Galaxy Z Fold 4 review: all the SECRETS of Samsung's folding

Samsung has a big responsibility: to continue to advance the foldable smartphone market, especially in the West. Because ok, let's face it, vivo X Fold, Xiaomi MIX Fold 2, Oppo Find N (here the review), they are all foldable that - actually - have introduced better solutions in terms of internal displays and hinges: but has anyone seen them on the market in our area? No, indeed. In reality, Samsung is the only brand that has had the courage to put devices with relatively new (and initially fragile) technology in the hands of ordinary people, which have been tortured, opened and closed thousands of times and which, of course, have not. they were trouble free, but at least they were sold.

And in a way they did it. A few days ago, on mine Instagram profile I carried out a Q&A day in which I answered all the questions that were asked of me, and 90% of the messages I received were about the new foldables from Samsung. In short, the interest in these new devices is now more than consolidated.

Samsung knows this well, and it can also be seen in the strategies it has undertaken with its leaflets, improving them year after year, but not distorting them. Even with the Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4 the brand has made small (big) steps forward, improving the usability of the external display, using a top-of-the-range processor worthy of the name, modifying the hinge and making the most of its Android 12L possibilities. But there is still a long way to go.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 review

Design and materials

That Samsung is convinced that it has found an optimal structure for its leaflets, can be seen from the fact that the superficial differences between the From Fold 3 and From Fold 4 hardly noticeable. The two devices are not radically different from each other but, in reality, the brand has made many small improvements to its new folding, with which it has managed to tangibly improve the user experience.

The thickness of the cameras has been reduced and the aspect ratio has changed: the smartphone is now slightly wider and poco lower than the previous generation, and even if it is not a novelty that you immediately notice when you use it, in reality it is quite influential in the user experience, especially if you then go back to holding a Z Fold 3.

Both anteriorly and posteriorly Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4 it is protected by a glass Gorilla Glass Victus + on which I continue to have some doubts. They can call these glasses by the name they want, but in reality they will always continue to scratch: on my sample, for example, the front display immediately began to suffer from superficial micro-scratches, to the point that I thought of applying a glass film tempered why not, this year on the screen of the Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4 the brand has not pre-applied any film. Which should be done immediately by those who decide to buy it.

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It measures 155,1 x 130,1 x 6,3 mm when open and 155,1 x 67,1 x 15,8 / 14,22 mm when closed, and has a lower weight than the previous generation: with its 263 grams is more comfortable to hold and the difference with the Z Fold 3 is obvious as soon as you start using it. Sure, it still remains quite heavy (keep in mind that the iPhone 13 Pro Max weighs 240 grams, while the S22 Ultra weighs 229 grams), but there is no doubt that the company has done a great job in this respect.

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Then there is a novelty that Samsung has not actually enhanced, not even during the presentation of the smartphone: the hinge has been redesigned from scratch and it is all new. It is less invasive when you open it, it has far fewer gears inside and it offers a little more resistance when opening or closing the smartphone. In short, the feeling is that of a greater general robustness, which also makes it much more comfortable to use the device with the display tilted at any angle. Of course, it continues to be a bit invasive, but let's not forget that it is a mechanism by which the brand has made the Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4 water and dust resistant: it is IPX8 certified, which means it will survive for 30 minutes immersed at a depth of one meter.

Display

As soon as you have seen the displays then you might think that, in addition to an external screen that is about 3 millimeters wider than the previous generation, there are few innovations. And those who think this are not entirely wrong, because actually the innovations introduced by Samsung (especially for the folding display) cannot be noticed with the naked eye. And it is precisely from the internal display that I would like to start.

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The panel used is a 7.6 ”Dynamic AMOLED with a resolution of 2176 x 1812 pixels and a peak brightness of 1200 nits. The more observant will notice a slight change in resolution compared to that of the Fold 3 (which was 2208 x 1768), which is due to a modification of the frame and the ratio of the screens. In any case, it is a second generation LTPO panel, which is able to manage a variable refresh rate from 1 Hz to 120 Hz and which, it is useless to go around it: it is an excellent screen, which can also be used "for L "in a sort of" mini laptop "mode, but we had already seen this in the Z Fold 3, no?

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In fact, the biggest novelty of the internal display of the Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4 it is under the body, and it is a rather important novelty especially in terms of the longevity of the device. Under the "ultra-thin and reinforced" flexible glass (as the company describes it) Samsung has removed a metal plate that in the previous generation was used to improve the structural strength of the mechanisms, and replaced it with a mesh structure that does not it is only more resistant, but it is also lighter and more durable.

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In short, it is an important novelty that actually no one would be able to see with the naked eye. But what you actually see is the folding that yes, it has also been improved thanks to the new hinge and is slightly less invasive than the previous generation, but continues to be visible especially when looking at dark images and if you look at the display at angles. thrusts.

And I know, many of you will now be thinking that “if Oppo managed to delete it in its Find N or if Huawei managed to delete it in the new Mate XS2 (here our preview), why did Samsung not put more effort into it? ”. And it is a more than legitimate question, the answer to which can probably be found in the speech we made at the beginning. But I am more than convinced that in the Z Fold 5 the fold will disappear, as if by magic.

The internal display then continues to support the S Pen, but only the Pro model or the specific one for Fold, without introducing any new software point of view and continuing to be a big plus especially when using the smartphone in "tablet mode. "For productivity.

Finally, always in the internal display, there continues to be a hidden camera under the screen which is slightly less visible than the previous generation, but which is always characterized by pixels with a lower density than the panel.

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Let's now pass to the external screen, which represents one of the most “visible” innovations of this one Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4. The panel continues to be a 6.2 ”Dynamic AMOLDED, but is now 2.7mm wider than the previous generation and believe me, for my use it's a noticeable difference. Of course, the 23.1: 9 ratio still gives it a “narrow and long” shape, but these few more millimeters profoundly improve its usability, especially as regards the keyboard.

Why, I'm honest: as a matter of immediacy and speed, 70% of the time I use this smartphone "closed", and the Z Fold 3's too narrow screen in the end pushed me to go back to using a "traditional" smartphone. Here, that feeling of "poco space ”that I had with the previous generation has (almost) disappeared with the Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4. Of course, the company can still do a lot to optimize things, but with the brand's new foldable I have no longer encountered typing problems with the keyboard which, among other things, I am able to use without problems even with one hand.

And this is perhaps one of the strengths of this Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4: thickness aside, the impression I got is that of a smartphone that can now be easily used with one hand when closed, but which also offers the possibility of having a large display available when needed. And let's face it, using the Z fold 3 with the front display was really inconvenient.

Hardware and Performance

Now tell me the truth: doesn't it make you a little strange that a folding device is more powerful than the top of the range of the brand? Because, indeed, with the Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4 that's the way it is and it is quite logical considering the deeply multitasking spirit of the device. To animate the new foldable of the company 12 GB of RAM and at least 256 GB of internal memory (which can reach up to 1 TB) continue to think about it, but the real novelty is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 because it is thanks to this SoC that the Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4 has made its most important steps forward.

So, let's get to the point: do you remember the problems of overheating and autonomy that characterized the Z Fold 3? Here, thanks to Qualcomm's new SoC they have been totally solved. It goes without saying that in terms of performance the Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4 he behaves very well and there will be absolutely nothing you cannot ask him for. The Snap 8+ then makes the OneUI fluid which is a pleasure and the micro-lags are only a distant memory.

But now we come to the raw numbers, because it is thanks to these tests that we realize how the company has decided to manage the new SoC of Qualcomm and how different it is compared to the Exynos of the S22 Ultra (here the review). The 1302 points in Single-Core and 3773 in Multi-Core on GeekBench, together with the score of 1.019.288 on AnTuTu, confirm how much the new Snap 8+ has improved in performance, but not so radically to the previous generation: in short, there they have been improvements, but nothing so profoundly revolutionary.

But there is a revolution, and you can see it both with the normal benchmark and with the AnTuTu stress test: in the generic test, the smartphone managed the temperature very well, going from the initial 29.3 degrees to the final 31.8 degrees with a peak of 35.7 degrees, while in the 15-minute Stress Test the temperature never exceeded 37 degrees. And this is an exceptional result.

Of course, this temperature management is also due to a SoC management strategy that may seem slightly conservative, in which the CPU cores tend to have quite significant downward peaks, leading the processor to work at an average of 80. % of its performance, but with several peaks towards 100%: in short, I have the impression that Samsung has well understood the architecture of this SoC (which, among other things, it no longer produces at home), and that it pushes it to maximum only when necessary.

So much so that, unlike what happens in the S22 Ultra, where in the settings you can choose to set the system so that performance is improved (with three modes: optimized, high and maximum), in the Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4 things go the other way and there are only two options: use the processor to the maximum, or reduce its performance slightly to increase battery life. In short, if in the S22 Ultra the brand gave the user the possibility to increase the performance of the device (because clearly the battery drain was very marked), with the Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4 the company is already doing it to the maximum (with a painstaking management of the operating frequencies of the Core) giving the user the possibility to choose to "brake" the processor slightly, thus increasing (even more) the battery life.

Returning to more "human" topics, the audio in the capsule is excellent, as is the stereo effect guaranteed by two independent speakers, excellent connectivity to WiFi 6E networks and the ability to take advantage of the video output via the USB-C port 3.1.

Cameras

Another nice news from Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4 lies in the camera sector. Because its optically stabilized 50 megapixel f / 1.8 main camera, flanked by a 3x 10 megapixel f / 2.4 zoom and an ultra-wide 12 megapixel f / 2.2 in a nutshell aligns the company's foldable with the excellent S22 and S22 +. Let me be clear, the quality of the cameras of the Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4 it is far from those of the S22 Ultra and yes, I would have liked to see a periscopic zoom as well, but finally we can say that there is a leaflet with a photographic compartment worthy of its selling price: below you can find three shots , made at the same time with the Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4 and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

In conditions of good brightness, the photos taken with all the lenses are of good quality, with excellent management of the dynamic range, a good balance of colors and without being too influenced by the excessive saturation typical of the company's devices. In short, the camera of the Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4 is the best expression of Samsung in the foldable sector, and undoubtedly represents the most complete and quality sector of the entire foldable market.

And the same quality can also be found in night shots: again thanks to the excellent software processing, it is possible to take fantastic shots at night, even in conditions of no light hand-held even if, especially in particular shooting conditions, it is precisely night that the qualitative gap between the main lens and the other two is most noticeable.

There are also the many shooting modes that the company has accustomed us to, as well as the possibility of being able to use the "L" smartphone as if it were a stand thus avoiding the need for a tripod: something that I personally will never do, because I have absolutely no courage to place the device on any surface on the screen.

Well the videos, which can be recorded at a maximum resolution of 8k at 24 fps, but which give their best if you go down from 4K to 30 fps: in this case it will be possible to use all the lenses without having to stop recording the video. . Anyway the stabilization is really quality even if, again, the gap between the main camera which is OIS and the other two is quite evident, even if the 3X zoom has the OIS.

Software

From the point of view of the software, there is a novelty that I have appreciated since we started talking about it: to animate Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4 Android 12L takes care of it, customized with OneUI 4.1.1. And the version of Google's operating system optimized for large screens brings with it several improvements that radically improve the user experience of the device, especially when the screen is open.

The first and most important novelty is the taskbar. It is a sort of dock that appears when the display is open with which it will be more immediate not only to access your favorite applications, but also to use the different multi-window modes of the OneUI. To put two or more apps side by side, just drag them, or you can resize them with a tap on the edges, or you can put some apps side by side and start others in window mode. In short, it is a system that Samsung has optimized a lot, and not only in terms of gestures and immediacy, but also with regard to all the animations of the graphic interface which, in my opinion, have improved rather drastically.

Then there are other gestures with which you can quickly reduce the applications in the window, through the LABS section you can force flanking and rotation of the apps that do not support it, in short, the software of this Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4 it is probably the first version that can be considered truly optimized for folding smartphones.

But it's not all gold. There continues to be a problem that is as futile as it is annoying: the application of Instagram. Because if those of Samsung have optimized the social network app to take advantage of the flex mode of the Z Flip 4, it seems they have totally forgotten about the Fold. Or, much more likely, the Meta developers themselves are sleeping: for example, if TikTok has an optimized open screen interface, Instagram still runs in "traditional" mode. And it is a very annoying thing for those who, like me, use the social network a lot.

Battery

As for the battery and charging issue, I am rather perplexed, but not as regards autonomy. Because even if the battery of the Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4 remains a 4400 mAh, the autonomy has definitely improved compared to the previous generation and with displays set at maximum resolution and maximum refresh rate, using the external one for 80% and not making me too many problems in putting the device under stress, I arrived at about 7 hours of display on, which is not bad considering that the smartphone has 2, and it is obviously possible thanks to the excellent optimization work that Qualcomm has done with its Snap 8+: it is truly an exceptional SoC since point of view of energy optimization.

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What has left me rather perplexed is that Samsung has made absolutely no progress in terms of fast charging in this 2022. And above all for such a device, which focuses on productivity, multimedia and multitasking, it is really a shame. Let's be clear, with its 25w it is able to recharge by 50% in poco less than 30 minutes, but we are now too low compared to what the competition proposes.

And the same goes for wireless charging, which remains stationary at 15w and which can also be used in reverse mode.

Price and considerations

The sale price of Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4 is 1879 euros for the 256 GB version of internal memory and for those who pre-order it there will be 6 months of DAZN or 12 of Netflix for free, as well as a year of Samsung Care +. And yes, it is useless to go around it: it is a high price also dictated by the fact that, given the lack of competition, Samsung can dictate the law.

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Ok, there are “traditional” smartphones like the Vivo X80 Pro (here the review) which cost almost as much as Samsung's foldable, but in my ideal world the Z Fold series should start at 1299 euros, while the Z Flip series should start at 999 euros. With these prices I am convinced that they would sell by the ton, but given the current situation I realize that my thinking is (and will continue to be) only a dream: considering the trend of the smartphone market in this "black" 2022, perhaps it is already a long time since the brand has not raised its prices.

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And it is useless to go around it, Samsung has an advantage in the world of leaflets by at least 3 if not 4 years and can afford to improve its devices by dictating the pace. Has it improved from the previous generation? Yes, but it was not upset. Sure, I would have liked to have seen the internal screen fold disappear, and perhaps a thinner, more manageable device would have been perfect. But there is no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy ZFold 4 is the best foldable that you could buy in our country, at least for official channels.

Also because it continues to be the only one.


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Last updated the 03 / 02 / 2023 10: 57
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