The Galaxy Z Fold 5 brings a thinner, sleeker chassis to the foldable arena with a more powerful processor, but with few other changes.
Thinner, slimmer design
New Flex Hinge cuts down on display crease
Powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip
S Pen is optional
Lacks dust resistance
Fast charge is only 25W
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I love a big phone. That is why I’ve been inevitably drawn towards Samsung’s Z Fold line of smartphones and their screen largess. There’s just something about watching a smallish screen unfurling into what for all intents and purposes is a tablet that just gets me. But yet, due to this being a relatively new category with its fair share of hiccups, I’ve yet to take the plunge.
But that might change with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5. I recently had the opportunity to demo Samsung’s latest foldable. And I have to say, even though this is more of an incremental upgrade, it still makes a strong case. Samsung found a way to slim down the foldable’s proportions, right down to its S Pen. It also has a few new software tweaks to show off including Taskbar and two-handed drag and drop.
But is that enough to coax me into foldable land? I’m not sure yet. But come with me as I lay out the case for the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Row 0 - Cell 1|
|Starting price||$1,799 / £1,749|
|Inner Display||7.6-inch QXGA+ (2176 x 1812) Dynamic AMOLED, 21.6:18 aspect ratio|
|Outer Display||6.2-inch HD+ (2316 x 904) Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 23.1:9 aspect ratio|
|Refresh rate||Up to 120Hz (Inner), 60Hz (Outer)|
|Chipset||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2|
|Rear cameras||50MP main wide-angle, f/1.8,85 ̊ FOV + 12MP ultra-wide F2.2, 123 ̊ FOV + 10MP telephoto f/2.4, 36 ̊ FOV, 3X optical zoom|
|Selfie camera||10MP f/2.2 85 ̊ FOV (outer) 4MP f/1.8 80 ̊ FOV (inner)|
|Size||6.1 x 2.64 x 0.53-inches (folded) and 6.1 x 5.11 x 0.24-inches (unfolded) / 67.1 x 154.9 x 13.4mm (folded) and 129.9 x 154.9 x6.1mm (unfolded)|
|Weight||8.92oz (253 grams)|
|Colors||Icy Blue, Phantom Black, Cream, Gray, Blue|
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 video review
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 pricing and availability
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 will officially be available on August 11. But until then, you can pre-order the foldable right now –– but it’s gonna cost you. Each configuration of the Z Fold 5 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy processor and 12GB of RAM.
The $1,799/£1,749 base model has 256GB of onboard storage, same as last year. The middle model has 512GB. Now if you’re like me and are an absolute content hoarder, never erasing a meme, document, video or picture, you’re going to want the 1TB version which is available exclusively on Samsung.com
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 design
Hmm. The Z Fold 5 looks mighty familiar. Probably because it’s wearing last year’s fashion à la the Z Fold 4 with a few notable moderations. It’s got the same Armor Aluminum frame as its predecessor, along with a rear panel covered in Corning Gorilla Glass Victus and housing for the trio of cameras. The Cover Screen is made from more tough Corning Gorilla Glass Victus.
Connecting the two panels and making the whole foldable thing possible is the new integrated dual-rail Flex Hinge, which reduces that pesky interior display’s crease. And as I think back to my time with the Flex, I can say that the crease was still there, but it wasn’t as prominent as it’s been on other foldables. And speaking of the interior display, you guessed it, more of that durable Gorilla Glass.
The Z Fold 5’s sides are made of Armor Aluminum with the power button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner. Flip the phone over, and you’ll spot the nanoSIM slot on the left, and then the USB-C charging slot along the bottom.
Samsung hasn’t skipped on the colors — offering a variety including Icy Blue, Phantom Black and Cream. And if Cream or the other colors aren’t your cup of tea, you can go to Samsung.com for the exclusive hues of Gray and Blue.
Another key difference between the Z Fold 5 and the Z Fold 4 are the dimensions. The Fold 5 weighs 8.92 ounces and measures 6.1 x 2.64 x 0.53 inches folded and 6.1 x 5.11 x 0.24 inches unfolded, officially making it the lightest and thinnest Fold in the line.
The Z Fold 4 weighs in at a portly 9.2 ounces and has a 6.1 x 2.6 x 0.55-0.62-inch frame when closed that changes to 6.1 x 5.1 x 0.21 inches when opened. The Google Pixel Fold comes in at a hefty 10 ounces, but is surprisingly thin with 5.5 x 3.1 x 0.5 inches when folded and 5.5 x 6.2 x 0.2 inches when splayed open.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 durability
Smartphones are already fragile pieces of tech. Throw in a hinge, improved or otherwise and you’re flirting with disaster. Samsung is hoping to keep the flirtation to a minimum by outfitting the Z Fold 5 with a measure of durability starting with the Armor Aluminum and Gorilla Glass.
The foldable is also rated IPX8, which means the phone can withstand being submerged in up to 1.5 meters of freshwater. That means it can survive a dunk in a toilet and the subsequent panic and disgust that ensues as you decide whether or not to fish your nearly $2,000 phone from the toilet. It cannot, however, be exposed to salt water so take Z Fold 5 for a beach day at your own peril, especially since it’s also not dust resistant.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 display
I have to say, opening a foldable with as pretty a screen as the Z Fold 5 just does it for me. Seeing the pattern unfurl like a graceful Rorschach test is absolutely mesmerizing, especially with the crisp blacks and rich color. And when the spell is cast, I’m left with a stunning 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display.
The Infinity Flex panel has a 2640 x 1080-pixel resolution with a 21.6:18 aspect ratio. And you have the Adaptive Refresh Rate that automatically adjusts the refresh rate between 1-120Hz according to your recent activity. That means if you’re reading a book, the panel will refresh at a lower rate, but if you’re doing something a bit more taxing like playing a game, it’ll ramp up accordingly.
And yes, you can fold the display transforming it into a cute facsimile of a tiny laptop for some splitscreen action, which in some cases can come in handy. But come on, where’s the fun in that?
That bountiful screen is begging me to watch the new Netflix movie “They Cloned Tyrone” on it or catch up on the latest episodes of “Lore Olympus.” And while the screen is definitely pleasing to my naked eye. I’m hoping that Samsung’s usual oversaturated razzle dazzle will grace the Z Fold (I know, I know, but I like my color seared into my eyeballs).
If I have to go by the Fold 4’s benchmarks, I don’t have much to worry about as the foldable reproduced 158.7% of the DCI-P3 color gamut compared to 88.4% on the Pixel Fold. The Fold 5 is also pretty bright averaging 901 nits with Adaptive Brightness enabled. The Pixel Fold's Adaptive Brightness result was much dimmer at 435 nits.
Samsung claims that it’s increased the Z Fold 5’s brightness by 30% up to 1,750 nits, making it ideal to use in direct sunlight. If this turns out to be true in benchmarking, the Fold 5 could be one of the brightest smartphones if not the brightest we’ve ever tested. Stay tuned for the full review to find out.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Cover Screen
And while the interior display is unquestionably lovely, one shouldn’t forget the Cover Screen which has its own unique appeal. When you’re on the go, or just don’t feel like going through the hassle of opening up your device, the Z Fold 5’s Cover Screen has you covered. Although not as large as the main display, the 6.2-inch panel isn’t a slouch, in fact, it can go head-to-head with many smartphones currently on the market.
Like its larger counterpart, the Fold 5’s Cover Screen is also a Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a 120Hz Adaptive Refresh Rate. The only difference is the range that goes from 48-120Hz instead of all the way down to 1Hz. Also, since it’s used when the phone is folded, you’ve a different resolution and aspect ratio (2316 x 904, 23.1:9). The embedded camera and rounded corners mean that you don’t get the full expanse of the screen real estate, but it’s a minor quibble at best. I’ll also point out the Cover Screen is much narrower than the Pixel Fold’s external display.
In practice, the Cover Screen was smooth with crisp detail. I could type with ease, which would definitely come in handy for texting on the fly. And scanning through notifications is a breeze. However, Samsung hasn’t really added any notable updates to enhance the functionality. I don’t know, I was expecting a bit more I guess.
While we don’t have any benchmarks for the Fold 5 yet, its predecessor could provide a small hint as to what we can expect. The Fold 4’s Cover Screen got 146.7% on the DCI-P3 color gamut compared to the Pixel Fold’s 90.1%. We saw an average of 807 nits for the Z Fold 4’s brightness while the Pixel Fold pulled off a surprise win of 1,172 nits.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 S Pen
It seems like a crying shame that Samsung’s treating one of my favorite accessories like an afterthought. One of the main reasons I’m rocking the S23 Ultra is because it proudly keeps one of my favorite parts of the now defunct Galaxy Note series alive –– the S Pen.
Yes, the Fold 5 does support the S Pen, but there’s nowhere on the physical phone to house it like the included silo on the S23. Instead, the S Pen Fold Edition has been relegated to an optional accessory included with a special case dubbed the Slim S Pen Case where it resides along the back ready to be popped out and used.
The good news is that it's slimmer than last year’s S Pen, but doesn’t sacrifice comfort. I know it might be a lot to ask, but I wish Samsung could find a way to create a silo in the foldable form factor, so consumers won’t have to fork out extra dough for a case.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 performance
Samsung equipped the Galaxy Z Fold 5 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy processor. It’s the same chip featured in the Samsung Galaxy S23 which means that when it launches, the Z Fold 5 will be one of the most powerful foldables on the market.
Taking a look at the S23 numbers, barring an upset from the rumored upcoming OnePlus Fold, the Galaxy Z fold is poised to spank most Android smartphones, foldable or not, on the market. The only thing standing in the way of total smartphone domination will be Apple. But let’s look at the numbers shall we?
On Geekbench 5.4, the S23 reached 5,081, thoroughly trouncing the Pixel Fold (1,909, Google Tensor G2 chip) and the Z Fold 4 (3,831, Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 CPU) but iPhone Pro Max 14 with its A16 Bionic chip was the winner with 5,333. When we ran the Adobe Rush Premiere video transcoding test, the S23 completed the task in 39 seconds with the Fold 4 posting 0:45 and the Pixel Fold creeping in at 1:01. The Pro Max, however, edged out the competition at 0:30.
When we ran the Jetstream 2.0 web browser test, the S23 achieved 179.3, crushing the Z Fold 4’s 87 and the Pixel Fold’s 118.3. However, it couldn’t topple the Pro Max 14’s score of 273.7.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 battery life
I’m worried about the Z Fold 5’s battery life. It has the same 4,400mAh battery as last gen’s model, but with that Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, which has proven to focus on power rather than efficiency, we could be in dicey territory.
Still, the Z Fold 4 managed to last 11 hours and 31 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test. While the S23 with its 5,000mAH battery lasted 13:09, so I could be somewhat paranoid. But can you blame me? This thing is almost $2,000!
The Pixel Fold (4,821mAh) tapped out at 10:21 while the Pro Max (4,323mAh) lasted 13:07. Ultimately, we’ll have to wait and see when we get the review unit into the lab.
In a big “womp womp,” I was disappointed to learn that despite the price, the Z Fold 5 is stuck with 25W fast charging when the S23 is cruising along with 45W. A phone this premium needs to have every bell and whistle humanly possible.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 cameras
I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to insert the two Spider-Men pointing at each other meme here, as the cameras on the Z Fold 4 and 5 are identical. Starting with the rear cameras, you have a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera with a f/F2.2 aperture, 1.12μm and 123-degree field of view.
Then there’s the 50MP wide camera (f/1.8,1.0μm, 85-degree FOV) and the 10MP telephoto (f/2.4,1.0μm,36-degree FOV). Since the hardware hasn’t changed, we’re going to have to look to software to bring us some novelty, hopefully. I do appreciate that Samsung’s made snapping a selfie with the camera trio a bit easier when the display is open. All you have to do is press an onscreen button and voila! A gorgeous pic.
The 10MP shooter on the Cover Display is a last-gen hold over with f/2.2, 1.22μm and a 85-degree FOV while the 4MP under display camera brings back the f/1.8, 2.0μm and 80-degree FOV.
While there aren’t any notable hardware updates, I’m really looking forward to the subsequent camera shoot-offs that are in our near future, particularly against the Google Pixel Fold in the low-light challenge.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 software
Ooh, something new! Samsung did manage to bring some freshness to the Z Fold 5 in the form of multitasking capabilities. As in previous generations you have Taskbar which is the keeper of your favorite apps.
But now it can also display double the amount of your recently used apps, bringing the grand total to four. You can still run up to three apps simultaneously, but now you add the second app just by swiping it in from either the bottom or left side of the display.
And since I tend to keep a ridiculous number of apps open at any given time, I really appreciate that I can turn any of them into a floating window for quicker access. I just dragged the chosen app down diagonally from the top right of the display.
The company also tweaked the drag-and-drop functionality. For example, you can now drag an image from the Samsung Gallery with one finger while using another to launch the Samsung Notes app to drop the image. It’s little tweaks like that can make a big difference in quality of life for devices like these.
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 will run Android 13 with Samsung’s One UI 5.1.1 skin. With the Z Fold 4, Samsung promised four years of OS support with five years of security updates. I’m expecting the same setup for the Z Fold 5
Look, I know I’ve been giving Samsung a hard time for the lack of compelling updates and hardware changes. It’s just that the company basically made foldables a thing and in the fifth iteration of the Fold and even the Flip, it seems Samsung is resting on its laurels. That’s not to say the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is a bad phone. It’s not. In fact, it’s a top-tier premium phone with plenty of bells and whistles that will tantalize most of the foldable curious out there.
Thanks to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, it’s poised to be one of the most powerful Android smartphones out there if not the most powerful foldable. The displays hit the 3B’s: big, bold and bright, the multitasking is top notch and I’d definitely like to play with all of the phone’s cameras. And if it can last at least 12 hours, Samsung makes a strong case.
But damn it, I’m still holding on to my lost love, the Galaxy Note. As much as I love big screens (and I cannot lie), the S Pen has a hold on me that I just have been unable to shake. And yes, I know the Slim S Pen Case exists, but the idea of having to pay extra for that functionality doesn’t sit right with me when we’re talking about a $1,799 device. If the Z Fold line is meant to be for productivity, the S Pen needs to be included.
But this is a very early judgment of a smartphone that has yet to be put through its paces. If the numbers are really impressive, I might have to eat my words and make the leap. Until then, stay tuned for the full review.
Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.