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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: Australian hands-on early verdict

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Here are our early impressions of Samsung's shiny new Galaxy Z Fold 4 flagship phone.

Ahead of the Galaxy Unpacked launch in New York, I had the chance for a brief hands-on session with the new Galaxy Z Fold 4 here in Sydney, Australia.

With non-disclosures signed and sealed, I headed to a mysterious Sydney location – OK, it was a hotel, but I won't say which one because I don't think I'm allowed to – for a very brief bit of hands-on time with Samsung's updated foldable phone.

When I say brief, I do mean brief: roughly 40 minutes which included briefings on the Z Fold 4, Z Flip 4, Galaxy Watch5, Galaxy Watch5 Pro and Galaxy Buds2 Pro. That's not long enough to put a phone through its full paces, so think of this as the amuse bouche of phone reviews – and stay tuned for Finder's comprehensive review, coming soon.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: Early upsides

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  • It's lighter: You wouldn't think this would make such a big difference, but when you're trying to pack in a 7.6-inch display into a phone, it gets bulky and heavy fast. The weight drop for the Galaxy Z Fold 4 was noticeable against the Galaxy Z Fold 3, although to appreciate that fully you'd have to be au fait with the older model.
  • The front is tougher and wider: Samsung sadly wouldn't let me bounce it off the hotel room floor a few times to really put it through its paces, but adding Corning Gorilla Glass Victus to the cover display is a smart move. The same is true for the wider aspect ratio of the front display, which I could play around with. It makes it feel more like a "regular" smartphone when folded, which is a very good thing.
  • Better cameras: Samsung's big pitch for the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is that it's better in low light, but I couldn't test that directly as my briefing session was in the middle of the day. Grabbing the camera module directly from the S22+ (more or less) does punch up the Galaxy Z Fold 4's camera capabilities quite markedly, which is welcome.
  • Taskbar works really well: The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 has an app taskbar for your recent applications when in unfolded mode, making it more laptop-esque and more appealing. This is done really well, with a small row of base icons that are easy to tap to flip between applications without wasting lots of screen real estate. If you must, there is also support for Samsung's full DeX desktop system as well.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: Early downsides

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  • Not much reason to upgrade: Samsung's rather resting on its laurels here, taking what was impressive from the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and just making it a little better, a little faster and so on. I've used a Galaxy Z Fold 3 for months now and I do like it, but there wasn't enough in the Galaxy Z Fold 4 to make me think that an upgrade was a must-have affair.
  • Why doesn't it have even better cameras? When the original Galaxy Fold was announced, it had the best cameras that Samsung was going to offer on any phone at that time. By the time it came out, due to manufacturing issues, that was no longer the case, but it makes sense that Samsung's most expensive phone should have its best cameras, right? It ain't so, and while bumping up to S22+ cameras is nice, at least meeting, if not beating the S22 Ultra's cameras would have been an even better step.
  • It still needs a case (especially if you're an S-Pen user): Speaking of the S22 Ultra, one of the best design moves Samsung made for that phone was to incorporate the S-Pen into the body of the phone. Lots of early renders and rumours suggested that Samsung would do likewise for the Galaxy Z Fold 4, but it's just not the case. You'll need the specific S-Pen for Folds and you'll need somewhere to store it, which means a case. I'm generally all for cases for all phones, but for S-Pen Galaxy Z Fold 4 owners, there's really going to be no other way.
  • No price drop: This is a glass half full, glass half empty kind of detail, because I can't ignore the global chip shortage. Still, for every other generation, while making bigger changes to the Fold design, Samsung has shaved the price down markedly. For this generation, not so – it's basically the same prices as last year's Fold with prices starting at $2,499. It beats a price rise, but it's still not a move that will grow the foldables market quite as fast.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: Early conclusions

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I like the Galaxy Fold phones a lot, both for what they represent and indeed for what you can do with them.

Samsung hasn't made too many blunder steps with the Galaxy Z Fold 4, but it's also abundantly clear that it's able to benefit from a lack of competition in the larger premium folding phone space. Huawei has its foldable Mate Xs phones, but the lack of full Google-ready Android there makes them a bad buy for most Australians.

And then… there are tumbleweeds in the larger phone space, which means that Samsung can put out a phone that's just a slightly faster iteration of last year's model.

It's still a good device, and I suspect it'll come down to the same benefits and flaws as last year's model once I can more formally test it out. Stay tuned for our full Galaxy Z Fold 4 review.

Buy Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

If you're keen to get your hands on a foldable but don't want to pay over $2,000, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 might be the answer. It's selling on Amazon for $1,949 – down from $2,499.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 | $2,499 $1,949 (save $550)

Grab the 256GB edition of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 for 22% off the asking price.

View deal

Need more info on the latest and greatest tech? Head over to Technology Finder. You'll find the latest Z Fold 4 prices and deals from Australian telcos here.

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