Over the past two weeks, we’ve had the opportunity to thoroughly test Samsung’s 2023 clamshell flip phone for the purpose of this review. In terms of the series, this iteration stands out as the most substantial upgrade we’ve seen.
The phone boasts an attractive appearance and a satisfying snap when it’s closed. Notably, it’s designed to fit comfortably in your pocket. Besides that there here are some of out thoughts about this Galaxy Z Flip 5:
As depicted in the photo of the Z Flip 5 above, this new generation represents a significant shift in design when compared to its predecessor. The most noticeable change is the substantial increase in the size of the cover display. Measuring 3.4 inches diagonally, it’s a significant upgrade from the 1.9-inch screen on the Z Flip 4. And, we must say, it looks quite impressive.
But the improvement isn’t just about the size. The new screen is also much more functional and incredibly responsive. For instance, using a variety of widgets, ranging from animated wallpapers to a calendar, replying to short messages, making calls, and even watching YouTube, along with some limited app usage, is now effortless.
Unfolding the Z Flip 5 reveals its 6.7-inch inner screen, which remains quite similar to its predecessor. It maintains the same dimensions and resolution, boasting a refresh rate of 120Hz (while the outer display is limited to 60Hz) and identical brightness levels (unlike the larger Z Fold 5, which receives a brightness enhancement).
Beyond the screen, other notable changes are limited. The Z Flip 5 does incorporate a speedier processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, and introduces a fresh lens coating for its primary camera. However, the overall package remains largely akin to its predecessor, preserving features like IPX8 water resistance—a welcomed addition. The device retains its previous form factor, albeit with an even flatter profile near the hinge.
The camera aspect forms a significant piece of the Z Flip 5 puzzle. In essence, these cameras are quite similar to those found in the Z Flip 4 setup. However, there’s a subtle difference: Samsung has made a change to the main camera by employing a new lens to “reduce flare.” While the impact isn’t enormous, it does provide a slight enhancement that sets the two devices apart to some extent.
The photo results from the Galaxy Z Flip 5 were truly impressive. We brought the phone to a camera-focused media event for testing, and the pictures remained stunning, even when zoomed in by 4x. The shots taken with the ultrawide sensor exhibit the same vibrant allure as those from the primary sensor. The color palette remains consistent, ensuring minimal differences between the two lenses. The expansive 123-degree field of view is ideal for capturing wide shots without distortion, a common issue with other ultrawide lenses.
Regarding the overall performance of these camera companions, the story is both familiar and promising: shots appear vivid and sharp at the given resolution, boasting rich colors (sometimes veering into oversaturation) and balanced contrast. The Z Flip 5 handles low-light and night photography well, with its automated Nightography feature. The improvement in the selfie camera aperture to F2.2 allows for sharper pictures in low-light conditions, along with an overall improvement in responsiveness.
Given its flip phone nature, the Z Flip 5 comes with some clever tricks up its sleeve. You can employ the foldable hinge to position it for selfies or even use it reminiscent of an old-school camcorder, capturing videos with the device folded at a 45-degree angle (referred to as Flex Cam by Samsung).
The audio quality of the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is surprisingly robust. Its stereo setup provides a good sense of spatial audio when watching Netflix through the speakers, and despite its compact size, the volume is impressively loud. The built-in Dolby Atmos feature enhances immersion, particularly when using earbuds with the device.
Beneath the surface, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor (a mid-year upgrade over the previous 8+ Gen 1). Coupled with 8GB of LPDDRX5 type RAM for swift loading, this truly represents a top-tier flagship device. Managing the heat generated by such a processor is undoubtedly a challenge, especially in a folding device, yet, in our experience, it never becomes overly warm.
Samsung and Qualcomm’s longstanding collaboration entails a distinct tuning for the Snapdragon chips that lie at the core of their devices. Essentially, this translates to overclocking to extract even more potential from the processor’s maximum capabilities. In our assessment, this processing power is operating at the pinnacle of its capabilities.
In terms of battery life, the Z Flip 5 maintains the same battery capacity as its predecessor, standing at 3700mAh. This figure might not appear notably high, especially when compared to the 5,000mAh powerhouses in today’s flagship phones. However, this is hardly surprising considering the compact and slender design of this flip phone, leaving minimal room for additional cells. Striking a balance between size and capacity is key – perhaps a slight increase in width would be ideal.
But how does this battery hold up in everyday usage? Remarkably well, actually. While it might not set any records for endurance when measured against the broader market, We’ve found that even with tasks like gaming, work-related activities, social interactions, and video streaming, the Z Flip 5 comfortably lasts for around 14 hours with approximately 20% battery life left.
Charging speed could be improved, admittedly. The 25W wired charging falls behind the current standards, although with the right adapter (not included in the box), you can achieve a 50% charge in half an hour. The 15W wireless charging is serviceable but not groundbreaking. It’s functional, yes, but Samsung hasn’t been prioritizing the battery race in recent years.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is undeniably impressive. When it comes to design, construction, and visual allure, it takes the crown as the ultimate clamshell flip phone.
Taking everything into account, we’re inclined to believe that the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is the top folding phone of 2023 thus far. It outshines in terms of build quality, surpasses other flip phones in the market with its screen responsiveness and software.