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We've been testing the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. Here are our thoughts.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is a flawed genius. It's thick and heavy, its battery could be better and by god it's expensive. If you can get over all of that though, then there are a wealth of treasures to be discovered while using it. Swapping between its large inner screen and its small cover display makes the phone versatile, bridging the gap between smartphone and tablet. As such, its ideal for watching, reading and firing up productivity-focused apps. Ultimately, if you're willing to carry a very large phone and pay extra for the innovative folding tech on display here, then the Z Fold 4 is a hugely impressive device.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is one of the most unusual and exciting devices we've seen in 2022. It folds open to reveal a large screen which places it oddly in the middle-ground between phone and tablet. That large screen is an interesting, versatile tool that we thoroughly enjoyed testing.
We've had a lengthy hands-on test with the phone and we're ready to render our verdict, answering that all important question: Is it worth your cash?
Read on for our thoughts or use the links below to focus in on a certain aspect of the phone's performance, or the latest prices.
Samsung recently released two impressive foldables and this is the larger of the two, dwarfing the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4. It's a large smartphone that folds in two, meaning you get a much larger display when it's open.
There's also a smaller 'cover screen' for one-handed use. This is ideal for quickly answering messages or snapping photos, but you'll want to open the device up and make use of that lovely, large internal display for more detailed work.
Perhaps the biggest drawback of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is its huge price tag. Starting at £1,649 for 256GB of memory with 12GB of RAM, that goes up to £1,769 for 512GB of storage and a jaw-dropping £2,019 for the 1TB version. That's one expensive phone.
However, right now in the UK market, it's almost unique. Huawei has produced similar foldables in other markets and there is the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 — which received mixed reviews on release but has been improved by software fixes. However, other than that, the Fold 4 is more or less in a class of its own right now. That doesn't necessarily mean it's amazing, but if you want this specific kind of device, your choices are limited.
The Z Fold 4 is a powerful package, boasting 12GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset running Android 12L — a version of Android 12 for larger-screened devices — with Samsung's One UI overlay. It's silky smooth to use and all that power makes it easy and fairly intuitive to multi-task.
There are plenty of durability features to give you peace of mind, too. There's IPX8 water resistance and both the cover screen and the rear panel are made of Gorilla Glass Victus Plus.
The separate screens bring a new level of customisation and versatility. For instance, you can set-up entirely different home screens on your cover screen and larger, inner screen.
It's also got stereo speakers, two SIM card slots, 5G connectivity and up to 15W wireless charging.
The display is both the phone's biggest asset and its most frustrating drawback, depending on how able you are to cope with its crease, its fingerprint-magnetising qualities and how much you value having a larger tablet-style display wherever you go.
Notably, the thinner, more flexible material used to make the folding display marks up much more easily than a traditional smartphone screen. We found this quite frustrating, but it's by no means a huge drawback.
The folding 7.6-inch AMOLED panel offers a 120Hz refresh rate and HDR10+. It's really very impressive if you don't mind the endless fingerprint marks and the crease. Streaming content from Netflix, YouTube and Amazon was suddenly much more appealing than it would be on a smaller, traditional smartphone screen. It also helps with tasks like image editing, or reading and though an S-Pen isn't included, it is compatible with one for note-making.
Despite its huge size, the Fold 4 doesn't offer a particularly large battery. It also has several displays — and potentially app multi-tasking — to power with it. The 4400mAh battery can charge at a maximum speed of 25W, which isn't exactly lightning fast. Plus, there's no mains adaptor in the box.
The battery is okay and generally gets through the day with a little to spare, given light to moderate use, in our experience. If you want to sip at the power and make it last longer, then the small outer display is your friend. Really, though this all represents an improvement on the previous Fold, we can't say that the battery-life or charging is a strong suit for the Fold 4.
It is compatible with 15W wireless charging at least, but overall, the battery performance is middle of the road.
The rear camera array is a point of improvement on the Galaxy Fold 3. A new 50MP sensor is partnered by a 12MP ultra-wide and 10MP telephoto snapper.
There's also a 4MP under-display camera and a 10MP camera on the cover display.
With five sensors at your fingertips, you won't be short of cameras. However, some of them perform better than others and ultimately the under-display camera is best forgotten.
There's also a 3x optical zoom and a 30x digital zoom, but the latter doesn't measure up to the quality of the Samsung Galay S22 Ultra, which offers a better camera system overall.
During our testing we enjoyed using the camera but found that its zoom functions did feel limited. Detail was quickly lost when zooming in on subjects.
The large display also comes in useful when taking photos. Partially fold the screen in the camera app and one half will show you the shots you've just taken, allowing for easy editing and shot selection. There's also the option to half fold the screen and place it on the floor while shooting video, giving you an interesting low-angle shot and the ability to film yourself without a tripod, or somewhere to lean your phone.
The hinge is slimmed down and the whole device is marginally less bulky, but it still feels far heftier than most phones.
The phone has a premium feel thanks to the understated camera array and glass back panel, but this is slightly eroded by quite how easily the folding display marks up. It's also one of the heaviest smartphones out there right now.
From a purely aesthetic stand-point, the Fold 4 will be divisive. For foldable fans, it's a great iterative improvement on the Fold 3, but not too much has changed and any thoughts on the design will be entirely shaped by whether you're pro or anti the big size, the hinge and the folding display. For our part, we think it's a nice looking but overly large phone, but if you have use-cases in mind that suit that large display perfectly, then it may be worth carrying around the extra bulk.
The Fold 4 is an expensive, acquired taste and you'll have to put up with one or two irritations to reap its rewards. The screen marks up annoyingly easily and the crease remains, the battery isn't as strong as we'd hoped either, but viewing videos, photos and reading content on that large folding display is a joy.
If it's sheer camera performance you're after from your Samsung, then get the S22 Ultra instead. While the camera is improved here, it's still not Samsung's best. If you want something a little more unusual that offers great bonuses with productivity apps and content streaming, then this might be the phone for you.
Ultimately, while slick, powerful and impressive, the Fold 4 still represents an innovative, new technology that hasn't quite been perfected. If you have the budget to pay for that and find it appealing enough to accept its small flaws, then it's well worth considering as a purchase.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is available from a range of UK retailers. Check out the latest pricing and availability below.