As somebody who has been testing and reviewing tech merchandise for roughly a decade, it is laborious to get enthusiastic about new foldables now that telephones with bendable screens have existed for about 4 years.. That’s grow to be true even for
But after spending an prolonged time frame with Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4, I discovered way more about each the promise and compromises that include at the moment’s foldables. Although I attempted the Galaxy Z Fold 4 briefly across the time it launched, I not too long ago determined to make use of it as my common telephone for about three weeks.
Seven months after the Z Fold 4’s debut, lots of the predominant takeaways from my colleague Patrick Holland’sstay true. But I’ve additionally come away from the expertise with a number of surprises — some nice, and a few not so nice — that make me each excited and apprehensive about the way forward for foldables.
What I beloved about utilizing the Galaxy Z Fold 4
The smartest thing in regards to the Galaxy Z Fold 4, in fact, is its tablet-sized internal display screen. The Galaxy Z Fold 4’s 7.6-inch show meant I used to be capable of go away myat dwelling when taking a current flight since I may rely solely on my telephone to observe on an even bigger display screen. Some different duties that the Z Fold 4’s large display screen got here in useful for embody shopping on-line menus at eating places, video chatting and studying information articles.
The thought of getting a telephone that additionally doubles as a pill is nothing new for early adopters and tech fanatics. But it is nonetheless a novel idea for the remainder of us. When I confirmed the Galaxy Z Fold 4 to my mother, an avid iPad consumer, she was fascinated by it. I’ve by no means seen her get so enthusiastic about any of the tech devices I’ve introduced dwelling to evaluate during the last 10 years.
I’ve gotten some related reactions from associates, who reacted with a mixture of curiosity, pleasure and skepticism. One good friend exclaimed that she thought I had introduced a Kindle to dinner after I opened up the Z Fold to view the restaurant’s menu on a bigger display screen.
That underscores my main studying from utilizing the Galaxy Z Fold 4 over the previous couple of weeks. Right now, with the ability to view apps on a tablet-size display screen is its largest attribute. I care much less about utilizing apps in split-screen mode and extra about dedicating the whole display screen to a single goal. I by no means discovered myself utilizing Flex Mode, which is Samsung’s characteristic that splits the software program between the highest and backside parts of the display screen when folded midway. I made some extent to attempt it, however by no means discovered myself utilizing it naturally.
Aside from the massive display screen, I got here away impressed with the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s audio system. I typically use my telephone to play music as I’m cleansing or preparing for the day, and the Z Fold 4 was capable of fill my bed room with sound way more simply than the smaller telephones I usually use. It’s one other trait that makes the Galaxy Z Fold 4 a super leisure machine.
Battery life is first rate on the Galaxy Z Fold 4, however nothing to get too enthusiastic about. With common utilization, I can get by a day simply on a single cost. However, after I was touring and relied on my telephone for instructions, streaming Netflix on the airplane journey and calling loads of Ubers and Lyfts to get round, I discovered myself in want of a charger quick.
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 has a 50-megapixel main camera, 12-megapixel ultra wide camera and 10-megapixel telephoto camera, much like the Galaxy S23. Both phones also have a 3x optical zoom and a 30x digital zoom. I didn’t do an exhaustive comparison, but I did notice that the Galaxy S23’s photos have more contrast in the shadows, making the images look a little better than the Z Fold 4’s overall.
That’s likely thanks to the updated processing happening on the back end, driven by the S23’s new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor that’s been optimized for Samsung’s Galaxy devices. The Galaxy Z Fold 4, by comparison, runs on the previous generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. But both phones were great at taking photos in low-light scenarios, as the photos of my cat below show.
Those interested in a phone like the Galaxy Z Fold 4 likely aren’t overly concerned about the camera since the screen is the star of the show. But if you’re going to splurge on an expensive phone, it should have a great camera, too. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 checks that box, but just keep in mind that Samsung usually reserves the best cameras for its Galaxy S devices.
What I didn’t like about using the Galaxy Z Fold 4
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 gets enough right to prove that there’s promise in a device that can function as both a phone and a tablet in one. But there are some setbacks that prevent it from being as useful and enjoyable as it could be — most of which are design and software-related.
The Galaxy Z Fold 4’s crease is still noticeable even now that it’s in its fourth generation. If rumors from The Elec, ETNews and prolific leaker Ice Universe prove true, Samsung could address this with a new type of hinge in the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s successor. But companies like Huawei and Oppo are already ahead of Samsung in this regard, as my colleague Sareena Dayaram has written.
The Galaxy Z Fold 4’s outer screen feels more natural than on previous versions thanks to its slightly wider design. But there are still times when its squarish aspect ratio shows. When taking photos, for example, the cover screen provides a smaller viewfinder than what you’d get when using a normal phone.
The phone itself is also still fairly heavy, weighing 263 grams compared to the 233-gramand 195-gram Galaxy S23 Plus. My 5-year-old nephew commented that it looks like two phones stacked on top of each other, and that’s an accurate characterization.
Although I loved using the Galaxy Z Fold’s large screen for reading and watching TV, the general software could still use some work. This is a criticism I’ve had about foldable phones for a while, and it still holds true. Today’s devices lack software features that are compelling enough to prove the promise behind foldables.
With the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Flip 4, Samsung added a new feature that lets you use the bottom half of the device as a trackpad when the phone is in Flex Mode. While that does make it easier to navigate the phone while in Flex Mode, the larger issue is that I never felt inclined to use Flex Mode in the first place, as I mentioned earlier.
Overall, the Galaxy Z Fold has come far enough to show that there’s a future for foldable phones. But most of all, I found myself using it as a regular phone. And maybe that’s the most telling takeaway of all. Right now, most people probably just want a really good phone. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t excited about the other gaps in our lives that phones like the Z Fold may fill in the future.