The Galaxy Z Fold was one of the first true foldable smartphones released to consumers, but an exorbitant price tag and no shortage of durability issues kept it from being a mainstream hit. Samsung has since refined its ambitious handset, with last year’s Galaxy Z Fold 3 being a dependable — but still expensive — hybrid device for folks who want a phone that can also be their tablet.
The new Galaxy Z Fold 4 continues that pattern of steady refinement, this time focusing on an improved software experience that takes better advantage of the phone’s uniquely versatile screen. It’s still a luxury purchase at $1,799, but for those willing to invest in a phone that can also be a giant productivity and entertainment screen, the Z Fold 4 is looking like the best take on the formula yet. Here’s what we think after getting some brief hands-on time.
The $1,799 Galaxy Z Fold 4 is available for preorder now at samsung.com and major retailers, and will start shipping on Aug. 26. If you preorder through Samsung between now and Aug. 25, you’ll get double the storage at no extra cost, a Standing Cover with Pen case, a $100 Samsung credit and up to $900 off with an eligible trade-in.
If you use our exclusive link, you’ll get up to $200 in Samsung credit as well as up to $300 in credit if you bundle the Z Fold 4 with a pair of Buds 2 Pro or a Galaxy Watch 5 or Watch 5 Pro.
For the uninitiated, the Galaxy Z Fold is a hybrid device that functions as a slim 6.2-inch smartphone when folded up, and turns into a 7.6-inch tablet when you open it. It feels notably heavier than a typical phone, but not uncomfortably so. It also looks pretty slick, offering a trio of eye-catching colors: Graygreen (which looked kind of bluish up close), Beige and Phantom Black.
That formula hasn’t changed much for 2022, aside from some durability improvements to the display and hinge as well as an IPX8 rating that should allow it to survive an accidental drop in the pool. But you’ll notice the biggest upgrade to the Z Fold 4 once you open it up and start playing around with the software.
The Z Fold 4 is the first smartphone to arrive with Android 12L, which is a custom version of Google’s operating system designed specifically for foldable devices. The most noticeable change here is the taskbar at the bottom, which gives the phone a PC-like interface for quickly opening and switching between apps. I found this new interface to be very intuitive, and it didn’t take me long to split the giant screen between a website, a YouTube video and the notes app. The taskbar will even keep track of these app groups, making it easy to open multiple programs that you use together at once.
The Z Fold 4’s main display has gotten marginally wider and brighter than last year’s model, and as a relative newcomer to this kind of phone, I had a great time using it. The 120Hz refresh rate made scrolling and swiping feel delightfully smooth, and the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor inside allowed me to use three apps at once without any slowdown. Jotting down notes with an S Pen also felt intuitive, though you’ll have to buy the stylus separately — a big bummer for a device that already costs $1,800. I’m especially eager to test out the Z Fold 4’s gaming capabilities; titles like Genshin Impact can take advantage of the full 7.6-inch screen size, providing what could be a much better mobile gaming experience than your average phone. The new foldable also features a less visible under-display camera up top, meaning it should be easier to get immersed in movies and games when using the big screen.
On the camera front, the Z Fold 4 has an upgraded 50-megapixel wide lens complete with a brighter sensor and 30x Space Zoom — the same ultra-detailed zoom technology that really wowed us on the Galaxy S22 Ultra. While the Capture View mode isn’t a brand-new feature, I really like that it activates when you fold the screen slightly. In this mode, you’ll get an immediate preview of your shot on the left side of the screen while making your shots on the right, making it easier to review your photos on the fly. Like on the smaller Z Flip 4, you’ll once again be able to take advantage of Flex Mode, which optimizes apps for when you fold the screen and use the bottom half of the display as a stand — whether you’re watching Netflix or shooting a TikTok video. Apps like Microsoft Office and Google Meet are also optimized for the larger screen, whether you want to share a YouTube clip while on a video call or get a nice wide view of an Excel sheet.
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 makes some subtle, smart improvements to a very good — but also very niche and expensive — foldable phone. The software upgrades are very promising for those who do serious multitasking, and the better camera should please those who are serious about their Instagram and TikTok portfolio.
That said, there aren’t many compelling reasons to upgrade if you already own last year’s Z Fold 3, and the phone’s $1,799 starting price — which doesn’t include an S Pen — is about double what you’ll pay for a traditional high-end flagship phone. The Z Fold 4 holds some appeal for business users and folks who simply want a phone and tablet all in one, but we think everyone else is better off with the more compact and affordable Z Flip 4. We’ll have a clearer idea of how both new foldables stack up when we put them through our full review process later this month.
Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 specs
6.7-inch 2640 x 1080 Dynamic OLED screen, 120Hz refresh rate
7.6-inch 2176 x 1812 Dynamic AMOLED screen, 120Hz refresh rate
1.9-inch 260 x 512 Super AMOLED display
6.2-inch 2316 x 904 Dynamic AMOLED display
Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
128GB / 256GB / 512GB
256GB / 512GB / 1TB
Bora Purple, Graphite, Pink Gold, Blue (customizable Bespoke Edition also available)
Graygreen, Phantom Black, Beige
|Size and weight (unfolded)|
6.4 x 2.8 x 0.27 inches, 6.5 ounces
6.1 x 5.1 x 0.62 inches, 9.2 ounces