Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 could fix Fold 3’s biggest flaw

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, held partially open to emphasize the folding mechanism, with Google News displayed on the screen
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 convincingly made the case that foldables could be the future, but it wasn’t without its drawbacks. Aside from a price that puts it beyond the budgets of most buyers, the debut of Samsung’s under-screen camera technology got a mixed response from reviewers and buyers alike. 

On one hand, the technology itself — a 4MP pinhole camera that seamlessly becomes part of the screen when not in use — is hugely impressive. But on the other, the photographic results were undoubtedly worse than we’re used to from Samsung’s front-facing cameras.

Well, according to the South Korean blog Naver’s supply chain source, next year’s Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is going to get something that’s “much improved.” The blog reports that Samsung has put its punch-hole displays in for mass production, and the Google translated text explains that “the Fold 4 has a much improved UDC [Under Display Camera] installation.”

If true, it’s promising that the technology is improving. A previous report, also from Naver, stated that Samsung could be giving both the front screen’s camera and internal selfie lens the under-screen treatment this time around. That might be good, if the improvements are as clear as the other Naver report suggests, but if not it could be a big drawback. As we found when testing both cameras on the Z Fold 3, the front-facing 10MP camera was significantly better than the 4MP under-screen one. 

You may be wondering why the foldable actually needs two selfie cameras in the first place. Wouldn’t it be a neater solution just to ditch the inferior under-screen internal camera and give the tablet mode a full, undisturbed view? 

For some, undoubtedly, but that would also break the flexibility of Samsung’s camera system, which is clearly something the company views as one of the Z Fold’s unique selling points. An internal selfie camera means you can prop the phone open like a laptop without having to hold it, for example, which is a great addition for video meetings that go on longer than you’d like. 

But aside from anything else, reducing the number of cameras between generations sounds like a downgrade, even if it does actually improve the experience overall. And when you’re trying to persuade buyers to give you the best part of $2,000, the last thing you want them thinking is that they’d be better off with the previous generation instead.

We'll have to wait until we've tested the Z Fold 4 before we can pass judgement ourselves of course — and it may be that the rumor turns out to not be true — but it certainly sounds like this could be good news for the next generation of Samsung's foldable flagship.  

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.