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I've had an iPhone since 2007, but the Galaxy Z Fold 4 makes me want to switch phones

I’ve lived happily in the Apple ecosystem for over a decade, but as a tech enthusiast, I’m always curious about what’s going on in the larger mobile world. So I’ve been keeping an eye on what Samsung, Google, and other Android phone makers are doing. Every once in a while, something comes up that piques my interest enough that I get the idea to switch platforms and see how the other person lives.

That was the case with this week’s Galaxy Unpacked event. With the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4, Samsung is proving more than ever that foldable smartphones are ready for prime time. Both of Samsung’s new Z-series phones stand out in their own way, with features that Apple hasn’t chosen to match.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

is enough to make me change sides? Maybe not, but Samsung’s latest version makes things more enticing than ever.

My long history with the iPhone

Since 2007 I’ve been an iPhone user since the first model came out in 2010, but before that I’ve used pretty much every other smartphone platform available. My first foray into the hybrid PDA and cell phone world (they didn’t call them “smartphones” at the time) was with Qualcomm’s pdQ-1900—a bulky product that combined Palm III and CDMA smartphone functionality. When the iPhone arrived, I was holding the Nokia E90 Communicator—one of the first predecessors of today’s foldable smartphones. When I saw Steve Jobs launch the iPhone in January 2007, I was very skeptical of the platform. From the touchscreen keyboard to the lack of third-party app support, this seems like an odd and restrictive device. However, when I finally got one a few months later, I was quickly conquered. I haven’t looked back since then. Over the years, I’ve played with a variety of Android phones, from the original Nexus One in 2010 to the Google Pixel 6 I still have to research and test. There are things I’ve always liked about Android, and in the early days, it was clear that both Apple and Google could learn a lot from each other. However, while these devices were fun, none of them were enough to convince me to ditch any iPhone I was using at the time.

Multitasking on the Galaxy Z Fold 4. Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

As technology develops, this becomes less tempting. A rectangular sheet of glass and plastic is pretty much the same as any other sheet these days. Phone makers mainly compete by outpacing each other in areas like camera specs and screen quality, but for most of us, we’ve already crossed enough thresholds in those areas. When it comes to iPhone and other products, the operating system and applications are the most notable differences. There are inevitably trade-offs between Android and iOS, but these days, one is not inherently better than the other; they’re just different, and each has its own advantages and limitations.

Why Z Fold 4 is so tempting to me

Hardware and software work closely together, though, and that’s where I think Samsung’s latest foldable phones stand out the most — especially the Galaxy Z Fold 4. It’s not just about having a foldable phone. After all, folding smartphones isn’t an entirely new idea. It’s developing the underlying software to take full advantage of the phone’s capabilities, and that’s what Samsung has focused on this year. In fact, the Z Fold 4’s hardware isn’t too different from last year’s model, but software improvements make the phone a whole new game.

Multitasking on the Galaxy Z Fold 4.Andrew Matonic/Digital Trends

When showing off the Galaxy Z Fold 4 during Galaxy Unpacked, Samsung focused almost entirely on the app experience, which was amazing. Thanks to Android 12L, a clear design with large-screen foldable phones in mind, and close collaboration with Microsoft and Google, the Z Fold 4 finally blurs the lines between smartphone and tablet. The entire user interface has been significantly optimized to take advantage of the larger 7.6-inch expansion screen, the taskbar offers a PC-style layout and new multitasking swipe gestures. Split-screen mode makes it easier to run two apps side-by-side, and even drag and drop things like links and photos between them. It can also be used with the S Pen for drawing and note-taking. Multitasking on the Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Multitasking on the Galaxy Z Fold 4. Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Samsung also showed how the Z Fold 4 can be used with meeting apps like Google Meet and Microsoft Teams to watch videos together and shared whiteboards. Samsung and Microsoft have also partnered to deliver the full Office suite experience in a way that’s tailored to the Z Fold 4’s two screens. Outlook can display email snippets on the cover screen and can open a full-page view on the home screen. Users can easily view multiple Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents side by side and move information seamlessly between them. The bigger screen is also great for gaming and video playback, something even the biggest traditional phones can’t match. Flex Mode allows for a hands-free video experience in apps like Netflix and YouTube, as the folding design lets the phone work like a natural kickstand. A Flex Mode touchpad on the bottom lets you control video playback without getting in the way of whatever you’re watching.


12 years ago, when When I took the Nexus One to Apple’s iPhone 4 launch event (and of course my trusty iPhone 3GS), there was little to connect users to the iPhone. The iPad was just two months old, and that year the operating system was renamed “iOS.” A lot has changed since then. Today, many iPhone users own other Apple devices such as MacBooks, iPads, HomePods, AirPods, and Apple TVs—not to mention the Apple Watch, which is still tightly tied to the iPhone. Apple devices work well together and form a sufficient ecosystem that switching isn’t as easy as it once was. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Joe Ma Lin/Digital Trends

Samsung may be late, but it has also been building its own ecosystem and Connect everything together like never before. Unlike Apple, Samsung also has the advantage of being able to tap into more areas, from TVs to refrigerators. Even though Samsung had been offering a wide range of consumer electronics three years ago, it would be a stretch to call it an ecosystem. However, as Samsung showed today, its Galaxy smartphones, Galaxy Buds, and Galaxy Watch can work together as seamlessly as the iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch. Samsung has added an extensive TV lineup to it, too. Google has been doing something similar for its Pixel devices, laying the groundwork for Android and gradually growing into a broader ecosystem that is no longer limited to a single vendor. Granted, Apple gets points for doing many of the same things years ago, but that’s no reason to underestimate what these new players are accomplishing. Still, with multiple Apple devices and a home completely duped by HomeKit technology, switching platforms isn’t an easy task. But Samsung’s Z Fold 4 got me thinking. How about Apple’s foldable plans? There is no doubt that Apple’s foldable iPhone is in development. While there’s no guarantee we’ll see one, I strongly think it’s more of a

We’ll see how Apple’s foldable iPhone is better than

If Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. we will see one. A key difference between Apple and Samsung is that Samsung doesn’t mind failing more publicly. The original Galaxy Fold was mocked for being a mess. It’s flimsy, prone to hinge and screen issues, and obviously isn’t for anyone except those who want to live on the cutting edge of technology. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 being closed.Joe Marlin/Digital Trends However, it also foreshadowed what was to come. It may be close to a prototype, but it’s clear Samsung isn’t giving up. The results we’re seeing in the Galaxy Z Fold 4 today come from that very public trial-and-error process, and anyone paying attention knows that Samsung will eventually turn it into a home run. Meanwhile, Apple is afraid to release anything but a fully polished foldable iPhone. It’s not Apple’s style to release a prototype device. Depending on how Apple handles it, the first foldable iPhone could be expensive “first-generation” devices like the original Apple Watch, the HomePod speaker, or even the first iPhone in 2007. However, even in these cases, Apple will release devices with more limited capabilities to ensure that the features they offer work as well as possible.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Still, Samsung’s latest Z-series smartphones show that Apple is sadly behind the curve in this regard. To be fair, market research may suggest that there isn’t much mass-market demand for foldable smartphones, but that hasn’t stopped Apple from releasing the Apple Watch and HomePod, both arguably more niche devices. If the report is accurate, it will do the same with its first augmented reality headset. Of course, with Apple selling hundreds of millions of iPhones a year, foldable phones may not be a priority. It’s clear, however, that Apple’s rivals aren’t sitting still, showing that Samsung’s latest Z Fold 4 is serious enough to tempt a 15-year-old iPhone fanatic like me to change sides.

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