The more mainstream of the two foldables launched at Samsung’s gala Galaxy Unpacked 2023 event in South Korea, the new Galaxy Z Flip5 retains the classic clamshell form factor of its predecessors and features a host of upgrades all around but does it rule the roost as the best mainstream foldable phone in the market? Our Galaxy Z Flip5 review puts their flagship fashion foldable to the test!
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 Review – Build and Design
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Our Galaxy Z Flip5 review sample comes in their signature shade of mint which works out to be a light teal colourway with a satin finish that repels fingerprints quite well. You can also acquire it in a shade of graphite, lavender and cream. If you purchase it at the Samsung online store, you can also get it in an exclusive shade of grey, blue, green or yellow.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 is visually different compared to its predecessors with the biggest upgrade quite being its large 3.4-inch Super AMOLED 60Hz cover display up front with a respectable 306 ppi that dwarfs the prior Galaxy Z Flip4’s small 1.9-inch Super AMOLED display. While the larger and beefier Galaxy Z Fold5 is already in its fifth incarnation, the Flip5 skipped a generation after the debut of the initial Galaxy Z Flip in 2019 before the Flip3 arrived in 2021 and the Flip4 last year, making the Galaxy Z Flip5 a fourth generation design.
On top of the larger 3.4-inch front cover display, the phone also uses a new dual rail hinge design that allows it to fold down with no gap between the hinges. Not only does this make it more aesthetically pleasing but also mitigates the chance of an object like loose change or a set of keys coming between them and potentially damaging the phone.
The hinge itself is robust enough to let it stand unaided halfway up in what Samsung refers to as Flex mode for selfies and hyperlapse shots. It is also flexible enough that you can, with some practice, open the phone one handed by jamming your index or finger in to wedge the hinge open. Flipping it open and closing it is arguably one of the most satisfying things you can do with a smartphone and snapping it shut results in a satisfying click.
Placed alongside the Cover display in a cutout are a pair of 12MP cameras that have mostly similar specifications to the ones used in the older Galaxy Z Flip4 though it does have several subtle improvements including improved image signal processing and better lenses.
When held, the phone has a nice, even heft to it with its gapless hinge looking suitably premium when viewed from the side along with the sensuous tactility that only glass and metal can offer. While the weight of the Flip5 is the same as its predecessor at 187g, it is a bit slimmer all around.
When fully unfolded, you get to lay eyes on the 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display which has a 120Hz dynamic refresh rate and an improved, 1750 nits peak brightness compared to the display used in the Flip4 that maxed out at about 1,200 nits.
Brightness aside, it retains the same size and resolution as the older display. Up top, you get a speaker grille for one of the two stereo speakers and a punch hole for the single 10MP F/2.2 selfie camera. At first blush, the crease on the display at the halfway point where the hinges are located is flatter than its predecessor though it can still be felt with your fingers.
In terms of port placement and design, the Galaxy Z Flip5 review is similar to its predecessors with a USB-C port for charging and a tiny cutout for one of the two stereo speaker grilles at the base of the phone. The right side of the phone hosts a power button that doubles as a fingerprint reader alongside a volume rocker while the left hosts a SIM card slot.
Of note is that Samsung has retained the use of their proprietary Armor Aluminium alloy which is more resistant to nicks and denting than the standard issue aluminium used in competing phones while the backplate and cover display are sheathed in Gorilla Glass Victus 2, the current toughest grade of Gorilla Glass in current service.
The phone also hosts a robust IPX8 rating which means that it’s able to survive in 1.5 metres of fresh water for up to 30 minutes in the off chance you drop it in the pool or in the shower. Unfortunately, the Galaxy Z Flip5 still lacks a dust resistance rating this time around though hopefully it will appear in its eventual successor next year.
Premium design aside, there isn’t much bundled with the Galaxy Z Flip5 save for a charging cable, a SIM eject pin and the usual warranty and quick start guide paperwork. At launch, the base 256GB model of the phone comes priced at RM4,499 which is an RM100 price increase over the Galaxy Z Flip4 at its own launch last year but you’re getting an unmistakably premium build and design that is visually distinctive enough that it can be recognised from a distance which is arguably the main point for a lifestyle-oriented smartphone like the Galaxy Z Flip5 especially if you need to make an impression at your next gala soiree.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 Review – Specifications and Performance
In terms of hardware, our Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 review unit comes equipped with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy processor that is currently the most powerful chipset that can be mounted on an Android phone at this current point in time.
This is the very same processor used in its larger sibling the Galaxy Z Fold5 and at 3.36GHz, it is clocked faster than a stock Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor whereas a stock Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor runs at 3.2GHz. However, one thing to note is that the smaller size of the Galaxy Z Flip5 means that it has a smaller vapour chamber which in turn means that it gets hot under heavy work loads like extended gaming.
Accompanying the beefy processor is 8GB RAM and either 256GB or 512GB of onboard non-expandable storage with our Galaxy Z Flip5 review unit being the former. Running under the hood is the latest Android 13 with Samsung’s own OneUI 5.1.1 overlay. Much like other Samsung flagships, the phone is guaranteed to get four years OS updates and 5 years of security updates which means it’ll be humming along nicely until Android 17 arrives and get security patches all the way until 2028. Here’s how the phone stacks up on paper…
|Price||RM4,499 (256GB), RM4,999 (512GB)|
|Display||3.4-inch Super AMOLED, 720 x 768 pixels [cover display], 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display, 2,640 x 1080 (FHD+), 120Hz, HDR10+ [main display]|
|Processor||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy 3.36GHz|
|OS||Android 13 w/ OneUI 5.1.1|
|Memory||8GB RAM w/ 256GB RAM [review sample]|
|Cameras||12MP F/1.8 w Dual Pixel PDAF and OIS + 12MP F/2.2 ultra wide angle [rear] | 10MP F/2.2 [ selfie camera]|
|Battery||3,700mAh w/ 25W wired fast charging, 15W wireless charging and reverse wireless charging|
|Size/Weight||166.1 x 71.9 x 6.9mm [unfolded] / 85.1 x 71.9 x 51.1mm [folded] / 187g|
This array of hardware lends the phone impressive performance. When subjected to synthetic benchmarks, it scored the following:
|3DMark Wild Life||8,729|
|3DMark Wild Life Unlimited||9,744|
|3DMark Wild Life Extreme||3,456|
|3DMark Wild Life Extreme Unlimited||2,544|
|Geekbench 6 Single core||2,019|
|Geekbench 6 Multi core||5,241|
|Geekbench 6 Vulkan||7,099|
|Geekbench 6 OpenCL||7,225|
|PCMark Work 3.0||16,049|
|PCMark Battery Life||10 hours, 1 min|
Compared side by side with the Galaxy Z Fold5, the Galaxy Z Flip5 scores lower on benchmarks in terms of overall performance despite having the same processor. To be fair, the Galaxy Z Fold5 is intended for heavy duty use with more RAM and a larger vapour chamber to better manage heat. This doesn’t impact day to day performance and the odd game or two though it does get hot if you’re playing for extended periods of time on demanding games like Genshin Impact at high graphic settings.
For the vast majority of users, the Galaxy Z Flip5 has more than enough performance to handle anything asked of it and it still runs rings around competing lifestyle foldables present in the Malaysia market. By and large, our Galaxy Z Flip5 review sample ran as smooth as silk for web browsing, texting and the odd session of Call of Duty Mobile. The provided 8GB of physical RAM is more than sufficient for general tasks but you can allocate up to 8GB of additional virtual RAM off its onboard storage in 2GB increments.
The improved screen brightness makes the main Dynamic AMOLED 2X folding display easier to see in broad daylight and it works as advertised. Overall colour rendition and detail are excellent in keeping with Samsung’s typical attention to quality and are equally fantastic for movies, web browsing and gaming alike.
Samsung’s own updated OneUI 5.1.1 overlay adds in several updates especially for Flex mode with additional functionality when you prop the Galaxy Z Flip5’s display halfway up and use it with selected apps such as YouTube where the controls pop up at the bottom half of the display. Not all apps have a Flex mode though and at present it’s primarily for YouTube, Zoom and a smattering of other stock apps. Flex mode does have its charms and it’s thus far one of the easiest ways to take a steady selfie, do a video call or watch content on the go.
Multitasking is a breeze as well on the main display with the ability to have up to three different apps open simultaneously onscreen though the modest dimensions of the main folding display mean that it’s a task best handled by a larger phone like the Galaxy Z Fold5.
While the main concept of the Cover display hasn’t changed as an easier means to check notifications without having to flip the phone open, the extra screen real estate now means that you can do a lot more without having to resort to the main display. There’s enough space that you can type in replies on a keyboard and the 3.4-inch display makes for an excellent viewfinder for selfies.
However, it only has limited app compatibility with only a few compatible stock apps out of the box. Fortunately, this can be bypassed by installing their GoodLock app from the Samsung Galaxy store and their MultiStar module to allow you to run any app – games included – on the cover screen. In the unlikely event you want to run Genshin Impact or Call of Duty Mobile on the cover screen, you now have the capability to do so should you so desire.
In terms of battery life, our Galaxy Z Flip5 review sample offered the better part of a day’s worth of usage on its 3,700mAh battery with moderate use involving a combination of data or WiFi, web browsing, several minutes worth of phone calls and liberal social media use though you’ll likely need a top-up or a powerbank on the commute home.
On PCMark’s battery life test, it got a decent 10 hours which is borne out by practical use. You can likely eke out more battery life if you stick mostly to the cover screen though that’s somewhat like buying a sports car and only driving it in first gear. Charging it via its 25W wired charging does take an hour or so which is somewhat conservative seeing how fast charging speeds have become in smartphones today but it’s not a deal breaker.
The new upgrades – a better processor, a redesigned hinge and a larger cover screen aren’t radical improvements on their own but taken as a whole, it elevates the Galaxy Z Flip5 into a superior experience that surpasses its predecessors and the competition. With the larger cover screen, you can do more with the phone and over the course of the past couple of weeks, i’m loving the compact size and the versatility of the larger cover screen especially for social events and trips where work isn’t expected.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 Review – Cameras
On the imaging front, our Galaxy Z Flip5 review sample mostly retains the same hardware as its predecessor. You get a dual 12MP camera setup with one 12MP camera featuring an F/1.8 aperture and optical image stabilisation acting as the primary camera and a second 12MP camera with an ultra wide angle lens.
The key improvements on offer here are that the cameras leverage the enhanced image signal processing (ISP) from the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy processor as well as the provision of enhanced “Super Clear” lenses for better image quality. However, one thing to note is that the Galaxy Z Flip5 lacks any dedicated telephoto cameras so all of the shots are digitally zoomed in beyond 2x onwards.
Combined, the camera array allows for up to 10x digital zoom for both videos and stills and up to 4K@60fps video capture. Seeing the unique design of the Galaxy Z Flip5, this allows you to use the primary camera for selfies too. As an afterthought, the phone features a single 10MP camera for video calls in a punch hole at the top of the main folding display that also has 4K@60fps video capture capabilities.
When subjected to the usual photography scenarios, our Galaxy Z Flip5 review sample did a surprisingly good job notwithstanding the specifications on offer which goes to show important that having a good ISP matters as much as good hardware when it comes to smartphone photography.
In daylight, ultrawide and shots out to 2X zoom look great with good detail and colour rendition and it manages to hold its own in low light shots with good noise control and pretty good retention of detail and colours. Much like daylight shots, zoomed in shots beyond 2x digital zoom ended up looking soft though they’re acceptable for social media use.
Captured videos are pretty decent even in low light, helped by the fact that its unique form factor enables it to be held sideways much like a camcorder while Flex mode also allows for more creative possibilities like hyperlapse shots. Unfortunately, digitally zoomed in footage beyond 2X ends up looking somewhat soft but it isn’t a deal breaker.
Overall, it’s still outgunned on the camera front by the Galaxy Z Fold5’s camera array and the Galaxy S23 Ultra is admittedly miles ahead but for its intended mission profile as a mainstream lifestyle-oriented foldable, it’s more than up to the task. Where it has the edge over its siblings is its unique design which lets you hold the phone like a camcorder for even steadier videos while also looking cool in the process.
Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5?
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 hosts a larger and more practical cover display, a top of the line Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor and a redesigned hinge that enables it to fold flat while retaining the same ultra compact and innovative form factor. This is the definitive lifestyle foldable phone to buy for 2023.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 review sample courtesy of Samsung Malaysia. To purchase and for more details please visit https://www.samsung.com/my/smartphones/galaxy-z-flip5/buy/
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 features welcome upgrades that elevate it to be the premier mainstream foldable phone for 2023. With a redesigned gapless hinge, a large cover display as well as a beefy Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset, this is the de facto mainstream foldable phone to buy. More demanding power users should gravitate towards the Galaxy Z Fold5 with its larger displays and enhanced functionality.
New hinge lets it fold flat with no gap
Excellent performance with chipset
Larger and more versatile cover display
Improved camera performance especially in night mode
Tinkering needed to launch apps beyond the limited selection on the Cover display
No DeX mode