Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5 has certainly lived up to its hype, rolling out in the latter half of 2023 as part of their ever-evolving mobile phone lineup. With the Z Flip series standing out as one of the most frequently updated collections, let’s delve into the unboxing experience and see what sets this model apart.
If you’ve never ventured into the world of foldables before, there’s a slight learning curve, but it’s well worth it. From a durability standpoint, this phone is no slouch either. It retains the IPX8 water resistance, ensuring it can survive underwater for up to 30 minutes at 1.5-meter depths. Handling it in extreme weather conditions is a breeze.
Design-wise, the most noteworthy feature is the waterdrop hinge design, allowing the phone to appear seamlessly closed, whether viewed from the top or bottom. This contrasts with the previous model’s wedge-like look, which had a noticeable gap when folded. This change augments the overall feeling of the phone in hand.
The significantly improved flex hinge on this Samsung phone is a game-changer. Unlike its predecessor, the Flip 4, which had a small but bothersome gap where dust and debris could get trapped, this phone folds completely flat—no more nooks for gunk to gather. Beyond its sleek design, the hinge itself feels significantly more durable and resilient.
The movement is impressively smooth, offering resistance across a range of angles. This feature opens up a world of possibilities for camera positioning. In terms of build, the hinge feels much more robust compared to those on other foldable phones I’ve used.
A marvelous cover screen
The new Galaxy Z Flip 5 has a larger cover screen than its predecessor, which means that daily operations can be improved. It’s a 3.4″ Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 720×748, a refresh rate of 60 Hz, and a peak brightness of an impressive 1600 nits. The previous Z Flip’s cover screen size was only 1.9″, which is a significant increase in screen size. I tried using the 3.4″ screen to reply to a message, and while I didn’t get the same input experience as I would on a larger screen, I was still able to enter the message in one go without any problems. Being unfamiliar with this screen size, I made about 20% spelling errors, but these were almost automatically corrected, so as a result, I can at least say that if you want to type on this screen you shouldn’t have too much trouble.
The increase in maximum brightness will undoubtedly guarantee hassle-free use outdoors. Every time I used the Z Flip 5 outdoors, no matter how strong the sunlight was, I was able to simply read on the cover screen very easily, which was a great time saver and eliminated the need to flip the cover to access information.
A top-tier main display on a foldable
Unlike the cover screen, the main screen on the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is not a particularly significant improvement over its predecessor. It’s a dynamic AMOLED screen measuring 6.7″ with an FHD+ resolution of 2640×1080 and an aspect ratio of 22:9 when the screen is unfolded, which makes it ideal for viewing movies. Unsurprisingly, the dynamic refresh rate ranges from 1-120 Hz, and the peak brightness is a whopping 1750 nits, a very significant increase from the 1200 nits of its predecessor. For a screen with FHD+ resolution, such a high peak brightness ensures a premium viewing experience for users.
As for the inevitable folding marks of a foldable phone, the Z Flip 5 performs well compared to other phones on the market. Sure, you’ll feel a slight dip in the centre when you touch the screen with your finger, but I don’t think you should be too hard on it. After all, there’s a very complex hinge structure underneath the screen, and it’s almost impossible to be thin and light and not feel the dent at the same time.
Reputable software support
Since the launch of the Galaxy S22 series last year, Samsung has committed to providing four years of Android OS updates and five years of security updates for all its high-end devices, including tablets. The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is no exception and will receive the same level of support.
Based on this, I anticipate that the Galaxy Z Flip 5 will be updated to Android 15 by the end of 2024, Android 16 by late 2025, and Android 17 before the close of 2026. Additionally, this foldable marvel will benefit from monthly security updates for the first three years, which will then transition to quarterly updates for an additional year. Overall, this extended support ensures that your device will stay up-to-date and secure for years to come.
In my experience with the Galaxy Z Flip 5, I was pleasantly surprised by its hardware capabilities. Samsung has partnered with Qualcomm to create a customized version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, similar to the one found in the Galaxy S23. This tweaked processor offers boosted operating frequencies for enhanced computing power. According to Samsung, this results in a 35% increase in CPU performance, a 40% improvement in power efficiency, and a 25% bump in GPU capabilities compared to its predecessor. The overall performance gain here is nothing short of impressive.
That said, given the slim and lightweight design of the Z Flip 5, its cooling system performs adequately, although it isn’t exceptional. However, it’s worth noting that cooling hasn’t been a hindrance to the phone’s top-notch performance.
While many people will likely buy this phone for its innovative folding design, its hardware shouldn’t be overlooked. The custom Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor ensures that the Z Flip 5 can handle a wide variety of tasks with ease. Essentially, this is a flagship phone in terms of performance, even if its unique form factor is its main selling point.
In terms of camera specifications, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 doesn’t deviate much from its previous iteration. It features a 12-megapixel main lens with a 1/1.76-inch sensor, auto focus, and OIS support, along with a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens. The front camera is a 10-megapixel lens that, like the ultra-wide-angle one, lacks auto focus and optical stabilization. So, in terms of specs, there aren’t many surprises.
However, the camera experience is markedly improved thanks to the latest processor. Navigating the interface is incredibly smooth, and the camera focuses quickly. Shutter processing time is also swift, making for a consistently stable imaging experience. While it may not rival the image quality of flagship models, it remains a reliable option that doesn’t disappoint. One of the standout features is the ability to use the main lens along with the external screen to take photos—something you can’t do on traditional smartphones. On the video front, all three lenses offer 4K recording. The front and main lenses even support up to 4K at 60fps, whereas the ultra-wide-angle lens maxes out at 4K/30fps. Overall, the Galaxy Z Flip 5’s camera is pretty impressive, especially for a foldable device.
Pros and Cons
In my experience with the Galaxy Z Flip 5, I found that while the design may look similar to older models, the notably larger external screen adds a fresh layer of customization and functionality. This enhanced screen eliminates the need to constantly flip open the phone, offering not just added convenience but also extending the lifespan of the hinge. Speaking of the hinge, its new design enables the phone to close more securely, contributing to a thinner, lighter device that’s less prone to dust accumulation and screen stickiness. These updates significantly elevate both the device and the user experience. While Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5 isn’t perfect in every aspect, it’s evident that the company has made thoughtful upgrades focused on improving daily usability, and for that, they deserve commendation.