What I want from Samsung’s next foldables in 2023

What I want from Samsung’s next foldables in 2023

Samsung has been leveraging its folding supremacy and quietly building its loyal customer base in the ultra-premium smartphone segment in India for the last four years, as it really hasn’t had much competition thus far. Motorola tried its luck with the Razr series by launching the Razr (2019) and Razr 5G (in 2021) models in India, but with seemingly lesser success.

Chinese smartphone brands are only now starting to warm to the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčlaunching foldables in other markets outside of China, however they are approaching it with an abundance of caution. For example, Oppo only launched its smaller clamshell foldable called the Find N2 Flip in the country and not the Find N2. Motorola is set to launch the Razr 40 and a more premium foldable called the Razr 40 Ultra in the coming weeks in India. Looking at the larger horizontal folding devices, Tecno released the Phantom V Fold this year at an extremely competitive price point. Meanwhile, the Pixel Fold, recently announced by Google, was also restricted to select markets only, excluding India.

It looks like the competition is finally (albeit gradually) closing in on Samsung, but the company has a solid four-year lead in the foldable space, so it should feel confident with its next release, which is just around the corner. Samsung has officially confirmed that its next Galaxy Unpacked event will take place at the end of July in Seoul, South Korea, and that it will announce its upcoming foldables. Samsung has yet to officially name them, but they will likely be the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Galaxy Z Fold 5.

We’ve reviewed several of Samsung’s foldable devices in the past, and I’ve been using the company’s Fold and Flip phones interchangeably for a while. We already have a lot of rumors and leaks about what we can expect from the new models, but here are some specific things I’d like to see in the company’s next foldables.

A bigger screen on the next Galaxy Fold

I have been using the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 off and on for the past year. I really like its form factor, which is best suited for viewing content when viewed horizontally, but would love to see an even bigger screen in a similar form factor. However, doing so would require changing the aspect ratio of the outer screen to something much wider, because the current phone is already quite tall.

Vivo’s X Fold 2 has a wider and taller 6.53-inch 21:9 aspect ratio for its outer display and makes way for a massive 8.03-inch inner display in a rectangular form factor (when held horizontally), which is closer to a tablet. It also makes the external screen easier to use compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s 23.1:9 aspect ratio external screen, which in itself was a huge improvement over the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s 25:9 aspect ratio, which resembled a TV remote control.

samsung galaxy z fold 4 gadgets360 review differences

Samsung’s leap to a larger external display on the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s Galaxy Z Fold wasn’t a huge leap, but a welcome move

A wider outer screen, in my opinion, reduces the need to access the inner screen too often for smaller tasks. Meanwhile, a larger internal screen easily justifies switching from a regular phone (like the Galaxy S23 Ultra) to a more tablet-like form factor when watching movies or playing games. A wider form factor should also make room for an S-Pen silo, but as we’ve already seen leaked images and renders of the alleged Galaxy Z Fold 5, that seems like asking a lot at this point. However, we expect Samsung to change things up with the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 6.

Better optimized software experience on the Flip

This mostly applies to Galaxy Z Flip models. I reviewed the Galaxy Z Flip 4 last year and concluded that its tiny outer screen was no more usable than a Wear OS smartwatch. With daily use, the external display is mainly useful for checking who is calling or viewing messages. Its slightly wonky touch sensitivity also makes the whole experience restless enough to drop everything and just bring up the main screen to get things done.

In contrast, Oppo’s N2 Flip with its larger external screen (currently the largest in India) handles notifications better, but Motorola’s upcoming Razr 40 Ultra should change the game, allowing full apps to run on the external screen itself.

We’ve heard rumors suggesting that Samsung is working with Google on its expected larger cover screen, which resembles a folder icon. However, it’s still unclear whether these apps for the outer screen will be another set of widgets based on the full apps, or if Samsung has actually revamped its outer screen to run full apps. What I really want to see is proper keyboard integration, so I can use swipe gesture typing for replies without having to open the phone.

Oppo Find N2 Flip vs Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 back cover displays ndtv

Oppo’s cover’s larger screen turned out to be much more useful than the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s small outer screen, even at the software level

The Google Pixel Fold introduced some really handy features, like the ability to use Translate in dual-screen mode. Samsung’s current Flex mode (which is still a beta feature) separates a single app between the two halves of the folding screen (pushing a touchpad and other controls to the bottom half) or allows two apps to run side by side like in split screen mode.

The main purpose of Flex mode is to take advantage of the foldable form factor and keep the top half of the display in an upright position thanks to its ingenious hinge. But since the top half of the Fold or Flip isn’t big enough to view the content, I ended up using this mode mostly for video calls. It would be nice if Samsung made better use of both internal and external displays at the same time, except for the current use case in the camera app. A larger internal screen, as mentioned in the previous section, would also make better use of Flex mode, making the top half tall enough for video display.

more refined hinges

In our comparison between Oppo’s Find N2 Flip and Galaxy Z Flip 4, we concluded how Oppo’s clamshell foldable hits the sweet spot when it comes to opening or closing it. Its hinge mechanism is designed in such a way that it can hold half of the device in an upright position, beyond which it will open or close. The Galaxy Z Flip 4’s hinge is a little too tight and rigid, making it difficult to open with one hand. Even with two hands, it takes a noticeable amount of pressure to open it.

Oppo Find N2 Flip vs Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 ndtv folded design

Oppo’s Find N2 Flip (right) has a gap-free fold compared to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 4 (left)

According to recent reports, Samsung is working on a new hinge. So hopefully it makes the device easier to operate, while also reducing the screen’s internal crease, which is also one of the deepest and most prominent we’ve seen compared to other similar foldables.

better cameras

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 was a huge upgrade over Galaxy Z Fold 3 in terms of cameras and the same can be said about Galaxy Z Flip 4 which currently has the best set of cameras in a clamshell folding smartphone in India. Still, both phones lack the power of the Galaxy S23 Ultra or even the Galaxy S23. It would be nice to see Samsung get even better image quality with newer sensors or smarter algorithms, as that would help distance itself from the growing competition.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 ndtv cameras

Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 4 currently has the best cameras in a foldable shell

However, better cameras need more space and on a foldable there is a major lack of Z-axis depth as they are already quite thick when folded. The only solution would be to increase them in size, which would help spread more components over a larger area. Google seems to have done a good job with its Pixel Fold when it comes to cramming the camera hardware, even managing a 5X telephoto camera. It’s your turn, Samsung.

Faster charging and longer battery life

Samsung still doesn’t have a fast enough charging system for its premium devices, while the competition has stepped up. For example, the Galaxy S23 series still takes about two hours to fully charge. The Galaxy Fold 4’s 4,400mAh battery takes over an hour to charge. I really think it’s time for Samsung to start taking wired fast charging a little more seriously.

While I found the battery life on the smaller Galaxy Z Flip 4 to be sufficient, the same could also be said for the larger Galaxy Z Fold 4. With the camera and the productivity-oriented Galaxy S23 Ultra (because S-Pen) easily managing more than a day of battery life, I half expected the larger, tablet-like Galaxy Z Fold to perform much better, especially since it’s being marketed as a productivity device that can run three apps at once. That said, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 fared much better compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 3 in terms of battery life, so we can expect Samsung’s foldable experience to help extend battery life even further with the next one.


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