The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 should arrive later this year, if rumors of a release in the second half of 2022 pan out. And reportedly, Samsung is expecting big things from its new foldable phone.
A report out of Asia claims that Samsung has set a shipment target of 15 million foldable phones this year. That would be double the number of foldables Samsung shipped in 2021. While some of that growth will doubtlessly come from the Galaxy Z Flip 4, the more affordable foldable option in Samsung's lineup, it's clear Samsung thinks that more people will be willing to give the Z Fold a try.
If you're looking for a reason as to why Samsung is so confident about the prospects for its foldable phones, consider the many Galaxy Z Fold 4 rumors floating about. They paint a picture of a significantly improved phone that addresses some — though not all — of the concerns surrounding past Galaxy Z Fold models.
Let's take a closer look at the top rumored changes for the Galaxy Z Fold 4 to find out whether you should be excited about the upcoming smartphone release, which is currently expected to happen some time in August.
1. A more powerful chipset for the Galaxy Z Fold 4
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 runs on a Snapdragon 888, the same system-on-chip that powered the Galaxy S21 lineup that shipped earlier in 2021. Don't expect history to repeat itself with the Galaxy Z Fold 4. This year's Galaxy S22 flagships may feature the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, but Samsung is expected to use the more powerful Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 for its upcoming foldable.
That will mean a performance boost for Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1-powered handsets. Chip maker Qualcomm says the new silicon offers a 10% boost in both CPU and GPU performance over the previous model. Leaked Galaxy Z Fold 4 benchmarks back that claim up, with Samsung's upcoming phone allegedly outperforming The Galaxy S22 Ultra and OnePlus 10 Pro (two Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 phones) in Geekbench 5.
The real benefit to the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset may be its greater power efficiency. Snapdragon 8 Gen 1-powered phones haven't exactly impressed on our battery life tests, but Qualcomm says the new chipset improves power efficiency by 15% overall versus its predecessor. That's key, as the Galaxy Z Fold 4 isn't expected to feature a bigger battery than the Z Fold 3 — rumors point to the same 4,400 mAh battery as before.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 lasted less than 8 hours on our battery life test, in which we have phones surf the web over cellular until they run out of power. The average smartphone holds out for just under 10 hours, so there's room for improvement here. If the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 can get the Galaxy Z Fold 4 closer to the average battery life for smartphones, that'll be a worthwhile addition all on its own.
2. A less visible crease on the Galaxy Z Fold 4 display
The Galaxy Z Fold line is known for many things, such as its multitasking capabilities and foldable screen that opens up to reveal a 7.6-inch area workspace. Unfortunately, from Samsung's perspective, it's also known for a visible crease running down the part of the display that folds in two. It's an aesthetic flaw more than anything, but when you're paying $1,799 for a phone, you want a device that looks pretty much flawless.
The crease is still going to be there on the Galaxy Z Fold 4, but perhaps it won't be as visible as on previous models. Leaked photos purportedly showing off the Galaxy Z Fold 4 display a much less prominent crease when compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Fold3 vs Fold4 creases taken at the same angle (intercepted part) pic.twitter.com/iY67S85UEVJune 19, 2022
It should be noted that other foldable phones such as the Oppo Find N don't suffer from the crease problem that's bedeviled Samsung's foldables. On Oppo's phone, which is only sold in China, the crease is almost impossible to feel and only visible when it's caught by the light. Hopefully, Samsung is taking some design cues from its rivals and producing a phone as polished as its high price tag would suggest.
3. The Galaxy Z Fold 4's redesigned hinge
Speaking of redesign efforts for Samsung's foldable phone, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is in line to get an entirely new hinge. Past Folds have used a double-hinge to handle the opening and closing of the phone. With the Z Fold 4, Samsung is allegedly shifting to a single hinge.
Galaxy Z Fold 4 will be Samsung's first Foldable phone with a single hingeIt allows the device to be thinner & lighter while also saving costs and being more durable.In this picture we see the two hinges on the Z Fold 3, the Z Fold 4 will have just one in the center. pic.twitter.com/YZkiCVN6ReApril 5, 2022
This would impact the portability of the Galaxy Z Fold 4. A single hinge potentially makes for a thinner and lighter device, which would certainly be a welcome change from the hefty models we've had to tote around in the past. Some leakers have speculated that a single hinge also leaves room for a slot to hold the S Pen — the Galaxy Z Fold 3 added support for Samsung's stylus but no way to attach it outside of a dedicated case — though rumors suggest that the Galaxy Z Fold 4 will continue to lack a built-in way to store the pen.
4. Improved Galaxy Z Fold cameras
Cameras have really felt like an afterthought on past Galaxy Z Fold models, even the under-display camera that served as the Galaxy Z Fold 3's selfie cam. (Actually, given the pictures produced by that lens, especially the under-display-camera on the Galaxy Z Fold 3.) But rumors suggest a big change in order for the Galaxy Z Fold 4.
The main camera on the Galaxy Z Fold 4 could match the 50MP sensor Samsung uses on the Galaxy S22, according to some rumors. A different rumor suggests that the Z Fold 4 will instead match the Galaxy S22 Ultra and its 108MP lens. Either option would be an upgrade over the 12MP main camera used by the Galaxy Z Fold 3, suggesting more detailed images from Samsung's new phone.
The telephoto lens could be in for a change, too, with Samsung swapping out the current 12MP sensor for a 10MP one. While that's a downgrade in terms of resolution, it also would allow the Galaxy Z Fold 4 to offer a 3x optical zoom instead of the 2x zoom available on the current model.
You're not buying a foldable phone because you're in the market for one of the best camera phones. But improved optics would make the Galaxy Z Fold 4 a better buy and would go a long way toward justifying its hefty price.
5. New Galaxy Z Fold 4 multitasking features
The main reason you turn to one of the best foldable phones like the Galaxy Z Fold is for the phone's multitasking capabilities. The current Fold certainly delivers on that front, with the ability to run three apps at once while also offering a Flex mode that turns half the screen into a control panel.
Samsung will reportedly tweak things with the Galaxy Z Fold 4 by adding a new gesture aimed at making it easier to start multitasking. This new gesture — called "swipe for split screen" — will apparently eliminate the steps that can dissuade some Galaxy Z Fold owners from multitasking.
Galaxy Z Fold 4 outlook
Those five changes may not be the only improvements Samsung makes to the Galaxy Z Fold 4, but they are the ones we keep hearing about most frequently. And they paint the picture of a much-improved phone that should keep Samsung's device at the top of the foldable heap.
We've got a little bit of time for more details about the new foldable phone to emerge. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 isn't tipped to launch until August 10, which leaves enough space for more details to leak out before the big event. You can rest assured that we'll bring you all the latest as we get it, and will round it up in our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 hub.
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Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.