Samsung has come into the second half of the year with a strong offering in the high end smartphone market launching the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 at the same price as their predecessors in 2021.

In a world of chip shortages and global inflation, that’s an effective price cut but importantly it can’t be reported as a price rise and that’s a big win for Samsung.

So what have I noticed about these new devices after a short time looking at them in both Sydney and again here in New York ahead of the Unpacked

Hand’s on with the Galaxy Z Fold 4

The moment I picked up the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 it felt different.

Lighter? yes. Was that what I was feeling? It’s 8 grams lighter, surely not. But apparently yes. However combine that with a refined edge and I think it was the overall feeling in the hand I was responding to.

The edges are not squared off like an iPhone 13, but instead they are far less rounded than the previous generation Fold devices from Samsung.

On the back the new tougher glass either had a coating on it, or itself has a different feeling. It just felt – soft. Ridiculous thing to say, but it’s not a sleek shiny surface so there’s no fingerprint friction. But there’s also enough friction to feel like it’s not slippery. Honestly, it felt great.

The new hinge doesn’t protrude as much, but that’s hardly noticeable to a passing observer – current generation owners will likely pick up on this though.

Turn it on and that front screen width really takes advantage of the whole front, just enough more than the previous to really be noticeable. Strangely the screen isn’t as tall, but you don’t notice that.

Inside the screen is also ever so slightly bigger, but the only thing you’ll really notice is the under-screen camera now has a few more pixels protecting it, but not enough to make it hard to find.

When using the device there’s greatly improved software which makes multi-tasking better, and a dock for apps at the bottom of the screen which gives that bigger screen a more desktop-like appearance and usefulness.

Overall, it’s disappointing in some ways that it’s a lot of “same same” for the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. But look, Samsung has literally zero competition in this space, so maybe they’re keeping their innovation powder dry for a big competitive launch – or, of course -it’s possible they are at the limits of the technology right now.

I’d just like to see the whole thing get a whole lot thinner. It’s still a real chunky fella.

Flipping out – a bigger Galaxy Z Flip 4

Now while the Galaxy Z Flip 4 might look the same as last year’s there is one big difference. It’s wider.

And it makes a difference. The Z Flip really is a “tall” looking screen when opened up. So adding some width gives it a more traditional perspective – though still not the same ratio as a Galaxy S or an iPhone – so still unique, but not as “out there”.

It’s also ever so thinner, but I’d argue that’s hard to notice.

Design wise it all seems the same, except for new colour options, and the big standout for me in terms of use is the front screen you see when closed.

You can now use Videos and GIFs as your “lock screen” which is nice.

Plus, when using the camera in the closed position, you now have the option of taller portrait like photos, and videos, oh and Portrait mode too.

The bottom line.

Don’t assume it’s same-same. Sure the looks are almost spot on year on year, but it’s the details that have improved.

From usability with software enhancements, the use of the direct camera in Social Media apps, and the improved battery which we are yet to test for – it feels like these are the culmination of several years efforts.

Worthy of an upgrade for those already in the folding space.

Worthy of a trade-in of your older phone if you’ve been thinking “those folding phones look cool”.

Trevor Long travelled to New York as a Guest of Samsung Australia

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