Samsung’s newest foldable phones are the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5. The two devices were made official at a South Korean show early this morning.
First is the Z Fold 5, which is phone-sized when closed and opens up to be a bigger device. The changes here are mostly just a spec bump and a new “double rail Flex Hinge” system. The new hinge design brings the phone more in line with most other foldables. When closed, the support plates under the display crease swing out of the way, allowing the bent-over display to sit more loosely in a teardrop shape rather than crushing it into a hard crease. This means the phone can fold flat instead of having a gap when closed. Most executions of this style of hinge still have a divot or trench in the middle of the screen, but it’s easier on the display.
The Fold was a pioneer as the first foldable phone, but it now seems to be spending this release catching up to the competition. Besides adopting the competition’s hinge design, Samsung still has some work to do on the thinness front. Foldables are giant devices in your pocket, and thinness really matters when you’re potentially talking about double the weight and thickness of a normal phone. The fold-flat hinge and some work slimming down the phone puts the Z Fold 5 at 13.4 mm thick when folded up. With a 4400 mAh battery, that’s just not very impressive. In the US, the Pixel Fold manages to be 12.1 mm thick with a 5000 mAh battery. In China, the Honor Magic V2 is somehow 9.9 mm thick when folded, with a 5000 mAh battery.
For specs, we have a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 “For Galaxy,” just like the S23. This is a sweetheart deal between Samsung and Qualcomm—Samsung gets slightly up-clocked versions of the 8 Gen 2, while Samsung uses Qualcomm chips internationally and ignores its own Exynos chips. The phone has 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. There’s a 50MP main camera, 10MP 3x telephoto, and a 12MP ultrawide. There’s a 120 Hz, 6.2-inch, skinny front display and a 120 Hz, 7.6-inch inside display. It’s still $1,799.
The other foldable is the Z Flip 5. It’s a new-school flip phone, which means it’s a normal-sized phone when opened and a small square when closed. The Z Flip 4’s front display was a tiny 1.9-inch thing that only ran mini-apps, sort of like a smartwatch. This year, the Flip 5 has a way bigger 3.4-inch display. It’s still mostly used for custom Samsung “widgets” like timers, the weather, and a calendar, but you can enable the apps “lab” feature, which can run tiny square versions of six apps: Google Messages, Samsung Messages, WhatsApp, Google Maps, Netflix, and YouTube. You can pull up a keyboard, but only the Samsung keyboard.
The shape of the display is rather interesting. The rectangle is as big as it can be on the front without crashing into the cameras. It’s not just a rectangle, though—the screen dips into the area to the left of the cameras, making room for a shortcut bar. This is in contrast to the Moto Razr+, which just wrapped the whole display around the front cameras. Samsung uses the extra display area to show a row of buttons, usually for navigation.
The smaller phone is also getting the “no gap hinge” treatment. It has the same up-clocked Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and the big downside of flip phones: a pretty small battery, at just 3700mAh. For cameras, you’re getting a 12MP main and 12MP ultrawide, while the front is 10MP. The inner display is still a 6.7-inch, 120 Hz OLED.
Both phones will be up for preorder today and will ship on August 11.
Listing image by Samsung