Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 Review | Stands tall among foldables

The phone stands tall in the competition and seems like a competitor to its previous models only. If you missed buying the Z Flip4, then the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5, which starts at ₹99,999, may be a smart choice

August 11, 2023 12:55 pm | Updated 12:58 pm IST

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 Review | Stands tall among foldables

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 Review | Stands tall among foldables | Photo Credit: Haider Ali Khan

Samsung’s newly launched Galaxy Z Flip5 is a class on its own. The device’s large cover screen enhances practicality, and the redesigned hinge allows the Flip5 to fold completely flat instead of creating an edge. But the device also has a few limitations.

Design

The first noticeable update that can be seen is the enhanced cover display, followed by the seamless folding mechanism. The recently dubbed Flex Window display by Samsung measures 3.4 inches diagonally, with one side slightly shorter due to camera placement. This unique folding design sets the Z Flip5 apart.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 Review | Stands tall among foldables

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 Review | Stands tall among foldables | Photo Credit: Haider Ali Khan

While the Z Flip5’s outer screen might not be eye-catchy, it brings a significant boost in terms of practicality compared to its predecessor. The increased screen space proves invaluable for various tasks, from displaying widgets to functioning as a camera viewfinder. This is a substantial improvement over the Z Flip4’s outer screen, which was limited in its capabilities.

The standout feature of the Z Flip5 is undoubtedly its new Flex hinge. Samsung has successfully engineered a flat-folding mechanism, eliminating the wedge-shaped gap that previously existed. This innovation addresses concerns about both aesthetics and potential damage caused by debris entering the hinge area. Moreover, there is now IPX8 water resistance to safeguard the phone.

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The elimination of the wedge design has also led to a slimmer folded profile, a welcome change appreciated. The Z Flip5’s thickness has been reduced by 2mm compared to its predecessor, making it more pocket-friendly. Unfortunately, the improvement in the folding mechanism does not completely resolve the issue of the display crease. Samsung’s Flex Display still retains a noticeable groove in the middle. The crease remains apparent on clamshell-style foldable like the Z Flip5, particularly during scrolling.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 | Photo Credit: Haider Ali Khan

Despite this crease concern, the Z Flip5 offers various use cases through its Flex mode, building upon features seen in previous generations. The flexible hinge enables stable placement at different angles, making it a convenient choice for hands-free photography, especially when framing shots with rear cameras.

In terms of layout, the Galaxy Z Flip5 closely resembles its predecessor, maintaining a similar weight, size, and component arrangement. The USB-C port, primary speaker, and microphones are located at the bottom, while the power button, fingerprint reader, and volume rocker reside on the right side. A SIM slot on the left supports dual SIM connectivity, with one slot for a physical nano-SIM and the option for a second eSIM.

Display

The Galaxy Z Flip5 introduces notable functional improvements, prominently highlighted by its larger external screen compared to the previous 2022 model. This extended outer display occupies a significant portion of the upper half of the Flip, cleverly notched to accommodate the camera. Labelled the Flex Window, this 3.4-inch cover display boasts a resolution of 720x748, slightly compromised by the camera notch, yet maintaining a satisfactory 306 ppi density. While it falls short of the primary panel’s sharpness, its quality is still commendable. The cover display maintains a 60Hz refresh rate but matches the foldable screen in peak brightness, featuring an impressive 1,750-nit value, an upgrade from the prior model’s 1,200 nits. 

On the interior, changes are less conspicuous. The internal display retains its Dynamic AMOLED 2X technology, offering a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz, capable of scaling down to a mere 1Hz. With a 6.7-inch diagonal, a resolution of 2640x1080px in a tall 22:9 aspect ratio, and a pixel density of 425 ppi, the internal screen remains consistent. It continues to support HDR10+ and adheres to the typical colour modes found in most Samsung devices: Vivid for vibrant hues, and Natural for a more authentic representation. The Galaxy Z Flip5 upholds HDR streaming compatibility from platforms like YouTube and Netflix, backed by Widevine L1 certification, enabling FullHD playback for DRM-protected content. Users can opt for two refresh rate modes; Adaptive and Standard; each with nuanced behaviours that provide a choice between a ceiling of up to 120Hz or 60Hz, catering to individual preferences.

OS

The Galaxy Z Flip5 operates on Android 13, layered with Samsung’s latest One UI 5.1.1, tailored for foldable devices. The software experience mirrors that of the Galaxy S-series, complemented by unique Flip features. The interface centres around widgets, with a customisable lock screen stack displaying various cards, including clocks and notifications. The cover screen supports limited full-app functionality, accessible through a toggle in Galaxy Labs, encompassing apps like Google Maps, Netflix, and YouTube. The power button, when double-pressed with the device closed, activates the rear camera, utilising the external screen as a viewfinder. The Flex mode, active when partially unfolded, splits app interfaces for enhanced interaction, particularly useful in the camera app for waist-level photography.

Processor

Under the hood, the Galaxy Z Flip5 boasts the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, a tailored rendition of Qualcomm’s cutting-edge 2023 chipset. The spotlight rests on the Cortex-X3 prime core of the CPU, blazing at 3.36GHz—a notable elevation from the standard variant’s 3.2GHz. Complementing this power surge is the Adreno 740 GPU, a marked improvement over the majority of SD8G2-powered models. Echoing the Galaxy S23 line, the Flip5 employs LPDDR5X RAM for seamless multitasking, with an ample 8GB configuration. Storage alternatives encompass 256GB and 512GB variants. Our review unit came with the 256GB variant. This new Flip 5 series introduces a substantial performance leap, outclassing existing clamshells fueled by previous-generation Snapdragon chips or lesser alternatives.

The difference in the power between the Flip4 and the new Flip5 can be felt easily. The fluid experience takes the user experience to a new level. Won’t say this is one of the top gaming phones, but it is sure that it can handle all the requirements with ease. We played some big games and enjoyed a lag-free experience with no drop in frame rates.

On a lighter note, you need to be aware of heating. During intense hours of usage, the phone does build up some heat, but it is sorted shortly.

Camera

While the Galaxy Z Flip5’s camera hardware remains largely unchanged from its predecessor, it’s important to note that the new model does introduce some noteworthy enhancements to the overall camera experience. One of the standout features is the impact of the larger cover display on photography. Particularly for selfie enthusiasts, this alteration can be labelled as a game-changer. The user interface offers various toggles, with a significant one being the option for shutter actuation. Users can choose between tapping anywhere on the screen or utilising a movable onscreen button for this purpose.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 camera sample

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 camera sample | Photo Credit: Haider Ali Khan

However, it’s worth mentioning that while there are improvements, there’s also a minor drawback in terms of camera operation. The gesture for switching between cameras, present in the Flip4, has been replaced with pinch-to-zoom on the Flip5. The primary camera hardware remains consistent, with a 12MP Samsung S5K2LD sensor behind a 24mm f/1.8 lens. While not cutting edge, the sensor still boasts large 1.8µm pixels and a 1/1.76” optical format. Stabilisation enhances image quality.

The ultrawide camera relies on a Sony IMX258 sensor with 1.12µm pixels, producing 12MP photos from its fixed-focus lens with a 13mm equivalent focal length and f/2.2 aperture. The inner selfie camera is based on a 10MP Samsung S5K3J1 sensor, showcasing a subtle difference from the Flip4—the new phone’s lens features a 23mm equivalent focal length and an f/2.2 aperture.

In terms of performance, the Z Flip5 excels in capturing daylight photos. Details are crisp, textures are accurately rendered, noise is kept to a minimum, and Samsung’s signature colour accuracy ensures vibrant output with consistent white balance. Dynamic range is impressive, showcasing well-developed tonal extremes and high overall contrast. The 2x zoom capabilities also yield commendable results, standing out as some of the best ‘digital’ zoom shots seen from a conventional 12MP sensor.

The ultrawide camera continues to provide solid results, boasting excellent colour reproduction and dynamic range. While the centre exhibits exceptional detail, sharpness slightly diminishes towards the corners. Notably, improvements are noticeable when compared to Flip4, particularly in terms of sharpness.

In low-light conditions, the Z Flip5 performs admirably with its auto Night mode, delivering well-exposed shots featuring vibrant colours and ample detail. The dedicated Night mode further preserves highlights in contrasty scenes. Surprisingly, the ultrawide camera shines in low-light scenarios, extracting impressive detail and exhibiting significantly less noise compared to its predecessor. The Z Flip5 impresses in Portrait mode, excelling in subject detection, colour accuracy, and skin tones.

Galaxy Z Flip5 camera sample

Galaxy Z Flip5 camera sample | Photo Credit: Haider Ali Khan

The phone’s capabilities as a selfie-capturing tool are elevated by the large cover display, allowing for framing photos effectively. While the internal camera primarily serves video calls, the external cameras shine as the main ‘selfie camera’. Users can expect exceptional selfies from the Z Flip5, characterised by excellent detail, vibrant colours, dynamic range, and natural background blur. The Portrait mode, available on the cover screen as well, introduces additional background blur for artistic effect. The ultrawide camera offers an appealing perspective for selfies, though the lack of autofocus limits its flexibility. While the internal camera produces decent images, it lags in detail and skin tone accuracy compared to the superior external camera. Nevertheless, it serves adequately as a secondary selfie option, with the main external camera undoubtedly delivering superior results.

Battery

The Galaxy Z Flip5 retains the same 3,700mAh battery as its predecessor. Our tests revealed that the phone lasts a full day with regular usage, although extended periods of video streaming and gaming will necessitate a recharge. The device supports 25W “fast” charging, taking approximately one and a half hours to reach full capacity from 0 to 100 percent. Wireless charging is also an option, with the added capability of charging other devices. The phone adheres to the Basic Power Profile for power transfer up to 4.4W, as confirmed by its certification listing from the WPC. Additionally, the trend of omitting an adapter from the packaging continues.

Verdict

Innovation, performance, camera and style quotient are on point in Galaxy Z Flip5. A large cover display gets major attention. The phone stands tall in the competition and seems like a competitor to its previous models only. If you missed buying the Z Flip4, then the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5, which starts at ₹99,999, may be a smart choice. 

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