OPINION: Today Samsung gave tech fans a treat by releasing not one, not two, but five new devices.
Specifically, the firm revealed new Galaxy Buds Pro 2 true wireless earbuds, Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro wearables and Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4 foldables at its latest Unpacked event.
I’ve always been a foldable sceptic, feeling the tech will eventually go the way of plasma TVs or mini-disk music players with something better coming along before they reach the mass market.
But, I have at least seen the appeal of the previous Z Fold devices. Sadly, I am slightly disappointed with a couple of decisions Samsung has made this time around.
First, Samsung hasn’t perfected the internal folding screen. On the Z Fold 3, there was a huge crease in the middle of the internal display. This sounds small but it reduced the immersion factor when I watched videos or played games on the device. This wasn’t aided by the inner screen’s 22.5:18 aspect ratio, which during testing left noticeable black bars around streaming video and games.
Samsung has worked to partially fix the latter issue on the Fold 4 giving it a slightly wider, but still boxy, 23.1:9 aspect ratio. But the screen’s crease is still very much visible and content still has smaller, but still noticeable black bars around it on the secondary screen. Until the screen is a traditional tablet form factor, I can’t help but think the experience on the Fold will be compromised.
Second, despite hammering on about the perks of the Fold’s S Pen support, Samsung still hasn’t loaded the Fold 4 with a dock for it. If you want that you’ll have to pay for an optional case or just keep it loose.
This is a massive shame as, if my experience using the Fold 3 with an S Pen is anything to go by, the stylus will be a great addition for any power user.
Testing the Fold 3 I loved the phone’s multi-window support, which let me have more than one app running concurrently. All too often I’d find myself editing a spreadsheet or scribbling meeting notes, while taking a Zoom video call reviewing the Fold 3. But I also hated not being able to dock the stylus when done, which led to me nearly losing it or forgetting to take it to work on more than one occasion.
With the Galaxy Note line retired, which had an S Pen dock, I can’t help but think Samsung’s missed a trick here with the Fold 4. This is especially true given how much seemingly good work it’s done optimising the Fold 4 for stylus inputs and power users, with the addition of a new PC-like taskbar for easier navigation as a key improvement in his early preview.