Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5

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If not a fan of the Fold5, why not opt for the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5? Regardless of hinge preference, Samsung has a solution, and this fifth-generation clamshell smartphone represents the brand’s most mature and practical model to date.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5

One significant advantage of the Z Flip5 over the Z Fold5 is its price, offering a substantial £700 discount. It also includes 256GB of storage as standard, a significant increase from the Flip4’s 128GB. Moreover, there’s a 512GB option available, with all storage capacities offered in Mint, Graphite, Cream, and Lavender, and exclusive Grey, Blue, Green, and Yellow finishes available exclusively on Samsung’s website.

Galaxy Z Flip5
Galaxy Z Flip5

Irrespective of the color chosen, it’s worth noting that the front of the Galaxy Z Flip5 is almost entirely dominated by its enlarged outer display and camera housing, with the color primarily visible on the rear of the phone.

The Galaxy Z Flip5 brings more than just an expanded display to the table. Another major upgrade comes in the form of a new hinge, allowing the phone to close seamlessly without leaving any gap behind. This brings it up to par with competitors like the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra (refer to issue 348, page 64) and the Oppo Find N2 Flip . Using this hinge is a pleasure, with a satisfying snap-shut action. With an IPX8 rating, the phone is fully waterproof, although it still lacks a guarantee against dust intrusion, which is typical for today’s folding phones.

However, the star of the show is undoubtedly the new front display. In previous Z Flip models, the notification strip gradually increased in size, but now it has expanded into a 720 x 748 display known as the “Flex Window,” according to Samsung. This display is much more functional than the cover displays of earlier models, supporting widgets and apps, as well as featuring a handy viewfinder mode for capturing photos and videos. While not all apps can be run on the external screen yet, many major ones are compatible at launch, provided you enable “Lab” mode in the menu. These include Google Maps, Messages, Netflix, WhatsApp, and YouTube. It’s a game-changer, as it allows you to effortlessly glance at messages and respond immediately via the onscreen keyboard on the outer display, without the need to open the phone. Moreover, the screen offers vivid color tones and wide viewing angles, seamlessly blending with the design, making it nearly indistinguishable when turned off.

Inside, the folding 6.7-inch AMOLED display maintains the same dimensions as the previous generation, featuring a tall 22:9 aspect ratio that makes horizontal swiping easy but reaching the top corners a bit of a stretch. Its sharp native resolution of 1,080 x 2,640 looks better than ever, thanks to a substantial increase in brightness, now boasting an impressive 1,504cd/m2, almost double the Flip4’s peak brightness of 772cd/m2.

Measured diagonally, Galaxy Z Flip5 Flex Window is 3 point 4 inches and Main Screen is 6 point 7 inches.

The increased brightness of the Z Flip5 also outshines the polymer OLED screen found on the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra, which reached a maximum brightness of 1,084cd/m2. While the Motorola device is flawless for indoor use, the Z Flip5 holds a distinct advantage when it comes to outdoor visibility under direct sunlight.

Although Samsung hasn’t completely eliminated the dreaded crease running down the middle of the screen, it feels less pronounced compared to older models. However, if creases are a significant concern for you, it’s worth noting that the tiny indentation along the inner display of the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra is even less conspicuous.

The camera setup on the Galaxy Z Flip5 remains largely unchanged from its predecessor, the Z Flip4, which regrettably means the absence of a telephoto lens. Instead, it features a 12MP f/1.8 primary camera along with another 12MP ultrawide f/2.2 camera. The camera app is identical to last year’s version, but this is not an issue, as it offers some fantastic extras like portrait video, hyperlapse, and director’s view. One particularly appealing aspect is that Samsung continues to provide manual video controls, a feature unmatched by any of its competitors.

As expected, photos tend to have a similar look compared to those taken on last year’s phone. However, upon direct comparison, you might notice that the Flip5 delivers better-balanced exposure – the Z Flip4 had a tendency to overexpose. Additionally, the warmer color reproduction of the Flip5 is preferable. The most significant improvement can be observed in shadowy areas and night-time photography. Samsung claims that the Z Flip5 employs new AI-powered processing to enhance low-light detail, and the results are clearly visible, with brighter and more detailed shots compared to the Flip4.

The Z Flip5 also excels in selfie-taking, not necessarily because of an improved front camera but because the larger screen serves as a better viewfinder when you’re capturing selfies, eliminating cropping issues seen in previous generations. You can also utilize the 10MP camera on the main display, and in either case, you can expect sharp and warm images.

Overall, it’s a satisfactory camera setup. Even the absence of a zoom lens isn’t as limiting as one might anticipate, as the automatic sharpening on the digital zoom is applied tastefully, allowing you to zoom in reasonably without causing excessive blurriness.

The Android experience on the Z Flip5 is exceptionally smooth, meeting all expectations. This seamless performance is primarily attributable to the potent Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip from Qualcomm. Whether you’re managing productivity apps or engrossed in high-end gaming, this chip ensures that everything runs seamlessly. In most situations, you might not discern a significant difference between this chip and the older Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip used in the previous Z Flip4. However, it’s worth noting that the Z Flip5 scores around 10% higher, with Geekbench 5’s single-core and multicore tests yielding scores of 1,354 and 4,288, respectively, compared to the previous model. Consequently, the Z Flip5 stands as the fastest clamshell phone available, especially when considering that the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra relies on the Gen 1 SoC.

Furthermore, the software is well-suited for the flip-out form factor. As mentioned, you can run a selection of apps on the front screen, and some of them also support the convenient “Flex Mode” when the phone is half-opened, allowing separate views on the upper and lower portions of the screen. With the phone fully unfolded, multitasking with three apps simultaneously is a viable option – one on the top, one on the bottom, and one in a floating window. While it may not be as intuitive as the Z Fold5’s multitasking approach, considering the constraints of size and shape, it all comes together remarkably well on the Z Flip5.

Battery life was a weak point for the Galaxy Z Flip4. Typically, one would expect a high-end smartphone to last at least 11 hours in our continuous web-browsing test, but the Flip4 fell short, lasting just under nine hours. For comparison, the Galaxy S23 Plus, priced similarly to the Z Flip5, managed an impressive 12 hours and 28 minutes.

Initially, it was disappointing to note that the Flip5 retained the same-sized 3,700mAh battery as its predecessor. However, the more power-efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip significantly extends its longevity. I found that the Galaxy Z Flip5 lasted nearly a full hour longer than its predecessor, totaling 9 hours and 53 minutes. While not quite as impressive as the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra’s 10 hours and 9 minutes, the Z Flip5 is likely to get you through a day of use.

When it’s time to recharge, it’s worth noting that the speed isn’t as fast as some other phones. Fast charging is limited to a maximum of 25W over USB or 15W on a wireless pad.

Despite being released just a year after its predecessor, the Galaxy Z Flip5 represents significant progress. The larger cover display on the Z Flip5 is a game-changer, and the seamless design and faster processor are welcome improvements. While an enhanced camera with optical zoom would have been nice, the one included here still outperforms other clamshell foldable devices. There are, however, some compromises, particularly in terms of battery life, which is acceptable but not outstanding. Additionally, the limited range of apps that work on the front screen is a drawback, especially when compared to the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra, which allows you to run any app on the front screen.

Overall, the Galaxy Z Flip5 stands as the best flip phone we’ve seen thus far. While it may not be the most revolutionary upgrade and may not compel Z Flip4 owners to upgrade, it’s impressive enough to warrant serious consideration for those seeking something beyond a standard smartphone.

Specifications Details
8-core (3.36GHz/2.8GHz/2GHz) Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC 8GB RAM
Adreno 740 graphics 6.7in foldable 120Hz AMOLED screen, 1,080 x 2,640 resolution
3.4in AMOLED cover screen, 720 x 748 resolution 256GB/512GB storage
dual 12MP rear cameras 10MP front camera
Wi-Fi 6E Bluetooth 5.3
3,700mAh battery USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 connector
Android 13, One UI 5.1.1 folded, 72 x 15.1 x 85mm (WDH); unfolded, 72 x 6.9 x 165mm (WDH)
187g 2yr warranty

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