I love this year’s Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5. Ever since they were first released, the idea of having a large phone that can fold down and take up minimal space in my pocket was intriguing. While I generally enjoy the idea of having a smaller-sized phone for the same reason of space-saving, being able to have a larger screen for media consumption and potentially less eye strain is never a bad thing, either.
This year’s Samsung Z Flip5 continues to build on the idea and improves on last year’s model in a handful of ways I had been hoping Samsung would do for the past few years. As someone who has used each generation of Z Flip since they introduced their first 5G model, it has been fascinating to see how each year improves upon the last one.
Design & Specs
Looking around the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5, the first notable change this year would have to be the significantly larger outer display. Now sized at 3.4” over the smaller 1.9” of the last two years, you can now do many more tasks without ever having to open the phone up. More on that later. Additionally, for the first time, the Z Flip can now close without a noticeable gap near the hinge. This dramatically decreases the chance of the inner screen getting damaged from pocket lint and makes the phone feel much thinner when folded in your hand or pocket. While it may only be a difference of 2mm, I was able to notice it quickly.
Internally, not much has changed on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5: same battery size, same 8GB of RAM and similar storage options. However, Samsung has ditched the old base model with 128GB of storage and has doubled it to 256GB, similar to that of early models of the Z Flip.
For those who want the top model, Samsung has also given the option of a 512GB model, such as the unit I am using. That storage has also been upgraded to UFS 4.0 and USB 3.2, making transfer speeds faster than any phone I’ve used. This year, Samsung has also updated the processor to the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, finally making the Z Flip series a contender to other current model flagship phones.
The internal screen of the Z Flip5 remains the same 6.7” AMOLED screen of previous models and annoyingly still has the crease in the middle. While that crease disappears when using the phone, it is still slightly noticeable when moving your fingers or thumbs over it.
While I don’t find it to be a deal breaker when it comes to picking a foldable, the fact other manufacturers have found ways to minimize or remove the crease from their phones makes it a little bothersome that Samsung hasn’t done the same, especially being on the 5th generation of Z Flip now. That screen is still susceptible to fingernail imprints if dug into the screen or other hard objects like keys or coins.
Cameras are another aspect that Samsung has continued improving with each Z Flip generation. While this year’s gen still has the same set of cameras from the previous model, Samsung has found a way to improve upon the image processing and, therefore, improved image quality.
While I can’t say the images were quite as nice as a current-gen Google Pixel or Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, pictures were still very pleasing and what I would call acceptable for the phone’s price range. While Samsung photos are often more saturated vs. true to life, pictures have plenty of sharpness and detail in them without looking overexposed.
In lower-lit photos, such as in a dark room, I was blown away by the amount of light and quality the Z Flip5 was able to capture in a picture. This is also where the ability to fold the phone to a desired angle to act as a tripod helped produce incredibly stable photos or great timelapse shots. This is an area I am very happy to see more phones in different price brackets improving. After all, any phone can take a great photo in well-lit conditions; a great phone does it when conditions aren’t optimal.
“Almost every aspect of the new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 has been improved or refined somehow.”
The 123-degree wide-angle lens is another great aspect of the Z Flip5’s camera setup. I was amazed by how much I was able to capture into one picture. The colours were still as vibrant and saturated, and everything in the photos remained as detailed and sharp. This was something I found myself using often to capture great landscape scenery photos.
While the selfie camera is nothing to write home about, Samsung has given the option to use the cover screen as both a viewfinder and a way for those taking photos of other people to preview how their pic will look before taking it. This can also allow for incredible selfies when using the rear cameras. There is also the option of wide-angle selfie pics, not quite as wide as the rear camera, but still helps get more friends or family in photos when the time calls for it.
About the cover screen, is it really as hyped up as everyone else makes it out to be? Well, it turns out it is indeed! While it may not be quite as versatile as offerings such as Motorola that, out of the box, let you run any app you want, still has a lot more functionality than ever before. With a little work, the Z Flip5 can technically do the same, but the process is not as seamless.
Being able to quickly scan through my incoming notifications to see what requires my attention and what doesn’t was very helpful, especially in places where being on your phone is more frowned upon. While more of a gimmick than anything, you can also play games or even Netflix and YouTube if your heart desires, though I don’t know why you would want to. Being able to type out a text or message or get full weather reports at a glance without having to get distracted by other phone operations has been incredibly helpful and keeps me more concentrated on my tasks at hand.
Samsung may have kept the same size battery of 3700mAh as last year’s Z Flip4, but it sure had some surprises in store this time. Samsung must’ve worked some magic on the optimization this year. After the phone learned my usage, a few days after the initial startup, I was consistently able to get a full day out of a charge.
On average, during the work week, I could unplug my phone first thing in the morning and regularly not needing a charge until bedtime late at night (18+ hours later). I could generally get 4-5 hours of screen on time doing a mix of social media browsing, messaging over a variety of platforms, gaming and even some YouTube watching. My best day so far lasted the same, while achieving over 6 hours of screen on time doing essentially the same load of tasks.
Almost every aspect of the new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 has been improved or refined somehow. This year is certainly worthy of being a daily phone for most people as long as they aren’t overly rough on their devices or want something different from what most people carry. I do wish Samsung had found a way to eliminate the screen crease. I was thrilled with this year’s Z Flip5, and this is well worth the upgrade from any previous year’s Z Flip.