The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the latest iteration of Samsung’s premium foldable smartphone lineup. As the 5th generation foldable from Samsung, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 builds upon the strong foundation of previous models and makes refinements to create their most polished and advanced folding phone yet.
With a starting price of $1,799, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is positioned by Samsung as a luxury device for early adopters willing to pay a premium for cutting edge design and technology. While foldable phones are still a relatively niche category, the Z Fold 5 makes a compelling case for going foldable if you want a phone that can transform into a mini tablet for work and play.
Highlights of the Galaxy Z Fold 5
- Slimmer and lighter design makes it more comfortable and portable than prior models.
- New gapless hinge allows the phone to fold completely flush for a seamless look.
- Bright, expansive 7.6″ foldable Dynamic AMOLED 2X inner display with minimal crease.
- Flagship power and efficiency from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor.
- Upgraded 50MP wide camera and 10MP telephoto camera enhance photo capabilities.
- Excellent battery life with adaptive 1-120Hz refresh rates to save power.
- Extensive multitasking capabilities to leverage the big screen.
- Further improved durability with Gorilla Glass Victus+ and aluminum frame.
With each new generation, Samsung has continued to refine and improve the core foldable experience. While not a radical change over the Z Fold 4, Samsung has listened to user feedback and introduced upgrades and enhancements across the board. These changes combine to make the Galaxy Z Fold 5 Samsung’s most polished and advanced folding phone yet.
In this comprehensive review, we’ll take an in-depth look at all aspects of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 to see just how well it performs as Samsung’s flagship foldable. Let’s dive in and examine the hardware, software, cameras, battery life, and how it compares to rivals like the Google Pixel Fold.
Design and Display
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 features an improved design that is both slimmer and lighter than previous generations, making it more comfortable to hold and easy to slip into a pocket.
At just 13.4mm thick when folded closed, the Z Fold 5 is impressively svelte for a foldable device. It’s a noticeable 2.4mm thinner than the bulky Z Fold 4. Samsung also managed to shave off weight, with the Z Fold 5 weighing just 253g – 10g less than last year’s model. While still hefty for a smartphone, the reduced thickness and weight make the Z Fold 5 the first model in the lineup that truly feels everyday portable.
Seamless Folding Design
One of the most noticeable design changes is the new seamless folding capabilities. Samsung re-engineered the hinge mechanism, allowing the two halves of the phone to fold completely flush with no gap. This gives the Galaxy Z Fold 5 a much sleeker and more refined look compared to earlier models when folded closed.
Samsung calls the new hinge the Flex Hinge, and it contains multiple interlocking gears. The hinge action is smooth yet stable, reliably holding the inner screen at any viewing angle you set. The Flex Hinge completes the gapless design and allows the Galaxy Z Fold 5 to fold perfectly flat.
Durable, Premium Construction
Despite the moving parts required for its folding capabilities, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 maintains a high level of durable construction:
- Front and back protected by Gorilla Glass Victus+ – Samsung’s most shatter-resistant Gorilla Glass yet
- Armor Aluminum frame – provides strength while keeping weight down
- IPX8 water resistance – can withstand being submerged in 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes
- Hinge rated for 200,000 folds – designed to last for years of regular use
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 feels like a premium, well-engineered device in hand. The exposed aluminum frame has a glossy finish, and the Gorilla Glass exterior resists fingerprints. The construction feels solid with no creaking or flexing. Samsung has come a long way in folding phone durability since the first Galaxy Fold.
Dual Dynamic AMOLED Displays
One of the core appeals of the Galaxy Z Fold series is having both a standard smartphone-sized cover display plus an expansive foldable inner display.
The Z Fold 5’s outer cover display measures 6.2 inches with a resolution of 2316 x 904 pixels. It’s a tall, narrow display optimized for one-handed use. The slim bezels and hole-punch front camera allow for an immersive experience akin to a normal smartphone.
Unfold the Galaxy Z Fold 5, and you’re treated to the stunning inner display spanning 7.6 inches with a resolution of 2176 x 1812 pixels. This Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel provides vivid colors and deep blacks. The crease running down the middle is minimal and easy to ignore while viewing content.
Both the inner and outer screens offer a fast adaptive 120Hz refresh rate, automatically adjusting between 1-120Hz based on what’s on screen to preserve battery life. The inner screen can also hit an impressive 1,750 nits peak brightness for easy outdoor visibility.
In summary, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 sets a new bar for folding phone design. The gapless fold and slimmer chassis result in a much more refined and portable device compared to earlier generations. The dual displays provide both a standard smartphone and a mini tablet experience in one pocketable package.
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 features an array of five cameras – three on the back, two front-facing cameras, and the ability to use the rear cameras for selfies by leveraging the cover screen.
Rear Triple Camera System
On the back of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 you’ll find a triple camera array consisting of:
- Main camera: 50MP wide angle with ƒ/1.8 aperture and optical image stabilization (OIS)
- Ultra-wide camera: 12MP with ƒ/2.2 aperture and 123-degree field of view
- Telephoto camera: 10MP with ƒ/2.4 aperture providing 3X optical zoom
This rear camera system is essentially unchanged from the Galaxy Z Fold 4. However, Samsung has upgraded the lenses with a new coating to reduce lens flaring and glare in images. The company also says it has improved image processing powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip.
In practice, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 cameras deliver very good results but still fall a bit short of Samsung’s best camera phones like the S23 Ultra. Images showcase excellent detail and dynamic range in daytime settings. Colors are punched up with Samsung’s signature vibrant look. The improved 10MP telephoto lens can capture crisp 3x zoom shots.
Low light photos are decent but can show some noise and muddiness compared to the best night modes from Google, Apple, and Samsung’s S23 series. The ultra-wide camera works well for landscapes but exhibits more distortion around the edges than ideal.
Overall, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 provides a capable camera experience for a foldable, but it doesn’t quite measure up to standard slab flagship phones at this price point. The cameras are similar in quality to the previous generation Z Fold 4.
Front Facing and Under Display Cameras
For selfies, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 employs two front-facing cameras:
- Cover camera: 10MP camera with ƒ/2.2 aperture located in the hole-punch cutout on the cover display.
- Under display camera: 4MP camera with ƒ/1.8 aperture located under the inner display.
The 10MP cover camera takes decent selfies and excels at portrait mode shots. Image quality is good in most conditions.
The under display camera or UDC embedded in the main screen is still hampered by its limitations – soft and somewhat unclear images. It works okay for basic video calls, but the low resolution makes it hard to rely on day-to-day. Most users will want to use the cover camera or rear cameras for best quality.
Shooting Modes and Features
Some handy camera modes help you make the most of the Z Fold 5’s unique form factor:
- Flex Mode: Lets you fold the phone at an angle to take shots more easily, with the top half acting as a viewfinder.
- Selfie View: Uses the rear cameras while leveraging the cover screen as a viewfinder. Allows you to take selfies with the higher quality rear lenses.
- Dual Preview: Displays the selfie view on the cover screen while showing the wider shot on the main interior screen. Helps frame group shots.
The camera app is packed with other standard features like panorama, slow motion, timelapse, pro mode, and Single Take, which shoots photos and short video clips. Overall, the shooting modes make the Z Fold 5’s camera a versatile imaging tool.
In conclusion, while not the very best camera phone, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 provides strong triple rear lenses and capable selfie cameras augmented by useful shooting modes tailored to its folding abilities. Imaging power users may want to look at the S23 Ultra instead, but the Galaxy Z Fold 5 cameras will satisfy most users.
Performance, Software, and Battery Life
With a cutting-edge processor and ample RAM, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 delivers exceptional performance for a fluid multitasking experience. The optimized software also enhances productivity on the big screen.
Flagship Processing Power
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, which also powers Samsung’s Galaxy S23 series. Combined with 12GB of RAM, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 provides elite-level processing power in a smartphone.
In benchmarks, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 tops the list with one of the highest scores available on Android phones today. This raw performance translates into buttery smooth operation. Apps open instantly, multi-window multitasking is seamless, and intensive games run at max frame rates without stutters or lags.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is also very efficient. Despite the robust performance, it does not get hot even under heavy loads. Battery life remains strong thanks to the 4nm manufacturing process.
Productivity Focused Software
Samsung’s One UI software layered on top of Android 13 is optimized to take advantage of the foldable screens. Here are some of the standout features tailored specifically for the Galaxy Z Fold 5:
- App Split View – Run up to 3 apps simultaneously on the inner screen.
- Pop-up View – Float apps in windows that overlay your main screens.
- Flex Mode – Adjusts layouts and surfaces controls when folding open at an angle.
- Continuity – Seamlessly transition apps between the cover and inner screens.
- Optimized Interfaces – Many apps adapt layouts for the folded and unfolded states.
Samsung’s foldable-focused software enhancements really help you make the most of the unique form factor. Multitasking flows naturally, allowing you to take full advantage of the expansive display.
All Day Battery Life
Despite the power-hungry folding screen, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 delivers impressively long battery life thanks to its 4,400 mAh battery and efficiencies from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
Most users can easily expect to get through a full day on a single charge. Screen-on time typically lands between 4 to 5 hours based on mixed usage. For lighter use, focusing on the cover screen, the battery can potentially last closer to 2 days.
The phone supports 25W wired charging. A full charge from empty takes around 1 hour and 25 minutes. Wireless and reverse wireless charging capabilities are also built-in.
In summary, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 provides elite smartphone performance fuelled by cutting edge hardware and software designed to enable next-level multitasking. The phone also delivers day-long battery life to keep you powered up on the go.
Comparison to the Google Pixel Fold
The Google Pixel Fold, priced similarly at $1799, is shaping up to be the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5’s biggest competitor. How does Google’s first foldable compare to Samsung’s refined premium offering?
Design and Displays
When it comes to design, Google takes a different approach than Samsung:
- The Pixel Fold is taller in portrait orientation with a 5.9″ cover screen. Samsung’s is wider but shorter.
- Pixel Fold is thinner at folded at 5.7mm vs 13.4mm. But heavier at 263g vs 253g.
- Pixel Fold has a less visible crease but more plastic-like inner screen.
- Samsung’s new gapless Flex Hinge is sleeker than Pixel Fold’s.
The inner screens differ too. Samsung offers more vibrant colors and 220% higher peak brightness for outdoor visibility. Google’s inner display dimensions are slightly more “square”.
Google wins when it comes to camera quality. The Pixel Fold’s camera setup with Pixel processing outperforms the Z Fold 5’s adequate but not mind-blowing triple camera array.
But the Galaxy Z Fold 5 counters with more versatile shooting modes taking advantage of the foldable design. So Samsung may be more fun for casual shooting.
Performance and Software
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 gives Samsung a clear processing power advantage over Google’s Tensor G2. Especially when multitasking, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 feels significantly faster and smoother.
Samsung’s foldable-focused software is also far more robust than Google’s current optimizations. The Z Fold 5 offers better multitasking capabilities.
Samsung manages to eke out longer battery life from its 4400 mAh cell vs. the Pixel Fold’s 45500 mAh battery. The Galaxy Z Fold 5 more easily lasts a full day while Google’s foldable may need a top up.
The Pixel Fold puts up a valiant effort in taking on the veteran Z Fold 5. Google wins on camera quality and design slimness when folded.
But overall, Samsung still comes out ahead with a more polished product. The Galaxy Z Fold 5 offers a more seamless foldable experience, better performance, and longer battery life compared to Google’s 1st gen foldable.
After 5 generations of iterating on the formula, Samsung has produced its most refined and polished foldable phone yet with the Galaxy Z Fold 5. This impressive device makes a compelling case for going foldable if you want cutting edge tech and a phone that transforms into a miniature tablet.
The Z Fold 5’s upgrades may seem minor on paper, but they add up to a noticeably improved experience. The slimmer, lighter, gapless design brings more portability and mainstream appeal. Performance, battery life, and the capable camera system also see slight upgrades over the already great Z Fold 4.
Samsung’s One UI software leverages the foldable screens to enable advanced multitasking. Power users will love the productivity capabilities on the large inner display. The new Flex Hinge also facilitates more comfortable use at various angles.
That said, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 remains an extremely costly device at a $1799 starting price. And the overall formula is still similar to previous editions rather than radically new. So, Galaxy Z Fold 4 owners may not find enough fresh features to warrant upgrading.
But for new foldable buyers or those upgrading from older generations, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 represents the most refined and polished big-screen folding phone you can currently buy. It beats its chief rival, the Google Pixel Fold, on most fronts from performance to battery life.
Samsung deserves credit for taking foldable screens from concept to increasingly mainstream with 5 years of steady refinement. While not perfect, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 comes the closest yet to delivering on the promise of a device that can act as both a premium smartphone and mini tablet in one beautifully engineered package.
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