Samsung's riding high as the reigning folding phone champ – no other foldable smartphone maker can come close when it comes to sales or global availability, and the launch of the 2022 Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 proves just how far ahead of the pack Samsung is.
At Samsung's August 2022 Unpacked event, the tech giant unveiled two foldables, two watches and a pair of earbuds. At first glance, both foldables – the Z Flip 4, an update to the Z Flip 3, and the Z Fold 4, the Z Fold 3's successor, look virtually identical to their predecessors. Get them side by side, though, and you'll quickly realize that refinement is the name of the game here – not least of all in the camera department.
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With starting prices being around $50 higher this year with the Z Flip 4 starting at $999 / £999 and the Z Fold 4 costing a confident $1,799 / £1,649, are incremental updates really enough, especially given the fact Samsung's on its fourth iteration of foldable phones?
Samsung's brought back a lot of good stuff for its 2022 foldables. The phones are still IPX8 rated for water resistance, are still good for over 200,000 folds according to Samsung, and still rock the same form factors, protected by Gorilla Glass Victus+ and Armour Aluminum casing. To recap on each phone's basic design, the Fold is a two-in-one tablet meets smartphone combo, while the Flip is a nostalgic nod to the flip phones of old, with a preview screen on the front, and a foldable screen inside.
Updated to the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipsets, the foldables pack 2022 power, which should help with gaming and multitasking, and the Flip's also seen a battery boost, from 3300mAh to 3700mAh.
Going into a bit more detail, and starting with the flip, Samsung really wants you to use this phone like a camcorder – side-on, and half-folded (see image above). Half folding both phones pushes the camera preview into one half of the screen and controls into another.
If you've tried the original Flip and Flip 2, you'll know the cameras haven't been great, but this time around, things should fare better. While still featuring 12MP sensors around the back, the main camera's sensor has seen a size boost, with pixels climbing from 1.4 to 1.8 microns. Matched with an f/1.8 lens and OIS, this should really help the phone in darker scenes.
The fact you can steady the Flip 4 more easily than you might a traditional phone also won't hurt – half fold it, place it on a surface, and long-exposure shots could look fantastic if Samsung's photography software stacks up well.
There's also a 12MP ultra-wide camera with an f/2.2 aperture, and a 10MP punch hole selfie camera in the foldable display. With a preview window that lets you use the primary camera for selfies, video capture, and more, we can see the Flip 4 being a hit with style (and selfie) conscious buyers.
Onto the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and its camera mix, and with no less than five dotted around its ample body, there's a lot to cover. Starting with the back, there's a triple camera that's virtually identical to the Samsung Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus's camera setup.
The Fold 4's main camera is a 50MP sensor matched with an f/1.8, 23mm lens. The 1/1.56-inch sensor has been bumped up when compared to last year's 1/1.76-inch sensor and downsamples photos to around 12MP. With Dual Pixel PDAF and OIS, we're expecting good results from the Z Fold4, though don't anticipate it'll topple camera champs like the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The new 10MP telephoto camera features a 1/3.94-inch sensor and OIS, and there's a 12MP ultra-wide camera too.
With two punch hole selfie cameras, a 10MP option on the cover display, and an in-display 4MP selfie camera in the main, tablet display, whichever way you're using the Fold, video calls, and group shots won't be an issue.
As for other updates, the Fold and Flip are more compact than ever. With Samsung refining its hinge design technology, it's been able to shrink its foldables' bezels, making the screens feel more immersive.
The Z Fold 4 is also a slightly more squat phone than the Fold 3, which is no bad thing, making the outer display feel a little more like a traditional phone, and the inner display better for handling landscape content. The extra width should also help the new, Windows-style taskbar – introduced for easier multi-tasking and app switching – squeeze in an extra icon or two.
Check back to Digital Camera World for a full review of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 in the coming weeks, when we'll be able to say whether it's a minor refresh or one of the best camera phones of 2022.