Compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 2, this year’s Galaxy Z Fold 3 may have made a big leap forward in more ways than one. Some, of course, will consider the disappointing under-display camera (which Samsung calls a UPS or under-panel sensor) a step back instead. In addition to improved durability, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is also the first foldable phone in the world to support an active stylus like the S Pen (no, the Microsoft Surface Duo doesn’t technically count as a foldable). Unfortunately, it was one step short of becoming a true Galaxy Note replacement, and it seems that its successor next year won’t do any better.
There is one crucial reason why the majority of Galaxy Note fans generally panned the Galaxy Z Fold 3, even if it was compatible with a new S Pen. Two, if you count the fact that you can’t use that S Pen on the external Cover Screen. Just like with the Galaxy S21 Ultra earlier this year, the S Pen was more of an optional accessory you needed to spend extra money on rather than an integral part of the phone’s design.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra has repeatedly been rumored to finally have a silo for the S Pen similar to the Galaxy Note series. In fact, the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s overall design is more reminiscent of the Galaxy Note line’s boxier aesthetic, making it almost like a true successor in spirit if not in name. Due to this, there have been hopes that the Galaxy Z Fold 4 will follow suit, but those hopes may have been dashed by one unofficial tip.
According to a post on social networking site Naver, there is no Galaxy Z Fold 4 prototype that has a built-in slot for the S Pen. That could still change, however, since the design won’t be confirmed until early March next year. Still, it’s disappointing to hear that Samsung’s initial design still sticks to the status quo, especially after it has been repeatedly criticized for that.
Keeping the S Pen externally isn’t just about price since many deals bundle the stylus and case with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 anyway. Part of it is about convenience, as you don’t have to worry about losing the stylus somewhere along the way. The other part of it is about the design of the phone and accessories. As anyone with a Galaxy Z Fold 3 and S Pen Fold Edition know by now, there is still no perfect case that holds the S Pen and protects the phone’s hinge while still keeping the phone flat when opened.
If the Galaxy S22 Ultra is any indication, though, Samsung is at least aware of the biggest criticisms its “Galaxy Note replacements” are getting. Hopefully, it’s not too late to change the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s core design to accommodate the S Pen. That said, in the grand scheme of things, future Galaxy Z Fold buyers might prefer that Samsung prioritize upgrading the cameras and the battery first, even if it means keeping the S Pen outside for a while.