Samsung has pushed the limits of what Android hardware should be for years now. From devices like the Note and its first launch to today with its foldable devices, Samsung pioneers the future. Now with the fourth generation of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 the company has seemingly turned the corner from innovation to iteration.
We’ve been testing a unit courtesy of AT&T for the last four weeks and are now ready to bring you our full review.
Everything about the design of the Fold 4 screams refinement. The basic design is not overly changed from the previous generation; however, they couldn’t feel any more different. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is just nicer at every turn.
From the balance in hand to the hinge of the dual screens, the Fold 4 simply leaps off the page as more polished. The same can be said for how the under-screen camera fades away slightly better this year. Even the crease of the Fold 4’s screen has a slimmer footprint.
To the right side of the phone, you have the volume rockers and a power button that doubles as the fingerprint reader. You have dual firing speakers on the top and bottom, or side in portrait, of the Galaxy Z Fold 4. Lastly, the USB-C port for charging and data is found on the bottom right of the device.
This is still the business end and innovation you want when shopping for the Fold 4. Much like our review of the previous generation, this modern marvel really gives you a one-of-a-kind Android experience. Having the ability to have both a slim candy bar phone and a small tablet in your pocket still makes my nerd heart happy.
The dual-screened Fold 4 contains an exterior cover screen and the larger full-size tablet mode. The smaller of the two is a 6.2-inch screen with 2316×904 resolution under a Gorilla Glass Victus display. The flexible 7.6-inch inside screen sports a resolution of 2176×1812 with the display taking up the entire footprint save a hidden selfie camera.
When the Fold 4 is closed you have a 6.2-inch cover screen. This is slightly improved with a bit wider width this year. While the additional space makes it better to interact with on the cover screen, it’s still cramped for some apps and especially typing. You can create a similar experience to that of most Galaxy devices in this mode, even though the real estate is limited.
The cover screen is nice, but it’s the full-fledged baby tablet mode of the Fold 4 that makes it the most unique Android device on the market. Just as I did with the Fold 3, I have found myself using the 7.6-inch display more and in different usage cases than my regular daily Pixel 6.
Being able to open the Fold 4 up to its full-sized glory creates a format that implores me to consume more content. I naturally watched more YouTube and read more comics during my testing period. Samsung really has found a device that serves a true dual purpose in the Fold 4.
While I didn’t have the accessories with my test unit, I could easily see adding the Fold 4 case and S-Pen to add even more productivity. That combination might make it the perfect media device that can also be a workhorse for enterprise note-taking, video conferencing, etc.
Again, Samsung leads the way for many features you’ll just find to be native to Android as these devices take a larger share of the future market. All the native apps, and many of Google’s, take advantage of the additional real estate with multipane app modes. Or even better, many of these apps like YouTube know when the Fold 4 is in “kickstand” mode and will position your video on half the screen in a vertical position.
I’d love to see these tweaks make it to all apps, but that will take time and developer buy-in. In the meantime, Samsung has made the software as friendly as you’d expect for the Fold 4 experience. Part of this investment was pushed to the Fold 4 with the OTA update for Android 12L while I had the unit.
This adds the persistent taskbar while in multi-task mode and honestly makes the Fold feel more like a desktop while using the larger inside display. Here you get your pinned favorites on the far left of the part and then the last 2-3 most recent apps to the right of those icons. To the far right of the dock are the traditional Samsung Recents, Home, and Back navigation buttons.
The Android 12L additions are welcome and something that Android has needed for some time. The new persistent options allow users to always have access to UI interactions that can be hidden in other large phones or tablets.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 takes anything you can throw at it without flinching. From games to hours of YouTube, I never saw this thing stumble. This is understandable with the pairing of the latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor and 12GB of RAM.
I can’t imagine many scenarios to slow it down. The Z Fold 4 even ran pretty well with a 14-inch monitor using Samsung’s DEX desktop modes. Paired with a wireless mouse and keyboard I was surprised at how snappy and well the Fold 4 was able to handle a very familiar workflow.
Storage in any of these modes isn’t a problem either. Our review unit has 512GB of mass storage onboard which is more than enough for most users and the lower 256GB model should also have plenty of room for casual buyers as well.
This was another surprise for me. I’ve never been overly impressed by the cameras on Galaxy devices. I’ve found them good but not in the same class as any Pixel device. Last year’s Fold was not anything to write home about and actually struggled to take quality photos at times.
I’m happy to report that’s not the case this year. Range and focus seem much better on the Fold 4 as well as post-processing by the updated CPU. Any almost any lighting I found this to be the best Galaxy camera I’ve used in recent memory. I’d accept a challenge with a Pixel for the first time on Galaxy.
Endurance is not bad, either. While you can blast threw the battery cells if you push this thing for a couple of hours, I think most users will be comfortable with a day’s use per charge. No one is tweaking this out for two days as their daily driver, but for most days, battery anxiety shouldn’t be an issue.
The beauty of this is lower power consumption with the much less hungry Cover Screen. Most casual tasks can be handled here without draining as much battery. Then when you need to chug through an hour of video, you can open the Fold 4 and burn through those cells.
Samsung has been pushing Android hardware forward since the beginning and the new Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the latest device moving the needle of what’s possible in the mobile landscape. This is an outstanding iteration of the infant foldable market that takes it into just regular phone territory.
Pricing for the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 may be the only drawback. The full price over at AT&T is $1,800 out of your wallet, but payments are also an option. For the 256GB model you can get by at $50 per month. Add $3 more on that plan, though, and you can snag the 512GB edition.
Each is available in three colors to suit your fancy: Gray Green, Phantom Black, and Beige. If you consume a ton of media or just love having a unique phone, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 fits the bill.