The Samsung Fold5 family

Hands on with Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 5 & Galaxy Z Flip 5

July 27, 2023
4 mins read
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Witchdoctor gadget guru PAT PILCHER gets to fool around with some hotly anticipated new foldable Samsung phones.

The Samsung Fold5 family

After weeks of anticipation, rumours and endless social media speculation, Samsung has finally announced the fifth generation of its Galaxy range of foldable phones, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Galaxy Z Fold 5. Feeling the anticipation of many, I scored some early hands-on time with the new Folds.

Perhaps the most noticeable new thing with both phones is what Sammy calls the new Flex Hinge, which pretty much eliminates the gap between screens when both the Fold and Flip are, um… folded. This mightn’t sound like much of a big deal, but trust me, it is. A gapless folded design means less pocket cruft can get into the phone’s gap, which means the cruft doesn’t have a hope in hell of trashing the foldable screen’s protector.

 

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A gapless design should greatly extend its life expectancy. It also makes for a slightly slimmer design, so strangers will no long approach you to say, “Hey, is that a canoe in your pocket or are you carrying a foldable phone?” The hinges also allow the phones to partially unfold, which makes Samsung’s FlexCam mode possible.

Samsung’s Galaxy Flip5

Speaking of durability, both the Galaxy Fold and Flip come with IPX8  support so they can handle being used in the rain. Their chassis are made out of what Samsung calls Armour Aluminium frames, while their backs use Gorilla Glass Victus2. In short, even though they’re foldable, they feel built to last. The flex hinge module also has a dual rail structure, which Samsung says will help diffuse external impacts so dropping your phone is less likely to lead to that dreaded green line or dead zone on the screen.

The Galaxy Z Flip5 sports the same pocket-sized form factor as its predecessor, but comes with a front display that is now 3.78 times larger than that of the Flip 4. This extra room allows for a bunch of cool new capabilities including widgets, a keyboard and enhanced camera capabilities, all of which are usable without flipping the phone open. So taking calls and knocking out emails/text messages, or simply getting the latest weather forecast, is all doable.

The Galaxy Fold5 with pen

Samsung has also put some spit and polish into the Galaxy Z Flip5’s camera. Selfies are easier with the larger front screen. And Flex Cam frees up your hands to view and edit shots. Perhaps the biggest camera feature built in is Super Steady mode which can almost completely remove camera shake for smoother videos and clearer night shots. A clever auto framing mode also ensures no one is left out of photos. Crucially, low light shooting is improved with Nightography capabilities using AI to optimise both photos and videos in low light or even night conditions. This sees an AI-powered image signal processing (ISP) algorithm removing pixel noise and enhancing details and colour tone. It also translates into surprisingly sharp photos with the digital 10X zoom.

One thing Samsung hasn’t changed is the insane level of customisability Galaxy users have come to expect. Widgets and clock faces can match the face of the user’s Galaxy Watch 6 and Samsung showcased some stylish phone cases including the new Flipsuit Case that provides drop protection along with a swappable NFC card to change things up a little.

The Galaxy Flip5

At a glance, you’d be forgiven for wondering just what had been updated on the Galaxy Z Fold5. A closer inspection reveals that like the Flip 5, the Fold has the new Flex Hinge and a gapless design. It also looks slimmer and feels a tad lighter. This is helped along by a new slimmer and compact S Pen Fold Edition, which almost sits flush in the Fold 5 case showcased by Samsung. This helps hugely with its pocket-ability.

A tonne of work has been done to refine the user interface to take advantage of the multi-tasking opportunities made available by the Fold’s roomy 7.6-inch internal folding screen. This translates into a smoother Multi-Window, drag and drop experience as well as improved optimisations for third-party apps. An improved taskbar also makes switching between frequently used apps a doddle as up to four recent apps can be displayed for more productive working. Another nifty addition is two finger drag-and-drop selection. Touch and hold an image in Samsung Gallery with one finger and use another to open an app to drag-and-drop the image, it’s a small thing, but it makes a big difference to workflow on a phone.

The Galaxy Fold5

Speaking of the screen, the 7.6-inch foldable screen has had its peak brightness boosted by more than 30 percent, up to 1750 nits, which makes for super crisp and vivid on-screen content, even under direct sunlight.

In use, the Fold 5 ran smooth and cool. Games looked good too thanks to a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 CPU, which supports real time ray tracing. Its cooling system has been overhauled too so it can dissipate heat efficiently, meaning you don’t get hit with CPU throttling and a hand warmer in the middle of a gaming session.

The Galaxy Z Flip5 and Galaxy Z Fold5 are available for pre-order now, and are expected to hit retailer shelves on August 11. The Flip5 will come in colours including Mint, Graphite, Cream and Lavender. The Fold 5 will be available in Icy Blue, Phantom Black and Cream. One thing is for sure, you’ll get a lot of phone for your money, but with prices for the Fold ranging from $2849 to $3549 and the Flip from $1879 to $2029, you may need to reach for that piggy bank you’ve got stashed away.

Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

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