Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 long-term review

GSMArena Team, 10 July 2023.

Performance, smoothness

The Galaxy Z Fold4 performs like a champ despite having last year's top of the line Qualcomm chipset. For 99.9% of daily activities, excluding heavy games, no one can tell the difference between the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 in this phone and the newer Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, don't worry about that.

While performance is top notch, smoothness is a different story. Don't get us wrong, this is the smoothest Samsung we've ever reviewed long-term, and that's great. We've had no microlags or random stutters on this one, and that's in stark contrast to the Galaxy Z Flip4 that uses the same chipset - the problems we've encountered on that one most likely have to do with aggressive throttling applied constantly because cooling doesn't work very well in such a constrained space.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 long-term review

So, the Fold4 is the smoothest Samsung, and it is very smooth in day to day use, it's just not on par with OnePlus' or Xiaomi's latest. That's irrelevant if you're switching to this from another Samsung - you'll genuinely be impressed. But if you've used a high-end OnePlus or Xiaomi from this year or the last, you'll have an inevitable "Wait, what?!" moment initially.

You'll get used to the Fold4's smoothness in a couple of days, of course, and then you'll forget all about those other, smoother phones out there, we're guessing, since we assume you didn't buy this one for that particular trait. No, it's how useful the bigger screen is, how a device that's a phone when folded and a tablet when unfolded gives you a great user experience. And that's all true. But unfortunately, Samsung still has to work on smoothness, even in 2023. It's closer to the champs than it's ever been, but still not quite there yet.

Battery life

Battery life has been very good on the Fold4 during our time with it. Obviously, due to the form factor and its influence on battery capacity, it's not going to win any awards for longevity, but the key takeaway here is that we were never left wanting for more - we almost always finished a full day off the charger with no need for a midday top-up, and that's impressive, again, when you consider that this is a folding phone.

With any foldable of this nature, looking at battery life screenshots, of the sort that we've embedded below, is complicated by the fact that you don't get any information about which screen was used for how long. So let's try and clear that up.

Battery life snapshots - Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 long-term review Battery life snapshots - Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 long-term review Battery life snapshots - Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 long-term review
Battery life snapshots

Overall, we'd say our mix was about 70% inner screen and 30% outer screen. Indoors, which is where we spend most of our time, that goes up to 75-25 in favor of the inner screen of course - it's the whole point of a foldable like this; whereas when we're out and about that understandably shifts significantly in the favor of the outer screen, we'd say then it's about 95% to 5%. But since we don't spend too much time outdoors, overall it's 70/30 as we already mentioned. Hopefully this helps when interpreting the numbers.

As always, our use case might not be yours. We spend about 12-17 hours off the charger primarily on Wi-Fi 6 with very good signal, about an hour on 5G with very good signal, Bluetooth is always on, we listen to about 2 hours of podcasts and/or music via headphones or TWS earbuds, and we do around an hour of calls too. Location is always on with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi scanning active. Here comes the inevitable disclaimer: this is not meant to be scientific, unlike our battery test in the normal review. Also, if your time is spent primarily on mobile data, your screen on numbers will be lower - and they will go down even more if the signal is spotty.

We're very happy that midday top-ups were almost never required, since the Fold4 is a Samsung, and Samsungs are not known to charge quickly. In its defense, this one doesn't do very bad, we've definitely seen worse, but about an hour and 20 minutes from zero to full is still a lot for this day and age. Chinese companies make foldables that charge much faster, but if you're coming from another Samsung this will feel entirely fine and expected to you. It's all a matter of perspective and what you compare things to, as usual.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 long-term review

We wish Samsung would finally join the fast charging game, but the company always seems like it has other priorities. Anyway, you'll have to provide your own adapter for charging too, because of course there isn't one in the box - saving the environment by making you purchase an additional item with its own packaging is where it's at in Samsungland these days (and, to be fair, in Googleland and Appleland as well), and definitely not wasteful in any way (yes that was sarcasm in case you were wondering).

The omission would have been much more egregious had Samsung employed some form of proprietary faster charging solution, since then you pretty much had no choice but to purchase its very own charger. This way, there are many other cheaper options out there from other brands.

Wireless charging exists on the Fold4, but it's so slow that it's only really usable on your nightstand. That's a fine use case, and if you have a wireless charging pad already, this phone will work with it. Buying one specifically for this use seems a bit excessive to us, though, when all it does is save you from having to plug in a cable when you go to sleep and unplug it when you wake up. Finally, reverse wireless charging is also in, but limited to 4.5W, so we think it's only for charging up some earbuds if you don't have any cables around.

Reader comments

  • Anonymous
  • 28 Apr 2024
  • Hxh

I had bought Samsung galaxy Z fold 4 in January last year and it worked very well and was useful for 1st year. Then 3 months after expiry of my phone's manufacturer warranty, one day the WiFi stopped working. I looked for online help an...

  • Cooe
  • 11 Mar 2024
  • Ib8

"The aspect ratio went from 25:9 to 23.1:9. As those numbers strongly imply, the problem is that it's less tall by only a teeny tiny amount, and so the issue with typing on the outer screen remains" 🤦 ... What an utterly crap...

  • Cooe
  • 11 Mar 2024
  • Ib8

"The Galaxy Z Fold4 has a main camera similar to that employed by the Galaxy S22 line, although with less sophisticated autofocusing" 🤦😑 Stop it, and do better. Because you guys have had this inaccurate point completely backwards LITER...