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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 vs Z Fold 3

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intro

The upcoming foldable phone Galaxy Z Fold 4 builds on the foundation laid by the Z Fold 3 last year, which was the first foldable phone on the market that we could recommend without fear of it feeling compromised or somehow would be missing.

So what has Samsung changed in a year and what’s new with the Z Fold 4?

On the outside it looks very similar, maybe more refined, but it follows the same blueprint. This means you get a smaller “cover screen” on the front, but then you can unfold the phone and reveal the larger, almost tablet-sized main screen. This year, Samsung has reportedly perfected the hinge, reduced the crease in the center of that large screen, and gave the Z Fold 4 a performance and camera boost.
But is that reason enough to upgrade? And will we also get a price drop this year? Let’s find out!

Z Fold 4 vs Z Fold 3 in a nutshell:

  • Sophisticated design
  • Less visible fold
  • More powerful chip on Fold 4
  • Improved cameras
  • lower price

Index:

Design and display quality

A less noticeable fold is the big improvement

While the Fold 4 and Fold 3 are very similar, look closer and see the differences. Perhaps most importantly, Samsung has managed to hide the hinge a bit so that the Fold 4 looks more compact, plus the phone is expected to be lighter, and by almost 6%! The new Fold weighs 254 grams versus 271 grams for the previous generation, and at this weight, it comes very close to your typical Max or Ultra sized phone. This style of foldable phone has quite a bit of weight and it’s great to see an improvement in this area.

Rumor has it that Samsung is making great strides to make the next Fold slimmer as well. A new “single” hinge has reportedly been developed, which would be much less bulky than the one used in the Z Fold 3.

When it comes to biometrics, rumors make several claims, but we expect the fingerprint scanner to remain embedded in the power button on the side. That worked fine on the Fold 3, and we don’t think Samsung will change that.

Performance and software

No Exynos model is actually good news for most

Given the premium price, it shouldn’t surprise you to see only high-end components under the hood on the Fold 4.

All buyers, regardless of country, will get the Snapdragon 8 Gen1+ processor on the Z Fold 4. This is great news for those living in the UK and Europe, where Samsung S-series flagships usually get the less powerful Exynos processor , but that won’t be the case with the fold.

Compared to the Fold 3, this is an upgrade of the Snapdragon 888 chip used there. Both the Fold 4 and Fold 3 also come with 12GB of RAM and a lavish 256GB of onboard storage (no microSD card support here). One detail: the storage used in the new model is UFS 4.0, which brings huge gains in speed and efficiency. UFS 4.0 provides bandwidth of up to 23.2 Gbps per lane, double that of UFS 3.1. Samsung also claims that UFS is 4.0 “perfect for 5G smartphones that require massive amounts of data processing.”

The Z Fold 4 is expected to ship with Android 12 on board, but should receive the new Android 13 version shortly after launch. Samsung has committed to providing 4 major software updates for most of its devices, and 5 years of security updates, so that’s great news and applies to both phones.

The coolest new software feature coming to the Fold 4 might be: “swipe for split screen”which is pretty self explanatory and will make multitasking a breeze.

Camera

Upgrades all around

The Fold 4 is expected to use the new camera styling we saw on the S22 Ultra, with each camera lens protruding from the back of the phone, and a bit like this new look.

The Fold 4’s rear cameras include a 50MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide angle lens and a 10MP 3X telephoto lens. That’s a slight change from the triple camera system on the Fold 3, as it had a 2X zoom camera and a 12MP main shooter. Unfortunately, Samsung does not supply a periscope zoom lens and that remains a unique feature of its S22 Ultra.

Audio quality and haptics

The Fold series has always had some of the most impressive speakers on a smartphone, probably because of the larger form factor that gives the speakers more room to really shine. We’re curious if the Fold 4 brings an improvement in audio quality, but we haven’t heard anything specific yet.

Neither the Fold 4 nor the Fold 3 have a headphone jack, but that’s the trend on most modern phones.

We don’t know much about the vibration motor on the Fold yet, but we’ll update this section as information comes out.

Battery life and charging

Same size battery on both

One thing that hasn’t changed in the Fold 4 is the battery size, as the phone will have the same 4,400mAh cell as last year’s model. This worked out fine in our experience, so can’t say we’re disappointed.

Charging speeds on the Fold 3 are up to 25W and it’s possible that Samsung will give us faster 45W speeds that match the rest of its high-end phones, but there’s no official information on that number.

Wireless charging is expected to be available on both the new and older generation Folds.

Specifications comparison:

And here’s a quick rundown of the specs of these two powerful foldable phones:

Perhaps the most noticeable change is the lower price. Last year Samsung cut $200 off the Fold 3’s price compared to the previous model, and we hope to see a similar price cut this year as well. Bringing the price down to a more reasonable level will allow the company to dramatically increase sales of this foldable.

Summary and final verdict

In summary, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is expected to bring some refinements to the design and key elements of the folding mechanism. With a more discreet hinge and less noticeable folds, it’s one step closer to that futuristic ideal for foldable phones.

You also get a welcome boost in performance speeds, as well as in-camera, but at the same time we have to say that these upgrades don’t convince us that an upgrade from last year’s model isn’t necessary at all.

Of course, if Samsung drops the price and you’re looking for a new foldable, the Fold 4 will of course be the first thing that comes to mind, so here’s to hoping.

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