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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, Galaxy Z Flip 4 first impressions: Small steps make big changes happen

There’s a lot to like about the Fold 4 and Flip 4 but without a doubt their strongest trait is the attention to detail.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Globally, the Fold 4 starts at $1,799 (roughly Rs 1,42,570) while the Flip 4 will start at $999 (roughly Rs 79,200). (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 are nice. They’re, in fact, some of the nicest folding devices you’ll be able to get your hands on this year. Samsung did reinvent the wheel of sorts when it envisioned the category a few years back and even though there are others who’re doing it, now, none comes close to the Galaxy’s sheer scale and consistency.

Once the wheel was reinvented, Samsung did not go reinventing it over and over again. Rather it chose to keep its ears to the ground and focused on refinement. The term incremental often draws a lot of negative press in tech and while the connotation may be open to debate, sometimes, it’s good to be incremental, too. Small steps make big changes happen and if you were to follow Samsung’s trajectory, every Fold –or Flip—has brought about a firm reassurance that you could, one day, talk about a folding device in the same way you talk about any other regular phone.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Both devices are made of Corning Gorilla Victus Plus and have side-mounted fingerprint readers. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

The Fold 4 and Flip 4 follow the same rulebook to a T so even if they might seem a little too familiar, it is okay, because as we said, they’re still some of the nicest folding devices around.

We can’t say if they’re better –or not—than the Fold 3 and Flip 3 just yet. We’ll need more time with them to give you a better picture but it’s easy to tell where Samsung has put its money on this year to try and give you a more holistic hardware and software experience.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
The Fold 4 has a 50MP main sensor. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

Easily the biggest update is coming in the camera department and that’s news because Samsung has kept top-shelf camera hardware outside the purview of these devices so far, often repeating it multiple times for some curious reason when logic would dictate otherwise. This is the same company that makes absolute killer camera phones like the Galaxy S22 Ultra, why not use that here?

While it isn’t doing exactly that per se, it’s nice to see the Fold 4 getting some much-needed overhaul. You get a new 50MP main sensor in this phone that sits behind an f/1.8 lens with optical image stabilisation. Samsung says it can take up to 25 percent brighter photos and it supports its nightography feature that made its debut with the S22 series. You also get a 12MP ultrawide-angle and another 10MP telephoto for combined 30x “space” zoom (3x optical). It’s a powerful combination, one that we will be putting through its paces so stay tuned for more on camera quality. The cover display has the same 10MP camera as the Fold 3.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
The Fold 4’s under-display selfie camera. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

Speaking of which, the 4MP under-display camera from last year is also getting an important update with a new scatter-type sub-pixel arrangement so it’s seemingly less distracting than before while also improving photo quality.

The Flip 4 has the same dual 12MP main cameras as the Flip 3, at least on paper, though the updated ISP means it can take –in the words of Samsung— up to 65 percent brighter photos. A key change, this year, is that the cover display—which by the way is the same size as before— can also be used to shoot selfie portraits. It has the same default 10MP selfie camera inside a hole punch cutout as the Flip 3.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
The Fold 4 supports S pen. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

The Fold 4 is a little more pocketable than the Fold 3 with an overall thickness of about 15.8mm when folded. It weighs only 263g (versus 271g) but it’s still two chunks of glass and metal joined together so it does have a good amount of heft and would require some getting used to. Samsung is naturally using new, more durable materials. The body is made of Corning Gorilla Glass Victus Plus. The outer frame is made of armour aluminium. Like the Fold 3, the Fold 4 is also IPX8 certified which makes it water resistant. There is support for S-Pen stylus. The Flip 3 has the same build materials and is also water resistant though there is no S-Pen support here. Generally speaking, it’s a lot tighter and more compact. For those of us who’ve been covering these devices since the start, the difference, though subtle, is there regardless. Samsung has clearly come a long way especially when it comes to fit and finish. The hinge gap and crease where the screen folds are, still, there but they’re ever so slightly more bearable in every generation and the same is true about the Fold 4 and Flip 4 as well.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Both phones are powered by the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

The Fold 4 has the same 7.6-inch QXGA dynamic 120Hz AMOLED inner folding screen as the Fold 3 but it’s slightly wider (21.6:18) and has a slightly higher peak brightness (1300nits). The cover screen is also the same as last year – 6.2-inch dynamic 120Hz AMOLED –but here too, the aspect ratio is getting a slight refresh. It is now 23.1:9. All in all, there’s a little more screen real estate without any big bump in size and that’s appreciated.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Fold 4 hinge (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

At the helm of both these devices is Qualcomm’s brand-new Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1. The Fold 4 is getting 12GB of RAM by default while the Flip 4 tops out at 8GB. Storage configurations will vary depending on market, so will the colour schemes. The Fold 4 will come in Graygreen, Beige and Phantom Black colourways in addition to an online– Samsung.com– exclusive Burgundy option. The Flip 4 will come in Bora Purple, Graphite, Pink Gold and Blue in addition to 75 other combinations through Samsung’s Bespoke upgrade in select markets.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Flip 4 hinge (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

The Fold 4 is powered by a 4,400mAh battery (same as the Fold 3) while the Flip 4 is getting a bump at 3,700mAh (versus 3,300mAh in the Fold 3). They both support fast wired and wireless charging as well as wireless power share.

Software is Android 12L-based OneUI 4.1.1 in the Fold 4 while the Flip 4 has Android 12. A notable update for Fold 4 is an all-new task bar that now sits below instead of being on the right in the previous rendition.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Fold 4, Flip 4 software (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

Samsung hasn’t revealed pricing and availability for the India market at the time of writing. We will update this piece as soon as we get more information. Globally, the Fold 4 starts at $1,799 (roughly Rs 1,42,570) while the Flip 4 will start at $999 (roughly Rs 79,200). There’s a lot to like about the Fold 4 and Flip 4 but without a doubt their strongest trait is the attention to detail. Watch this space for our full reviews of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4.

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