The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the larger foldable in Samsung’s line up, which also includes the Galaxy Z Flip 5. While the Flip 5 packs a large 6.7-inch display into a compact package that folds in half like a clamshell, the Fold 5 is a standard Upgrades from the Z Fold 4 include are designed hinge, upgraded Go rill a Glass, and a smaller, lighter chassis that folds completely flat, thanks to top-of-the-line specs.
If you’ve been waiting for the Z Fold series to be completely free of glitches, the Z Fold 5 is the phone you’ve been waiting for. It is well worth the high price for power users and has won the Editor’s Choice Award for fold able phones.
Galaxy Z Fold 5: Design
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is very similar to previous Galaxy Z Fold smartphones, at least from the front and back. On the front, there is the same narrow and tall cover screen, while on the back there are three vertically aligned cameras. Also unlike the Z Flip 5, the Z Fold 5 has a matte finish on the back.
However, the most important design upgrade becomes apparent when the Z Fold 5 is viewed from above and below. Whereas previous Z Folds had a gap that was literally transparent when folded, the Z Fold 5 does not; while the two halves of the Fold 5 do not completely touch, the gap is much smaller and will no longer be stressed.
The Z Fold 5 is thinner and weighs less, but you won’t notice those improvements in everyday life. This is especially true of the weight: the Z Fold 5 feels just as heavy as the previous model, and unless you’re wearing jeans with tight pockets, you’re just holding the Fold 5 in your hands. But with the phone unfolded, its weight is not an issue.
For those wondering if Samsung has done anything to address the fold in the center of the display, the answer is no. However, as we noted when we reviewed the older Z Fold, the crease doesn’t really affect the real-world experience that much. First, the folds run vertically in a book-like fold, so there is not much contact with the fingers. Also, unless light reflects off the folds, most of the time the eye does not notice the folds.
Is there room for improvement? Of course there is. However, the gap between the two halves in the folded state has been an imminent concern since the first fold.
Samsung is also working on making its fold able devices dust proof, but has yet to do so this year; the Z Fold 5, like the Z Flip 5, is an IPX8 certified design, so it is only water resistant (rated to with stand up to 30 minutes in 1.5 meters of fresh water). Samsung also continues to rate these devices as being able to be folded 200,000 times under normal use, with the number dropping to just 30,000 times at-20 degrees Celsius.
Galaxy Z Fold 5: Display
With the Galaxy Z Fold 5, Samsung has not made any changes to the display size: a 7.6-inch foldable display and a 6.2-inch cover display are available, the latter being taller and much narrower than the usual smartphone display. Both screens support a120Hz refresh rate and use Dynamic AMOLED 2X panels, operating at custom resolutions of 1812 x 2176 pixels and 904 x 2316 pixels, respectively.
One of the upgrades is a higher peak brightness for the foldable display: the Z Fold 5’s main display has a peak brightness of 1,750nits, compared to1,200 nits for the previous model. While the peak brightness value does not apply to the entire screen, the Z Fold 5’s main display is definitely more visible in bright outdoor environments, which is a welcome improvement.
Overall, however, the viewing experience remains much the same: the Z Fold 5 has a high-quality display inside and out, with all the benefits (such as vivid colors and deep blacks) of the AMOLED panels that have long been a favorite.
The resolution of the foldable screen may be a bit lacking, especially when using the camera app, but other than that there is not much to complain about 7.6 inches of screen real estate makes everything from taking notes, watching videos, browsing the web, multitasking with a variety of apps and playing games.
However, a little caution should be exercised when using a fold able display. This is because the display still only has an ultra-thin layer of glass, which does not offer much protection. Although the display is covered with a protective film, it cannot be used as roughly as anon-fold able phone.
The cover screen is not covered with a protector, but thanks to the Gorilla Glass Victus 2, you can rest assured that it will not be easily scratched. It should also with stand some drops, but that ultimately depends on what height the phone is dropped from, what surface it is dropped onto, and how lucky you are.
Before moving on, I want to point out that I still don’t like the tall and narrow form factor of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold. While I have no problem with the size of the main display, the cover screen makes mere think how I use the phone, especially typing. Then arrow cover screen is great for one-handed use, but some may find typing to be an error-ridden experience.
I am 166cm (5’5″) tall, so my hands are not large by any stretch of the imagination. Even I find the cover screen too small, so it’s not hard to imagine what kind of difficulty someone with taller height and bigger hands must have. Basically, they will have to choose between a cramped typing experience or using both hands with the Galaxy Z Fold. And frankly, in the real world, unless you spend most of your time at home or at work, that means you’re often stuck using a cover screen.
And Samsung’s one-handed mode feature is not the solution. While one- handed mode certainly makes the main display user interface easier to reach, the keyboard tends to feel a little too wide for one-handed typing. I’d like to see the next Fold be a bit wider, but unless Samsung finds a way to make the Galaxy Z Fold device lighter than it is now, it won’t happen.
One last point: Samsung has not changed the implementation of the Under Display Camera (UDC) at all. This is because in the Z Fold 4 and Z Fold 3, the UDC was not notice able unless you stared at the area where it was installed. It is unfortunate that the quality of the photos taken has not been improved, but this will be discussed in more detail in the camera section of the review.
Galaxy Z Fold 5: Performance
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 “for Galaxy” is an excellent chip, making the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+, and Galaxy S23 Ultra the best performing phones Samsung has ever made for Android phones. That performance can also be seen in the Galaxy Z Fold 5.
To get the Z Fold 5 to stutter or lag is a nearly impossible task, even when running three apps on the screen at the same time or running the latest graphics-intensive games. And unlike the Z Flip 5, the Fold 5 remains cool no matter what you throw at it. Whether you take photos in bright sunlight, use map navigation for hours, or run Samsung DeX, the phone never gets too hot.
However, when working with the user interface, the screen refresh rate sometimes seems slower and performance seems to have decreased. However, this may be something that Samsung could fix with a software update, but since the only updates released as of this writing are security improvements, we will have to wait and see.
We also noticed that the camera app sometimes took a little too long to process a photo after pressing the shutter button. At least once I took 5 photos and tried to check them in the gallery and the first photo was still being processed. This does not happen on the Galaxy S23and I don’t recall it happening on the Z Fold 4.
Galaxy Z Fold 5: Cameras
The Z Fold 5 has the same camera hardware as the Z Fold 4. It has a 50-megapixel main camera on the back (12MP photos with pixel binning), a 12MP ultra wide camera, a 3x optical zoom lens, a 10MP front camera on the outside/cover screen, and a 4MP camera under the inside screen.
Main Camera Specifications
- Primary: 50MP sensor, 1.0µm pixel, 23mm equivalent f/1.8lens, dual pixel PDAF, OIS
- Ultra-wide: 12MP sensor, 1.12µm pixel sensor, 12mm equivalent f/2.2lens
- Tele: 10MP sensor,3x optical zoom, F2.4 aperture lens, PDAF, OIS
However, thanks to improved camera algorithms and a new image signal processor (ISP) in the Snapdragon 8Gen2, the Z Fold 5’s photos are of higher quality. Photos from the main camera and ultra wide rear camera are good, with sufficient detail, low noise, and good dynamic range, even outdoors during the day. In darker conditions, the ultra wide camera tends to struggle a bit, but is usually smart enough to automatically turn on night mode, which improves results.
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 with Android 13 and One UI 5.1.1 includes a number of software tricks to take advantage of the foldable form factor. Many of these have already been seen in previous foldable devices, such as apps used on the cover screen that automatically resize when the device is un folded and can continue to be used on the larger display, and up to three apps can be open on the screen simultaneously.
As has been the case with previous fold able devices, the Z Fold 5 supports a flex mode panel. When the phone is folded to any angle between 75 and 115 degrees, the app you are using snaps to the top half of the screen and the bottom half becomes the operating area. The bottom half of the screen can be used for everything from controlling video playback to viewing comments.
In camera apps, you can view a large preview of your last photo in the lower half of the screen and access all camera controls, while keeping the view finder in the upper half. Few apps officially support flex mode, but any app can use the bottom half of the screen as a touch pad if it is manually turned on Some apps, such as Google Chrome and Twitter (now X), have a flex mode panel with a mouse pointer appears, allowing you to control the app just as you would with a real mouse or track pad on a PC.
When the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is updated to Android 14 and One UI 6.0, there will no doubt be some new features added, but most of them will be generic features that apply to all Galaxy devices, not specific to fold able devices. Galaxy Z Fold 5 will probably receive Android 14 in 2024, and the device will receive a total of four major Android OS updates and five years of security updates.
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is another Z Fold that supports S Pen input; the S Pen is not yet included and must be purchased separately. You will also need to purchase the S Pen Fold Edition (which can also use the existing S Pen launched with the Z Fold 3). The S Pen that comes with Samsung’s tablets and non-fold able phones will not work with the folded version, and stylus input is not supported on the cover screen.
However, with the right S Pen, the Galaxy Z Fold line up provides a great big canvas for a great stylus experience, especially for those who like to draw or doodle. The S Pen Fold Edition glides smoothly across the screen, but when the stylus touches it, it is obvious The creases are distracting. Just don’t expect any new features from the S Pen; aside from a feature that works over Bluetooth, it’s all the same as other Samsung devices that support the S Pen.
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 has the same 4,400mAh battery as the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 3, but thanks to a more efficient Snap dragon chip, the battery life is better. With moderate use, the Z Fold 5 can easily last a full day, as long as the main display is not used all day, and can last until the next morning when it needs recharging.
Battery life under somewhat heavy use is also impressive. On an 8-hour late-night drive, I had about 4hours of split-screen Google Maps and YouTube on the cover display with a 5G connection that’s witched to 4G every few minutes. After about10 hours out of the charger, the phone was down to 33% screen-on for 5 hours and 45 minutes.
The Z Fold 5 supports Samsung’s 25 W Super Charging technology, which takes about 30 minutes to charge 50% and 70 to 80 minutes to go from 0 to 100%. And as usual, Samsung is using climate as an excuse not to include a charger in the box, so if you don’t already have a 25W charger, you will have to purchase one separately.
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is Samsung’s best foldable yet; the Galaxy S Ultra smart phone-like zoom camera, wider cover screen, and built-in S Pen slot are a delight; the Z Fold5’s battery life is more than adequate, but a larger battery is also an item on my wish list.
But other than that, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is a great foldable phone, and while owners of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 3can wait another year to see what the Z Fold 6willbe like, the Z Fold 5 is a great phone for those looking to buy their first foldable phone or for those looking to buy an OG Fold. The Z Fold 5 is a solid choice for those looking to buy their first fold able phone or those looking to upgrade from the OG Fold or Galaxy Z Fold 2.