Over the past few years, Samsung has managed to grab hold of the foldable phone market with a vice-like grip. Lately, it has seen increased competition in the segment. But there’s no doubt that Samsung remains the leader in the segment. Much of it is thanks to its Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Fold series of phones.
Of these, it’s the latter that’s more interesting. It’s the series that represents the pinnacle of foldable phone technology for Samsung, and as things stand, the industry.
The latest in the line-up, the Galaxy Z Fold5, brings everything that you’d expect from a futuristic foldable phone and attempts to make it a phone for the here and now.
We recently got our hands on the device. Here’s what we think after spending a few days with it.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5: Specifications
|Foldable display||7.6-inch QXGA+ 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED 120Hz, 21.6:18 aspect ratio|
|Cover display||6.2-inch HD+ 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 23.1:9 aspect ratio|
|Chipset||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy|
|Storage||256GB / 512GB/1TB (UFS 4.0)|
|OS||Android 13 w/ One UI 5.1.1|
|Primary camera||50MP main wide-angle, f/1.8,85 ̊ FOV|
|Ultra-wide camera||12MP ultra-wide F2.2, 123 ̊ FOV|
|Telephoto camera||10MP telephoto f/2.4, 36 ̊ FOV, 3X optical zoom|
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5: Design
Make no mistake, the Galaxy Z Fold5 is an incremental update over the existing Z Fold4. As such, there’s very little to differentiate the two in terms of design. Yet, there are differences and we’re happy to report they are meaningful.
For example, the phone uses a reimagined hinge. So now when you close the foldable panel, it shuts tight. As such there’s no space between the two sides for dirt and small objects in your pocket to creep in.
While a small change, the impact of it is serious. This is because, after years of creating foldable phones, Samsung finally has a device that does not feel like a work in progress. This hinge mechanism makes the phone slimmer, and rest better on surfaces and inside pockets.
Again, it may not feel like a big deal, but this small change in the hinge mechanism fixes arguably the biggest flaw in the Z Fold series phone’s design to date. But this is not the only change we see in this incremental update to the series.
Samsung has also repositioned the LED flash on the rear. This makes the camera bump smaller — albeit still not as small as we’d have liked. This again is an attempt to fix a big area of concern in the design language of Z Fold phones.
Apart from this, Samsung has kept pretty much everything else similar. And honestly, that’s not a bad thing. The Galaxy Z Fold4 was a premium-looking device, and thanks to the use of a similar design language, the Galaxy Z Fold5 feels the same.
Much like last year’s premium foldable, this one too offers an IPX8 protection rating. And yes, Samsung has again used a high-quality Armor Aluminum frame to give the phone a nice heft. There’s also Gorilla Glass Victus 2 at the front and back for protection.
Another very minute yet important change to note here is that the Galaxy Z Fold5 is now lighter than the previous generation Z Fold device. Plus, it’s also slightly more manageable in size. The thickness of the hinge has also been reduced to 13.4mm rather than 15.8mm for the Z Fold4.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5: Display(s)
Yes, much like the Z Fold4, this one too has two displays. The first is the cover screen, and the second is the foldable panel that sits tucked inside once the phone is closed like a book.
There’s honestly nothing new to report here, as the aspect ratios and the size of the panels remain the same as last year. The cover screen is still a 6.2-inches in size and flaunts an aspect ratio of 23.1:9. Similarly, the folding display is again 7.6 inches in size with an aspect ratio of 21.6:18.
Much like last year, both are AMOLED panels. These panels offer punchy colors and vibrant visuals even under direct sunlight. However, there’s one important upgrade here as well. This main foldable panel is now brighter than last year’s display at 1750 nits.
In our opinion, this is a welcome upgrade as it not only improves the experience of watching HDR content on the device but also makes it better suited to be used under harsh sunlight. The higher brightness also helps hide the crease running through the middle of the phone.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5: Performance and Battery
We did mention above that the new Galaxy Z Fold device is an incremental update. But Samsung breaks this pattern in the performance department. This is because at the heart of the Galaxy Z Fold5 is the custom Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy phones.
Yes, this is the same chipset that sits inside the S23 series phones. It is tuned to provide higher clock speeds for slightly improved performance on Galaxy flagships. On the Galaxy Z Fold5, Samsung is pairing this with 12GB RAM and up to 1TB of storage.
All of this hardware is now married to a 38 percent bigger vapor cooling chamber for more stable and improved performance. In our time with the device, games as well as applications of daily use ran smoothly on the device. There were no discernable lags or stutters, and it’s possibly down to one simple reason: The more energy-efficient chipset paired with a big vapor cooling chamber.
Another area where the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and its partnership with the improved cooling solution help is in the battery department. Yes, the phone indeed houses the same 4400mAh battery pack as the Z Fold device from last year.
However, because of the energy-efficient chip and the phone generally running cool, we got much better battery performance from the Z Fold5 when compared to its predecessor. This is saying something because the Z Fold4 itself did offer good battery performance.
On average, we got over a day’s use and then some more from the phone. This is impressive because our usage patterns included using the phone’s energy-draining foldable for a considerable amount of time.
However, when we did run out of charge, there was one disappointment awaiting us. Much like the Z Fold4, the new Z Fold too only gets 25W fast charging. While it’s not a deal breaker, we would have preferred the phone to at least support Samsung’s 45W fast charging standard.
Fast charging is available on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, so it may have been a good idea to introduce this standard on the Z Fold5 as well. Regardless, the phone does just about enough to leave us happy and satisfied with its battery and general performance.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5: Cameras
There are no upgrades in terms of hardware in the camera department. The hardware remains the same as last year’s flagship foldable from Samsung. However, we do get a slight uptick in color management and processing thanks to the use of more sophisticated photo algorithms and ISP on the chip.
There are three cameras in the main set-up, and along them, we get two selfie lenses — with one of them an under-display lens on the foldable screen. While this may not be anything to get too excited about, it’s honestly not a bad thing either.
The Galaxy Z Fold4 has some exceptionally good cameras on board, and the fact that Samsung has retained them and only improved on their performance through software and ISP is something that shouldn’t be scoffed at.
In general, the Galaxy Z Fold5 is a solid performer in the camera department, capable of clicking some really impressive shots no matter the lighting condition at play. Pictures are vibrant and rich in detail.
Handling portrait shots is again quite impressive with an impressive bokeh effect to make the subject pop out. Low-light photography is also good with the lens capable of capturing plenty of light and detail even in darker scenes.
The ultrawide lens also performs as expected. Both in well-lit and low-light scenarios, the phone’s ultrawide lens does a decent job. Overall, the camera setup on the Z Fold5 does a good job and leaves very little to desire.
But if it’s nitpicking that one wants, then questions can be raised over Samsung’s decision to not include the same 200-megapixel lens that we’ve seen on the S23 Ultra on the Z Fold5. It would have made for a nice addition to the phone and elevated its optical zoom game.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5: Should You Buy It?
Get the Galaxy Z Fold5 if you’re planning on buying your first foldable phone. There’s really no better foldable offering out there that money can buy. It’s an incremental upgrade that improves on an already good foldable phone from last year and is sure to bring a smile to your face.
However, if you’re strapped for cash we’d recommend checking out the Galaxy Z Flip5 instead. While it does not offer an experience like the Z Fold5, it’s available at about half the price of the device. And as such offers terrific value for money.
What We Like
What We Don’t Like
Last updated on 05 September, 2023
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