Having played around with the Huawei Mate Xs 2 just a few months back and really enjoying the experience, I’ve got a better idea of what I truly like in a foldable phone.
Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold series will always have a soft spot in my heart, but for the longest time, it’s been the only large foldable phone I’ve used. Hence, you could say I’m biased.
Now that I’m more informed though, I can look at the all-new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 through a more neutral lens. Here’s what it brings to the table.
A sleek, premium-feeling outer body
First things first, the Graygreen colourway on the unit we received is gorgeous, eliciting excited oooh’s from me and my colleague when we first set eyes on it.
Samsung chose to maintain the premium matte finishing (a great choice, especially with the sophisticated Graygreen), but made the interesting decision to have the edges of the phone be a shiny metallic.
Previously, on the Z Fold3, the edges were slightly more matte. Beyond that though, the Z Fold3 and Z Fold4 look virtually identical, at least until you get into the minute details.
In an incremental upgrade, Samsung has made the cover display much wider at 57.2mm (2.7mm more than the Z Fold3), addressing persistent user complaints that previous cover displays were much too narrow to be comfortable to use.
2.7mm doesn’t sound like a lot on paper, but in practice, it makes quite the difference. Though it’s still narrower than a mainstream flagship’s cover display, it’s more comfortable to use one-handed now.
This is further helped by the 8g weight reduction from the Z Fold3, bringing the Z Fold4’s total weight to about 263g.
In comparison, the Huawei Mate Xs 2 weighed 255g, though the big difference likely comes down to the body materials used.
The Z Fold4 definitely feels more sturdy, but it’s also still bulky (when folded) by most people’s standards. If you found previous Z Fold models clunky to unfold as well, the Z Fold4 won’t change anything.
Unfolded, the Z Fold4 also has a wider display at 122.9mm, thanks to minimised bezels. Similar to its predecessor, it has a Foldable Dynamic AMOLED 2X screen with HDR10+, a 120Hz refresh rate, and 1,200 nits of brightness (peak).
So, yes, it’s gorgeous and smooth especially when used for watching videos or gaming.
Equipped with features to please productivity-chasers
One upgrade that has gotten workaholics excited is the new taskbar feature which simulates a mini-desktop experience.
It allows users to easily switch between their favourite or most recently used apps, and customising it works the same way as with the sidebar on any other Samsung device released in the past few years.
It’s definitely a tool made for productivity purposes, but I’ll admit I don’t care for it too much because I don’t work on my phone.
Despite that, I’d still argue that the beauty of the Z Fold4 truly lies in its ability to turn from daily driver into a productivity powerhouse just by unfolding it.
The mini-tablet experience is only further enhanced with the help of the S Pen Fold Edition (which I didn’t get to try), and of course, DeX.
Multi-Active Windows also shine the best on a phone like the Z Fold4, because a split screen essentially ends up looking like two mainstream cover displays next to each other.
This enables one to easily drag and drop files from one window to the other, again showing how the phone is poised for productivity.
To maximise the Z Fold4’s foldability, there’s Flex Mode, which allows users to watch a video on one half of the screen while reading comments or video descriptions on the other half.
It’s not my favourite feature as I do like watching videos in full screen, but it’s useful if I want to watch something hands-free for a while and don’t have a phone stand.
Improved flagship-standard cameras
Another talking point for the Z Fold4 is its upgraded cameras, as the ones on the Z Fold3 remained largely unchanged from the Z Fold2.
The Z Fold4 now boasts the same camera capabilities as the Samsung S22, with a 12MP ultra-wide, 50MP wide, and 10MP telephoto with 3x Optical Zoom and 30x Space Zoom.
Its cover display camera remains the same as its predecessor’s at 10MP, with the same 4MP under-display camera when unfolded too.
From my experience, the Z Fold4’s cameras certainly are better, and not just on paper. The 50MP lens makes the biggest difference, of course.
Pictures came out sharp and clear, and being able to use the cover screen as a mirror to take selfies or adjust your appearance before someone takes a picture of you is a game changer.
The latter was a feature that’s existed since the very first Z Fold phone was released, but I can tell the UI for it has been improved significantly.
With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip and a 4,400mAh battery (same as before, just with faster charging capabilities), the Z Fold4 handled a few hours of Genshin Impact gameplay just fine on overclocked settings.
The usual heating up was to be expected, since it’s not equipped with gaming phone cooling systems, but it wasn’t anything too uncomfortable.
Having pointed out these incremental improvements then, it begs the question, who is this phone for, with its starting price of RM6,799?
It’s still by no means an affordable phone, but it’s probably one of the best foldable phones in the Malaysian market right now.
The Z Fold4 is for someone who’s not changed their phone in a few years maybe, and is looking for something new, different, and exciting.
It’s for someone who’s driven to do some work on the go, someone who would appreciate what’s essentially a phone and a mini tablet in one body.
Thanks to these seemingly minor upgrades, the Z Fold4 has actually become a rather well-polished device that could actually rival most flagships, if one can afford it.
|Improved main cameras, putting it on par with the S22||Still equipped with a high price tag|
|A slightly wider cover display that makes it feel like a mainstream phone when folded||Still bulky to hold (when folded) and clunky to open|
|New productivity-focused features have been added|
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