Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 initial review: It's all about refinement - MrLiambi's blog


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Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 initial review: It's all about refinement

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold is the defining device of the folding phone era. It was the first device to offer this new technology, with the Z Flip following soon after.

The Galaxy Z Fold is now in its fourth generation, as Samsung continues to push the format. It's characterised by refinement over previous editions, sitting in much the same position, but just that little bit better.

We've spent some time with the new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 ahead of launch and these are our first impressions

Design and build

  • 155.1 x 67.1 x 15.8mm (folded); 155.1 x 130.1 x 6.3mm (unfolded), 263g
  • Armour Aluminium
  • Gorilla Glass Victus
  • IPX8

At first glance the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is much the same as the Z Fold 3. But Samsung has reduced bezels, making this phone a little more compact and making it lighter at 263g.

The interior display is 3mm wider while the exterior display is 2.7mm wider, in a frame that's pretty much the same size, a few mm different.

To keep the phone protected, there's Gorilla Glass Victus on the exterior surfaces - the front screen and the rear - all sitting within an Armour Aluminium frame. There's IPX8 waterproofing, but note that this protection doesn't extend to dust, it's only for water.

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 feels like a premium device, with a good solid folding action and a nice contrast between glossy frame and coloured back with Phantom Black, Graygreen and Beige as the colour options. There's also a Burgandy option which will be Samsung Store exclusive.

We never thought we'd see beige selected as a colour name given its connotations with something that's boring or plain, something that the Galaxy Z Fold 4 definitely is not.

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 remains slim enough to slip into a pocket, but it will create quite the bulge, given it's twice as thick as a regular phone - certainly, this is a for those who want to maximise screen space.


  • Internal: 7.6in AMOLED, 2176 x 1812 pixels, 374ppi, 1-120Hz
  • Cover: 6.2in AMOLED, 2316 x 904 pixels, 402ppi, 48-120Hz
  • Under-display camera

The configuration of these displays will now be familiar, with Samsung taking this opportunity to maximise screen space. With reduced bezels you get just a little more space, with that front display offering a 23.1:9 aspect to fill the front of the phone.

It remains a little narrow and while it's fully-functioning and looks great, it's still a little on the narrow side to use for anything that's too complicated. We've always found it slightly trickier to use for messaging compared to a normal phone, but it's great for scanning information, opening apps for reference and everything else.

Open up the 7.6-inch internal display and things are much as they were on the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Yes, there's a crease down the middle and you can easily see it, but as we've said in our reviews of previous Fold and Flip devices, that never really matters once you start using it.

Samsung has been making some noise about the under-display camera. This is on the internal screen and is almost hidden, but you can still see where it is - along with the sensor that sits alongside it. But the good thing is that you have a display that's free from punch holes and notches, so you can get the most out of your content.

The thing to note about this camera is that Samsung doesn't really intend for you to take photos with it (you have two cameras on the outside of the phone that will do a better job of that). Instead it's designed to be used when video conferencing - so the lower spec of this camera under the display shouldn't be too much of a concern.

The displays are S Pen compatible, but you'll have noticed that there's no storage for the S Pen in the frame. If you're an S Pen fan, there will be covers you can get which integrate a holster. There's the S Pen Fold Edition which only works with the Fold 3 and 4, or the S Pen Pro, which offers Bluetooth Low Energy too, so will work with other Samsung devices.

First impressions of the display are much as they were on previous Z Fold devices - they look great, but of course there's more to discover when we actually get to spend some more time with the phone.

Hardware and performance

  • Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, 12GB RAM
  • 256, 512, 1TB storage options
  • 4400mAh, 25W wired, 15W wireless

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is positioned as a flagship-grade device with the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 sitting at its heart, with 12GB RAM. That gives this phone the power to compete with the best out there and in some ways goes to justify its lofty price.

The price scales up rapidly depending on the storage option you choose, starting at 256GB, but ranging up to 1TB of storage at huge cost.

We've not had the chance to really get a sense of how well the Galaxy Z Fold 4 performs given the short time we've spent with it so far and there's so much more to explore across the wide range of features the Z Fold 4 will offer.

There's greater justification for the high spec because this phone is designed to be a multitasking master, with software tweaks allowing you to do more on this device than you can on a standard phone. You can open three apps at the same time, which means you can cross-reference across a range of services without constantly having to switch apps back and forth.

One thing that Samsung isn't doing is speeding up the recharging. You get 25W wired charging and that's not going to break any records. There's also 15W wireless charging too, but again, it won't win any speed prizes.

The 4400mAh battery isn't huge by flagship phone standards, but we'll pass no judgements on performance until we've had the chance to use it in day-to-day situations.


  • Triple rear camera system:
    • Main: 50MP, 1.0μm, f/1.8, OIS
    • Ultrawide: 12MP, 1.12μm, f/2.2, OIS
    • Telephoto: 10MP, f/2.4, 1.0μm, OIS, 3x optical, 30x digital
  • Cover: 10MP, f/2.2, 1.22μm
  • Internal: 4MP, f/1.8, 2.0μm

There are five cameras on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, closely reflecting the camera loadout on the Samsung Galaxy S22. That means there's a 50-megapixel main camera, supported by a 12-megapixel ultrawide and a 10-megapixel telephoto.

Then there's the 10-megapixel front-facing camera in the cover display and finally a 4-megapixel under-display camera on the internal screen.

That's a good spread of cameras and this effectively brings this folding phone into line with Galaxy S models, whereas it was a step behind on the previous iteration.

We've not had the time to fully test the cameras, of course, but Samsung's big push here is on improving things like night photography, as well as a big jump in zoom range - although we'll reserve judgement on whether that's worth using until we fully review this device.

However, having used this camera arrangement on previous devices, we expect it to deliver a competitive performance: this loadout on the S22+ produced an easy-to-use camera that was great in pretty much all conditions and that's what we're expecting here.


  • Android 12L + One UI 4.1.1

The software has been optimised for use on the larger displays that Samsung is offering, underpinned by Android 12L. That's the variant of Android that's designed to give more flexibility to this type of display, but the big deal here is the taskbar.

The taskbar is accessible when you're in apps, meaning that there's some way to interact with apps and services without having to head back to the home page. In this sense, it's very much like a desktop experience and it acknowledges that power users will want to do more with the display.

Elsewhere there are plenty of functions that take advantage of the space, using columns to give you more information on display, or letting you use the S Pen for better interaction between apps.

This is where the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is really going to sink or swim, because it's the software experience that will really define what it's like to live with this phone. Our first impressions are that there are some really impressive functions, something we'll dig into in detail when we get the chance to run a full review.

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