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.