The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the most versatile gadget you can buy
It’s simple to see the attraction of flip telephones—they’re big-screen gadgets that shrink down to slot in your pocket. It is additionally simple to see the disadvantages; as a lot as Samsung tries to cover it with trade-in promotions, there isn’t any denying that the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s $1,800 price ticket is too steep for the overwhelming majority of individuals. The problem of sturdiness is additionally arduous to disregard – it would not take a lot looking out to search out tales of randomly cracked folding screens.
But till you’ve spent a while connecting and utilizing a tool like the Fold 4, it is arduous to see the worth a folding cellphone can carry. I’ve owned a Fold mannequin since 2020’s Fold 2 (and owned the Fold 3 for a 12 months earlier than upgrading to the Fold 4 due to Samsung’s aggressive, if fiscally irresponsible trade-in provides) and it nonetheless took three months with the Fold 4 to actually admire all it can do.
The reality is, the Fold 4 is the most versatile system you can buy. It will not be the finest at each job, however it can convert between type elements higher than anything on the market. It really is the one gadget to rule all of them.
This is a cellphone
The first use case for a Fold 4 is the most apparent one – it is a full-fledged high-end smartphone. It makes calls, it sends messages, it takes photographs, it runs apps, it performs video games, it connects to high-speed mobile networks — mainly, something you use a smartphone for, the Fold 4 does.
The Fold 4 retains up with different high-end smartphones when it comes to efficiency and options (you haven’t got to surrender conveniences like wi-fi charging, for instance), and whereas you can buy telephones with higher cameras, the Fold 4’s digicam system is very competent by itself. Perhaps the greatest draw back to utilizing the Fold 4 as a cellphone is its narrower entrance display screen, which takes some getting used to when thumbing. It’s additionally about twice as thick as a normal cellphone, although the thickness permits for the Fold 4’s versatility.
The Fold 4 is a great cellphone, if not an ideal one, however the level right here is that the Fold 4 story is simply starting to unfold.
It’s a pill
Here’s the place the Fold 4 begins to step away from the remainder of the smartphone area: you can open it up and you’ve bought an almost eight-inch diagonal, nearly sq. pill display screen to work with. Compared to Samsung’s different massive cellphone, the 6.8-inch S22 Ultra, the Fold 4’s inside display screen covers 28.42 sq. inches of floor space, versus the Ultra’s 17.98 sq. inches.
It’s arduous to quantify how way more house it provides you in sensible phrases, however it’s a big sufficient canvas to make all kinds of duties simpler and extra comfy than on a normal slab smartphone. Compared to the cramped break up display screen you get on a flat cellphone, two apps can be displayed side-by-side at the similar time on the Fold 4 with out continually switching between them for multitasking. Instead of limiting your self to brief video clips on TikTok, you can comfortably watch long-form video content material, whether or not on YouTube or the streaming service of your alternative, aided by the Fold 4’s best-in-class smartphone audio system.
Using Google Maps on a display screen this huge is a very completely different expertise than the tunnel imaginative and prescient you get on a normal smartphone display screen. Typing out lengthy emails is extra comfy when you have such a big space on your thumbs to roam.
It’s a lot simpler to learn long-form articles or navigate by massive PDFs on the Fold 4 than different smartphones as a result of it is a lot wider. Ditto for studying e-books — a flip cellphone has fully changed a Kindle for me. As an always-connected moveable studying machine, the Fold 4 is second to none.
Basically, something you may need to use an iPad mini for can be achieved on the Fold 4, with the added good thing about with the ability to fold it in half and pop it into your pocket when you’re completed.
This is a pocket book
Thanks to that enormous inside display screen and assist for Samsung’s S Pen stylus, the Fold 4 is an ideal system for taking handwritten notes, that are then synced to the cloud and searchable. You can additionally mark up screenshots or simply doodle and make art work that you can then simply ship wherever. It’s extremely handy to have a digital note-taking system in your pocket.
There’s undoubtedly room for enchancment right here — there’s at present no method to retailer the S Pen on the Fold 4 and not using a cumbersome and annoying case, and the pen would not work in any respect on the outer display screen. But in comparison with every other smartphone, the Fold 4 is a greater system for notes and drawings.
This is a desktop pc
Perhaps the most stunning factor about the Fold 4 is that it can change a pc for a lot of duties. And I do not imply you simply do these issues on the Fold’s display screen, I imply you plug it right into a desktop monitor and join a wi-fi keyboard to it and use it like an actual pc. (You can additionally use Dex wirelessly with some supported Samsung shows, but when you’re going to make use of it for an prolonged time frame, you’ll need it plugged in for energy and the lowest latency.)
Samsung has had the Dex characteristic that permits this on its telephones for years, however it’s now gotten to the level the place it is way more helpful. You can run a number of functions, have management over window sizes and placements, and entry a particularly succesful net browser that can deal with many tabs with ease. And since the Fold 4 is a cellular-connected cellphone, you can use its built-in Internet connection with out counting on Wi-Fi or different accessible networks.
Google’s work to enhance pill assist in Android has made Dex a lot better than it was earlier than. (The Fold 4 launched with Android 12L, however has since obtained an replace to Android 13.) Many apps now assist bigger layouts, and increasingly more are including issues like keyboard shortcut assist. Dex itself additionally provides a rising listing of keyboard shortcuts for software management and window administration. While there are nonetheless some areas that may very well be improved – Slack’s interface on a big display screen leaves so much to be desired – there are fewer and fewer areas the place Dex would not simply do what you count on it to do and get you working.
Samsung’s Internet browser is notably good – it is quick, it helps extensions, masses desktop variations of apps and provides a number of methods to handle tabs. I can use it to write down, edit, and publish articles in our CMS (yup, I produced this complete article in it), or browse websites like Twitter and Feedly, which haven’t got nice Android app experiences on massive screens .
You can join a wi-fi mouse to the Fold 4 for cursor management, however it’s simpler to simply use the Fold’s interior display screen as a trackpad, full with multi-finger gestures for navigating open apps and home windows. There are even configurable gestures to return with a three-finger faucet or use 4 fingers to drag up the app launcher.
Unlike Apple and its adventures with Stage Manager on the iPad, Samsung is not making an attempt to reinvent the wheel in relation to a windowed software surroundings. Apps and home windows can be positioned and layered nonetheless you need, you can resize them nonetheless you need, and you can even use keyboard shortcuts to snap home windows to the left or proper.
Dex working on the Fold 4 is not going to exchange a gaming PC and I would not use it for heavier duties like picture and video modifying. If you actually push the system with numerous working apps and tabs, you’ll hit its efficiency limits and you’ll undoubtedly see browser tabs reloading extra usually than on a full desktop working system.
It’s additionally not as handy as a laptop computer that you can simply open up and work on, because it requires equipment like an exterior show, keyboard, and possibly a USB-C hub. But for net shopping, communication, and different “basic” computing duties with the proper setup, it is surprisingly succesful. The finest comparability is with ChromeOS – you may be capable of use a devoted app or two whereas in Dex, however you’ll spend most of your time in the browser doing web-based actions.
And then when I’m completed, I can merely unplug my cellphone, fold it up, shove it in my pocket and stroll away.
None of those numerous capabilities are notably new to the Fold 4 – Samsung is now 4 generations into this folding cellphone design and even the very first one can technically carry out lots of the similar duties.
But the Fold 4 is capable of do all this higher than its predecessors as a result of Samsung has repeated all these experiences over the years. Samsung’s typical order of enterprise is to carry an concept to market that is good in idea however flawed in execution, then relentlessly iterate on it till all the tough edges are sanded away and what’s left is a really nice expertise.
Having all these choices in a tool that can slot in your pocket can’t be understated
However, Samsung nonetheless has work to do, together with discovering methods to make the value extra accessible and tackle the reliability and sturdiness issues. (I reserve the proper to retract any reward for the Fold 4 if the interior display screen on mine randomly cracks in the future.) There is not a lot competitors on the market for gadgets like this, particularly in the US, however the few different folding telephones which not too long ago hit the world market have slimmer and thinner designs that Samsung can be taught from.
The first Fold felt very very similar to a proof of idea, however 4 generations in, the Fold 4 now provides an excellent expertise that you simply can’t get from a normal smartphone. It’s not that the Fold 4 is the finest for any specific job, however it’s good in any respect of them and having all these choices in a tool that matches in your pocket can’t be understated. Future iterations (and hopefully some competitors from different cellphone makers) are probably to enhance this additional and possibly in the future we’ll all be carrying such versatile gadgets in our pockets. But if you need that future right now, the Fold 4 is the method to get it.
The Fold 4 is a multitasking powerhouse that can be used tablet-style or as your every day driver smartphone. This is a gadget particular person’s gadget with a excessive price ticket to match.