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Galaxy Z Fold 4 Review: Why I Can’t Get Enough of Samsung’s New Phone

Galaxy Z Fold 4 Review: Why I Can’t Get Enough of Samsung’s New Phone

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the fourth model of Samsung’s cellphone that folds open right into a small pill. It prices $1,800. Sure, that is lots of gravy. Most of that value comes from the Z Fold 4’s 7.6-inch foldable show. That very same folding display has a excessive refresh charge for taking part in video video games, a intelligent digicam hidden behind it for video calls and S Pen help for writing and drawing. Regardless of not being an enormous fan of earlier Galaxy Fold telephones, I can’t get sufficient of the Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Bear in mind the primary time you had a crush? Perhaps you did not even know what a crush was however discovered your self enamored with another person? That is sort of what occurred to me with the Galaxy Z Fold 4. And like a child with their first crush, it is arduous to explain why I’m so drawn to it, particularly since it is so much like final 12 months’s Fold 3 (which I appreciated, however wasn’t loopy about).

Half of my infatuation with the Fold 4 comes from its dozens of small refinements in comparison with the Fold 3. The hinge is just a little thinner. The cellphone is barely lighter. The bezels on the duvet display are only a tad smaller. The physique is just a little wider, making it extra pleasant to make use of when closed. Every little thing concerning the Fold 4 feels extra tailor-made, together with the software program. Samsung made multitasking on the Fold 4 approachable and straightforward.

Actually, after two weeks of utilizing a evaluate unit on mortgage from Samsung, the Fold 4 is my favourite Android pill. It showcases Samsung’s engineering and software program enhancements and is a formidable reminder that we’re nonetheless on the daybreak of foldable telephones.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 pricing breakdown

Storage US value UK value Australia value
256GB $1,800 £1,649 AU$2,499
512GB $1,920 £1,769 AU$2,699
1TB $2,160 £2,019 AU$2,999

However then there’s that $1,800 price ticket. I may purchase a Galaxy S22 Extremely and an iPad Mini for a similar value. But, that is not a good comparability as a result of neither of these gadgets can fold open or closed. And bear in mind, $1,800 is the beginning value. A 1TB Fold 4 will set you again over $2,000.

In case you are tempted by the Fold 4, know that there are various beneficiant reductions from carriers, third-party retailers and Samsung to make much less of a dent in your pockets.

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 has a tailor-made design

And so far as foldable cellphone points go, let me deal with the largest one proper off the bat. Sure, you’ll be able to see and really feel the crease in the primary show. And no, it does not trouble me. Do I want there wasn’t a crease? Sure, however when I use the Fold 4, the crease is not this obvious scarlet letter.

The Fold’s hinge is a big half of what permits its distinctive foldable design, and the one on the Fold 4 acquired redesigned. It is slimmer than the Fold 3’s but additionally firmer, which makes the Fold 4 extremely satisfying to shut. However as a result of of the Fold’s dimension, you’ll be able to’t open and shut it with one hand like you’ll be able to the Galaxy Z Flip 4.

The Fold 4's hinge

The quite a few minor adjustments to the Fold’s width and thickness actually repay.

Richard Peterson/CNET

Mix that hinge with the aluminum sides and Gorilla Glass Victus Plus, and the Fold 4 feels extra strong than some other foldable cellphone I’ve examined. The hinge additionally permits a number of helpful and distinctive use circumstances, reminiscent of serving as a tiny stand for watching movies and exhibits on a aircraft. Or being its personal tripod for taking images and movies.

The Fold 4 is 3 millimeters wider than final 12 months’s Fold 3, which makes it really feel much less awkward and cumbersome when it is closed in cellphone mode. Nonetheless, the duvet display’s keyboard remains to be just a little cramped for my arms.

Learn extraGreatest Android Telephones to Purchase in 2022

The Fold 4 is all about Android 12L and Flex Mode

Samsung packed the brand new Fold with options that vary from important updates, just like the taskbar-turned-dock (which I genuinely get pleasure from utilizing), to ones which can be extra, “Oh, that is sort of enjoyable, however will I use that?” The brand new cursor and trackpad accessible in Flex mode falls beneath that second class.

The Fold 4 runs on Android 12L, which is optimized for giant screens and foldables. Samsung’s beautiful tweaks to One UI (its window dressing for Android) actually make you’re feeling such as you’re utilizing one thing particular with out compromising on options and capabilities you’d count on from a cellphone that does not fold in half.

The main screen of the Fold 4

The hinge permits it to be positioned in a spread of methods.

Richard Peterson/CNET

The dock on the backside of the display makes getting out and in of multitasking apps straightforward. Simply drag one app on high of the opposite, and that is it. That ease of use is simply another excuse the Fold 4 is so interesting to me. Additionally, it is sort of ridiculous that I can have three apps open with a fourth app in a floating window. Although in my time with the Fold 4, I normally simply had two open on the identical time. And by the way in which, if you need the last word time drain, use TikTok and Instagram side-by-side on the Fold 4.

One of my favourite issues to do on the Fold 4 is watch movies. (That may partially be as a result of I caught COVID whereas reviewing the cellphone and will do little else moreover watch exhibits like The Sandman and The Rehearsal.) A characteristic I really dig is that if I’m watching a video and shut the Fold, playback picks up immediately on the 6.2-inch cowl display and vice versa. By the way in which, movies and video games on the duvet display look incredible even with the slim facet ratio.

Then there’s Flex Mode, which strikes the app you are utilizing to the highest of the display whereas displaying the controls on the backside when the cellphone is positioned half-open. For instance, the YouTube app exhibits movies on the highest half of the display whereas the underside half is for scrolling via feedback or the outline.

Galaxy Z Fold 4's main screen showing the CNET website

When the Fold 4 is opened up as a pill, its dimension and facet ratio make it a pleasure to make use of.

Kevin Heinz/CNET

Samsung even fastened its personal Gallery app so now while you edit a photograph in Flex Mode, the image stays on the highest half with the edit instruments and interface on the underside. On earlier Fold and Flip gadgets, images have been positioned awkwardly within the center of the bent display. 

A brand new addition to Flex Mode is the power to make use of the underside of the display as a mini trackpad with a cursor on the highest. I cannot say I discovered lots of use with that setup, however I love that Samsung is embracing the Fold’s distinctive form. Extra of this please! The Fold 4 additionally helps the S Pen, as did the Fold 3. It is enjoyable to make use of, although I want it may magnetically connect to the aspect of the Fold just like the Apple Pencil does on the iPad.

Some options are on by default, however others are buried in Settings (most beneath one thing referred to as Labs, which seems like a beta purgatory for software program options). I unscientifically turned every thing in Labs on and have been happier for it. However know that not all apps are optimized for the Fold 4. For instance, Instagram awkwardly floats within the center of the display with arrows on both aspect to align it on the left or proper.

Galaxy Z Fold 4 camera bump

The cameras on the again are much like those discovered on the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus.

James Martin/CNET

The Z Fold 4 has 5 cameras

On the again cowl there are three cameras: a most important digicam with a large angle lens, one other one with an ultrawide lens and a 3rd with a 3x telephoto lens. There is a selfie digicam on the duvet display and an under-display digicam behind the primary display.

The under-display digicam might be the one I used the least, which is probably going why Samsung felt good about placing it behind the show. The under-display digicam is not invisible like a two-way mirror. But it surely’s much less distracting than a hole-punch lower out or notch. I used the under-display digicam a pair of instances for video chats, and nobody on these calls seen something out of the atypical. Nonetheless, the picture appeared flat and closely processed.

The principle and telephoto cameras on the again are much like those on the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus. Images look good and are sharp with punchy colours and distinction. Night time mode was additionally fairly good. These cameras are positively a step up from those on the Fold 3, however they nonetheless lag behind the digicam methods on the Galaxy S22 Extremely, Pixel 6 Professional and iPhone 13 Professional in phrases of picture high quality and flexibility.

Salesforce Tower covered in fog

The colours and distinction pop on this photograph of downtown San Francisco.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The Pacific Telephone building

It is spectacular how a lot element the Fold 4 was in a position to seize. Discover the ornamentation on the constructing.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Moulin Rouge on Broadway

Whereas Samsung telephones are identified for oversaturating colours, the theater was truly that pink.

Patrick Holland/CNET

A cat

Take an in depth take a look at the element and texture in Maisie’s fur. 

Patrick Holland/CNET

A cortado

I like the way in which the main target transitions from in-focus areas (the cortado’s foam) to out-of-focus areas (the dish and counter).

Patrick Holland/CNET

A fire escape overlooking neighboring buildings

This photograph was taken with the Fold’s night time mode.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The one instances I seen the Fold 4’s digicam battle was beneath low or blended lighting, and in direct daylight, which yields heaps of lens flares. If this wasn’t a folding cellphone, this is able to be unacceptable for a cellphone that prices almost $2,000.

The most effective half of the Fold 4’s cameras truly has little to do with the lenses and sensors. Relatively, it is the cellphone’s design. This cellphone is its personal tripod. You may put it in all kinds of locations or place the digicam at totally different angles. One of the best options is the power to make use of the rear cameras for selfies, or share a preview of the digicam’s viewfinder along with your topic.

Taking a photo of a can of tomato paste

Having the ability to put the Fold into totally different positions makes it one of probably the most versatile cameras on a cellphone.

Kevin Heinz/CNET

The Fold 4’s efficiency is quick and buttery-smooth

The Fold 4 has the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip, the quickest (and latest) processor in any Samsung cellphone. It is the identical processor we see in gaming telephones and the 2022 Razr, the most recent foldable cellphone from Motorola. And talking of gaming, the Fold 4 is the right dimension for cell gaming. The principle display makes gaming really feel immersive. The Fold 4 did not have issues with any of the video games I performed like Mario Kart Tour, Genshin Influence, Name of Obligation Cellular or PUBG Cellular. The Fold 4’s nice gaming expertise is an surprising delight that additionally provides to its attraction.

The speedy processor and excessive refresh charge display weren’t simply good for video games. Animations look extremely {smooth}. In benchmark exams, the Fold 4 scored increased than the Fold 3 and S22 Extremely, one other signal that its new processor brings a slight velocity enhance.

Geekbench V.5.0 single-core


Longer bars point out higher efficiency

Geekbench V.5.0 multicore


Longer bars point out higher efficiency

3DMark Slingshot Limitless


Longer bars point out higher efficiency

The Galaxy Z Fold 4’s battery is similar dimension because the Fold 3’s, which was simply OK. I was hopeful that the mixture of Android 12L and the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor would imply extra battery life. To an extent I did expertise longer battery life, however not by a lot.

The Fold 4 made it via most days on a single cost. However I discovered myself topping it off at round 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. I additionally ran a check the place over three-quarters of an hour I watched YouTube movies, scrolled via my TikTok feed, performed Mario Kart and FIFA Cellular and took a 5-minute Zoom video name. The battery went from 100% to 82% in these 45 minutes.

Fortunately, it does not take lengthy to cost the Fold 4, though its charging speeds aren’t as quick because the OnePlus 10 Professional’s. After charging the Fold 4 for half-hour, the battery went from 20% to 73%. Bear in mind, the Fold 4 does not include a wall charger.

A Galaxy Z Fold 3 next to a Galaxy Z Fold 4

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 (left) and Galaxy Z Fold 4 look almost equivalent.

Kevin Heinz/CNET

Fold 4 vs. Fold 3 vs. Fold 2

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 provides all of the nuance and refinement that the Fold 3 wanted. However when you’ve got a Fold 3, there is no have to improve to the 4.

When you’ve got a Fold 2, it could be value upgrading, particularly in case you can rating a candy trade-in deal. You get a quicker processor, a extra strong construct, waterproofing (although the Fold 4 nonetheless lacks mud resistance), S Pen help and superior cameras.

The Fold 4 clearly is not priced for mass attraction however it’s equivalent to what the Fold 3 prices. I do assume it is a honest value for what you get in 2022, which is a premium cellphone made with elements which can be distinctive, cutting-edge and costly. However so is a Ferrari SF90 Spider, and that prices over half 1,000,000 {dollars}. Regardless of my crush, I will not be shopping for the Fold 4 or a Ferrari anytime quickly. And we’re nonetheless years away from a foldable cellphone being reasonably priced to most individuals.

As for me, I hope my infatuation with the Fold 4 lasts. Solely time will inform.


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