Outer display screen an answer to a created drawback
Middling battery life
Cameras strong however similar as Z Flip 4
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is a enjoyable folding flip cellphone that breaks the monotony of glass slab smartphones and is a superb alternative if you need a smaller cellphone in your pocket. However there are a number of compromises right here, from the outer display screen to battery life to digital camera high quality.
I can’t resolve if folding telephones are nice or silly, and it’s messing with my mind.
On one hand, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is a marvel. It folds down from a daily smartphone measurement right into a smaller, pocketable sq. form. It’s enjoyable. It is available in mint inexperienced.
However however its outer display screen, whereas bigger than on earlier variations, is an admission of the compromise of a folding flip cellphone. It’s meant to be folded shut typically. In the event you want a display screen, simply open it up! Don’t make me run apps on a tiny outer display screen!
I’ve additionally discovered battery life to be merely OK, and the cameras on this $1,000/£1,000+ cellphone will not be adequate – each areas haven’t improved from 2022’s Z Flip 4.
None of this modifications the actual fact the Z Flip 5 remains to be in all probability the very best foldable you should buy in varied methods. That’s primarily all the way down to Samsung’s 5 years of software program assist, and the higher after-sales assist globally in comparison with flip cellphone rival Motorola. It’s additionally a less expensive foldable than Samsung’s personal Galaxy Z Fold 5.
However after utilizing the Flip for greater than every week I can’t assist however conclude you may get higher cameras, battery life, and show from a number of telephones that price much less. I don’t assume you can purchase this cellphone simply because it folds in half, but that is still the primary motive to purchase one.
Design & construct
Folds flat when closed
Compact when closed
Shiny and slippery
The Galaxy Z Flip 5 folds shut just like the basic flip telephones of the early 2000s, so it’s smaller to carry in your hand or retailer in a pocket or bag. It’s the alternative thought of the Galaxy Z Fold 5, which is the dimensions of a standard cellphone however unfolds into a bigger pill measurement display screen.
This potential to close flat with out the small hole of earlier Flips is all the way down to a slight redesign within the hinge of the cellphone, which permits the display screen to billow extra on the crease in a waterdrop form and shut flat – and hopefully put much less stress on the folding show over time.
Samsung charges the hinge and display screen to play good collectively for 200,000 actions with out breaking – that’s over 5 years should you open and shut it 100 instances per day.
The surface of the cellphone is especially made from glass and aluminium, with a slippery texture due to each. Very slippery certainly. The cellphone slid off my degree desktop and it gained’t keep nonetheless on many surfaces. You’ll desire a case, although the Flip is impressively IPX8 water-resistant – no dustproof score right here, although.
Regardless of not having the matt glass end of the Z Flip 4, my mint inexperienced evaluation pattern did fairly properly to hid fingerprints. Which may not be the case for different color choices.
An outer show covers many of the entrance of the highest half of the cellphone’s again, whereas the remaining is adorned with twin fundamental cameras, a USB-C port, quantity rocker, and facet mounted fingerprint sensor. The latter works properly for authenticating apps and unlocking the cellphone when it’s open or closed.
The haptics on the Z Flip 5 are additionally nice, with tight, clipped buzzes for the keyboard and nice use of various vibration patterns across the person interface (UI).
Screens & audio system
6.7in 120Hz AMOLED fundamental display screen
3.4in 60Hz AMOLED outer display screen
Twin stereo audio system
Unfolded, the Z Flip 5 has a 6.7in OLED 120Hz folding display screen that’s a tall 22:9 side ratio and has a big crease proper throughout the center horizontally. To fold, Samsung makes use of a plastic and glass composite, however in each day use it looks like tapping and swiping instantly on plastic.
That it really works is a marvel, however it’s a much less premium feeling than instantly interacting with the glass of a daily smartphone. The outer layer will get mucky with fingerprints and hand oil very quick.
I discovered my thumb didn’t typically contact the crease when scrolling due to how I held the Flip, however should you do go over it you possibly can really feel a particular ridge, and at some angles textual content contorts barely because it passes over it.
Turned sideways the display screen is a pleasant extensive measurement, however I needed to study to not maintain wanting on the now-vertical crease. It’s extra noticeable right here than on the bigger folding display screen of the Z Fold 5.
The principle improve for the Z Flip 5 over earlier fashions is the outer display screen, which is now a 3.4in 60Hz show that may present way more info than the dinky ones earlier than. It dips down on the backside left edge to get across the cameras.
The concept is you possibly can run giant widgets for apps like calendar, climate, and alarms, in addition to view and work together with notifications with out opening the cellphone.
Like key rival, the Motorola Razr 40 Extremely (Razr+ within the USA), you can too run full apps on there corresponding to Google Maps, YouTube, and WhatsApp, the latter full with tiny keyboard to sort out messages.
It’s spectacular and appears cool, however it looks like an answer to an issue Samsung has created itself. The entire level of a flip cellphone – right this moment and 20 years in the past – is it’s a compact design that you just shut and put away. You might be allowed to cease utilizing it and are inspired to take action. You will have a complete inside display screen to make use of should you want it.
Utilizing the outer show is far worse in each occasion. The one helpful factor is that it may be a viewfinder to snap a selfie or group picture with the primary digital camera. In any other case, the whole lot it could possibly do is extra annoying and a worse expertise than simply opening the cellphone.
I choose the small screens on the older Z Flip 4 or the Motorola Razr 40 that don’t distract you however nonetheless show key info.
When closed and with the all the time on display screen turned on, it’s helpful to look down on the time, date, notifications, or battery share. That is helpful info and means I can maintain my cellphone closed. I don’t need to watch Netflix movies on it. That’s silly.
In a pinch perhaps I’d use Google Maps and maintain the closed cellphone simpler in a single hand. However I’ve by no means been holding a standard smartphone whereas utilizing Google Maps and considering it’d be higher if the display screen was a lot smaller and displayed a lot much less info.
Right here’s how Google Maps on the Z Flip 5 (left) compares to the outer show on the Motorola Razr 40 Extremely:
If something, the duvet display screen highlights that Samsung wants to vary one thing every year on the Flip to make it completely different from the final one. That’s the factor this yr. To be honest, you may dig it. I believe the outer show of the Z Fold 5 makes way more sense because it’s an precise full cellphone display screen quite than a half-baked widget window however you may not desire a cellphone that huge and heavy.
The twin stereo audio system situated within the earpiece and the underside edge pump out respectable quantity and don’t distort even on the highest degree, although do grow to be piercing. Like all telephones – nice for YouTube and podcasts, however for music, get a Bluetooth speaker.
Specs & efficiency
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
Runs very properly
The Z Flip 5’s efficiency is excellent due to the particular overclocked model of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 additionally discovered within the Z Fold 5 and Galaxy S23 telephones. The Flip runs a smidge slower when actually pushing it with high-end video games and multitasking because it has 8GB RAM in comparison with 12GB within the Fold or Galaxy S23 Extremely.
In benchmark assessments, the Flip carried out noticeably higher than final yr’s Flip 4 in CPU use, however graphical outcomes had been very related:
Each model of the Z Flip 5 has 8GB RAM, with both 256- or 512GB non-expandable storage. It’s good to see Samsung ditching the 128GB mannequin and beginning with double that.
My evaluation pattern ran Name of Obligation Cellular completely positive, although the crease proper down the center of the display screen was distracting.
Connectivity comes within the type of Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC, 4G, and 5G.
Digicam & video
Stable 12Mp fundamental sensor
12Mp ultra-wide and 10Mp selfie
Typically over-saturated colors
The cameras on the Z Flip 5 are strong and completely acceptable, however they’re inferior to another telephones on this value vary.
That mentioned, the primary lens has nice dynamic vary and is an excellent digital camera you’ll be happy to hold in every single place with you for the following few years. I acquired some photographs out of it that I’m actually happy with, however it’s not probably the most constant.
That 12Mp fundamental lens is f/1.8 and has optical picture stabilisation (OIS), and takes clear, sharp photographs in daylight. I’ve been impressed with the sharpness and degree of element, although a few photographs have areas of blur in them. I additionally discovered that typically the colors are saturated as much as inside an inch of their dayglo excellent, significantly the blues and greens:
Henry Burrell / Foundry
Right here’s extra of that fundamental lens in motion, together with utilizing the entrance display screen as a selfie viewfinder, and in low gentle:
Perhaps I’m being nitpicky, however the color palettes of each the iPhone 14 and significantly Google Pixel 7 are rather more pure to my eyes (telephones that price lower than the Flip however don’t, y’know, flip).
You possibly can shoot in RAW, which is nice to see, and video is nice, with stabilised footage in a position to course of at as much as Extremely HD (4K) at 60fps.
The ultra-wide digital camera can be 12Mp however a unique sensor with f/2.2 however no OIS, and it’s not pretty much as good in high quality. Tremendous for capturing extra of a scene, however the color can be too vibrant in lots of situations:
Don’t get me unsuitable, the cameras listed here are strong and will likely be greater than sufficient for informal photographers. Right here’s portrait mode at work, too:
Henry Burrell / Foundry
However in case you are after the very best digital camera cellphone, this ain’t it, particularly if you need an optical telephoto lens, because the Z Flip 4 doesn’t have one. Zoom is digitally cropped from the primary lens and you’ll punch in at 2x, 4x, and 10x utilizing the UI. 10x seems shoddy however photographs are surprisingly good at 4x:
A 10Mp front-facing digital camera cut-out on the primary display screen is strong and does properly with selfies so long as you’ve turned off Samsung’s beautifying modes (you don’t want ‘em, hun):
I charged the phone from dead to only 22% in 15 minutes and 40% in 30 minutes, despite the small capacity. The OnePlus 11 can fully charge in 26 minutes. If you value fast charging, the Z Flip 5 is not for you.
I found battery life to be fine, just about lasting a day when using the phone a lot. In PC Mark’s battery test, the phone lasted 11 hours and five minutes.
Given the small size of the device, there’s only a 3,700mAh cell but the Razr 40 (regular model) fits in a 4,200mAh cell. This is no two-day phone by any means, and I saw the phone lose more than 10% overnight while doing nothing. Keeping the always-on function on the outer screen activated may have something to do with this.
Once, the phone got to 19% with just two hours and 11 minutes of screen on time. That is bad, but it was usually better than this. You may have to charge before the end of the day if you are a heavy phone user.
If you have juice though you can reverse charge compatible accessories such as earbuds, or charge the phone itself on a Qi charging pad.
Out of the box, you can only run a select number of full apps on the outside screen, but there’s a way to run any you like. It’s the most insanely hidden software feature – Samsung clearly doesn’t want you to turn it on because it’s a bad experience, so I’m not sure why you are able to turn it on.
You download Samsung app Good Lock through the Galaxy Store, then download a feature called MultiStar (obviously!). Then you tap MultiStar and tap, I kid you not, ‘I ♡ Galaxy Foldable’ and then enable the Launcher Widget. From there you can select all the apps you’d like to run on the outer display. You then must add the Good Lock widget to the outer display. How user friendly!
They work well enough, but Samsung is clearly trying to control which apps are used on it by most people. Why not let all apps on there like on the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra?
On the main screen, One UI 5.1.1 does a great job of looking and behaving like you’d expect from a normal Samsung smartphone. It’s very customisable and does take a little tinkering to be happy with it in my experience, but I am no One UI hater. I could easily use it every day and prefer it to the Android skins used by Xiaomi, Vivo, and OnePlus.
Samsung’s ‘flex mode’ works with a few apps such as the camera and YouTube, where folding the phone halfway can act like a tripod to use hands-free. It’s great for video calls and works with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger as well as Google calling apps.
There’s also a feature you can switch on called ‘flex mode panel’ that keeps any app open on the top half of the screen and turns the bottom half into a touchpad, turning the phone into a tiny laptop with mouse control. It’s cute, and might work as an accessibility option for some.
Samsung still has the best software support of any Android manufacturer, offering four years of Android updates and five years of security patches for the Z Flip 5, so you’re good until 2027 and 2028 respectively.
With all the power the phone has, I’m not sure why Samsung doesn’t add its desktop mode DeX to the Z Flip 5. The Z Fold 5 runs it, as do the S23 phones. Plugging in the phone to a monitor to run apps in a Windows-style desktop mode is very handy, if niche, and the hardware here could certainly cope with it.
Price & availability
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 costs from $999.99/£1,049 for a model with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage.
An 8GB/512GB model costs $1,119.99/£1,149.
If you pre-order the phone from Samsung directly, you can get the 512GB version for the price of the 256GB. This offer is on until the official on sale date of 11 August.
It’s a pricey phone, but if you want a flip foldable the only other options in the US is the identically priced $999/£1,049 Motorola Razr 40 Ultra, while the UK also has that and the £849 Oppo Find N2 Flip. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 5 is a hefty $1,799.99/£1,749.
Non-folding phones such as the $599/£599 Google Pixel 7 represent much better value, with superior cameras, display, and battery life.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is a great choice if you want a modern folding flip phone. It has a very premium design, clever software features, battery that should last you a day, and is truly compact when folded shut.
Its outer screen might charm you, and it is good for checking time, notifications, and key information without unfolding the device. But I found myself annoyed at its limitations while trying to be useful, and it feels redundant to run full apps on it when you can just unfold the phone and use the superior internal screen.
The fact Samsung tries to limit which apps you can use on the small display shows you the company doesn’t really want you to.
It makes the Z Flip 5 feel like a bit of a ‘where next?’ kind of phone. It’s very similar to the Z Flip 4, and for the price I recommend getting a regular smartphone that will have a better screen, camera, and battery life, such as the Google Pixel 7, iPhone 14, or any of the Galaxy S23 series.
Android 13 with One UI 5.1.1
6.7in Full HD+ 120Hz (2640×1080) foldable 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED 2X with HDR10+ support
3.4in Super AMOLED (260×512) 60Hz cover screen
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset
256/512GB internal storage
12Mp, f/1.8, OIS rear camera + 12Mp ultra wide, f/2.2