scorecardSamsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review: A folding phone for all
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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review: A folding phone for all

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review: A folding phone for all
Tech13 min read
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 starts at ₹89,999
  • The smartphone features a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED 2X foldable display
  • It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 5G SOC
Samsung last month launched the latest versions of their foldable devices. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5. The Z Fold 5 is an uber premium device with a hefty price tag starting at ₹1,54,999 making it unaffordable for mass consumers. On the other hand, Z Flip 5 executes the same foldable technology in a different form factor at a relatively low price. Making it a viable option for customers wanting to try their hand at a foldable device. Samsung has also refined the outer display

Another important aspect is that we get the same processor on both devices, promising a flagship performance.

So can this be your first foldable device? And is it really fun to use one as a daily driver? I answer these questions in my in-depth review.

Price & Availability

8GB RAM + 128GB Storage₹89,999
8GB RAM + 256GB Storage₹95,999

You can buy the Z Flip 5 from Samsung’s website, Amazon and Samsung retail stores.

Design
Z Flip 5 employs an improved hinge.
Z Flip 5 employs an improved hinge.

After my previous experience with a Z Flip smartphone, I've had the chance to explore several foldable devices, including the Moto Razr, Oppo Find N2 Flip, and even the Tecno Phantom V Fold. Among these, the Razr and Find N2 Flip share the clamshell form factor with the Z Flip 5. It's safe to say that the Z Flip 5 surpasses both of them in refinement, partly due to Samsung's ongoing commitment to improving the device over its third iteration.

Regardless of its pros and cons, it's impossible not to be impressed by the engineering behind the Z Flip 5, especially as it represents the third iteration of this design. When unfolded, the device is impressively slim at 6.9mm and lightweight at 187 grams. Unlike the Z Flip 4, which initially felt delicate but gained confidence over time, the Z Flip 5 instils confidence from the start.

Samsung has made the edges flatter on the Z Flip 5, resulting in a more ergonomic grip, making it easier to hold securely.

The graphite colour variant of the device exudes a premium and chic appearance. However, it is prone to slight fingerprints and smudges, so it's worth noting if you plan to purchase this colour option.

The improved hinge also aids in utility.
The improved hinge also aids in utility.

Let's address the hinge—the Z Flip 5 boasts significant improvements over the previous model. It now offers a smoother flipping experience and doesn't require an unnatural amount of force to close. It's robust, ensuring the device stays securely closed when you want it to. However, it still requires the use of both hands, especially when opening it.

The Z Flip 5 closes even more securely than its predecessor, effectively addressing the issue of dust accumulation.

The device carries an IPX8 water-resistant rating, capable of surviving in 1.5-meter deep water for 30 minutes. This is a noteworthy feat considering its foldable design and intricate components. Additionally, the device's back is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2, an upgrade from previous models.

Despite its advanced features, the Z Flip 5 remains highly portable. When folded, it measures no more than 3 inches in size, making it incredibly easy to carry around. However, its small size means you need to be cautious not to misplace it, especially if you use public transportation regularly. Using jeans with tighter pockets is a practical solution.

The power button and volume rockers are located on the top right when unfolded. While these buttons are tactile and responsive, their placement may not be ideal for all users. Accessing the volume rockers may require unnatural hand stretches, often necessitating the use of both hands. The power button also doubles as a snappy fingerprint scanner and grants quick access to the top-down menu, acknowledging the challenges of one-handed use.

The SIM card tray, capable of holding a single nano SIM, is positioned on the top left. The Z Flip 5 also supports e-SIM, allowing you to use two numbers simultaneously.

Display
The bigger outer display has added features which add to the experience.
The bigger outer display has added features which add to the experience.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 boasts a dual-display setup, with notable changes to the outer display while maintaining the inner display's familiarity.

The outer screen now measures 3.4 inches and employs a Super AMOLED panel with a resolution of 729x748 pixels. This upgrade distinguishes the device from standard smartphones, and I'd like to start by sharing my experience with this screen.

I was eager to explore the improved outer display's capabilities since it now offers more than just widget management. While customization remains its strongest feature, the addition of widgets like maps proves to be quite practical.

Similar to the previous year, I configured emails, reminders, notifications, and a calendar on the outer display, keeping it in always-on mode. This setup has saved me valuable time by eliminating the need to open and unlock the device. Additionally, Samsung provides a wide range of wallpapers and themes for this display, accessible without unfolding the phone. I prefer the default theme for its subtlety.

The outer display is impressively bright, ensuring usability even in direct sunlight. I found it easy to read texts while using the device outdoors.

One enjoyable way to utilise this display is for taking selfies and recording videos. A double-tap on the power button, while the device is folded, grants access to the primary cameras. You can capture photos, videos, and portraits without opening the phone, which is a noteworthy feature for vloggers and content creators. I'll delve further into the camera experience later in this review.

Although somewhat limited, you can now respond to notifications from the outer display. Samsung provides a list of prompts for replying to texts, including an option for audio dictation.

While the Z Flip 5’s outer display is impressive, I certainly feel MotoRazr 40 Ultra’s outer display is slightly better. With access to more apps like Youtube the display definitely provides more chops to the user.

The primary display does have a noticeable curve in it.
The primary display does have a noticeable curve in it.

The primary display is a 6.7-inch foldable Dynamic AMOLED 2X screen with a resolution of 1080x2640 pixels, boasting flagship-tier specifications. It achieves a peak brightness of 1750 nits.

The crease on the display is less visible than before but still perceptible. It takes some time to get accustomed to. As you scroll, your thumb will encounter the crease, initially feeling somewhat unnatural. However, after using several foldable devices, I've grown accustomed to it.

The display has a slightly plastic-like feel, which is unsurprising given the need for flexibility in a foldable screen. Nevertheless, these characteristics become less bothersome as the display performs exceptionally well, with the crease hardly visible at higher brightness levels.

The 6.7-inch screen offers stunning visuals with remarkable detail retention and colour accuracy, a hallmark of Samsung displays.

Watching content on this screen is a delight, especially with support for HDR10+ and compatibility with mainstream OTT apps. Streaming shows in the highest quality is a pleasure, with deep blacks and impeccable HDR rendering. The crease becomes nearly imperceptible, especially in brighter frames.

The peak brightness of 1750 nits proves advantageous for outdoor use, as it significantly surpasses last year's 1200 nits.

The display features an adaptive refresh rate that seamlessly transitions between 1 - 120Hz based on the displayed content. Theexecution is impressive, with smooth transitions even between web browsing and gaming, free of frame drops.

Gaming on the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is enjoyable, thanks to the responsive screen, which enables quick character and weapon switching.

However, single-handed use of the display can be challenging, even for users with larger hands. Basic tasks like accessing a drop-down menu or answering calls when prompts appear at the top may require two hands. Fortunately, Samsung offers a single-handed mode to mitigate this issue, particularly for users with smaller hands.

Complementing the display is a dual-speaker setup that delivers unexpectedly loud audio output. While not overly bass-heavy, the audio maintains commendable clarity, outperforming the regular Samsung Galaxy S23 in terms of volume.

To make it a viable foldable device, Samsung had to make the right choices with the software as well. And they have succeeded to a large extent.

Software
The Galaxy Z Flip 5 comes preloaded with Android 13 and Samsung's One UI skin, adhering to the expectations of a flagship device. It's worth noting that there isn't an excessive amount of bloatware onboard, with the exception of Samsung's proprietary apps, Netflix, Spotify, and Facebook.

At a superficial level, the One UI retains its classic features. Users will find the familiar application layout, similar icon designs, and customizable themes. As is customary with One UI, there are ample customization options available. Instead of reiterating the standard offerings found on all Samsung devices, I'd like to delve into how One UI functions, particularly in the context of this device.

Considering the foldable nature of the display, One UI dynamically adapts to the application you're using. This functionality is consistent across various applications and is most effective with Google Apps or native apps. When you fold the device into clamshell mode, a prompt appears, inviting you to use the flex mode panel on compatible applications. Tapping this option transforms the lower half of the display into a mini-computer. Here, you can adjust screen brightness, capture screenshots, and even utilise the entire bottom half as a touchpad, complete with an on-screen cursor. I made an effort to find practical uses for flex mode but found that the limited screen size of the upper half hampers its usability, bordering on gimmicky.


Where flex mode proves beneficial is when using the camera, such as during a Google Meet call. You can place the Z Flip 5 on a desk, making it effortless to participate in a virtual session.

Likewise, you can open the camera app, record videos, or capture photos without requiring a tripod or stabiliser. Simply position the device to suit your frame, using the hinge to adjust the angle. You can also use the outer display as a secondary viewfinder to compose your shot. The ease of capturing your own photos is remarkably intuitive—fold and place the phone on a flat surface, fine-tune the angle using the hinge, preview your shot on the secondary display, and utilise a hand gesture to snap a photo.

While the Galaxy Z Flip 5 excels in handling more complex features, it falls short in providing basic conveniences. Notably, the device lacks the ability to unlock in a single step. To access the device, you must first unfold it and then tap the fingerprint sensor. To bypass this, I resorted to setting up facial recognition, which works well but struggles when you're wearing a mask. It would be ideal if the device could unlock immediately when the power button is pressed while folded.

Overall, Samsung's efforts to make the user experience on the Z Flip 5 more user-friendly yield fairly positive results. First-time users should find it easy to adapt to the setup.

Performance
The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is equipped with the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC (System on Chip). Many potential buyers may have concerns about the performance of foldable devices, but their reservations are unfounded. Having experienced exceptional performance on the Z Flip 4 last year, I can confidently say that the Flip 5 surpasses it.

The Qualcomm SoC seamlessly integrates with the device, delivering lightning-fast performance. Surprisingly, the Z Flip 5 excels in gaming as well.

I chose to test the device with Call of Duty Mobile, engaging in intense team deathmatch sessions that extended up to one and half hours. Remarkably, the performance remained stable even with very high graphic settings and maximum frame rates. Minimal heating was noticeable, primarily after the 55-minute mark. The device's heat management is commendable, considering its compact chassis and overall design. The performance was similarly impressive with Genshin Impact.

Compared to the Moto Razr 40 Ultra, the Z Flip 5 exhibited superior gaming performance.

To validate this experience, I conducted a Geekbench CPU benchmark test on the Z Flip 5. The results revealed a single-core score of 2030 and a multi-core score of 5213, underscoring the device's robust computing power.

While these tests assess heavy workloads, the Z Flip 5 effortlessly handles everyday tasks such as web browsing, casual social media scrolling, and email. The 8GB of onboard RAM efficiently manages both resource-intensive and lighter applications. I've encountered situations where I didn't close eight apps for up to two days, including Call of Duty Mobile, yet I could seamlessly resume using the device whenever I wanted.

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 offers the RAM Plus feature, which enhances performance for resource-intensive tasks by expanding the RAM by up to 8GB.

The device features a 3700mAh battery, which, while similar to last year's model, benefits from the improved processor in terms of screen-on time. On a heavy usage day, including one hour of gaming, one hour of video streaming, and regular social media usage, the Z Flip 5 delivered an average screen-on time of 4 hours and 10 minutes. On lighter days, this can extend to up to 5 and a half hours.

For perspective, if you use the device daily for office work, you may need to charge it in the evening. Heavy users might find it necessary to recharge during the day as well.

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 supports 25W fast charging, although it doesn't include an adapter in the box. Using a 33W adapter, it took me 1 hour and 20 minutes to charge from 0 to 100%. While this is relatively slower compared to the likes of OnePlus 11 Pro with its SuperVOOC charging, it's still reasonable.

The device also offers wireless charging as an option, but I primarily relied on the traditional cable for charging.

Camera
The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is equipped with a dual-camera setup, comprising a 12MP primary camera and a 12MP ultra-wide sensor. The camera system offers decent performance, which is quite similar to last year's model.

HDR performance from the primary camera is exceptional.
HDR performance from the primary camera is exceptional.

The Z Flip 5's primary camera features larger pixels compared to its predecessor, resulting in improved low-light performance. Images captured in natural light are bright, occasionally appearing slightly oversaturated. Nevertheless, the device excels in retaining fine details. While capturing shots of the sky, there may be some overexposure, but overall image quality remains satisfactory. The HDR processing also yields pleasing results.

The primary camera can be used to click selfies.
The primary camera can be used to click selfies.

Indoor shots taken with the Galaxy Z Flip 5 are surprisingly well-rendered. While blues might occasionally stand out, the overall image quality is solid, featuring sharpness and detailing.

The device offers an effective bokeh effect with accurate edge detection. Additionally, the gallery provides editing options for altering the bokeh style around the subject.

The ultra-wide camera maintains consistent colour tones with the primary camera while preserving details. The colours may appear warmer, but the final output is commendable.
Shot on 2X, 4X,6X and 10X zoom.
Shot on 2X, 4X,6X and 10X zoom.
Low-light photography on the Z Flip 5 displays potential. The frames become significantly brighter, though they may occasionally lose focus on the subject. Samsung's image saturation in low-light conditions proves useful by accentuating colours in the frame.

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is capable of recording 5K videos at both 30 and 60 fps, making it suitable for producing professional-quality content. The phase detection autofocus ensures extended focus on subjects, even during prolonged recording. I've personally used the device to capture footage for my social media reels, and the results were stellar.

The camera app offers several additional features, including food mode, panorama, and hyper-lapse. There's also a portrait video mode that works well for vertical shooting.

In contrast to the primary camera setup, the 10MP selfie camera on the Z Flip 5 is the weakest link. Selfie images often appear undersaturated, with occasional colour inaccuracies, high exposure, and underwhelming HDR performance. Portrait selfies, while benefiting from precise edge detection, suffer from similar limitations observed in regular selfies.

To overcome these limitations, I found it more convenient and effective to rely on the outer display for capturing selfies since it utilises the primary camera. This approach not only offers convenience but also delivers superior results.

Verdict
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 brings necessary changes to the Z Flip family. While the new outer display is a prominent addition to the mix, there can be some more software advances that it deserves.

That being said, I still believe that if you want a safe and reliable foldable, Galaxy Z Flip should be your primary option. Yes, the price this year has been increased, but the premium you pay is worthy of the same.

If you want a book style foldable in the same price range, and can live with the minimal OS capabilities then I suggest checking out the Tecno Phantom V Fold.


the battery and camera department but in the overall scheme of things, you can adjust with them. I can recommend the Galaxy Z Flip 5 to not only the people who want to buy a foldable but also the ones with the budget to buy a flagship device. It’s no more just a toy to fidget, it’s a complete smartphone that can do everything a flagship smartphone does.

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