Samsung's continuous focus on innovation is evident in their latest offerings, particularly with their foldable devices. However, this pattern of iterative updates may result in a lack of excitement for consumers. For instance, the recently launched Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 features the expected upgrades like a more advanced processor.
Additionally, Samsung has improved the hinge mechanism, resulting in a lighter and thinner phone. While these positive changes do not significantly revolutionize the user experience. As a result, current owners of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 may find little reason to upgrade and may instead opt to wait for the following year's model, hoping for more substantial advancements.
Design Excellence of the Galaxy Z Fold 5
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 may appear similar to its previous model at first glance. Still, upon closer inspection, subtle changes like the rearranged LED flash and color options distinguish the two. However, what sets this phone apart is its exceptional build quality. With shatter-resistant glass on both the front and back and an aluminum frame, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is one of the sturdiest horizontally folding devices available. Furthermore, the new hinge design allows the two halves to fold almost seamlessly, minimizing their gap. Additionally, this phone boasts an IPX8 rating for water resistance, ensuring durability even in wet conditions.
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 maintains a similar display setup to its predecessor, the Fold 4, with only one notable difference. The peak brightness of the folding display has been improved, now reaching 1,750 nits compared to the previous 1,200 nits. The dimensions of the displays remain unchanged, featuring a 6.2-inch HD+ AMOLED outer display with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. The device also boasts a 7.6-inch QXGA+ main display with a 120Hz refresh rate. These enhancements ensure a visually impressive and immersive user experience, making the Galaxy Z Fold 5 a compelling choice.
Both displays on the device offer excellent legibility even under direct sunlight and deliver vibrant and punchy colors. The outer display proves to be highly practical for accomplishing simple tasks swiftly, although it falls slightly short when it comes to comfortable typing due to its narrow size. On the other hand, the inner folding display is ideal for multitasking with multiple apps simultaneously or indulging in leisure activities like gaming and watching videos. Although there is still a noticeable crease on the screen, it becomes less apparent when viewed directly, making it less of a concern.
Regarding bundled accessories, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 only provides a SIM eject tool and a USB Type-C cable. However, considering this smartphone's capabilities and unique features, it is worth investing a bit more to enhance the overall experience. One accessory that stands out is the S Pen cover case, which offers added protection for the device and includes a stylus.
This combination allows users to fully utilize the Z Fold 5's innovative foldable display and take advantage of the S Pen's precision and functionality. So, while the initial investment may be higher, the added convenience and versatility make it a worthwhile addition.
Specifications and Software Features
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, similar to the S23 series, utilizes the custom Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 ‘Mobile Platform for Galaxy' SoC, ensuring a robust and power-efficient processor that delivers exceptional performance. Despite maintaining the same battery capacity as the previous year, the device boasts a 4,400mAh battery, providing ample power for extended usage. Furthermore, the Z Fold 5 supports 25W wired charging and 15W wireless charging, enabling quick and convenient recharging options. These features provide a seamless user experience and make the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 a reliable and capable device.
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 operates on One UI 5.1.1, which is based on Android 13. Samsung has committed to providing users with four major Android OS upgrades and five years of security updates. Many of the popular software features in the Fold 4 have been carried over to this model, including the Flex mode in apps like Google Meet or YouTube and the ability to use three apps simultaneously.
However, there are also some new additions, such as displaying up to four recently used apps in the taskbar. By default, this feature is set to show only two apps, but users can manually enable the display of up to four apps through the Settings app.
In addition to split-screen mode, there is also a convenient feature called two-handed drag and drop. This feature is useful when you do not have two apps open in split-screen mode. To use this feature, simply long-press on an image or item that you want to copy to another app. While holding down that item, you can use your other hand to open a full-sized version of the second app. Once the second app is open, you can effortlessly drop the selected item into it. This two-handed drag-and-drop feature offers a seamless and efficient way to transfer content between apps without the need for split-screen mode.
Performance and Battery Life Insights
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is undeniably a top-of-the-line device, effortlessly keeping up with any demands placed upon it. Thanks to its generous amount of RAM and powerful System-on-Chip (SoC), the phone never falters, no matter which applications are being used. While the section of the phone housing the SoC may heat up during intense gaming sessions or demanding tasks, the other portion of the device remains cool and unaffected. Whether it's multitasking or gaming, the performance of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is truly exceptional.
The S Pen is undeniably a convenient tool for note-taking and other tasks, but it is disappointing that the outer screen of the Z Fold 5 does not support it. This limitation means that users have to open the phone whenever they want to use the S Pen, which can be inconvenient in certain situations.
Furthermore, it is essential to note that the S Pen designed for regular S series phones, such as the S23 Ultra, is incompatible with the Z Fold 5. Instead, users would need to invest in the ‘S Pen for Fold' edition, specifically designed for this foldable device. While the S Pen functionality is valuable, some users may view the restrictions and the need for a separate stylus version as drawbacks.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 has shown impressive performance in benchmark tests. With a score of 14,13,684 points in AnTuTu and the ability to max out graphics tests in GFXBench, it is clear that this device is a powerhouse. In fact, it returned an impressive 120fps in the T-Rex test suite, showcasing its ability to handle even the most demanding graphics despite maintaining the same battery capacity as its predecessor, the Galaxy Z Fold 5, which delivers exceptional battery life.
A battery loop test on the main folding display lasted an impressive 19 hours and 53 minutes, proving its capability to handle moderate to heavy daily usage. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is a high-performing device with long-lasting battery life.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Cameras
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 maintains its predecessor's camera hardware, offering a versatile triple-camera setup. It boasts a powerful 50-megapixel wide lens, accompanied by a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens and a 10-megapixel telephoto lens with 3X optical zoom capability, allowing users to capture stunning photos with varying perspectives.
On the outer screen is a 10-megapixel selfie camera, ensuring high-quality self-portraits. However, the folding display houses a 4-megapixel under-display camera, which falls short in terms of photo quality and is better suited for video calls. Although Samsung could have implemented larger sensors and improved optical zoom, this could have resulted in a bulkier device, which is undesirable for a foldable phone.
In terms of hardware, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 impresses with its exceptional performance in capturing both stills and videos. Daytime shots exhibit excellent clarity and vibrant colors, with HDR being well-handled. The telephoto capabilities are also commendable, delivering satisfactory results, although finer details tend to suffer at zoom levels above 20X. The phone offers a range of shooting modes to experiment with, and its Portrait mode excels at creating a clear separation between the subject and the background.
Furthermore, the device's low-light capabilities are awe-inspiring, effectively balancing shadows and highlights even in challenging lighting conditions. Including a highly effective night mode further enhances the phone's photography prowess, ensuring exceptional results when it truly matters.
The ultra-wide and outer selfie cameras on the device are also impressive. The ultra-wide lens effectively reduces barrel distortion in daylight, resulting in crisp and well-balanced images. However, in low-light conditions, the edges of the images can appear grainy, even when using Night mode. As for the selfie camera, it performs adequately when you're in a rush to capture a quick self-portrait.
However, it is recommended to utilize the rear cameras for selfies for optimal results. Regarding recording videos, the device delivers satisfactory quality with smooth stabilization during daytime shooting. Even in low-light settings, videos turn out decent as long as there is a reasonable amount of ambient light.
Purchasing the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 for a whopping price of 2,399.99 CAD requires careful consideration of its practicality. Undeniably, it is a smartphone that caters to productivity junkies and mobile gaming enthusiasts, making it the ideal choice for those who will fully utilize its unique form factor and are willing to embrace its quirks.
However, for many users, the constant folding and unfolding of the phone may quickly become a cumbersome task, leading to potential regrets for those who buy it solely for novelty or bragging rights. If you are still willing to invest a significant amount of money but desire a more user-friendly option, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is a great alternative. This phone also supports the S Pen and boasts superior cameras.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 Review
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is a smartphone that caters to productivity junkies and mobile gaming enthusiasts, making it the ideal choice for those who will fully utilize its unique form factor and are willing to embrace its idiosyncrasies.