Tested: Galaxy Z Flip 5 - Foldables Take Center Stage
Asia/ Digital/ Reviews

Tested: Galaxy Z Flip 5 – Foldables Storm the Mainstream Stage

Header Z Flip5

The foldable phone landscape, for me, has been a realm marked by both fascination and apprehension. Within this pioneering space, Samsung has consistently been the torchbearer, not only spearheading their own innovative creations but also, as rumours suggest, playing the role of a benefactor. Industry insiders hint that Samsung has been guiding tech titans like Google and Motorola in the intricate process of engineering the folding mechanism.

So, what's their ulterior motive? It's to popularise their avant-garde display technology and fortify the foldable marketplace as a dominant paradigm. With the Galaxy Z Flip 5 making its entrance, I can't help but wonder: Is this the masterpiece that will turn my scepticism into unbridled enthusiasm?

Pros:

  • Seamless, gapless hinge design
  • Large, functional cover screen
  • Superior performance benchmarks
  • Robust build with IPX8 water resistance

Cons:

  • Premium price point
  • No telephoto lens
  • The fold can be initially noticeable
  • Design may not cater to all

Design & Build

Stepping into the arena with the Galaxy Z Flip 5, there’s an unmistakable ode to the old-school folding feature phones of yesteryears. These handsets were not only compact but also boasted a rock-solid build. They effortlessly slid into even the tightest pockets and defied the wear and tear of daily life.

In the Z Flip 5, Samsung marries this nostalgic charm with its modern technological prowess. Two of the most substantial upgrades from last year’s model are the re-engineering of the hinge mechanism, which now eliminates any gap between the two halves when folded, and the introduction of a much larger, genuinely practical cover screen.

The tactile satisfaction of flipping open the phone harks back to days gone by but comes with a futuristic twist. The device feels premium, exemplifying Samsung's mastered expertise in foldable tech. The armor aluminium frame promises enhanced drop and scratch resistance, wrapped in the protective embrace of Gorilla Glass Victus 2. Coupled with the IPX8 water resistance, the Z Flip 5 isn't just a nod to the past but a beacon of contemporary resilience, underscoring its readiness for modern-day challenges.

Samsung Z Flip 5 with Weather app on screen
The Z Flip 5's larger cover screen makes getting to essential info' a breeze

Performance & Usability

The heart of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 beats with the power of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, an elite chipset designed to handle even the most resource-intensive tasks with ease. For avid mobile gamers, this chipset can effortlessly run the most taxing of games, rendering graphics-rich environments and ensuring smooth gameplay. While it's a device that seems more suited for the boardroom than the battleground, the gaming prowess lies beneath its polished exterior, ready to spring into action when needed.

During our hands-on time, we consistently noticed that the Z Flip 5 outperformed our current favourite Android mobile, the Nothing Phone 2, which is powered by last year's Gen 1 series chipset. Transitions were smoother, apps launched more quickly, and multitasking was a breeze. Samsung's blend of powerful hardware and optimised software ensures that the Z Flip 5 doesn't just look the part; it also performs accordingly, offering a snappier, more responsive experience in day-to-day usage.

Photo & Video

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 marries form and functionality in the realm of mobile photography. A standout feature is the integration of the large exterior screen, which ingeniously allows users to employ the main camera for selfies. No longer are users restricted to the typically lower-resolution front-facing camera; the Z Flip 5’s rear camera array is at their disposal for capturing high-resolution self-portraits. This feature is further elevated by the introduction of gesture recognition, which allows users to trigger the shutter or initiate video recording using simple hand movements – providing a seamless and innovative experience.

At the core of the Z Flip 5's imaging capabilities lies a dual-camera system: a 12 MP wide lens with Dual Pixel PDAF and Optical Image Stabilization, paired with a 12 MP ultrawide lens. These cameras capture detailed and vibrant shots, ensuring you never miss a moment worth preserving. For videographers, the phone supports recording in 4K at 60fps, ensuring crisp and smooth footage. On the inside, a 10 MP front camera captures clear selfies and can facilitate video calls with 4K resolution.

In our side-by-side testing, we found that the photos from the Z Flip 5 were on par with the Nothing Phone 2. While the latter had a slight edge with its more lifelike skin tones, the vibrancy and contrast of Samsung's images will please a vast majority of users. However, it's important to categorise the Z Flip 5 appropriately.

Against photographic behemoths like Samsung's S23 Ultra and Apple's iPhone 14 Pro, the limitations of the Z Flip 5's camera system become evident. Yet, these powerhouse devices often prioritise raw performance at the expense of design aesthetics. In contrast, the Z Flip 5 offers a unique blend of style and capability that sets it apart, making it the choice for those who seek a balance of allure and functionality in their devices.

Samsung Z Flip 5 playing Netflix
The Z Flip 5 is great for watching shows on the go

Display & Battery

Diving into the visual experience of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5, its 6.7-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X folding display stands out as its crown jewel. With a resolution of 1080 x 2640 pixels, every image and video comes to life with rich vibrancy and impeccable clarity. Over the years, one significant concern raised by foldable phone sceptics, myself included, is the visibility of the fold on the display. 

However, with the Z Flip 5, Samsung appears to have directly addressed this issue. During my testing period, I observed that after just a few days of use, the fold seemed to "disappear" from my view. Watching episodes on Netflix while commuting on the MTR was immersive, with the fold not detracting from the experience in any way. Moreover, in daily smartphone tasks, we rarely engage actively with the screen's central portion.

Powering this visual spectacle is a 3700 mAh battery, performing admirably in real-world scenarios. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, renowned for its efficiency, works in tandem with the battery, providing an excellent balance between power and longevity. Throughout my usage, I found that the phone could comfortably last through a full day, even with moderate to heavy use. When it does need a top-up, the Z Flip 5 offers rapid charging features, both wired and wireless, ensuring minimal downtime and keeping you always on the move.

Our Rating

Beat Score: 9/10 - Outstanding Value

A Masterclass in Design and Innovation. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is where the elegance of yesteryear meets tomorrow's innovation. A modern-day marvel worth every accolade.

Priced from: HK$9,298 P64,990 / S$1,678 / RM4,499

Disclaimer: This review is the outcome of two weeks of hands-on experience with the Samsung Z Flip 5, which was kindly loaned to us for the purpose of this review. The views and opinions expressed are solely those of our editorial team, based on our assessment and experience with the product. The manufacturer or retailer has not influenced the content of this review in any way.

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