Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


Improved Flex Mode, Taskbar turns Samsung's new foldables into mini laptops

At your fingertips you have a phone with a screen the size of a mini tablet and the trackpad of a mini laptop.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor

The new Galaxy Fold 4 has a taskbar that allows you to easily access your recent apps and toggle between them. 

June Wan/ZDNET

Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold phones are most notable for their ability to fold down the middle like a notebook. The phone's folding ability gives consumers a larger screen while still being the size of a normal handset when folded. To spice things up, Samsung's newest release of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 comes with two usability upgrades: an improved Flex Mode and a new taskbar, both of which turn the portable 2-in-1 device into a miniature laptop. 

SEE: Foldable phones might be the next big thing: Here's what you need to know 

To start, the improved Flex Mode capitalizes on the Z Fold's sturdy hinge, with one half of the device serving as the main screen and the other serving as a trackpad or QWERTY keyboard, when set on a flat surface. This way, users can station the Z Fold 4 and navigate the software via swipe gestures and taps on the bottom portion.

The new Flex Mode should make multitasking easier and more intuitive. With the new swipe gestures, you can convert full-screen apps into pop-up windows or split your screen into two windows at a time. While seeing two screens at the same time is typically an activity reserved for your laptop, you now have the convenience of looking at multiple tabs at once -- in the palm of your hand. 

This upgrade builds on the foundations of the Z Fold 3's Flex Mode, which allowed apps to automatically adjust to fit the screen when the phone was folded open at any angle. With Flex Mode, users could keep the device propped up while watching videos, capturing images, and more.


The Galaxy Fold 4 has a new split screen feature, allowing you to look at two different screens at once. 

June Wan/ZDNET

The keyboard-trackpad use case isn't the only similarity between the Z Fold 4 and a traditional laptop. A new taskbar now sits at the bottom of the UI, providing a dock of apps -- much like a PC -- for users to conveniently access their favorite and most recent apps. The taskbar adds the convenience of being able to toggle between apps more easily, saving you time and effort when getting things done. 

For enhanced productivity, Samsung has partnered with Google and Microsoft to support drag-and-drop features, allowing users to quickly copy and paste links, photos, and more from one app to another. 

SEE: Samsung says folding phones are now mainstream 

All of the aforementioned new features allow consumers to take full advantage of the Galaxy Z Fold 4's large 7.6 inch main screen. The new screen is brighter and has a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate and a less visible under-display camera (UDC). 

Editorial standards