Update: The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 could fix Fold 3’s biggest flaw: the under-display camera.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 has just been rumored to be receiving a bundle of improvements and upgrades. But one possible change in particular has got us nervous — under-display cameras both inside and out on the Z Fold 4, and one on the inside of the Galaxy Z Flip 4.
The leak comes from user yeux1122 on Korean blogging platform Naver. They've yet to prove themselves as fully reliable, plus they write that "it is not a confirmed situation" (machine translated). However, their claims sound reasonable at least.
For context, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is Samsung's first and only phone with an under-display camera, which can be found on the foldable's large internal display. The outside selfie camera is a central punch-hole model, like you've seen on Samsung's latest phones and other recent models from many other manufacturers. The Galaxy Z Flip 3's internal selfie camera is a punch-hole model, with the only outside cameras being its dual main/ultrawide sensors.
Using under-display cameras means you can in theory enjoy the full screen size of your phone without being distracted by your camera sitting in the way of the action. However, the trade-off, as we saw with both the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the ZTE Axon 30, is that taking photos with a layer of pixels in the way can result in fuzzy-looking images. This was particularly apparent in our testing of the Galaxy Z Fold 3's under-display camera, as it uses a low-res 2MP sensor which would likely make for a poor quality camera even when not positioned beneath the display.
To be fair, under-display cameras are still a very new feature on smartphones, so it's unsurprising that they're not up to the standard we've come to expect from regular phone cameras yet. It may take a bit longer yet for cameras hidden beneath screens to catch up, or perhaps we'll see them abandoned as an ineffective solution to the notch problem, like we did with the pop-up selfie camera phones that we saw a couple of years back.
As an extra bit of rumored bad news, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 might not have a slot to store an S Pen, which could reduce its appeal and seems like an odd thing for Samsung to push to one side.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 rumors: The good news
Beyond the cameras, yeux1122 writes that the cameras on the Z Fold 4 will be improved and could be "finally contemporaneous". That quote could mean the new Z Fold has cameras up to the standard of those on that year's Galaxy S model (in this case the Galaxy S22), something we've always thought foldable buyers have deserved given they're paying so much.
Furthermore, the foldable could see a weight reduction, depending on the continued development of the hinge mechanism. Its waterproofing and dustproofing will be improved too, which may translate to the Z Fold 4 getting a full IP rating just like a regular flagship smartphone. The battery will remain similarly sized, however, which is unfortunate given battery life is one of the phone's biggest weaknesses.
As for the launch date, that's rumored to be the same as this year. That should mean we'll see the Z Fold 4 in September 2022, the time slot that until recently belonged to the Galaxy Note series.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 rumored improvements
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 might be getting similar upgrades. It too could swap its internal punch-hole camera for an under-display one, gain a lower-weight hinge and improve its water/dust resistance. The external display and battery sizes will reportedly stay the same, however, which is again a shame since the Galaxy Z Flip 3 battery life is poor.
This foldable phone will also allegedly launch at the same time next year as it did last year according to the blog, meaning the September Samsung Unpacked event will probably be as stuffed full of products as this year's was.
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Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.