Which Samsung foldable is best for you?

  • Source: Samsung

    Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

    The workhorse

    A no-nonsense productivity machine

    $1800 $1920 Save $120

    The Galaxy Z Fold 5 isn’t much different from the Fold 4 that came before it, but that isn’t a bad thing. This is one of the most feature-packed folding phones, and having a small tablet that folds up into your pocket opens a new world of possibilities.

    Pros

    • Huge inner display
    • More foldable features

  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

    Source: Samsung

    Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

    The fashion statement

    A stylish piece of self-expression

    The Galaxy Z Flip 5 received the biggest upgrade of the bunch this year, with a new hinge and a huge cover display that gets more done. But is that enough to compact the multitasking prowess of the Fold?

    Pros

    • Compact
    • Affordable
    • Brighter color options
    Cons

    • Mediocre battery life
    • Limited foldable features

Samsung has just unveiled its latest folding phones: The Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5. Both are iterative upgrades over the phones that preceded them, and it’s clear that these phones are targeted at first-time foldable owners. With that in mind, which foldable style should you spend your money on?


Price, availability, and specs

The Flip 5 and Fold 5 launch at $1,000 and $1,800, respectively, the same pricing we saw last year. While the case can be made that plenty of other flagship phones cost the same or more as the Flip, that can’t be said for the Fold, which is far more expensive than most people are used to. Both devices are available in most markets, both unlocked and from all major carriers.

Specs don’t tell the whole story, and internally these phones share a lot of components. You can see the breakdown below:

  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
    SoC Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
    Display 7.6″ 2176 x 1812 120Hz OLED primary, 6.2″ 2316 x 904 120Hz OLED cover display 6.7″ 2640 x 1080 120Hz OLED primary display, 3.4″ 720 x 748 60Hz OLED cover display
    RAM 12GB 8GB LPDDR5X
    Storage 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB 256GB or 512GB
    Battery 4,400mAh 3,700mAh
    Ports USB Type-C 3.2, OTG USB-C
    Operating System Android 13 (One UI 5.1.1) Android 13 (OneUI 5.1.1)
    Front camera 4MP f/1.8 under-display camera (80˚ FoV, 2.0μm pixels), 10MP f/2.2 cover display camera (85˚ FoV, 1.22μm pixels) 10MP f/2.2 (1.22μm pixels)
    Rear cameras 50 MP f/1.8 wide-angle (85˚ FoV, OIS, 1.0μm pixels), 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide (123˚ FoV, 1.12μm pixels), 10MP f/2.4 telephoto (36˚ FoV, OIS, 1.0μm pixels) 12MP f/1.8 wide-angle (83˚ FoV, OIS, 1.8μm pixels), 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide (123˚ FoV, 1.12μm pixels)
    Connectivity 5G (inc mmWave), LTE, up to Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC 5G (inc mmWave), LTE, Wi-Fi 6e
    Dimensions 67.1 x 155 x 13 mm folded, 130 x 155, 6.1 mm unfolded Unfolded: 71.9 x 165.1 x 6.9mm, Folded: 71.9 x 85.1 x 15.1mm
    Colors Ice Blue, Phantom Black, Cream + Samsung.com exclusive Gray, Blue Graphite, Cream, Lavender, Mint
    Weight 253g (8.92Oz) 187g
    IP Rating IPX8 IPX8

Design

samsung-unpacked-fold5-flip5-watch6-tabs9-bader-35

This is where we find the most obvious difference between the Fold 5 and Flip 5. Closed, the Flip becomes a small pocket square that can easily fit in any purse or pocket, which is a big deal for many people. That’s why my wife loves her Flip 4 so much — she never needs to worry about having somewhere to put it. When you open the Flip 5, you’re greeted with a slightly tall but mostly conventional display that resembles a typical smartphone.

The Fold 5 is a different beast. Closed, you get a tall, narrow cover screen designed to complete small one-handed tasks. Open it up, and you have a small tablet that can crush any task you throw at it, and it’s perfect for extended two-handed use.

Both phones are made of armored aluminum for the frame, Gorilla Glass Victus 2 for the external glass and screens, and flexible glass with a screen protector on the inner displays. The edges are flat with lightly rounded corners, providing a nice grip on the device without digging into the fleshy parts of your hand. This frame is polished on the standard colors, which collects grease like nothing else, and matte on the Samsung exclusive models, which look and feels superior, if our experience with the S23 Ultra is anything to go by.

No matter what color you get, the side of the phones containing the cover screens will be black to ensure that said display blends in correctly when switched off.

Displays

This is where the magic of a foldable lies. Each of these phones has two displays, and what they’re for and how you use them is similar despite their apparent differences. Both cover screens are optimized to take care of what you want to do quickly and easily without opening the phone up.

samsung-galaxy-z-fold-5-hands-on-09

The Fold 5 has a 6.2-inch cover display that’s both tall and narrow, often compared to a TV remote. This screen is perfect for one-handed operation, so replying to texts and controlling your media playback while walking is a breeze. The phone doesn’t limit what you can or can’t do on this screen, but in-depth tasks should be done on the internal 7.6-inch foldable screen.

When you open the phone, optimized apps will switch to their tablet layout, while other apps will stretch to full the space. Some apps like Instagram stick to a 16:9 layout with black bars, but the apps that do this are few and far between. This display makes getting things done a pleasure. Making appointments, juggling your calendar and email, or getting some downtime watching a Transformers movie are all better here than on any other phone. If you want a greater idea of what you can do here, we have an article all about the Fold series and productivity.

samsung-unpacked-fold5-flip5-watch6-tabs9-bader-9

The Flip 5 finally has the cover screen we’ve always wanted. At 3.4 inches, you can’t use this as a regular phone like you can with the Fold. But you can still get a lot done, like replying to notifications with a full keyboard, even if you’re stuck with Samsung’s keyboard, controlling your music and Galaxy Buds, and more with the widgets Samsung has made available. The ability to run full apps on the cover screen is even more exciting. A handful are available by default, but a Good Lock update will allow you to try any of them. Apps like Spotify, YouTube Music, and Google Maps will be great out here for quick access.

You’ll want to use the Flip 5’s 6.7-inch internal screen for anything more than that. Unlike the Fold, this doesn’t open up a world of multitasking. It’s just a regular phone, if a little bit narrow. That’s not a bad thing, though. Having a big 6.7-inch phone that folds into a little pocket square is helpful to a lot of people.

Performance and battery life

We haven’t had enough time with either phone to comment on these aspects yet, but we can make educated predictions based on the Flip 4 and Fold 4. The new phones have precisely the same batteries and charging speed as before, 15W wireless, 25W wired, and 3,700mAh and 4,400mAh, respectively.

The only real difference is the new chip, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 that replaces the 8+ Gen 1 from last year. The new chip is fantastic and is better in terms of raw performance, thermals, and battery life. But it probably won’t make a huge difference. Both phones should make it through the day for most people, but drive them hard, and you’ll be charging before bed. We’ll update this section with concrete numbers once we have them.

Software

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Source: Samsung

Both phones are running a new version of One UI called 5.1.1, still based on Android 13. As with the previous foldables, this x.x.1 update adds some minor features that the folding phones and tablets will benefit from and should reach older Flips, Folds, and Tabs in the coming weeks. You get better drag-and-drop support in split-screen, some new gestures for pop-up view apps, and some tweaks to the dock on the Fold.

What makes a difference between the two phones here is the larger screen on the Fold. Both phones have Flex Panel. You fold the device halfway, the app goes to the top half, and controls reveal themselves on the bottom. This is useful on the Flip when using the camera or taking a video call, but that’s it. On the other hand, the Fold has the screen real estate to make this useful in more places, like browsing the web with a mouse and virtual trackpad.

The Flip 5 and Fold 5 will get four Android upgrades to Android 17 and a fifth year of security patches.

Cameras

samsung-unpacked-fold5-flip5-watch6-tabs9-bader-11

As with performance and battery life, there’s little to say here. Camera hardware is identical to last year.

The Flip 5 has dual 12MP rear cameras, wide and ultrawide, and a 10MP selfie camera. One improvement over last year will be using the larger cover screen to more easily use those rear cameras for selfies.

The Fold 5 has a 50MP wide lens, 12MP ultrawide, a 10MP 3X telephoto, a 10MP selfie camera on the cover screen, and a 4MP under-display camera on the inner display.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is said to have a much better image signal processor than the 8+ Gen 1, but I doubt it’ll make any meaningful differences here. Expect more than decent photos from both phones in good lighting, but nothing special compared to a Google Pixel or Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Which should you buy?

samsung-galaxy-z-flip-5-hands-on-11

This is a tricky question to answer, given how different the intended use case for both phones is. When it comes down to it, most people will be happy with the Flip 5. It’s the most affordable option, and it’s also the most familiar. The cover screen is useful, and the pocketability is a game changer for many, but when you open it up, it’s like any other phone with a few tricks up its sleeve. It’s also just plain fun. Using it as its own tripod and setting up group photos is something I’ve enjoyed over the last year, and that’s not something I was expecting.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

Source: Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

The fashion statement

A stylish piece of self-expression

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 received the biggest upgrade of the bunch this year, with a new hinge and a huge cover display that gets more done. But is that enough to compact the multitasking prowess of the Fold?

Pros

  • Compact
  • Affordable
  • Brighter color options
Cons

  • Mediocre battery life
  • Limited foldable features

On the other hand, if you truly want something different from a smartphone and don’t mind paying for it, the Fold 5 is perfect for you. You can get more done at once on this phone than any other, and carrying a phone when you need it and a tablet when you want it around in your pocket is game-changing.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Source: Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

The workhorse

A no-nonsense productivity machine

$1800 $1920 Save $120

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 isn’t much different from the Fold 4 that came before it, but that isn’t a bad thing. This is one of the most feature-packed folding phones, and having a small tablet that folds up into your pocket opens a new world of possibilities.

Pros

  • Huge inner display
  • More foldable features

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