The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is a spectacular 2-in-1 device. It’s easily billed as a capable smartphone, but the foldable also doubles as an Android tablet. It works as a superior productivity device and packs the latest and most powerful hardware that any Android device can sport. Despite its internal specifications, however, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 was excluded from the field of mobile gamers.
The biggest challenge to gaming on the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the screen size. The aspect ratio of both screens is – to say the least – unusual, which can cause a lot of compatibility or cropping problems. The solution to this problem, however, also lies with the Galaxy Z Fold 4. Instead of playing these games on a smaller screen, we throw them on a bigger screen to be able to enjoy them.
The layout can be as simple or as complex as you would like it to be. Since I like to keep all the bases covered, I’m instinctively led to rely on some fancy equipment. Here’s what my setup includes:
My Galaxy Z Fold 4 gaming setup
At the heart of this miniature gaming rig is a powerful USB Type-C dock. That’s why we use the . The Ugreen docking station is ideal for this setup, as it has two HDMI outputs, including one at 8K resolution, a DisplayLink-certified DisplayPort connector, a Gigabit Ethernet port, multiple USB Gen 3.2 Type-A and Type-C ports, and 3.5. mm audio jack. All these ports combine to give us the connectivity options of a primitive desktop setup.
For convenience, I use the following:
- DisplayPort instead of the HDMI port because the former offers a smoother, lag-free experience – especially when casting the screen at 4K (3840 × 2160) resolution.
- Ethernet port for faster ping while playing online games.
- USB Type-C port to connect the charger to eliminate power drain.
- USB Type-A ports to plug in keyboard and mouse. I use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to make switching between different devices easier, which can increase latency a bit.
- The 3.5mm headphone jack to reduce delay in audio compared to a Bluetooth headset.
You can also use a less fussy USB Type-C dock – or even skip one altogether by opting for one and connect other peripherals via Bluetooth. This may be a simpler setup but can lead to some latency which can be disadvantageous when playing high-tempo games.
Next to the Ugreen dock, I use a 27-inch LG 4K HDR monitor. You can use any large screen, including a TV, projector, or computer screen. I suggest using something preferably with DisplayPort support, but that’s not a necessary requirement for the setup to work.
In addition to the hardware, I use the Panda Mouse Pro app, which allows me to map keyboard and mouse controls so I can play a game without touching the screen. You will need to allow the app to be displayed on top of other apps and activate the app using a PC or Mac with ADB. The program is paid, but you can also find some free alternatives, such as Mantis Gamepad Pro. The complexity of setting up can vary by application, but you’ll easily find tutorials online.
Although the program can run in DeX mode, it may not be able to handle keyboard and mouse controls very efficiently. As a result, the program can crash several times, so I throw the screen of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 on the screen.
The games I played
Although the setup allows me to play any game with a keyboard and mouse, I chose to play three classics that were popularized by their PC versions and were later ported to Android. The selection of games includes:
- GTA: San Andreas
- Call of Duty: Mobile
I mapped the keyboard and mouse controls using Panda Mouse Pro in GTA and KoD: Mobile phone. Meanwhile, Minecraft basically supports keyboard and mouse input, and no additional steps were required. All other interface functions can be manipulated using the mouse to replace the touch controls.
It should be noted that Samsung’s screen mirroring and DeX options are essentially limited to the highest resolution supported by the smartphone (1440p in the case of the Galaxy Z Fold 4). The higher screen resolution (4K here) can be unlocked by installing the MultiStar module in Samsung’s Good Lock program.
So, what is the gaming experience like?
Since I rely on throwing the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s screen onto a larger screen, the narrow 5:4 aspect ratio can feel jarring, especially if you’re using a widescreen display. I’m using a standard 16:9 monitor, which is the one you see in the photo below. The limitation is forced on us due to the keymapping software not working as intended in DeX mode. Other than that, though, there’s nothing stopping you from using a keyboard and mouse to run games just like you would on a traditional PC. The games run smoothly without any limitation.
Ethernet is a really handy addition to the setup as it reduces the internet ping from 30ms over a 5GHz WiFi network to 3-5ms over a LAN. Lower ping allows responses to be recorded faster and is extremely useful in online multiplayer games.
If you have a USB or Bluetooth player, you can play games with built-in controller support with this setting. The list of games includes popular titles like Asphalt 9, Real Race 3, Brawlhalla, etc., which can be enjoyed in a game console-like setup wirelessly. If you’re willing to spend more time optimizing this setup, you can also load archaic controller games designed for Nintendo Wii, PlayStation Portable (PSP), GameBoy, GameBoy Color, and GameBoy Advanced using an emulator like the All In One Emulator.
Your gaming PC better watch out
While it’s inappropriate to compare this experience to that of a full-fledged gaming PC, the capable Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 certainly makes the Galaxy Z Fold 4 a worthy contender to ARM-based Windows machines when multi-platform gaming is considered. What makes this experience uniquely enjoyable is the ability to play Windows games that have been ported to Android thanks to the efforts of dedicated game publishers.
This arrangement is even suitable for cloud gaming platforms such as Nvidia GeForce, which can let you enjoy the same high-intensity gaming without a real platform. The Gigabit Ethernet on the Ugreen docking station I use is good for super-fast charging and easy-to-discard lag.
There is one more advantage to this setup, even if you don’t want to use a monitor with it. Game progress is saved on the Galaxy Z Fold 4, and you can continue without fear of losing any of it. Add it all together, and the Z Fold 4 ends up being a shockingly good gaming experience.