8.4
Score

Pros

  • Minor improvements in the Design
  • Better Display dimensions that are more usable
  • Android 12L with OneUI optimisation to make the Foldable work better is smart
  • Performance is pretty impressive
  • Better Build Quality and instils confidence in using as a daily driver

Cons

  • 4,400mAh doesn't really cut it
  • Still doesn't change the fact that the Z Fold4 is an absolutely premium Smartphone

Time and time again, if you were to read our review on the previous Samsung Galaxy Z Fold devices, you would have noticed how we were a bit hesitant in recommending the foldable because of how “early adopter”-ish it feels. Over the generations, it did improve but its round that feels totally different. We did point out a bunch of changes in our hands-on and now that we have been using the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 for a while – here’s our review as to if you should finally opt for a foldable.

It’s not in the Looks but in the Feels

1/3

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 touts a rather similar design choice by default which has not evolved much from the previous generation which is Z Fold3. But it’s not in the looks, but its more to the feel of it that also makes up for a better experience.

Before we get into that, let’s take a moment to appreciate the beautiful Graygreen colour which I am absolutely a huge fan of. The colour is incredibly subtle and still adds a layer of sophistication, making it quite the classy device. A lot of heads didn’t turn that I was using a Z Fold4, but it turned because people loved the colour of the phone.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4

Now moving on to the feel of the device, this time around it feels like it’s a more usable device through and through. Which made me wonder, what is it so different that this phone feels and plays well this time. Then I realized with the Z Fold3 beside at the Samsung Stores, a lot of finer granular things changed.

For one, the device is no longer weirdly longer, and the display is in a much acceptable ratio. Same applies to the display inside – which has an almost 1:1 ratio – it now has a similar idea as the Oppo Find N which had two beautiful displays in the right ratio. While the cover display is okay, I expect it to be in a better ratio later but now it’s a lot more usable.

Finally, the biggest change is the hinge. Looks the same? Sure, but it does not feel the same at all. This time around, the magnets on the inside are much more solid to the snap and the hinge has some serious structural rigidity that allows you to flex the display at any angle.

When you fold it all out, two parts of the display does unfold to give a one whole device when the bigger display is being used. This is beautiful. This is the solid feeling that I was missing from every Fold predecessor I was reviewing and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 gives me more confidence in using with the big display.

Not to forget the IPX8 is a good feature to have.

Cover Display

Now the cover display, one of the displays I have gotten irritated in the past for its underwhelming experience for being too narrow and too long that most apps don’t play well. This time around, there are three things you will notice but if you don’t, worry not. For one, the display is a lot shorter, which means it’s in a newer ratio – 23.1:9 (vs 24.5:9) and wider by 2.7mm. Now it’s not a whole apple to orange difference, but it’s more like Fuji Apple to Red Delicious Apples if you will.

Secondly, the glass they are using on the front is no longer curved and its flat, similarly to the S22 and S22+. I truly appreciate the change they went through because now it’s a lot nicer to use the front display without that unnecessary curve which annoys the heck out of me. That applies for both the front and back glasses. And it’s made of Corning Gorilla Victus.

Finally, the third change is the missing left thicker bezel. If you remember with the last three Folds, there’s an extra silver bezel that tends to add unnecessary space. But this round it’s engineered for a thinner and slimmer hinge, which doesn’t take too much of space anymore.

So, is it a whole lot more usable? Yes it is. To be honest, I enjoy the right amount of narrowness of the display because it does help me hold it in one hand well to be able to do task with one thumb – similarly to how I use the Xperia Pro-I. Opting in for a flatter front cover display made a good difference as gliding your thumb or messaging is pretty easy and you don’t have to see your thumb slip to the edge.

While texting, yes, the keyboard does feel narrow but now the digitizers are about 70% accurate, so typos are less common. But if you do want to type fast, you must resort to the bigger display.

Bigger Foldable Display

The 7.6” Dynamic AMOLED 2X display on the inside gets some improvement too. It’s time we all get used to the crease in the middle because it’s not going anywhere. Also, the Under Display Camera in this generation hides very well under the display but the quality is still somewhat of a hit and miss.

The minimized bezels add a nice touch, making it a much more usable display. One thing that I did notice is that the UTG is improved by a lot with a much more solid construction that doesn’t feel plasticky when you press it down. This also means, it’s going to be nice to use the S Pen with it.

What really made a difference with the bigger Foldable Display is the new Software optimisation and improvements, which made it useable and didn’t feel like it was handicapped by poor support. The Android 12L based OneUI was meant for foldables to take complete advantage of the bigger display and it does.

The quick access app in the home screen, now doubles as the Taskbar when you use other apps. It minimizes and gives you quicker access to more application for you to switch or multitask with.

So far, its miles better than the Finger Gesture I was never a fan of. The Multi Window handle on top of the display which also lets you launch or split the screen into two apps, is great but again the Taskbar, does pretty much everything exactly how I want, and you are going to love multitasking on this.

Finally, a mode I like – The Flex Mode optimization where, the moment you are in an app like Netflix or YouTube or Prime Video, and when you watch movies or videos with the device flexed, the Flex Mode panel, uses the top half of the display and the bottom half becomes controls you can quickly access. Neat. Reminded me of what I did with my LG Wing.

Meta Needs to Get their Sh*t together

Samsung did say that they are working with companies to make their app more usable and so far, Microsoft and Google are the only two companies that are taking things seriously with some surprising mentions like Notion, Zoho, Telegram and one or two more.

Meta apps, well Facebook has a Fold interface but otherwise, every other app from Meta like WhatsApp, Messenger and the biggest one, Instagram is nothing but an absolute pain in the ass.

Samsung added a feature to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 where in select apps where you want to split conversations in a smarter way with all your conversation on the left and the conversation you are in on the right. If it wasn’t for Samsung to add into OneUI, WhatsApp would have been a hot rubbish of an app to use and a waste of screen space.

Instagram does not work when you are viewing story, it will freeze, and you will have to force close to relaunch it and sometimes you can’t even reply to messages via Instagram Direct.

So, have some patience while using Meta apps – because you are really going to need it.

Specification and Performance

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 doesn’t shy away from having the best specification under the hood, in fact a processor that I prefer and specification that makes total sense to take advantage of this device.

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
  • 12GB RAM with 256GB Internal Storage

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is the processor to go for because our experience with the non-plus processor was just horrible to begin with, especially with the thermals and performance inconsistencies. After reviewing the ROG Phone 6 which had the same processor, I was happy to report that the 8+ Gen 1 is it.

GeekBench 5
GeekBench 5
GeekBench 5 Vulcan
GeekBench 5 Vulcan
GeekBench 5 OpenCL
GeekBench 5 OpenCL
Wild Life Extreme
Wild Life Extreme
Wild Life Extreme
Wild Life Extreme
Wild Life Extreme Stress Test
Wild Life Extreme Stress Test
Wild Life Extreme Stress Test
Wild Life Extreme Stress Test

And now, it lives up to its expectations. You can check out the benchmark scores below. But to put it simply, if you do have a busy lifestyle and switch between multitudes of application and not to forget, take advantage of the bigger display – you are in for a good treat.

Camera

One of the not-so-strong traits of the Fold in the past has been the camera, but Samsung have addressed it with equipping the phone with the same camera system as the S22+:

  • 12MP Ultra-Wide
  • 50MP Wide Lens
  • 10MP Telephoto with 3x Optical and 30x Space Zoom

In Samsung’s fashion, the camera takes pictures the way they intended to – punchy colours, stark contrast and all that Samsung colour science kicking in. While it isn’t really my personal favourite camera to use, it sure does take some nice pictures without a doubt for you to share with your friends, family and so on.

1/15

You can check out some of the sample shots we took with this camera below. The front facing shooter on the cover display is a lot more usable as compared to the UDC which still has this bizarre haze making it look like you are shooting with a .3gp camera.

Charging and Battery Life

The 4,400 mAh battery in this Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 isn’t the biggest but it’s not the smallest – although you are going to get the rear end of the stick especially when you use both the displays a lot. During our time using the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4, we only got about close to 6 hours of screen on time and this device is at most, a one-day device where you will have to connect to a charger by the end of the day. You don’t get a power brick included in the box, so which means you will have to resort to your own charger.

When we used our PD Based charger, with proper Fast Charging Mechanism, it charged our device in about 1 hour 18 minutes with a plus minus 6 minutes difference. It’s not the fastest, but it’s all right. Although I strongly urge Samsung to increase the battery in the future because with more powerful processors down the line, 4400 mAh isn’t going to cut it.

Conclusion

Here are we at the end of the review, and after having the opportunity to review four generations of Galaxy Z Fold, this Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 is the Fold I genuinely want in my pocket. Having a flexible display doesn’t really instil confidence for me to still own, yes, and I have said this through and through with all the previous generation of devices. But this one is well put together and despite its granular upgrades, it sure did make a difference. Although Meta app support irks me a lot.

If you are using the Z Fold3, you have no reason to upgrade because it’s almost identical. But if you are coming from the older Fold devices, then this is the one you should upgrade to. I still don’t ask everyone to go and buy the device to everyone because seriously, this phone costs a fortune, starting at RM 6,799 – so, perhaps think twice before making the purchase – for the sake of your wallet and bank account and also, you don’t need the 1TB. You really don’t.