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Home Technology The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the most versatile gadget you can...

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the most versatile gadget you can buy

It’s straightforward to see the attraction of folding telephones — they’re large display gadgets that get smaller to slot in your pocket. It’s additionally straightforward to see the drawbacks; as a lot as Samsung tries to cover it with trade-in promotions, there’s no denying the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s $1,800 price ticket is just too steep for the overwhelming majority of individuals. The query of sturdiness can be laborious to disregard — it doesn’t take a lot looking to search out tales of randomly cracked Fold screens.

However till you commit and begin utilizing a tool just like the Fold 4 for a while, it’s laborious to see the worth {that a} folding cellphone can deliver. I’ve owned a Fold mannequin since 2020’s Fold 2 (and owned the Fold 3 for a yr earlier than upgrading to the Fold 4 because of Samsung’s aggressive, if fiscally irresponsible trade-in provides) and it nonetheless took three months of time with the Fold 4 to actually admire all it might do.

The very fact is, the Fold 4 is essentially the most versatile gadget you should buy. It will not be the most effective at each process, however it may well morph between kind components higher than the rest on the market. It’s actually the one gadget to rule all of them.

Look, you can tweet from the Fold 4 just like any other phone.

Look, you’ll be able to tweet from the Fold 4 similar to some other cellphone.
Photograph by Allison Johnson / The Verge

It’s a cellphone

The primary use case for a Fold 4 is the obvious one — it’s a full-fledged high-end smartphone. It makes calls, it sends messages, it takes photos, it runs apps, it performs video games, it connects to high-speed mobile networks — mainly, something you utilize a smartphone for, the Fold 4 does it.

The Fold 4 retains up with different high-end smartphones by way of efficiency and options (you don’t have to surrender conveniences like wi-fi charging, for instance), and whereas you should buy telephones with higher cameras, the Fold 4’s digicam system could be very succesful by itself. Maybe the largest downside to utilizing the Fold 4 as a cellphone is its narrower entrance display, which takes a little bit of getting used to when thumb typing. It’s additionally about twice as thick as an ordinary cellphone, although that thickness permits the Fold 4’s versatility.

The Fold 4 is an effective cellphone, if not a tremendous one, however the level right here is the Fold 4 story is simply starting to unfold.

It’s a pill

Right here’s the place the Fold 4 begins to stroll away from the remainder of the smartphone subject: you’ll be able to open it up and you’ve got an almost eight-inch diagonal, virtually sq. pill display to work with. In comparison with Samsung’s different large cellphone, the 6.8-inch S22 Ultra, the Fold 4’s internal display covers 28.42 sq. inches of space, versus the Extremely’s 17.98 sq. inches.

It’s laborious to quantify how rather more room that offers you in sensible phrases, however it’s a sufficiently big canvas to make all kinds of duties simpler and extra snug than on an ordinary slab smartphone. In comparison with the cramped split-screen you get on a slab cellphone, two apps might be displayed side-by-side on the similar time on the Fold 4 with out having to always swap between them for multitasking. As a substitute of limiting your self to brief video clips on TikTok, you’ll be able to comfortably watch long-form video content material both on YouTube or the streaming service of your alternative, aided by the Fold 4’s best-in-smartphone-class audio system.

The Fold 4’s inner screen effectively replaces small tablets entirely.

The Fold 4’s internal display successfully replaces small tablets solely.
Photograph by Allison Johnson / The Verge

Utilizing Google Maps on a display this huge is a very totally different expertise than the tunnel imaginative and prescient you get on an ordinary smartphone’s show. Typing out lengthy emails is extra snug when you will have such a big space to your thumbs to roam.

Studying long-form articles or navigating massive PDFs is far simpler on the Fold 4 than different smartphones due to how a lot wider it’s. Ditto for studying e-books — a folding cellphone has fully changed a Kindle for me. As a transportable, always-connected studying machine, the Fold 4 is unparalleled.

Mainly, something you would possibly wish to use an iPad mini for might be completed on the Fold 4, with the additional benefit of it may well then be folded in half and shoved in your pocket once you’re executed.

It’s a notepad

Due to that giant internal show and assist for Samsung’s S Pen stylus, the Fold 4 is a wonderful machine for taking hand-written notes, that are then synced to the cloud and searchable. You can too mark up display photographs or simply doodle and make paintings than you’ll be able to then simply ship anyplace. It’s extremely handy to have a digital note-taking system in your pocket.

There’s actually room for enchancment right here — there’s presently no solution to retailer the S Pen on the Fold 4 with out a cumbersome and annoying case, and the pen doesn’t work on the skin show in any respect. However in comparison with some other smartphone, the Fold 4 is a greater machine for notes and drawings.

It’s a desktop laptop

Maybe essentially the most stunning factor in regards to the Fold 4 is that it may well substitute a pc for lots of duties. And I don’t imply you simply do these issues on the Fold’s display, I imply you plug it right into a desktop monitor and pair a wi-fi keyboard to it and use it like an precise PC. (You can too use Dex wirelessly with some supported Samsung shows, however in case you’re going to be utilizing it for any prolonged time period, you’ll need it plugged in for energy and the bottom latency.)

Samsung’s had the Dex function that permits this on its phones for years, however it’s now gotten to the purpose the place it’s much more usable. You possibly can run a number of apps, have management over window sizes and placements, and entry a particularly succesful internet browser that may deal with many tabs with ease. And for the reason that Fold 4 is a cellular-connected cellphone, you should utilize its built-in web connection with out having to depend on Wi-Fi or different obtainable networks.

Multitasking in Dex is predictable and highly customizable — you can put windows in any size or position you want.

Multitasking in Dex is predictable and extremely customizable — you’ll be able to put home windows in any measurement or place you need.
Screenshot by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Google’s work to enhance pill assist in Android has made Dex a lot better than it was once. (The Fold 4 launched with Android 12L, however has since obtained an replace to Android 13.) Many apps now assist bigger layouts and increasingly are including issues like keyboard shortcut assist. Dex itself additionally provides a rising record of keyboard shortcuts for app management and window administration. Whereas there are nonetheless a number of holdouts that may be improved — Slack’s interface on a big display leaves loads to be desired — there are fewer and fewer areas the place Dex doesn’t simply do what you anticipate it to and allow you to get work executed.

Samsung’s Web browser is especially good — it’s quick, it helps extensions, hundreds desktop variations of apps, and provides a number of methods to handle tabs. I can use it to write down, edit, and publish articles in our CMS (yup, I produced this complete article in it), or browse websites like Twitter and Feedly, which don’t have nice Android app experiences on massive screens.

You possibly can pair a wi-fi mouse to the Fold 4 for cursor management, however it’s simpler to simply use the Fold’s internal show as a trackpad, full with multifinger gestures for navigating open apps and home windows. There are even configurable gestures to return with a three-finger faucet or use 4 fingers to tug up the app launcher.

Not like Apple and its adventures with Stage Supervisor on the iPad, Samsung isn’t attempting to reinvent the wheel relating to a windowed app surroundings. Apps and home windows might be positioned and layered nonetheless you need them, you’ll be able to resize them nonetheless you’d like, and you may even use keyboard shortcuts to snap home windows to the left or proper facet.

Dex now offers a surprisingly long list of supported keyboard shortcuts to make navigating it feel even more like a traditional desktop OS.

Dex now provides a surprisingly lengthy record of supported keyboard shortcuts to make navigating it really feel much more like a conventional desktop OS.
Screenshot by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Dex operating on the Fold 4 isn’t going to switch a gaming PC and I’d be detest to make use of it for heavier duties like picture and video enhancing. For those who actually push the system with plenty of operating apps and tabs you’ll hit its efficiency limits and also you’ll actually see browser tabs reloading extra typically than on a full desktop OS.

Neither is it as handy as a laptop computer that you may simply open up and get engaged on, because it requires equipment like an exterior show, keyboard, and certain a USB-C hub. However for internet searching, communications, and different “fundamental” PC duties with the fitting arrange, it’s surprisingly succesful. One of the best comparability is to ChromeOS — you would possibly use a devoted app or two whereas in Dex, however you’ll spend most of your time within the browser doing web-based actions.

After which once I’m executed I can merely unplug my cellphone, fold it closed, shove it in my pocket, and stroll away.

None of those varied capabilities are notably new to the Fold 4 — Samsung is now 4 generations into this folding cellphone design and even the very first one might technically carry out lots of the similar duties.

However the Fold 4 is ready to do all of this higher than its predecessors as a result of Samsung has iterated on all of those experiences over time. Samsung’s typical order of operations is to deliver an thought to market that’s good in idea, however missing in execution, after which relentlessly iterate on it till all of the tough edges are sanded away and what’s left is a genuinely good expertise.

Having all of those choices in a tool that may slot in your pocket can’t be understated

Samsung nonetheless has work to do, although, together with discovering methods to make the worth extra accessible and addressing the considerations of reliability and sturdiness. (I reserve the fitting to recant any reward for the Fold 4 if the internal display on mine randomly cracks sooner or later.) There’s not quite a lot of competitors on the market for gadgets like this, particularly within the US, however the few different folding telephones which have hit the global market recently have sleeker and thinner designs that Samsung might be taught from.

The primary Fold felt very very like a proof of idea, however 4 generations in, the Fold 4 now gives an excellent expertise that you simply simply can’t get from an ordinary smartphone. It’s not that the Fold 4 is the most effective at any specific process, however it’s good in any respect of them and having all of these choices in a tool that matches in your pocket can’t be understated. Future iterations (and hopefully some competition from other phone makers) will doubtless enhance it additional and maybe at some point we’ll all be carrying such versatile gadgets in our pockets. However if you would like that future right now, the Fold 4 is the best way to get it.


The Fold 4 is a multitasking powerhouse that can be utilized tablet-style or as your every day driver smartphone. It’s a gadget individual’s gadget with a excessive price ticket to match.

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