Samsung’s Unpacked press event of summer 2023 is finally here, bringing the company’s newest foldable handsets, tablets, and wearables. The new foldables are the main attractions of the show, as Samsung has finally unveiled the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5.
UPDATE: Samsung’s pre-order deals are now live!
We’ve seen the Fold 5 and Flip 5 in several leaks leading up to the launch event, and Samsung confirmed all those rumors. In many ways, the new Fold and Flip foldables are similar to their predecessors. But they also feature several key improvements that make them more exciting than their predecessors, and I’ll explain why.
Now, for the bad news. Sadly, the Fold 5 and Flip 5 prices aren’t any better than last year. That’s one reason to avoid the new Samsung foldables. The fact that there are other alternatives to Samsung no-risk foldables is another.
Let’s start with three great reasons to buy Samsung’s new foldable phones.
The new Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 lose the screen gap
After years of recycling the same Fold and Flip design, 2023 brings us a key improvement for both devices. Samsung introduced a new hinge design that makes possible a Zero Gap Design.
That’s right, you can now fold the two phones perfectly. That unsightly gap between the two halves of the phone has disappeared, which means the handsets are now thinner than before.
Samsung isn’t the first to deliver no-gap foldables, with Chinese smartphone vendors having already done it. And we saw Google offer the same design with its recently launched Pixel Fold.
There’s one other reason to choose Samsung over rivals here. Samsung has taken its time with its design upgrades over the years, but the company did improve the durability of the Fold and Flip phones.
The Fold 5 and Flip 5 are no different, as they feature Armor aluminum frames and are water resistant.
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is lighter and thinner
Another benefit of that no-gap hinge is the reduced thickness. We’re looking at a 13.4mm profile for the Fold 5, down from 15.8mm at the thickest point for the Fold 4. The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is also lighter, weighing 253g, or 10g lighter than before.
That makes the Fold 5 slightly more compact and easier to place in a pocket or purse. It should also be easier to handle one-handed, although Samsung is yet to pull off the Honor Magic V2 trick. That brand-new foldable is about as thick as the iPhone 14 Pro when folded.
The Galaxy Z Flip 5 got its own big external display
The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is also thinner than before, but this handset was already very pocketable. After all, when unfolded, the handset offers you an internal display about as big as the Galaxy S23, whereas the Fold 5 becomes a 7.6-inch Android tablet.
The Flip 5’s external display is worth getting excited about. After Oppo and Motorola, Samsung is also ready to maximize the external display to almost the entire real estate space available on one of the handset’s two halves.
That 3.4-inch Flex Window screen lets you do more on the external display before unfolding the handset. You can chat, use widgets, and take better selfies. That’s because you’d use the Flip 5’s dual-lens camera (12-megapixel wide and 12-megapixel ultra-wide) to take selfies. Come to think of it; you don’t have to ever take selfies using the internal screen now that you get a big external display on the Flip 5.
Using the external display for more tasks might also improve battery life. The Galaxy Z Flip 5 does get a 3,700 mAh battery. If you want a larger battery pack, you’ll want the Fold 5 and its 4,400 mAh battery pack. Then again, the Fold 5 has larger screens that will use more energy.
The Fold 5 sticks with a 6.2-inch panel, which should be easier to use thanks to the no-gap design. Since I did say you should be using the external camera for selfies on the Flip 5, you might want to do the same thing with the Fold 5.
The larger foldable also supports a Dual Preview mode where the subject of your photos will see the preview on the external display. The Fold 5 features a triple-lens camera on the back: 50-megapixel wide, 12-megapixel ultra-wide, and 10-megapixel telephoto. It also has two selfie cameras, including a 10-megapixel cover camera and a 4-megapixel under-display camera.
Now, we’ll cover two good reasons to avoid purchasing a next-gen foldable smartphone from Samsung.
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 are expensive
The two new foldables rock the best possible hardware Android handsets can offer in 2023. That means the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor paired with 8GB or 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The specs are also on par with what you’d get from other foldables launching this year.
That means you’ll get the best possible Android experience, delivering Samsung’s vision for foldable handsets. On that note, the Fold 5 is the better option for multitasking, thanks to that tablet-sized foldable display that has room for multiple apps running side by side.
But the phones aren’t getting cheaper than last year, despite the increased competition in the space.
The 256GB Galaxy Z Fold 5 starts at $1,799, and the 256GB Flip 5 starts at $999. Various preorder and trade-in deals will be available from Samsung and its carrier partners. And you can take advantage of that $50 registration deal if you’ve signed up to be notified about preorders.
The two phones are available for preorder and will ship to your door in two weeks, on August 11th.
As for colors, the Fold 5 is available in Icy Blue, Phantom Blac, and Cream. The Flip 5 comes in Mint, Graphite, Cream, and Lavender.
Samsung is still playing it safe
The price isn’t the only reason to avoid the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 this year. Despite the increased competition, Samsung continues to play it safe when it comes to foldables. The new features we see of the new Fold and Flip models were available on competing devices well before Samsung’s Unpacked 2023 event.
That means competitors have an advantage over Samsung, despite not being the first to market with foldable phones. Also, most rivals will be cheaper than Samsung’s newest phones.
If you want to live on the bleeding edge of foldables, you might want to wait a while for a new generation of foldable phones to launch in China. Some of those handsets will then move to international markets.
I’ll also point out the existence of the Pixel Fold. The handset might not be as durable as Samsung foldables, but it comes with an Android OS version that Google customized for foldable screens. And it has Google’s powerful camera software on board.