Galaxy Z Fold5, Z Flip5, Watch6, Tab S9 hands-on review
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 hands-on review
Let's kick off with the foldable that Samsung likely sells the most of, and what by extension is possibly the most popular bendy phone lineup, period. The Galaxy Z Flip5 comes with a couple of major hardware upgrades - a larger cover display, and a hinge that lets it fold flat.
The new display, called Flex Window, features a 3.4-inch diagonal. That's the long diagonal, though - the other one is shorter because the cameras eat into it. It's an interesting solution that spices up the Z Flip5's look, without being quite as striking as the dual punchhole design of the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra.
Its moderate coolness aside, the Z Flip5's new outer screen is definitely a lot more useful than that of the previous generation. Size does matter, when it comes to displays.Galaxy Z Flip5 (left) next to Galaxy Z Flip4
That said, the Z Flip5's cover display interface remains widget-based, so to speak. You get a reasonably wide selection of tools to pull up on it, minimizing the need for unflipping the handset - calendar, weather, and the likes, plus notifications and a large camera viewfinder.
All of this benefits greatly from the extra screen estate, but it's still somewhat of a crippled experience compared to what Motorola has been doing with the Razrs and their nearly fully-functional cover display implementations. The Galaxy does offer a keyboard when folded, so not all is lost.
Somewhat disappointing, is the fact that the cover display on the Galaxy maxes out at 60Hz - while that's sort of the norm, the Razr 40 Ultra can do 144Hz on its outer panel.
The other significant change brought by the Flip5 is in the new Flex hinge. Samsung has finally found a solution to make the Z Flip's two halves fold flat on themselves, with no wedge-shaped gap between them. Previous designs were criticized for their less-than-ideal looks, but also for the possibility of lint and dirt to make its way between the relatively gentle display surfaces and cause damage. This redesign helps on both counts.
What was widely cited as the reason for Samsung's wedge-shaped foldables was the company's inability at the time to make a water-resistant design with other hinge implementations. Indeed, none of the other foldables that fold flat have had the Flip's IPX8 rating - we can now have it all on the Z Flip5 and get both the ingress protection and the gapless look.
Losing the wedge has also resulted in the new handset becoming thinner when stowed away - hardly an unexpected development, but one that's highly appreciated nonetheless. The Z Flip5 now measures 15.1mm, full 2mm down from the Z Flip4's thickness.Galaxy Z Flip5 (top) compared to Galaxy Z Flip4
Other than the thickness in the folded state, the Flip has barely changed physically. Precisely as wide and just a hair shorter in both modes, the Z Flip5 also weighs the same 187g as the previous generation. Unsurprisingly then, it also feels just the same in your hand when extended - meaning it's a smartphone that's taller than most.
The lack of tangible physical changes also applies to the internal display, and we do mean the crease. Other makers have managed to make the bend in the foldables' displays less perceptible when swiping across it, but Samsung's implementation remains such that you can still easily see and feel the groove in the middle of the 6.7-inch Infinity Flex Display.
We've discussed on every occasion how the crease tends to be more obtrusive on the clamshell type of foldable (like the Galaxy Z Flip5) simply because it's more likely that you swipe across it when doing what you do most often - scrolling. The other thing is that at some point you just get used to it being there and you ignore it. But those philosophical musings don't change the fact that Samsung's display creases remain the most prominent ones in the business. The new Flex hinge may allow for gapless folding, but it doesn't help a whole lot with the crease situation.
The display itself is a top-tier Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel with adaptive refresh rate in the 1-120Hz range - same as on the Z Flip4. We're not hearing bold claims about brightness improvements on this one, but it's not like the Z Flip4 was lacking in that respect with its specified 1200nits peak.
Somewhat more importantly, the cover display on the Z Flip5 is the first in the series with a high-brightness mode and can reach 1600nits. Additionally, it has a dedicated proximity sensor.
Among the form factor's specific features, the Z Flip5 has various Flex mode use cases, most of which we're already familiar with from previous generations. Thanks to the fact the hinge can remain stable at arbitrary angles, the Flip can be used for taking pictures when placed on a stable surface - selfies with the rear cameras are the first thing that comes to mind, and the large cover screen makes framing so much easier than what the Z Flip4 could offer.
With the Galaxy Z Flip5 being the same weight and size as the Z Flip4 (other than the folded state's slimmer waistline), it's only logical that there aren't that many principal changes to the internals either.
The battery capacity remains the same at 3,700mAh, split unevenly between the two halves. While the Z Flip4 wasn't too shabby in terms of endurance in our tests, the Z Flip5 has potential for some extra longevity thanks to what's proven to be a more efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 inside it. In real life use, the larger cover display may help too, by bringing down the number of occasions when you need to light up the bigger screen.
Similarly, the rear camera system stays the same, though the new Snapdragon's ISP may have its own say on the matter of image quality and processing. Realistically though, we're not expecting miracles from the Galaxy Z Flip5 as a cameraphone. That's perhaps one of our main beefs with the clamshell foldable as a whole, but also the Galaxy Flips in particular - a dramatic imaging hardware upgrade feels overdue, even if it means a few more grams.
The Z Flip5's base memory option is 256GB, which is a welcome change from the rather limiting 128GB of the previous generation - One UI does take up a lot of those to begin with. There is also a 512GB option and both versions have 8GB of RAM.
Speaking of One UI, the Z Flip5 launches on v5.1.1. of the company's proprietary overlay on top of an Android 13 core - the foldable-specific version of what is Samsung's latest software.
The Galaxy Z Flip5 will exist in a fairly wide selection of colors though the subset of options you get will likely vary by region, retailer, carrier and whatnot. As usual, there will also be exclusive colorways only available for purchase from Samsung's own online store.
The mainstream colors are Mint, Graphite, Cream, and Lavender, and only the Graphite has been carried over from the previous generation. While one of the names remains, there's one sort of major change - the new back panels are glossy, as opposed to the frosted anti-glare surface of the Flip4's panels. The new colorways are also a bit paler than last year's but not necessarily in a bad way.
The Samsung-exclusive color options are Gray, Blue, Green, and Yellow, and these feature more intense hues for the rear glass panels (Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on all 8 variants). They also get a different treatment for the Armor Aluminum frame - it's the same satin-finished graphite color on the 4 exclusives, as opposed to the glossy color-coordinated frames of the regular versions.
You'll be able to further spice up your Galaxy Z Flip5 with the new range of Flipsuit Cases. A Flipsuit Case is basically a frame with inserts that communicate with the phone via NFC to change the cover screen's wallpaper to match the insert. Fairly generic purple and blue inserts come bundled with the frame, but there are various extra ones you'll be able to get separately - some are parts of licensing deals with other companies and availability will vary from market to market.