Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

The Galaxy Fold range is already in its fourth version. This smartphone that turns into a tablet has evolved since the first model launched in 2019. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 does not intend to revolutionize the formula, but to refine it by addressing certain shortcomings of its predecessor. 

So, is this the ultimate folding smartphone? The answer in our comprehensive test.

THE OPINION OF 01NET.COM

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4

MOST

  • + Design and manufacturing quality
  • + Very nice screens
  • + New software features
  • + A powerful smartphone
  • + Versatile camera block
  • + Good autonomy

THE LESSERS

  • – Not all apps use the big screen
  • – The ultra-wide-angle camera module
  • – 25W charging still too slow
  • – Still no slot for the S-Pen
  • – Few devolutions compared to the Z Fold 3

Unlike the Galaxy Z Flip 4 which with its recommended price of 1109 euros can be compared to other high-end smartphones, the Z Fold 4 seems to box in its own category. Sold 1799 euros, the most expensive phone from Samsung is primarily aimed at wealthy technophiles.

Samsung is clearly selling its Galaxy Z Fold 4 as a tool for entertainment, but also for productivity. To achieve this, the Korean manufacturer has put all its know-how in the design of high-end equipment.

It is clear that with two 120 Hz OLED screens, including a folding one, a Snapdragon 8+ Gen1 chip accompanied by 12 GB of RAM, three camera modules on the back and an unprecedented software experience, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is solidly equipped . 

But does its unique format really transform the way we use a smartphone? We see that right away.

Galaxy Z Fold 4 Design

Taking almost exactly the lines of the Galaxy Z Fold 3, the Fold 4 is content to refine an already well-established formula. The changes are to be found on the side of the hinge and the borders around the screen which have been slightly refined. “Planing” allows the Galaxy Z Fold 4 to lose 8 g compared to last year’s model.

But make no mistake, with 263g on the scale, the phone is still heavy when folded. The weight is logically better distributed once the phone is deployed and provided that you hold it with both hands.

Samsung-Galaxy-Z-Fold-4
Samsung-Galaxy-Z-Fold-4

We particularly liked the product’s 23.1:9 aspect ratio when used in smartphone mode. The screen is all in height, which makes it easier to use with one hand. It still requires a little getting used to when you write on the numeric keypad, which is less comfortable than on a larger screen.

Samsung says its hinge is guaranteed to be able to fold and unfold up to 200,000 times. That’s about five years of use if you open and close the phone a hundred times a day. In our tests, we unfolded the Z Flip 4 much more to access the main screen than the Z Fold 4 which already has a comfortable screen when closed.

Galaxy Z Fold 4
Galaxy Z Fold 4

Very rigid during the first days of use, the hinge softens a little afterwards, without ever giving the impression of weakening. The “small” screen of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the back of the phone are protected by Gorilla Glass Victus+. 

This is not the case with the internal screen, which, on the other hand, benefits from a screen protection already applied which should not be removed. Once closed and folded, it becomes almost impossible to damage the screen.

We salute the prowess of the manufacturer to offer a folding smartphone certified IPX8 for protection against immersion in fresh water up to one meter deep for 30 minutes.

The aluminum frame exudes quality. When closed, we end up with the hinge on the left and the two slices superimposed on the right. The thickness of the phone does not play in its favor in the pocket, but allows you to hold it firmly, that’s already it. We were surprised that we didn’t have to put a finger under the screen so the phone wouldn’t slip when used one-handed.

The matte finish gives it a very “premium” design and the “Ivory” color that we tested has the merit of not marking fingerprints. Before taking a closer look at the screens, we can already say that Samsung has mastered its score perfectly by once again showing all its know-how in the design of high-end folding smartphones.

Quality Screen

All the salt of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 rests on the fact that it is equipped with two screens:

  • A “small” 6.2-inch external screen in 23.1:9 format with an HD+ definition of 2316 x 904 pixels and a variable refresh rate that goes from 48 to 120 Hz.
  • A large 7.6-inch external screen in 21.6:18 format with a QXGA+ definition of 2176 x 1812 pixels and a variable refresh rate that goes from 1 to 120 Hz.
samsung galaxy z fold 4 review
samsung galaxy z fold 4 review

Let’s start with the point that always bothers potential users of this type of device: the fold in the middle of the second screen. Yes, it is visible, but only when looking at the screen from the side, which almost never happens. 

Once in front of the slab, it is almost imperceptible. On the other hand, you will feel it well by passing your finger over it. It could indeed be more discreet, but that has never bothered us in our daily use of the product.

The observation is similar for the camera module hidden under the slab and which is deported on the right part of the screen. It’s visible when you pay attention to it, but doesn’t interfere with viewing content on the big screen. Regarding the image quality produced, we will come back to this in the photo part of this test.

OLED technology is used for both screens, allowing them to display infinite contrast. As often with Samsung, the screens are very bright. On this point, the first three smartphones in our ranking are those of the Korean manufacturer. 

With more than 1000 cd/m2 on the Fold 4’s two screens, readability is exemplary in all conditions. There is a bright peak in HDR at 1388 cd/m2 for the external screen and 1257 cd/m2 for the external screen.

When it comes to color fidelity, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 makes the big difference. The phone favors color space coverage by default, but this comes at the cost of color accuracy. When the phone is turned on for the first time, “Vivid” mode is active. The latter flatters the eye, but offers a Delta E far from the desired number 3.

Indeed, we measure a Delta E of 6.62 for the small screen and 6.03 for the large screen. Fortunately, switching to “Natural” display mode in the settings solves the problem. We fall back to 2.1 and 2.57, which is excellent. An accuracy that will result in duller colors. Of course, you can manually adjust the white balance to achieve a personalized display.

Power

The Z Fold 4 is equipped with the latest high-end chip from Qualcomm, which already equips certain Android smartphones from the second half of 2022: the Snapdragon 8+ Gen1. As you can see from the AnTuTu benchmark, the phone is very powerful. When folded, it exceeds the million points, which is excellent. Some non-folding smartphones do better, like the Asus ZenFone 9 , but the results are still comparable.

As you can see, performance drops when the screen is unfolded. This is mainly due to the higher resolution of the screen. On a day-to-day basis, the telephone performs everything that is asked of it with perfect fluidity. The 12 GB of RAM allows you to run as many applications as you want without ever having to restart them when you return to them.

Playing a game like Fortnite on the big screen is fun too. We ran the Epic Games title without difficulty with maximum graphics (Epic quality), all at 60 fps. In these conditions, we encountered very few slowdowns. For perfect stability, you can always go back to 30 fps to lower the graphic quality a notch.

On the other hand, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 has an annoying tendency to throttling . On the 3DMark stability test, we see that the product sees its performance drop by 60.5% when the phone is folded. It’s a little better when unfolded with a drop of “only” 43.3%.

Yes, it’s better than the Galaxy Z Flip 4 which has even less room to let its components breathe. But we are even less of the level of performance that is capable of maintaining an iPhone 13 Pro Max or a Galaxy S22 Ultra.

The good news is that Samsung does not restrict its smartphone for nothing. Indeed, it never overheats and its temperature range never exceeds 20 degrees, which is excellent. Remember that it will run everything comfortably, but it may not be intended for the most hardcore gamers.

Interface

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 comes with Android 12 and Samsung’s One UI in version 4.1.1. We still love the interface of the Korean manufacturer for its design, its simplicity, its customization, but also the small number of preinstalled applications.

interface color of oppo Reno 8 Pro
interface color of oppo Reno 8 Pro

But the Z Fold 4 is not a Samsung smartphone like the others. Its giant screen indeed asked the interface to adapt. As you can see below, One UI makes smart use of the available space by splitting the display in half when you’re in the interface. Enough to change the menu quickly without having to go back as is the case on a classic screen.

Once deployed, the large screen offers real comfort, whether for viewing photos, browsing the web or editing an Excel file that extends in width.

Productivity

This year, the “novelty” of the Z Fold 4 comes from its taskbar. It was already present in the experimental functions of the Labs last year, but Samsung has refined it to offer a more successful version on its new folding tablet.

Concretely, this taskbar is displayed as soon as you open an application. It looks like the one you can find on a PC, with an application drawer on the left to add applications that are not already there.

This offers real flexibility not always found on more traditional multitasking systems. This taskbar is the perfect complement to the various multi-windowing options offered by One UI.

Thus, you can open up to three applications at the same time. One full height (right or left) and two smaller ones. Thanks to the three small points which are at the intersection, it is possible to save this layout to relaunch it quickly or simply change the layout of the open applications.

This can come in handy when you want to check your social networks while watching a YouTube video at a glance or to edit a text document by searching on the browser. All is not perfect, however. For example, we would have liked to be able to move an image from the gallery or a web page directly into Google Docs with a simple drag and drop.

If you want to turn this small tablet into a computer, you can always use DeX mode to have a desktop interface on an external screen. A real productivity tool, limited mainly by its application ecosystem, which nevertheless remains largely sufficient for office tasks.

Flex mode

Some applications benefit from a dedicated display when used horizontally with the screen folded. This is for example the case of YouTube, Netflix, Disney+ or even Google Meet. The content to view is then displayed at the top, and the navigation interface at the bottom.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 mode
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 mode

To make an aside on using the Fold 4 as an entertainment device, note that its format is not ideal for video viewing or gaming. The screen display is certainly comfortable, but it will come at the cost of large black bands at the top and bottom when held horizontally.

To use applications that are not compatible with the viewing mode folded horizontally, you must go to the advanced functions of the phone. More precisely in the famous Flex mode which we have already told you about in our test of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 .

Once in the options, all you have to do is select the applications you want to see working with the shutter in Flex mode. Once enabled, don’t expect a custom layout for every app.

Photo and video: a versatile camera unit

The Galaxy Fold 4 is equipped with three rear camera modules, one at the front on the first screen, and a second under the second screen:

  • A 50MP wide-angle, f/1.8 aperture, 23mm focal length, OIS.
  • A 12 Mpx ultra wide-angle, f / 2.2 aperture, 12 mm focal length.
  • A 10 Mpx telephoto lens, f/2.4 aperture, 66mm focal length, OIS, x3 optical zoom.
  • A 10MP front camera module, f/2.2 aperture, 24mm focal length.
  • A front camera module (under the screen) of 4 Mpx, aperture f / 1.8, focal length 26 mm.

A copy very close to that of the Samsung Galaxy S22+.

Autonomy and load

The Z Fold 4 is a hybrid folding smartphone equipped with a 4400 mAh battery. Autonomy is a little “à la carte” insofar as it depends on the use that you will make or not of the big screen.

As you can see below on the 01Lab tests, the Z Fold 4 has excellent autonomy when folded (without reaching that of the iPhone 13 Pro Max), but much less convincing if you are constantly on the big screen.

After 10 days of juggling between the two screens, we always ended the day calmly. It was not uncommon to go up to a day and a half of autonomy. The advantage is that if you are far from a charger, you can always stay on the smaller screen to save a few percentages of the batteries before finding a charger.

Because yes, no charger is provided in the box. The phone is compatible with 25W charging. This is very little in 2022, all the more so a premium smartphone at almost 1800 euros. Count 1h18 to fully recharge it, 14 minutes more than the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Finally, the Z Fold 4 is compatible with 15W wireless and 4.5W reverse charging.

Technical Sheet

SystemAndroid 12
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
Size (diagonal)7.6″
Screen resolution373 dpi

MOST

  • + Design and manufacturing quality
  • + Very nice screens
  • + New software features
  • + A powerful smartphone
  • + Versatile camera block
  • + Good autonomy

THE LESSERS

  • – Not all apps use the big screen
  • – The ultra-wide-angle camera module
  • – 25W charging still too slow
  • – Still no slot for the S-Pen
  • – Few devolutions compared to the Z Fold 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is undoubtedly the best folding tablet (or folding smartphone) with this format. It is also the only one available in France. Far from us the idea of ​​minimizing its qualities, but the little evolution compared to the Z Fold 3 reminds us how good the competition is to move the lines.

The design is really premium, but the crease and the camera under the screen are still visible. The performance is excellent, but does not exploit the full potential of the Qualcomm chip. The screens are superb, but require adjustment to be perfect. The interface is very nifty, but some popular applications do not allow you to take full advantage of it. Autonomy is very solid, but very slow charging.

The Z Fold 4 blows hot and cold. He dazzled us, often, and disappointed us, sometimes. Samsung has mastered its subject, but not yet to the point of providing an impeccable user experience, which one is entitled to expect when spending 1800 euros on a smartphone which, admittedly, is also a small tablet.

If you have a Z Fold 3, this new version will seem superfluous to you. If you want a no-holds-barred product, this won’t be the one. This giant phone is not to be put in every pocket. It is primarily aimed at wealthy techies who want a unique experience and a glimpse of the future of smartphones, according to Samsung.

Read More: Oppo Reno 8 Pro Review

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Abram left his e-business studies to devote himself to his entrepreneurial projects. In 2017, he created the company Inbound Media and wrote articles about high-tech products for his Chromebookeur site. In 2019, Chromebookeur was renamed Macbound and became a general purchasing advice site. Today, Abram manages the development and growth of Macbound, surrounded by a young and talented team.

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