The Galaxy Fold was the original folding smartphone, and so the line comprised of its successors has always been incredibly important throughout these past few years, especially as they have always been the most geographically spread folding smartphones you can buy. The most recent iteration is still the Galaxy Fold4, at least until Samsung announces the Fold5 later this month, so we decided it’s time to take this one for an extended spin.
The Fold4 has more direct competition than any of its predecessors, even if a lot of its direct competitors aren’t available officially outside of China. Thus, the Samsung ‘Fold’ is still, for many people, the benchmark for this phone-folds-out-into-a-mini-tablet form factor, and, of course, it helps that it comes from a brand that’s well-known across the globe, and with a very long software update window as well – that’s more of a thing throughout the Android world today, but it hasn’t always been.
So, the Galaxy Z Fold4 (which we’ll simply refer to as “Fold4” from now on), on paper, looks like a solid contender even today. But does that translate into a great user experience day-in and day-out when you have this as your one and only smartphone? That’s what we’re trying to find out in this review.
We’ve lived exclusively with the Fold4 for many weeks now, and are ready to share our thoughts. Is the Samsung Fold still the best non-Flip foldable that you can officially buy internationally? Or is the market leader in dire need of severe changes, which will hopefully be implemented with the release of the Fold5? Let’s explore together. Join us over the next few pages to see if Samsung’s software advantage is still big enough to negate some of its hardware oddities.
The Fold4 looks exactly as you’d expect. If you’re aware of the Fold line, and someone tells you they’re going to show you the latest model in the family, this is pretty much what you’d imagine beforehand. It looks almost exactly like the Fold3, and the tall aspect ratio when closed also makes it instantly identifiable as part of the same series as the Fold2, despite the different-looking camera island on the back.
So it’s a Samsung Fold, for sure. If there are huge upgrades compared to its predecessor, they’re definitely on the inside. The overall look and feel is identical, and that unfortunately includes the fact that there’s a gap between the two sides when the phone is closed. It’s not a humongous gap, but it’s there, and we’ve seen a bunch of Chinese foldables come out recently with zero gap, so Samsung is definitely trailing here, resting on its laurels perhaps as the company with the most foldable sales.
Aside from that, when it’s closed there’s glass all over with a metal frame and metal hinge. The glass is upgraded to Gorilla Glass Victus+, and the finish on the back is a very nice feeling matte, at least on our review unit. It’s great to the touch, but very slippery. That surprisingly doesn’t make the entire phone excessively so, because there isn’t a lot of back glass, due to the tall aspect ratio.
So you end up mostly holding the frame when the phone is closed, and a combination of that, the rear glass, and the front glass when it’s opened. The frame is shiny which means less slippery than the rear but more prone to fingerprints, and the front glass is a similar story. Overall, this is among the least slippery glass devices we’ve handled in recent times.
The top and bottom parts of the frame are flat and so the phone can ‘stand’ either way when it’s closed, and with the hinge being very flexible, this also means you can half-open it and it will still ‘stand’. Speaking of the hinge, it’s great.