Review of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Hard to believe that we're already at a 4th iteration of a foldable phone.  Feels like not that long ago we were even discussing the possibilities of a screen that could 'curve' let alone folding over.

In the phone 'fold' realm of Samsung there is the 'flip' (think of it folding like old flip phones) and then there are the 'fold', where it opens like a book.

This is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.  

And tech that folds isn't cheap at the moment.  This is a $3,000 phone!  That's just nuts.  I'd be leery of spending that much on a laptop, but here we are. 

There are some methods to reduce that a little:  our local carrier lets you buy it for $95/month for the 2 year plan, or Rogers has it for $710 upfront and then $45/month for 2 years, Bell lets you pay $85/month and then lets you buy it for $710 at the end of the 2 years or turn it in for trade.

What do we get for that kind of coinage:

  • Display
    • 'Front':  6.2" 2316x904 @ 120Hz
  • 'Folded':  7.6" 2176x1812 @ 120Hz
  • Snapdragon 8+ (SM8475) (3.19GHz x1 + 2.75GHz x3 + 1.8GHz x4)
  • 12GB RAM
  • 256GB Storage
  • Rear Cameras
    • 50MP (f/1.8, 26mm, 1.0µm)
    • 10MP (f/2.4, 66mm, 1.0µm) - 3x zoom
    • 12MP (f/2.2, 12mm, 1.12µm) - ultrawide 123°
  • Selfie (Cover)
    • 10MP (f/2.2, 24mm, 1.22µm)
  • Selfie (folded display)
    • 4MP (f/1.8, 26mm, 2.0µm)
  • 4400mAh
  • Qi (15W charging, 4.5W reverse)

That's a lot.  It's high end specs for sure.  Samsung rarely goes in on half-measures.  High res panel, that looks great, a LOONG life battery, loads of great cameras and a whack of RAM to run any app you need and switch between them and not lose your place.


As far as performance goes, I don't think I need to tell you there was nothing of concern here whatsoever.  Running any app, lasting a long time on battery... 

I think we really need to address at this point just how is the idea of a folding phone?

Before I get to that, just wanted to point out a neat feature I hadn't seen yet in other devices with punchout camera holes in the display - for the folded display selfie camera, it actually has a 'cover' - essentially what looks like a lower level of pixels to 'draw' over the hole so it hides the punchout.

can you see it?

Now, keep in mind that the selfie camera is probably sacrificed for this feature - it's only 4MP on that inside display.  Maybe doing it on a higher end lens would affect it.  Still.  I found it a neat little feature.

Back to the fold.

Okay, to start with you have the 'outside' display.  The book cover / title page of this phone.  And it's a good display, nothing super exciting, and if anything, tbh it's a very tall and skinny display.  Not quite used to that kinda ratio.

You can use this as you would any other phone.  Answer a call, check a text or fire off a quick email.  

It does the job.

But really... really, you want to open up the device. You want to unfold this book and impress someone doing it.

The folded over phone still has a 'wedge' feel to it in that it's not flush.  But that's okay.

Opening is a 2 handed deal.  You can't just 'get a thumbnail in there' and pry it apart.  It's an obvious act of opening.

Doing it, you're then presented with what can only be described in the olden Android language as 'phablet'.  A near square sized piece of display.  Again a ratio that's not quite something we're used to.

Everything feels 'novel' about this phone.  And that's okay.  We just have to figure out the right use case and how.

Honestly, I found myself almost ALWAYS using the phone in 'book' mode and only folded it back closed to put in my pocket.

In book mode I have way more real estate to play around in.  Check websites and turn on the 'desktop mode' and it fit just about right.

It gets a little awkward when you go to run an app or game that requires 'landscape' mode and then it makes you rotate the phone... seems kinda silly as it's almost square.

I'm still somewhat conflicted over the "do you still see the fold line" in using the device.

You do see the line, it's unmistakable, and when you swipe around you can feel that 'bump' in it as you glide your finger over that divide.  That being said, I'm not 'distracted' by it in any manner while I use it.  It's that kind of fee we pay.  I know it's a foldable device, and it had to fold from some point, so obviously it's there.  Do we complain about books having a spine?

The bigger trick with the 'book' mode is to find out what's the best use case for you to warrant that big price tag.  

At first you think you're going to use it just as a 'book'.  Have more real estate and do more things.  

multi window setting is pretty neat to play around with when you have more space

peruse websites with more room

you'll notice in 'book mode' the launcher almost looks more DeX mode with all that space

That is cool.

But then you realize by having that fold you can use it in what my son referred to as "DS mode".  Turn it so that one way you have one half in both hands and fold the upper portion like a Nintendo DS.

This allows you a few cool features like easier dual screens, or use the bottom half like the DS for controls and inputs.

It also opens the opportunity for more playing around with the camera.  

Have it as its own stand.  That does make things potentially easier.

Overall, I found the whole experience to be 'novel'.  I feel that even with just 2 weeks I was still exploring around and finding how I might use something this way, or use it that way.  

I think it'd be very hard to make that kind of purchasing decision not knowing HOW I would use it - to buy it and still weeks later figure out the best use case for it.  But, I do also love a good gadget and something entirely different.

Is it worth the price of that?  I think you'd have to weigh out how much you use your phone as a smartphone, and how much do you ever use a tablet... this could cover both grounds for you in that sense.