As seen in the numerous rumours and leaks leading up to Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event, there aren’t many changes to this year’s Galaxy Z Fold 5 when compared to last year’s Galaxy Z Fold 4. The new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is easily overshadowed by the smaller and more accessible foldable, the Galaxy Z Flip 5, which has received more notable upgrades. This year’s Galaxy Z Fold 5, focuses on the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC, and a new hinge design meant to reduce the sharp crease that’s visible on the outgoing Fold and Flip models. I got to spend about an hour with Samsung’s latest productivity powerhouse and here are my first impressions.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 brings many such refinements, which includes bringing down the weight of the device from the current 263g, to 253g. When folded, the new device is now slimmer by 2.4mm. This is possible thanks to the new hinge design. Samsung claims that apart from making the inner display’s fold look less prominent, the hinge is also more durable to shocks when dropped. The new device is also IPX8 rated like the previous model.
Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5, the two halves of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 do not sit flat against one another when folded. There’s still a wedge-shaped gap between the two halves, although it is not as evident or prominent as on the Galaxy Z Fold 4. The reduced gap means that its overall thickness when folded is also less, making the Galaxy Z Fold 5 feel slimmer to hold and not as chunky as the previous model.
During my brief hands-on time with the device, I found the hinge to have the same resistance as the Galaxy Z Fold 4 model. It’s still stiff enough to be held at an angle of your choosing and for use with the various Flex-mode related software features.
The rest of its design from the bezels around the 6.2-inch HD+ Dynamic AMOLED cover display, to the inner 7.6-inch QXGA Dynamic AMOLED flexible panel appear very similar to the previous model. Both displays seem identical to the previous model, but the main display has a higher peak brightness of up to 1,750 nits, which is about 30 percent brighter than the previous generation. This should make outdoor viewing on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 a lot better than the previous model.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy, which is a slightly customised version of the standard processor. Just like with the Galaxy S23 series, Samsung claims that the new chipset brings several noticeable improvements to the phone’s performance, image quality and battery life.
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is available in three storage variants, all of which come with 12GB of RAM. There’s a base model with 256GB of storage, one with 512 GB of storage, and a top-end model with 1TB of storage. Samsung says it has also included a bigger vapour cooling chamber which it claims will help provide sustained performance when playing demanding 3D games.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 runs Samsung’s One UI 5.1.1 with Android 13, and comes with some added features and improvements. It can now also open apps in floating windows that should help with multitasking. One can now use two fingers to copy and paste data between apps, by holding one finger on the item (in the Gallery app) and using the other to access the second app. Samsung now also lets users access up to four recent apps in its taskbar, located at the bottom of the main display.
Like the Galaxy Z Flip 5, the camera hardware on the Galaxy Z Fold 5 also remains similar to its predecessor. There’s a 50-megapixel primary camera, 10-megapixel telephoto camera with 3X optical zoom, and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera. Selfies are handled by two cameras — a 10-megapixel camera on the cover display and a 4-megapixel camera under the folding display.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is powered by a 4,400mAh battery, which again is the same as before. It can be charged using a cable at 25W, or wirelessly at 15W.
Samsung has also announced a revised S Pen for the Galaxy Fold 5. It’s called the S Pen Fold Edition and it has a slimmer design which is 40 percent slimmer than the one used for the Galaxy S23 Ultra. However, the phone does not have a dedicated silo for it which means it will have to be carried separately or with the optional folio case.
Unlike the smaller Galaxy Z Flip 5, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 5 upgrades can mainly be described as refinements. Whether they add to the phone’s overall value and if it is worthy of an upgrade over the already excellent Galaxy Z Fold 4, is something we know after we have reviewed it.
Disclosure: Samsung sponsored the correspondent’s flights and hotel for the trip to Seoul, South Korea.