As a solo traveler, people look at me like I have five heads when I carry around a selfie stick and a tripod. It's easy to ignore the "Pfft, what a loser" stares, but as someone who enjoys blending in, the clunky gear often attracts curious strangers. I prefer to take in the beautiful sites alone, hence the words solo traveler, but selfie sticks and tripod are people magnets.
Admittedly, its updates are mainly iterative, but the enlarged cover display and enhanced camera software make it the best phone for travelers, particularly those who prefer to trot the globe by themselves.
Flex Mode is elite for solo travel
I reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, and the one thing I gushed about the most is Flex Mode. This posture lets you transform the phone into a chair-like position, allowing you to place it on any surface to take hands-free photos.
Take a look at this picture I took during a trip to San Francisco. With the Galaxy Z Flip 4's Flex Mode. I just placed that bad boy on a surface and I could capture a good chunk of my body without bugging strangers with "Can you take a picture of me?"
Compared to my Galaxy S22 Ultra and the iPhone 14 Plus, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 appeared to capture so much more of myself in selfies. With the Galaxy Z Flip 5's debut, Samsung highlighted some of its best new Flex Mode features:
- Thanks to auto framing, you can set the phone down in Flex Mode and the camera can shift from wide to ultrawide to capture more subjects in the shot.
- You can use your Galaxy Watch to control the Galaxy Z Flip 5's camera remotely while placing it down in Flex Mode. In other words, you can snap photos, record videos, and zoom in — all from your wrist.
Even when I'm traveling with a friend, asking for strangers to take photos of us can be a nuisance. As such, the new autoframing feature appears to be a lifesaver because it can detect when another subject is in the shot. And as a result, it will switch to the ultrawide shooter.
On top of that, controlling my Galaxy Z Flip 5's camera with my Galaxy Watch (without needing to walk up to it, press a button, and step back again) is another feature that will benefit solo travelers.
The cover display gives you easy access to your plane tickets (and more)
The Galaxy Z Flip 5's cover display jumped from a measly 1.9-inch panel to a 3.4-inch display that adds more convenience for solo travelers. Here are some of the cool things you can do on the new-and-improved, 720 x 748-pixel Super AMOLED panel:
- You can select the aspect ratio you want for your pictures directly on the cover display. For example, if you want to take a 1:1 photo for your Instagram feed, but a 9:16 video for TikTok, you can make that happen.
- The enlarged cover display lets you zoom in or out for portraits.
- The cover display features an adaptive brightness feature, so while you're outdoors, the panel should be brighter, but when you're indoors, it'll be dimmer.
- You can use it to quickly access your boarding pass.
I dig that Samsung lets users access camera settings via the new cover display. No need to unfold the phone and waste time — it's all right there in front of you. On top of that, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 appears to let you have all of your documents within reach on the cover display, whether it's a boarding pass, excursion ticket, coupon, ID, or a QR code.
The camera software is a showstopper
Samsung only made minor upgrades to the Galaxy Z Flip 5's triple-camera array (e.g., the selfie camera has a wider aperture for better nightography), but it's the enhanced camera software that caught my eye for solo travel. Thanks to a boost from AI for the rear cameras, Samsung claims that Galaxy Z Flip 5 photos are now less noisier, crisper, and sharper compared to its predecessor.
Bokeh effects are better than ever, too, thanks to the AI Stereo Depth Map feature. Your social media followers will surely gush over your solo travel pictures if you take the Galaxy Z Flip 5 with you as your companion.
I'm not convinced the Galaxy Z Flip 5 will be of great use for homebodies and travel-averse users, but if you're a solo globetrotter, I can't think of a better phone to get than the fifth-generation Galaxy Z Flip phone.
You can ditch the tripods and selfie sticks and use Flex Mode. I prefer to travel light, and unfortunately, all that gear can add unnecessary weight to my shoulders, which is why I appreciate the Galaxy Z Flip 5 in all of its travel-friendly glory. Plus, it's super pocketable and can fit comfortably into your jeans' pocket (something I bet you can't do with whatever phone you currently own).
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Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!