage lately, and the Fold series now supports it. 5G is the next generation of WiFi and cellphone service. It allows faster connections, higher network device capacity, and better reliability.
Being that the Fold 4 is essentially a mini tablet, this speed is a welcome improvement. You can take the Fold 4 on the go and still get top speeds.
Bluetooth 5.2 is also a welcome addition. When Android 13 arrives, that will allow for Bluetooth LE. Bluetooth LE is a low-power mode that still provides high bitrate.
The Galaxy Buds are some of the best earbuds on the market and provide the optimal audio experience for the Fold 4. Make sure you buy a case to keep them protected.
New Fold 4 Software Improvements
Hardware improvements tend to be incremental, but the software upgrade for the Fold 4 is what really shines here. Since the phone has the form factor of a tablet when unfolded, Samsung set out to improve functionality.
The Fold 4 features Android 12L, an OS flavor specific to tablets. That means that the Fold can leverage features specific to other tablets. That includes productivity features that you won't find on the average smartphone.
The New Taskbar
This is by far the most noteworthy improvement on the Fold 4. The taskbar converts your phone into a hybrid between a tablet and a PC. It allows you to pin your favorite apps to the bottom, giving you quick and easy access at all times.
Since the Fold 4 has so much screen space, this is a needed feature. You can easily switch between apps, or snap them to the sides in different orientations.
To improve productivity, Samsung makes it so you can save a configuration for future use. You just set up the apps in the arrangement you need, and then save it as a shortcut. Then you can pick up from where you left off later.
Better App Compatibility
One of the key issues with previous Fold versions was that many apps did not support it. Aside from your standard Google apps, most applications worked better for a single-screen resolution.
Now, apps from Google to Outlook have Fold 4 versions. These apps fit all the different configurations that the Fold 4 can provide.
For example, when watching videos on YouTube, you can fold the phone at 90 degrees. This converts the bottom portion of the screen into the comments and recommended videos section.
With Google maps, it converts the bottom portion into a trackpad. You can adjust the Streetview without obscuring the image with your finger.
Improved Video Watching
Let's address the elephant in the room: the Fold 4 does not have the best screen size for video watching. When you watch something in full screen, you get thick black bars on the top and bottom.
Despite having such a large screen, this leads Fold 4 owners to feel like they're not using their phones to their full potential. It's like something halfway between a phone and a tablet, but without one of the key benefits of either.
It's an unfortunate trade-off, since the Fold 4 needs that specific screen resolution to optimize productivity. Change it to a wider display, and this would lead to poor app viewing and an even clunkier phone.
However, Samsung presents a solution to this. When you fold the phone shut, you get a seamless transition to the cover screen. Since the cover screen is a traditional 6.2" space, you get to watch full, widescreen video in all its glory.
You can also fold the phone in half and use the bottom portion to stand it up. Or, you can get a case with a kickstand to mount your Fold 4 when unfolded.
Previous versions allowed you to drag-and-drop app windows and organize them. The Fold 4 takes all of this to the next level.
Not only can you position windows to perfection, but it runs smoothly. The new Snapdragon processor means that you can scroll on 3-4 apps at once without a noticeable hit in performance.
Running multiple apps in parallel is a heavy battery drain. Google's most recent Android 13 update included an aggressive battery saver, to keep background apps from hogging the juice. Phones have nowhere near the RAM of a desktop computer, and therefore require the best in energy efficiency.
However, the Fold 4 makes all of this seem easy. You can have a full spread of apps running at 120Hz and still get an impressive all-day battery life.
Remember, Samsung has a reputation for providing updates long into a phone's lifecycle. The Fold 4 is brand-new, so we can expect more software optimization in coming updates.
Improved Battery Life
The battery on the Fold 4 hasn't changed much. You still get a beefy battery that helps the main screen last for long hours of screen-on time. But although the battery isn't a huge step up, the battery life has improved thanks to the next-gen processor.
As mentioned earlier, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 was a drastic improvement over earlier generations. But its performance wasn't what got so much headline attention. Rather, it was the power efficiency.
Many Fold 4 users have noticed how cool the phone runs. Energy-intensive processes, such as filming in 4K, no longer have worrisome heat buildup.
This translates to exceptional game performance, too. Titles such as Apex Legends and Genshin Impact run at higher framerates while outputting less heat than before.
Some users have reported having as much as 10% more battery after an intensive multi-tasking session.
Is the Z Fold 4 the Best Folding Phone?
The answer is an unequivocal yes. Folding phones are still in the early years. What Samsung has achieved throughout just 4 generations is simply remarkable.
When you purchase the Z Fold 4, you're getting the very best of everything:
- • High-resolution AMOLED screens with strong scratch protection
- • A folding hinge that resists water and dirt, and lasts for thousands upon thousands of folds
- • The most advanced productivity potential in any folding device on the market
- • A decent camera, considering all other included features
- • Excellent battery life, performance, and support for a wide variety of features
- • High-quality construction that will handle everyday wear and tear
- • Long-term support for security and OS improvements
Samsung is, hands down, the leader in folding devices at the current moment. In a few short years, they've drastically improved the folding technology. There's a good chance future folding devices will further improve the above-mentioned features.
That said, you are paying top dollar to get this quality. Most people cannot afford nearly $2,000 for a smart device. Even those who can afford it may be skeptical, since you could purchase a top-of-the-line laptop for that money.
Should You Buy the Z Fold 4?
It depends. If you're looking for the most productivity in the smallest form factor, the Fold 4 is for you. Attach a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and you have possibly one of the smallest work tablets there is.
If you find yourself switching between a handful of apps on a regular basis, the Fold 4 is the best device on the market. That extra screen space gives you the ultimate control, and makes using the S-Pen much more enjoyable.
People in search of more screen space, such as for reading, will fall in love with the wide front display. It allows you to carry a larger screen inside your pocket. This makes for the ideal reading experience on a long commute.
Tech enthusiasts will love the Fold 4, since it features all the latest and greatest technological advancements. However, know that Samsung is a ways away from perfecting its folding design.
This phone isn't for everyone, though. It's expensive, and its key features may be little more than a gimmick for most. Unless you could see yourself using it to its full potential, it might not be worth it for you.
Protecting the Best Foldable Phone
The Samsung Z Fold 4 is undoubtedly the best foldable phone on the market. You're paying top dollar, and that money gets you all the cream-of-the-crop features you crave. However, this is a high price barrier, and many may not find the features to be worth the cost.