Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review

At first glance, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 may seem like an incremental update from its predecessor, the Galaxy Z Flip 4. Yet, the features Samsung has introduced – the 3.4-inch front screen, the gapless hinge and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chip – push this device to the top of the best foldable list.

But while the Flip 5 is more user-friendly and functional than its competitors, the smartphone market is a very competitive one, and when compared to non-folding devices, there are limitations to the Z Flip 5 that hold it back.

The battery life is average, the camera array is disappointing, and there are still issues with compatibility, like only being able to use certain apps on the front screen. These are all features that the best smartphones you can buy get right.

Yes, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is one of the best foldables on the market, but with a price tag of around $2,000, it’s similarly priced to the iPhone 14 Pro, and it’s a long way off competing with the best phone you can get.

Pros

  • 3.4-inch front display
  • Excellent performance capabilities
  • Sleek design with gapless hinge

Cons

  • Battery is average
  • Can’t put any app on front screen
  • No improvements to camera array

Price

The Z Flip 5 costs $1,879 for a 256GB 8GB RAM model and $2,079 for a 512GB 8GB RAM model. That’s a bit more expensive than the competition.

As a comparison, the OPPO Find N2 Flip costs $1,700 for a 256GB 8GB RAM version, and the Galaxy Z Flip 4 had a release price starting at $1,700.

What’s new?

On paper, Samsung hasn’t introduced many changes with the Flip 5. However, what it has introduced has a big impact on the usability and functionality of the device.

The front screen – Samsung calls it a Flex Window – is 3.5x bigger than its predecessor, changing from a 1.9-inch rectangular display to a 3.4-inch square screen. 

The Flip 5 has a gapless hinge, meaning there’s no gap between each half of the device when folded. And it sports a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset, the same chip that powers the S23 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review

Design

You’ll be familiar with the Z Flip 5 if you’ve seen a vertical-oriented flip phone. Samsung hasn’t changed the formula here; it looks almost identical to other devices in the market. 

You can unfold it into its 165.1 x 71.9 x 6.9mm form or fold it in half vertically to take advantage of its much smaller 85.1 x 71.9 x 15.1mm dimensions. It’s pretty standard stuff.

It boasts Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the screen and has an aluminium frame. Coming in five colours, Mint, Graphite, Lavender, Cream and Blue (only available from the Samsung store), it’s a sleek-looking foldable.

The Flip 5 has a dual-camera array on the back and a gapless hinge. This means there are no gaps between each half of the phone when folded. This is an improvement as dust, and debris could often pose a problem when getting in between foldables that have gaps, like the Flip 3 and 4. 

The Flip 5 boasts an IPX8 resistance rating, which means it will survive water splashes. It can also safely survive being underwater in up to 1.5m for 30 minutes. Crucially, though, an IPX8 rating does not mean its dust proof. This can pose a problem for foldables, so you might think twice before taking it to the beach.

Display

The most noticeable improvement here is the 3.4-inch front display, or as Samsung likes to call it, the Flex Window. The 3.5x larger screen is significantly more user-friendly than the front displays on the Z Flip 4 and OPPO Find N2 Flip. 

Instead of being a screen where you’re limited to checking notifications and interacting with a few widgets, the larger screen allows for more use cases. Compatible with a full keyboard, you can easily reply to messages, watch YouTube, reply to emails, look at Google Maps, and quickly access the camera. And there are several helpful widgets like weather, alarm, phone calls, health and more. All without needing to unfold the device. 

It’s a 720 x 748 60Hz display. It’s not the sharpest or most vibrant screen I’ve used, but it’s more than capable. It’s also compatible with Always-On functionality, so you can quickly look at the time or see if you have any notifications without pressing a button or touching the screen.

The main display is a 6.7-inch FHD+ 2,640 x 1,080, 120Hz AMOLED display. It’s fine.

As with most flip phones, you will notice the crease in the middle. Even with its fifth-generation Flip, the pixels still differ slightly, and the crease is easily noticeable when looking at the phone from an angle. That said, after a long period of use, you’ll forget the crease is even there and won’t notice it when looking directly at the screen.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review

Performance

The Z Flip 5 boasts a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset.

To test the CPU workload processing capabilities, we ran a Geekbench 6 CPU test, and to measure the performance of the processor’s 3D graphic rendering, we ran a 3DMark WildLife Extreme Unlimited test.

We then compared that to the OPPO Find N2 Flip, which has a MediaTek Dimensity 9000+ chip:

Geekbench 5 resultsSingle-coreMulti-core
Samsung Z Flip 520865422
Oppo Find N2 Flip10683227
3DMark Wild Life Extreme UnlimitedScoreFrames
Samsung Z Flip 5365221.87fps
Oppo Find N2 Flip264415.8fps

As you can see, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset is a more powerful chip. Regarding performance, the Z Flip 5 is top of the New Zealand market for a foldable device.

It can easily handle graphically intensive games, high-resolution photography, switching between apps, and other performance-intensive tasks. Even with heavy workloads, I never encountered stuttering or lag when using the Flip 5.

Cameras

The Z Flip 5 boasts a dual camera array. It has a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide lens and a 12MP f/1.8 wide-angle lens. It also has a 10MP selfie camera.

This is the same array as the Z Flip 4, and it’s disappointing that Samsung didn’t introduce many improvements here. It’s a solid camera array that will let you take good-quality photos, but there’s nothing to get excited about. Taking selfies is much easier with the larger Flex Window display. It’s responsive and intuitive, but that’s about it.

To test the quality of the array, we compared it with photos taken by the OPPO Find N2 Flip with its 50MP, f/1.8 wide and an 8MP f/2.2 ultrawide lens.

At 1x zoom we can see the Z Flip 5 oversaturates the image. It’s significantly brighter than the image taken by the Find N2 Flip and it looks too bright.

At 3x zoom there’s very little to differentiate these two images. Again we can see the Z Flip 5 naturally makes the image brighter. A good place to see this is by looking at the reflections of the lights. We can also see the Z Flip 5 is able to pickup more detail. It shows a lot more dust and edges look sharper.

Neither of these camera arrays take good photos at 10x zoom. However, we can see the Z Flip 5 produces sharper edges, but finer details are more blurred. You can see this on the gas canister meters. They look more smudged than the image taken by the N2 Flip

In low light situations we can see the Z Flip 5 does a better job of replacing the orange hue of the outside light with a more natural looking image.

Battery/UI

While the larger front display is much more user-friendly than other flip phones, I would’ve liked more. Not all apps will work on the front screen. You can only put YouTube, Messages and Maps on the front display.

Some workarounds enable you to have any app on the front screen. However, it requires downloading third-party apps, some of which aren’t available on New Zealand’s version of the Google Play Store. It’s a frustrating omission from Samsung as there are many apps I would’ve liked to have been able to use on the front display, Spotify being a big one.

The Z Flip 5 is compatible with Flex Panel and will split apps in half when using the phone in “laptop” form. The bottom half of the device houses controls, while the top half shows the app’s main window. This has to be turned on in advanced settings and works well. However, don’t expect every app to be able to utilise this. Some apps like YouTube and Camera have custom layouts, but others need to support multi-window to benefit from Flex Panel.

The Z Flip 5 boasts a 3,700mAh battery, which isn’t the best. The phone will last just about a day with moderate usage, but you will have to charge it every night. You’ll probably need to carry a charger with you for heavy usage.

It supports 15W wireless charging and a maximum of 25W wired charging. This is a long way off the 44W charging capabilities of the Find N2 Flip. 

You can charge the Z Flip 5 from 0% to 50% in about 30 minutes and 0% to 100% in around 90.

As usual, the phone doesn’t have a charger in the box.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review

Verdict

Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5 is one of the best foldables on the market. The standout here is the large 3.4-inch front display that allows for more usability than other devices in this market. 

Being able to answer messages, read emails, take selfies and watch YouTube without having to unfold the device gives the Z Flip 5 a leg up on the competition. Pair that with brilliant performance capabilities and a user interface that takes advantage of its folding capabilities, and Samsung is on to a winner.

However, the Z Flip 5 still feels iterative rather than innovative. There’s a lot here that feels average. The battery life is okay, the camera array is fine, and the main screen still shows the crease. The biggest issue is that there are still limitations to using the Z Flip 5. Not being able to put any app I want on the front screen is a drawback, and it takes away from my ability to customise the phone to my personal preference.

Being able to answer messages, read emails and look at widgets are all features I expected from the Z Flip 4, and now that I can do all these things with the Z Flip 5, it doesn’t feel groundbreaking.

The Z Flip 5 is one of the best foldables on the market, and if you’re looking for a foldable, this is the best you can buy, however I was hoping for a bit more.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Price
Design
Performance
Display
Battery
Cameras
Patch Bowen
Patch Bowen is an accomplished technology journalist with a solid academic foundation, holding a degree from Auckland University. His expertise spans across a range of tech topics, with a notable focus on product reviews, industry trends, and the impact of technology on society. With his work featured on major New Zealand websites like Stuff.co.nz, thebit.nz, and The Press, Patch has established himself as a credible voice in technology media. His articles are known for their detailed analysis and practical insights, particularly in making complex technological concepts understandable for a broad audience. At ReviewsFire, Patch is renowned for his thorough evaluations and clear, informative writing style. He has a knack for identifying and explaining the nuances of the latest gadgets and digital trends, earning him a reputation as a trusted source for tech advice and information.
samsung-galaxy-z-flip-5-review At first glance, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 may seem like an incremental update from its predecessor, the Galaxy Z Flip 4. Yet, the features Samsung has introduced - the 3.4-inch front screen, the gapless hinge and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for...

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