Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 impressions – used to Flip, now I Fold

I'm reviewing the Galaxy Z Fold 4, and here are some random thoughts after using it for 48 hours.

It took missing the initial signature-required delivery and two trips to a FedEx shipping center in my area to get it, but this week, I got my hands on the Galaxy Z Fold 4, Samsung’s latest high-end folding phone. It arrived three days prior to today, August 26th, which is the day it and the new Galaxy Z Flip 4 formally launch.

Last year, I had my first experience with a foldable phone with the Z Flip 3, and I was impressed with how much I liked it. I was fascinated at the concept of my phone collapsing into a different form factor every time I slid it back into my pocket. From the utility of it to the – well – awesomeness of it, something about folding your phone is charming (unsurprisingly) futuristic.

The Z Fold 4 has given me all of those same emotions, but dialed up a few notches. The screen’s bigger, it feels more premium thanks to extra heft, the sides are shinier, and I can watch a movie on this thing without feeling cramped after 25 minutes.

I have a few early thoughts on my experience that are kinda random, so bear with me.

Clunk!

Closing the Galaxy Z Fold 4 when I’m done using it is frickin’ awesome. The “clunk!” sound it makes when the two edges of the device meet is priceless. It sounds satisfying, it feels satisfying, and it lets everyone know your phone is just a bit more special than theirs.

Not that you’ll be buying this phone for bragging rights, but it kind of comes with the package.

So. Much. Room.

The 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display is probably the roomiest smartphone display you’ll ever use. The second you open the Z Fold 4, you almost never want to close it. Everything from apps to games to videos feels far more spacious and comfortable to look at compared to traditional phone screens, and it feels even bigger once you’ve used the 6.7-inch cover screen which remains a little too candy bar-like.

It’s a different experience that what the Z Flip line gives you which is only impressive when you flip it shut. The Z Fold is the opposite, impressing you when you fold it open.

Granted, this is my first time using a Galaxy Z Fold of any kind, so my impressions have been sweetened by the honeymoon period with the device. That being said, I have a hard time believing anyone who hasn’t used a foldable before wouldn’t be impressed with the display the Fold 4 gets you. It’s just that good.

Typing is tricky

The folding display on the Galaxy Z Fold 4 has a 21.6:18 aspect ratio, while the cover screen is 23.1:9. Those are two extremely odd aspect ratios for a phone screen, but that’s obviously nothing new for Samsung. It is, however, new for me, and I’m having a hard time getting acclimated with typing on them.

The cover screen, while wider than the display on the Z Fold 3, is still really slim, so the keyboard is significantly skinnier than most smartphones. This makes hitting individual letters pretty tricky, so you have to almost rely on swipe typing exclusively for accuracy’s sake.

Then there’s typing on the folding display, which feels as foreign as typing on an 11-inch iPad after you’ve spent years on an iPhone 4. Samsung lets you split the keyboard to make it easier to hit the keys with your thumbs, but there’s definitely some mental gymnastics involved in getting used to it. Two days deep, I’m still accidentally hitting a lot of the wrong keys when writing messages.

Lol, this is dumb

One more thing on the cover screen:

The S Pen case is also dumb

Speaking of dumb things, I really don’t like this silicon “case” Samsung has been throwing around as a freebie for those who preordered the Z Fold 4. It’s a similar case to las years S Pen case for the Fold 3 with an S Pen Fold Edition included, a slot to store it, and a two-piece bumper-style case that clips onto the device itself.

Here’s my issue: the slot for the S Pen is on the back, and adds a great deal of thickness to the Fold 4 (which is already really chunky on its own). On top of that, it’s hard to actually get the pen out – you basically have to keep the device closed, pull the pen out with a separate hand from the one you’re using to hold the phone, and then worry about opening the display that actually works with the pen.

It’s a lot less convenient than the S Pen is on the Galaxy S22 Ultra. I don’t think I have to wait until I write my review to say this: if you want a phone with a stylus and are debating between the Fold 4 and S22 Ultra, get the S22 Ultra. This folding phone is not designed well for that purpose.

Fast and smooth

On the brighter side of things, I’m delighted by how fast and smooth everything feels on the Galaxy Z Fold 4. It’s running Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 which has proven to be great for performance and efficiency. I expect nothing less from it in the Fold 4, but I’ll obviously need more time to see how it performs over time.

By the way, I’d like to note that Samsung has done one hell of a job optimizing the One UI experience for the Fold 4’s unique hardware. Transitioning from the cover screen to the folding screen is seamless and headache-free. I’ve had zero app crashes, multitasking is a breeze, and the new taskbar further pushes productivity in an excellent direction.

Samsung Cameras™

I’m not ready to tell you whether the cameras make or break the Galaxy Z Fold 4, but I can tell you that they seem like nothing more than traditional Samsung cameras. The few samples I’ve taken are very saturated, HDR-soaked, and a bit over-exposed. I’ll be comparing photos to the iPhone 13 Pro and Pixel 6 Pro in my review, so stay tuned.

Very good speakers

One final thought: the speakers on this thing are very good. They offer a decent amount of bass and excellent clarity. I especially like how they’re positioned – sort of in the vein of the iPad Pro with one on the top edge and another on the bottom edge. They also get pretty loud, loud enough I’d say to fill a medium-sized room easily.


I’m looking at immediately after Labor Day to publish my full thoughts on the Galaxy Z Fold 4, so be sure to stay tuned. I’m sure I’ll be sharing more thoughts during my review processor Twitter, so if you wanna read those as I tweet them, be sure to follow me.

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