As we mentioned in the Z Flip 4 review as well, this new iteration of Samsung foldables is all about refining the experience. Towards this end, the Fold 4 also features a more refined construction, with a slimmer hinge that is lighter and less noticeable. Even the bezels have become narrower, thus allowing for the integration of a wider screen on the front, which is more responsive in one-handed interactions. The phone also gets an upgraded armour aluminium frame and hinge cover, along with the exclusive Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+ on the cover screen and rear glass. These incremental changes to nearly all the moving components ensure that the final result is a more stable and durable device. The durability of the main screen panel is also enhanced thanks to an optimized layer structure, which helps reduce damage from external shocks. All these parts are further sealed with rubber to make sure that the Z Fold 4 passes the IPX8 water resistance test with ease. Thus, making this the first foldable device to get proper dust and rain protection.
In addition to the safety layering, even the display itself gets an upgrade, with a brighter, more vibrant 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel that offers an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate and is super responsive. The dip of the hinge is much less visible, much like the under display camera, which is better hidden thanks to a new scatter-type sub-pixel arrangement. This means that unless you are actively interacting with the center crease, chances are you won't even notice it much. Thus, making it much more effective for content consumption, although the weird aspect ratio is still something that will take time getting used to.
All of this is powered by the new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, just like the Flip, along with the latest generation of RAM and storage. These are latest gen components that have already proven their worth in other devices, and we expect that with a larger size device with more area to dissipate the heat in, the processor will certain give its best when needed. This will ensure that this foldable won't become obsolete on a performance level any time soon. To help take advantage of these components, the software experience has been further optimized with the special edition Android 12L, which Google created explicitly for large-screen devices.
The highlight of this software experience is the new Taskbar, which features a layout similar to your PC, offering instant access to your favourite and recent apps. Multitasking is also more intuitive, thanks to new swipe gestures, which allow you to switch full-screen apps to pop-up windows or split your screen in half for true multitasking. Samsung has partnered with Google and Microsoft to enhance this multitasking experience.
This means that all Google apps, including Chrome and Gmail, now support drag-and-drop and the ability to quickly copy and paste links, photos and more from one app to another. With Google Meet, users can now connect with more people while enjoying virtual co-activities, including co-watching videos on YouTube or playing games together on a video call. Microsoft’s full Office suite and Outlook take advantage of the foldable display, providing more information on the screen and faster ways to interact with the content.
The multitasking experience is complete with S Pen functionality, enabling on-the-go drawing and notetaking with streamlined storage inside the Standing Cover with Pen case. Similar partnerships with social media apps like Facebook ensure that all of them are optimized for the large-screen experience to make content more enjoyable. You can even open your favourite streaming apps like Netflix and watch them in hands-free mode with the new Flex mode. For non-optimized apps, users can even control the device without disrupting the content with the new Flex Mode Touchpad, offering accuracy while pausing, rewinding, and playing videos, or zooming in and out of content.
For users who prefer shooting their own content, the Z Fold 4 gets an updated camera module with a new 50MP wide lens and 30x Space Zoom lens. This updated setup features a variety of camera modes, including the larger Zoom map activated on Capture View Mode, Dual Preview, and Rear Cam Selfie. Thanks to the larger pixel size, a 23% brighter sensor, and enhanced processing power, users can capture clear images even at night. Thus, making it a truly versatile device in all sorts of conditions.
This makes it on par with the regular Galaxy series of devices, which is considered a benchmark for the Android photography experience. We can't see much for the under display selfie camera itself, other than the fact that it is there if you need it. Although other than the occasional zoom calls, we don't know any other circumstances where you would even consider opening it up.
As you can see, Samsung is trying its best to ensure that their foldable phones remain at the top of the segment in terms of innovation and utility. It will still take a few more tries before the Fold can be considered a fully fleshed out device worth considering as your primary smartphone, but if the current version is any indication, they are on the right road.