Samsung and foldables, a winning bet in the long run

The Koreans unveiled the new Galaxy Z Fold4 and Z Flip4

Samsung Foldables: In a lonely flight, thanks to its conviction to bet on new form factors, Samsung continues to invest in foldable smartphones. They were the protagonists at Samsung Unpacked in London, where the veils were taken off the Galaxy Z Fold4 and Z Flip4, the two models with flexible displays that dominate the still small foldable phone market. It is pointless to compare with the traditional segment, which Samsung has been leading for many years now. Still, after selling around 10 million foldable phones in 2021, the Korean company is ready to place as many in the second half of this year and triple the figure by 2025.

Samsung’s merit was its willingness to explore something unprecedented, starting with the project in 2011 and then pushing on, forcing others to catch up. Huawei is moving slowly, bringing the latest foldable Mate XS 2 to just a few markets; Motorola has just launched the full-screen Razr 2022 only in China, as has Vivo with X Fold and Xiaomi with Mix Fold 2 developed with Leica and only available in the Chinese market, while Oppo and Honor will show the first models by the end of the year. The path is set: all manufacturers invest in foldable smartphones, and all will chase Samsung.

Samsung Foldables: Returning to the strict current affairs, the arrival of the Galaxy Z Fold4 and Z Flip4 confirm the different souls of the South Korean-designed pair. Multitasking is the watchword for the large-sized foldable; fun and customisation are the strong points of the cheapest and most popular model. Out of ten customers choosing one of Samsung’s phones, seven have so far opted for the Flip, attracted in particular by the Flex feature that allows for more creative shots. But Korean executives expect the Fold to grow as more and more people want a phone with a larger screen, which will become lighter in the near future.

Galaxy Z Flip4Samsung Foldables

With the clamshell design almost identical to the previous generation, Samsung’s little one gets a makeover inside. There is a 12-megapixel camera with a 65 percent brighter sensor, a second 12 MP lens, and a 10 MP front camera. It should be noted that Samsung has collaborated with Meta to take advantage of CameraX on Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp, to optimise videos and shots taken within the app. A similar concept for FlexCam, which facilitates group selfies and clips at angles between 75 and 115 degrees when the phone itself supports the camera.

Samsung Foldables: The 3,700 mAh battery has been upgraded compared to the past and counts on fast charging that ensures going from 0 to 50 percent in 30 minutes with at least a 25 W charger (of course, one cannot compare the charging speed of foldable with conventional models). More usage possibilities are granted by the small 1.9” external display, which can be customised with videos and wallpapers, as well as for replying to messages and notifications. When the smartphone is opened, the internal display reaches 6.7”.

Although a less powerful model would have sufficed to enhance the performance of the Z Flip4, Samsung wanted to integrate the already powerful processor on the market, Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen1+, to show its muscles and avoid criticism. However, the novelty that will boost Flip4 sales is the possibility of customising the phone and choosing the colours you want from 75 combinations in the Bespoke formula (already tested by Samsung on refrigerators), although the opportunity only applies to those who buy the smartphone on the company website.

Galaxy Z Fold4

No design changes even for the most powerful of the pair, which shows less of a central fold when opening the 7.6” screen. Dimensions that, together with the 6.2-inch display in the closed version, lead more than a few people to speak of a tablet that folds instead of a smartphone, which, however, is 8 grams lighter than the last model: a few but noticeable when held in hand. The photo compartment is also new here, with a 50-megapixel main camera, a 12 MP ultra-wide-angle camera, and a 10 MP 3x telephoto lens that can go up to 30x thanks to interpolation.

Samsung Foldables: The most significant innovations concern the software, as the Z Fold4 is the first smartphone to feature Android 12L, the version developed by Google for larger screens, such as foldables. For this reason, the application bar has a layout similar to what you see on a PC, and with a single gesture, you can switch from apps on the internal screen to pop-up windows or split the screen in half in multitasking mode.

In this area, Samsung has worked with Google and Microsoft on a number of valuable productivity features. Big G apps support drag-and-drop so that links and photos can be copied and pasted between different apps in seconds, while the Office suite has been optimised with an ad hoc interface for use on foldable screens. As in all Korean top-of-the-range devices, there is also the S-Pen, although not integrated into the device’s body. The battery is 4,400 mAh with the same fast charging as the Z Flip4: 50 percent charge in half an hour.

Different targets, prices tooSamsung Foldables

Expect the flexible screen and the latest Galaxy Z devices to have little in common, particularly with the target audience. The possibility of customising the colouring is an element that appeals greatly to the female audience, as Samsung specifies. On the other hand, an XL-sized phone is devoted to productivity, although some design limitations (the central fold in particular) remain unresolved. The prices, then, also delineate the distance between the two models (the cost of the phones differs between countries because taxes are different here, we report the price on the German market).

Samsung Foldables: In addition to the Bespoke Edition combinations, the Z Flip4 is available in three configurations in the colours Bora Purple, Graphite, Pink Gold, and Blue: 8GB of ram and 128GB of storage for €1,099, 8GB+256GB for €1,159, and 8GB+512GB for €1,279.

There are also three purchase options for the Z Fold4, available in the colours Gray-green, Beige, Phantom Black 35, and Burgundy (the latter only on the basic version with 12GB of ram and 256GB of storage costs €1,799, the top size with 1TB of internal memory is on sale for €2,159. In contrast, the middle size with 512GB for storing content is offered at €1,919.

Alessio Caprodossi is a technology, sports, and lifestyle journalist. He navigates between three areas of expertise, telling stories, experiences, and innovations to understand how the world is shifting. You can follow him on Twitter (@alecap23) and Instagram (Alessio Caprodossi) to report projects and initiatives on startups, sustainability, digital nomads, and web3.