A lot has changed since the late 2000s and yet the smartphone experience hasn’t been radically altered. Yes, the cameras have got way better, displays are gorgeous and battery life has improved too. But the actual user experience and the navigation patterns haven’t changed a huge deal. That’s one reason we’ve been excited about foldable smartphones almost since they were at a concept stage. We’ve seen two clear formats within this – a flip style form factor that takes you back to the days of the Moto RAZR (except the display didn’t fold back then) and a book style format that Samsung’s Z Fold has pioneered in India. The use case scenarios are quite different but after seeing the evolution of the Fold, we think it’s time to take the leap.
Who’s it for?
We normally answer this question at the end of a review. But the Fold isn’t just one of the most expensive smartphones (along with iPhone’s top-end Pro Max version) but it isn’t really for everyone; we’re not just talking price here. There are the prosumers or opinion leaders who like to be the first to try any new tech or fashion trend. Then there are those who just like to be spotted with the most expensive phones or gadgets. The Fold 4 will satisfy both these user profiles. We also think this device is a master at multi-tasking. We can’t think of too many smartphones that can slip into your pocket that allow you to do so much and offer multiple user experiences.
Concept device no more
Samsung has never been shy to experiment with new tech and transition these developments faster to the consumer. It’s called ‘speed to market.’ Samsung does this better than most other brands. The flip side – consumers face the same teething problems that are usually ironed out in a testing lab. The Fold saga is a great case in point. I still remember being so careful, almost paranoid about using the first Fold devices, always worried about the durability of the screen. Samsung has quickly progressed on this front. The Fold 3 was nearly the finished product and the 2022 Fold takes it even further. Whether it’s the hinge or the display, it’s all more durable. The device is IPX certified (for water resistance).
It’s all about the display (s)
One of the biggest visible improvements is the ‘cover’ display. It’s a lot more comfortable to do phone things like text or call. Just like the Flip 4 and the S22+, the metal sides are flatter. At 263 gm, it’s a tad lighter than its predecessor and is just about 10% heavier than the iPhone 13 Pro Max. You’re more likely to gravitate to the gorgeous 7.6-inch Primary display (120 Hz / 1812 x 2176 pixels/ 373 PPI) that has now stretched the screen: body ratio beyond 90%. It’s almost like having a fully functional mini tab in your hand and it opens up a plethora of possibilities. From gaming on a bigger screen to flipping through an eBook on the Kindle App with a black screen and using one half of the display to typing a Word doc, I’ve
been amazed at all the stuff I experienced on the Fold 4. This extra-large display is the Fold 4’s calling card and is the reason why we’re sold on the device. Samsung has brought new UI enhancements to the table that have improved the multi-tasking experience. Statista predicts that the foldable smartphone segment will grow from its 0.6 million global sales numbers to a whopping 69.2 million by 2025. I believe it’s multi-tasking capabilities that will drive this growth.
The smartphone stuff
While Samsung has improved the overall display, you might still notice the crease along the fold, but it becomes less of a distraction as you keep using the device. The under-display camera is better hidden this time. The device packs a total of 5 lenses across the main and selfie camera. The big story is the main camera where Samsung has packed a 50MP lens and a 10MP telephoto lens that now offers 3X zoom. Images and videos are better than its predecessor especially in lowlight but it’s still not the best Samsung smartphone camera.
The S22 Ultra is still in a league of its own in the camera department. The Fold 4 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor. We checked out the 12GB/256 GB variant. It blazed through our tests with an impressive score of 3728 on the Geekbench (multi-core) test. Battery life (4400 mAh battery) is decent, but is very subjective depending on your usage pattern and how much time you spend on the bigger display
Unfold the future
The Fold 4 doesn’t come cheap and might be too bulky for users who don’t clock up much screentime on their smartphones. The cover display is certainly not as easy for one-handed usage and navigation as a conventional smartphone. But this is not a smartphone from the 2010s mould. It’s a step into the future where foldables could evolve and go more mainstream with new use case scenarios. If that excites you and you don’t mind the hefty price tag, the Samsung Galaxy Fold 4 is the best smartphone and tab rolled into one.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold 4 starts at Rs 1.54,999 and is available in Graygreen, Phantom
Black and Beige. Samsung is currently offering a Rs 8,000 cashback with HDFC cards