|Extremely powerful||Very expensive|
|Upgraded cameras||Similar to the previous model|
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 isn't quite as much of an upgrade as we'd have liked, especially given its high price. But it takes the best foldable and makes it even better, so it still comes highly recommended.
If you want Samsung’s true top phone then it’s not the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra that you should be looking at, but rather the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. This has the company’s most high-end and experimental screen tech, along with more power and a higher price than the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
That last point of course will make it a tough sell for a lot of potential buyers. With a starting price of £1,649 SIM free or from around £74 per month on contract, this is an extravagant expense. But when you consider that it essentially doubles as a tablet, the price becomes a bit more palatable.
Still, is this the two-in-one, do-it-all smartphone that you should be buying? Or are there flaws which hold it back? Read on to find out.
As with most foldable phones, the screen is the star of the show on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. Or screens rather.
The main display is a 7.6-inch 1812 x 2176 AMOLED one with 374 pixels per inch, a 120Hz variable refresh rate, and HDR10+ support, along with a high peak brightness of 1,200 nits. It’s almost the size of a small tablet, with the iPad Mini (2021) for example only being a little bigger at 8.3 inches.
Still, if you do plan to use this as a tablet it’s worth noting that it’s very much on the small side for that, if far bigger than most phones, which top out at around 6.8 inches.
Fold this screen shut and you’re left with a form factor more like a normal smartphone, and the display of one too, as this leaves you with the 6.2-inch secondary screen. That has a 904 x 2316 resolution, uses AMOLED tech, has a 120Hz variable refresh rate, and comes in at around 402 pixels per inch.
Neither of these screens are quite as crisp as the display you’ll find on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra or most other top-end Android phones, but they’re not too far off, and otherwise these displays are extremely high quality.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is inevitably thicker than a normal smartphone when folded shut, and much wider when opened out, so this is far from compact. It’s a lot like the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s design for better or worse, but it generally looks good and it folds down to a manageable size.
It also uses premium materials including Gorilla Glass Victus Plus and aluminium, so it looks and feels expensive. Impressively it’s water resistant too, which most foldable phones not made by Samsung aren’t.
It’s worth noting however that the crease in the foldable screen is visible. This is something that foldable phones haven’t yet solved, and it’s a bit of a shame. There’s also no dust resistance, so be careful using this in dusty environments.
Overall though this is one of the most polished looking and feeling foldable phones around. There’s still work to be done on the design of foldable phones, but in 2022 you won’t do much better than this.
There’s a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset inside the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, and that’s a big win for the phone, as it’s significantly more powerful than the Exynos 2200 chipset in the Samsung Galaxy S22 line.
That makes this one of Samsung’s most powerful phones and one of the most powerful phones from any brand, especially as it also comes with 12GB of RAM.
So we’ve got no complaints here. Performance is fast, slick, and smooth whatever you’re doing, and will likely continue to be for a long time.
Samsung’s high-end phones often excel for photography, but while the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 isn’t exactly an exception, it’s not as impressive on this front as some of the company’s other phones, most notably the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Here you get a 50MP f/1.8 main sensor, a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide one, and a 10MP f/2.4 telephoto one, with 3x optical zoom. There’s also a 10MP f/2.2 selfie camera on the secondary screen, and a 4MP f/1.8 under-display one on the foldable screen.
For the most part the cameras perform well, with the trio on the rear being the same configuration as the Samsung Galaxy S22. All three of these cameras are good, though the telephoto one is a bit disappointing when you consider that the S22 Ultra can manage 10x optical zoom.
The 10MP selfie camera is decent too, though the 4MP under-display one is less special, and is also slightly visible below the screen. Of course, with another selfie camera to leverage too there’s really no need to use this camera most of the time.
Overall the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 has a good camera setup, but given that this is Samsung’s most expensive phone it’s a shame that the company offers slightly better cameras elsewhere.
Just like the Z Fold 3, you can use an S Pen stylus with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, which helps make the most of all that screen space.
The phone has also had a multitasking overhaul, with a new taskbar at the bottom of the screen which makes using split-screen and switching between apps easier than ever. This helps it get closer to the level of slick productivity offered by a laptop, so it’s definitely appreciated.
The software in general feels more suited to a big foldable screen than ever before – probably in part because this is running Android 12L, which is Google’s new version of Android designed for larger screens.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 has a 4,400mAh battery, which is rather small for a device of this size, but it’s in line with what you can generally expect from foldables, and the same capacity as the Z Fold 3’s battery.
In use it’s just about big enough, with enough juice to last through a typical day, but this isn’t a two-dayer, and on particularly heavy days you might find yourself reaching for a charger.
It’s not amazing on the charging front either, with 25W wired charging or 15W wireless. This is pretty typical of Samsung, but it’s way behind the likes of Xiaomi and OnePlus, which often provide far faster charging phones, such as the 120W Xiaomi 12 Pro.
Memory meanwhile comes in at a choice of 256GB, 512GB or 1TB, which is a decent assortment, while connectivity options include 5G, Bluetooth 5.2, and NFC.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is a further refinement of Samsung’s foldable formula, offering upgraded cameras, a more powerful chipset, and better software than its predecessor.
It’s not the most exciting iteration we’ve seen, but if you simply want the best and most polished foldable phone around, this is it. If however you value things like cameras or battery life above a foldable form factor, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra would be a better choice.