Samsung has been pushing the boundaries of what Android hardware should be for years. From devices like the Note and its initial launch to today with its foldable devices, Samsung is leading the way. With the fourth generation of the Galaxy Z Fold 4, the company seems to have made the turn from innovation to iteration.
We’ve been testing a device provided by AT&T for the past four weeks, and we’re now ready to bring you our full review.
Everything about the Fold 4’s design screams sophistication. The basic design isn’t overly changed from the previous generation; however, they couldn’t have felt more different. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is simply more beautiful at every turn.
From the balance in hand to the hinge of the dual screens, the Fold 4 just bounces more polished off the side. Ditto for how the under-screen camera is hidden a little better this year. Even the fold of the Fold 4’s screen has a slimmer footprint.
On the right side of the phone are the volume rockers and a power button that doubles as a fingerprint reader. You have dual-firing speakers on the top and bottom or on the side of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 in portrait mode. Finally, the USB-C port for charging and data is on the bottom right of the device.
That’s still the business goal and innovation you want when you buy the Fold 4. Similar to our previous generation review, this modern marvel truly offers you a unique Android experience. The ability to carry both a slim candy bar phone and a small tablet in my pocket still makes my nerd heart happy.
The Dual-Screened Fold 4 includes an outer cover screen and the larger, full-size tablet mode. The smaller of the two is a 6.2-inch screen with a 2316×904 resolution under a Gorilla Glass Victus display. The flexible 7.6-inch inner screen has a resolution of 2176 × 1812, with the display taking up the entire footprint, save for a hidden selfie camera.
With the Fold 4 closed, you have a 6.2-inch coverage screen. This is slightly improved this year with a slightly wider width. While the extra real estate improves cover screen interaction, it’s still tight for some apps, and especially for typing. You can create a similar experience to most Galaxy devices in this mode, even if space is limited.
The cover screen is nice, but it’s the Fold 4’s full baby tablet mode that makes it the most unique Android device out there. Just like the Fold 3, I’ve found myself using the 7.6-inch display more often and in different use cases than my regular everyday Pixel 6.
Being able to open the Fold 4 full size creates a format that encourages me to consume more content. Of course I watched more YouTube and read more comics during my test phase. With the Fold 4, Samsung has really found a device that serves a real dual purpose.
Although I didn’t have the accessories on my review unit, I could easily tell I was adding the Fold 4 case and S Pen for even more productivity. This combination could make it the perfect media device that can also be a workhorse for company notes, video conferencing, etc.
Again, Samsung is leading in many features that you will only find in Android as these devices take a larger share of the future market. All native apps and many from Google take advantage of the extra space with multipane app modes. Or better yet, many of these apps like YouTube will know when the Fold 4 is in “kickstand” mode and will position your video halfway up the screen in a vertical position.
I’d love to see these tweaks make it into all apps, but that will take time and developer buy-in. In the meantime, Samsung has made the software as user-friendly as you’d expect for the Fold 4 experience. Some of that investment was carried over to the Fold 4 with the Android 12L OTA update while I had the device.
This adds the persistent taskbar when multitasking, and honestly the Fold feels more like a desktop while utilizing the larger internal display. Here you will get your pinned favorites on the far left of the part and then the last 2-3 newest apps to the right of these icons. To the far right of the dock are the traditional Samsung navigation buttons “Recents,” “Home,” and “Back.”
Android 12L’s additions are welcome and something Android has needed for a while. The new persistent options allow users to always have access to UI interactions that can be hidden in other major phones or tablets.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 takes everything you can throw at it without batting an eyelid. From gaming to hours of YouTube, I’ve never seen this thing stumble. This is understandable with the pairing of the latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor and 12GB of RAM.
I can’t think of 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 quickly and well the Fold 4 was able to handle a very familiar workflow.
Saving in one of these modes is also not a problem. Our review unit packs 512GB of storage, which is more than enough for most users, and the lower-end 256GB model should also offer plenty of room for casual buyers.
This was another surprise for me. I’ve never been overly impressed with the cameras on Galaxy devices. I found them good, but not in the same class as any Pixel device. Last year’s Fold was nothing special and sometimes struggled to take quality photos.
I am pleased to report that this is not the case this year. Range and focus seem much better on the Fold 4, as does post-processing from the updated CPU. In almost any lighting, I found this to be the best Galaxy camera I’ve used in recent times. I would take on a challenge with a Pixel for the first time on Galaxy.
Stamina isn’t bad either. While you can blast the battery cells if you push this thing for a few hours, I think most users will be satisfied with a day per charge. No one optimizes this for two days as a daily driver, but for most days battery anxiety shouldn’t be an issue.
The beauty of this is the lower power consumption with the much less hungry cover screen. Most casual tasks can be completed here without draining the battery as much. Then when you need to chug an hour of video, you can open the Fold 4 and burn through those cells.
Samsung has been pushing Android hardware from the start, and the new Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the latest device to move the needle of what’s possible in the mobile landscape. This is a standout iteration of the toddler foldable market, bringing it into mainstream phone territory.
The pricing of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 might be its only downside. The full price at AT&T is $1,800 from your wallet, but payments are also an option. You can get as low as $50 a month for the 256GB model. Add $3 more to this plan, however, and you can snag the 512GB edition.
Each is available in three colors to suit your taste: grey-green, phantom black and beige. If you consume a lot of media or just want a unique phone, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is for you.
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