Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: To fold or not to fold


Intro

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 has been officially unveiled – it’s been one of the most anticipated gadgets of 2022, and for a good reason. Samsung’s top foldable brings important upgrades to the table while trying to keep the asking price in check.
Would this be enough for people to hop on the foldable train and choose the Galaxy Z Fold 4 over a more conventional Galaxy S22 Ultra, for example. That’s what we’ll try to find out. Because today we’re pitting against each other the ultra-premium foldable – the Galaxy Z Fold 4 – and the current top-tier model in the more “stiff” category – the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

At first glance these two shouldn’t be put together in a sentence but there’s more similarities than you suspect. For one, the S Pen support is a clear crossover point between the two. There’s overlap in other categories that we will review in detail – such as the camera system, hardware and software, battery life and so on. Let’s get this thing going and see what’s what.

Get your Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 now

You can pre-order your Galaxy Z Fold 4 or Galaxy Z Flip 4 now at Samsung’s online store. The foldable phones are expected to be available on the market around August 26.

Galaxy Z Fold 4 vs Galaxy S22 Ultra in a nutshell:

  • Dual screen (7.8-inch flexible + 6.2-inch conventional, 120Hz) vs 6.8-inch Super AMOLED 120Hz display
  • Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • 50/12/10MP camera system vs 108/12/10/10MP camera system
  • 4,400mAh battery (25W fast charging) vs 5,000mAh battery (45W fast charging)

Table of Contents:

Design and Display Quality

To fold or not to fold

Well, this is the question, right? When it comes to design, Samsung has obviously tried to remain true to its philosophy and design the Z Fold 4 (and other foldables) in the same fashion as the company’s non-folding models.

When folded closed the Galaxy Z Fold, just like its predecessors, resembles a conventional Galaxy phone from the S-series. Granted, there’s a hinge and a noticeable gap between the two parts but overall the design is the same glass/metal sandwich we all know (and some of us love).

One of the main differences between the Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy S22 Ultra (other than the folding part) is the display. The S22 Ultra is one of the last mainstream and popular phones to feature a curved display, while the Z Fold 4 not only can’t pull this off with its main flexible display but also steers away from it with its flat conventional flat secondary display.

One big difference lies in the S Pen integration – the S22 Ultra has a nice slot inside its body (mimicking the Note series), while the Galaxy Z Fold 4 not only doesn’t have a slot but you have to buy one of the two S Pen models separately in order to utilize the support.

Regarding the colors involved, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 comes in Beige, Phantom Black, and Graygreen (with an exclusive Burgundy option coming at some point). The Galaxy S22 Ultra, on the other hand, is available in Burgundy, Green, Phantom Black, and Phantom White. As you can see, there’s more similarities than differences in the color scheme.

Display Measurements:

Moving to the display section, and this is another interesting one – the Galaxy Z Fold 4 comes with two displays – a main flexible 7.6-inch QXGA+ AMOLED, 1-120Hz panel, and a secondary 6.2-inch HD+ AMOLED, again featuring adaptive 120Hz refresh rate (48-120Hz in this case).

The display of the Galaxy S22 Ultra on the other hand is a well-known entity – a giant (by non-foldable standards) 6.8-inch panel with peak brightness of 1,750 nits, 1-120Hz refresh rate, and great color reproduction. 

You can check out the test results above for more details. One thing worth mentioning is that the display of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is very bright, actually brighter than the unit inside the S22 Ultra (which is a feat in and of its own). Both displays are great, though – nothing short of stunning but we didn’t expect anything less from Samsung.

Again, comparing these two is hard in this category – you need to decide for yourself whether you absolutely need an 8-incher with a strange aspect ratio or you’d be fine with a huge, almost 7-inch big regular display. 

Performance and Software

liberté, egalité, fraternité

When it comes to performance, most modern flagships will breeze through your regular smartphone tasks, and also ace mobile games (as they’re made to work on any phone anyway). There’s not a huge difference in performance between the Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy Z Fold 4, even though the latter comes equipped with the overclocked version of Qualcomm’s latest silicon – the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1.

That being said, the difference is there in the synthetic benchmarks, and if you’re keen on having the absolute fastest processor (on paper), the Galaxy Z Fold 4 wins this battle. Bear in mind that you probably won’t notice much of the said difference in real-life day-to-day use.

Performance Benchmarks:

 

Regarding the software, aside from some clever multi-window tricks, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 relies on the same One UI over Android as its non-folding cousin. Samsung is leaning heavily on the multi-screen aspect of the Z Fold 4, allowing users to launch 2+1 apps on screen simultaneously (2 small preview windows on one half of the screen + another full app preview on the other, with all being resizable).

You can also use pop-up apps and there’s no limitation on the number of those, and when you pair the aforementioned multi-app functionality with the S Pen and the big flexible screen, things are looking pretty good for the foldable. There’s one big addition on the software front – a new dock interface element that allows for a PC-like experience and multitasking.

When it comes to the software experience, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 offers much more due to its bigger main screen and One UI multitasking magics.

Camera

One step behind

The camera system inside the Galaxy Z Fold 4 features a 50MP main sensor with 23 percent brighter pixels (than the Galaxy Z Fold 3) and a 10MP telephoto unit with a longer 3x zoom range and 30x Space Zoom, up from 10x digital zoom on the current telephoto module. The 12MP ultra-wide camera is the same as the one used throughout the S22 family, and on the previous version of the foldable as well.

When it comes to the Galaxy S22 Ultra, we all know how powerful that camera system really is – from the main module with 108MP sensor to the insane Space Zoom. In the table below you can take a quick glance at the camera systems in both models. 

 

Looking at the specs above it’s clear to see that the big difference between the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Galaxy Z Fold 4, regarding the camera situation, is the lack of a periscope 10x zoom lens on the foldable, as well as a more modest sensor for the main camera. The ultrawide and 3x zoom cameras are more or less the same in both phones. Below you will find some sample images from the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Galaxy Z Fold 4. 

The situation with the selfie cameras is definitely in favor of the Galaxy S22 Ultra, even though the Galaxy Z Fold 4 features two selfie cameras – one on the front, and another one under the flexible screen. As you can see from the samples above, it’s not a day-and-night difference – you’ll be happy with the results both phones can achieve.

As far as video recording is concerned, the new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 can go up to 4K and below you’ll find a video sample shot in the said resolution. The Galaxy S22 Ultra has a slight edge again, as it’s able to shoot videos all the way up to 8K at 24 fps.

Battery Life and Charging

Advantage S22 Ultra

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 comes equipped with a double battery with a total typical capacity of 4,400mAh. This isn’t great news, given the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1+ processor, and the two displays onboard. We can’t comment on battery life at this point but the Galaxy S22 Ultra should have an advantage, at least on paper, with its huge 5,000mAh battery, and more conventional single screen setup.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:

As you can see from the battery results above, it’s a neck and neck when it comes to web browsing and video consumption, with gaming being the biggest divider between the two. The Z Fold 4 seems to really chew on power during 3D gaming tasks. Gaming on that huge screen sure takes its toll!

When it comes to charging, things are looking more or less the same way. The Galaxy S22 Ultra still has an edge over the Galaxy Z Fold 4, as the former supports 45W fast charging and is able to fully charge its 5,000 mAh battery in one hour. The Z Fold 4 on the other hand retains the 25W charging speeds from its predecessor, which means a full charge in about an hour and 20 minutes

Specs Comparison

Summary and Final Verdict

It’s very hard to compare these two phones – they serve a completely different purpose. One is a foldable tablet-like device, the other is an ultra-premium conventional flagship. In the end, it all boils down to one thing – whether or not you want a foldable tablet. There’s a price difference of about $500 between the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the S22 Ultra, and all other aspects of both phones could be viewed as secondary in this comparison.

The hardware and software is very similar and should yield a similar real-life experience, and in the camera, battery, and charging departments, the S22 Ultra seems to be winning. So, should you buy the Galaxy Z Fold 4? Well, of course – if you can afford it, it’s shaping out to be one of the best foldable phones out there. On the other hand, you won’t regret opting for the conventional Galaxy S22 either. It’s a win-win situation that depends on how deep your pocket is and how passionate you are about folding phones.





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