The upgrades we hope to see with Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Flip 4

Samsung Flip and Fold

As someone who personally owns both a Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3, it’s easy to see why foldables are the future of smartphones. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a pocketable 6.2-inch smartphone that can be opened up like a book and turned into a big screen 7.6-inch tablet. The Z Flip 3 is a big screen smartphone that can be folded in half into a clamshell form factor that harkens back to the flip phones of yesteryear. For me, these devices have been an absolute game changer that makes it very difficult to go back to a regular smartphone. 

But the current devices aren’t perfect, and since Samsung is hoping to take the Fold mainstream with the debut of a fourth version of both the Z Fold and Z Flip on August 11, here are the improvements that I’m hoping to see. 

Battery life and charging speeds

Battery life is one of the most important aspects of any smartphone and it’s an area that Samsung’s foldables have continuously struggled with. My Z Fold 3 regularly sinks below 20% by the evening and that’s with just average use (five hours of screen on time). The battery life is simply too short for most people let alone the power user that Samsung is going after with the Z Fold series. Meanwhile my Z Flip 3 can barely get through a day with just moderate use. 

What’s worse is that both phones take quite a while to charge with the Fold 3 topping out at 25W while the Z Flip 3 charges at a paltry 15W. Both handsets take more than 80 minutes to fully charge. 

At the very least Samsung needs to bring the Fold 4 to parity with its single screen flagship, the S22 Ultra, which sports both a larger capacity 5,000mAh battery as well as 45W charging speeds. 

Slow charging speeds and average battery life have been the Achilles heel of both the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3

Camera that’s on par with other flagships 

Camera quality is right up there with battery life when it comes to what matters most in a phone. The trio of 12MP cameras on the Z Fold 3 can take some decent quality shots and video but it’s a noticeable downgrade when compared to the current crop of flagship smartphones such as Samsung’s own S22 Ultra. It’s particularly easy to see the camera’s imperfections when viewing the captured shots on the Z Fold 3’s tablet sized inner display. 

Meanwhile the dual camera setup on the Z Flip 3 is equivalent to what you would find on a mid-range smartphone with a sluggish autofocus and very average low light performance resulting in blurry shots more often than not. 

For the price, I’d like to see the camera quality on both the Z Fold and Z Flip 4 at least match Samsung’s best non-folding phones. 

No more screen protector

Samsung have been using a screen protector on top of the main display of their foldables to help protect against unintended scratches. The problem is that over time with numerous fold and unfold actions, sizable air gaps or bubbles start to form. This is something that I experienced within the first few months of owning the Z Fold 2 and then about 6 months into the life of the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3. 

I’m hopeful that Samsung can make the inner glass strong enough so that it can finally do away with the screen protector altogether.

Dedicated S-Pen slot

The Z Fold 3 added S-Pen support and it quickly became one of my favourite features about the handset as the device’s 7.6-inch inner display made for just about the perfect canvas size for note taking and drawing. Unfortunately, I had to stop using the S Pen altogether since the lack of an integrated slot meant I couldn’t really take it with me unless I used one of Samsung’s bulky cases. 

While I understand that Samsung might not want to increase the Z Fold’s thickness to accommodate a stylus storage slot, it could at least enable the ability to attach the S-Pen magnetically to the hinge of the phone. 

S Pen was a gamechanger for the Z Fold 3 but the lack of an integrated slot meant that you had to use a bulky case to carry both

Larger storage options 

For a smartphone that’s designed to serve double duty as a tablet replacement, it seems bizarre that Samsung never offered more than 512GB of internal storage for the Z Fold series or at least a way to expand the storage with a microSD card slot. Samsung offers a 1TB variant of the S22 Ultra and it should look to do the same for the Z Fold 4. 

Widen the front display

One of the things that throws people off about the Z Fold 3 is the narrow 6.2-inch outer display, which makes the onscreen keyboard a bit too cramped for text messaging and emails. Certain apps such as YouTube and LinkedIn don’t often render correctly within the narrower aspect ratio either. Making the outer display a little wider would make it more practical to use as a phone, especially in those instances where you don’t have two hands free to unfold the device and use the larger inner display.

Leaked images of the Z Fold 4 show a thinner hinge and a slightly wider front display

Less bulkier design

With each iteration Samsung has worked towards making their foldables a little lighter and slimmer but they are still bulky phones when closed. The Z Fold 3 for instance is almost 16mm thick when closed which – to put that in context – is the equivalent of two flat screen smartphones sandwiched together. Putting on a case only further accentuates the problem. 

Increasing the battery capacity, putting in more powerful cameras and potentially having an integrated holster to stow away the S-Pen in doesn’t leave much room for shaving millimetres off the frame. A thinner hinge and narrower bezels could be areas where Samsung might target for the next iteration of their foldables and if the company does pull that off, it should make them much more pocketable. 

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