Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 4 should you upgrade?

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 4 should you upgrade?

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs Galaxy Z Flip 4: The Battle of the Folding Phones

Galaxy Z Flip 5 (left) and Galaxy Z Flip 4

Your boring old rigid smartphone is no longer the future. The future is foldable, and while folding and flipping phones are still very much in their infancy as far as market share goes, they’re definitely a growing part of the smartphone sector. Samsung is now on its fifth generation of foldable phones, and if any company can be said to have cracked the code on folding, it’s Samsung. While the Z Fold series with its massive screen is cool, it’s hard to beat the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5‘s clamshell-style flip-fold for convenience. That, along with the lower price, means it’s likely to be the folding phone style for many.

At $1,000, the new Z Flip 5 brings upgraded hardware and a gorgeous new outer display that’s almost twice the size of the outer screen on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4. It’s a clear upgrade over its predecessor, but is it worth spending your hard-earned cash on the new Z Flip 5 if you already own the Z Flip 4? We took a look at the two to find out.

Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 4: Specs

It’s fair to say these two smartphones have a lot in common. Samsung has preserved the same basic design, with a clamshell vertical fold, rather than the book-like horizontal fold on the Z Fold series. The weights are identical, and the dimensions are extremely similar. There’s the same internal 6.7-inch display with a dynamic 1-120Hz refresh rate, and both also have an IPX8 rating for water resistance. But there are some significant differences between the two, and that’s where the Z Flip 5 stands out.

The most obvious difference is seen above: the outer screen. The Z Flip 4’s outer 1.9-inch display lets you see notifications and access Samsung Wallet cards, settings, and some widgets. It also acts as a viewfinder for the main camera, so you can take selfies with the stronger camera suite. But it still pales in comparison to the Z Flip 5’s 3.4-inch display, which is, simply put, better. The larger size means it’s a lot more useful, being only 0.1-inch smaller than the original iPhone’s display, and it supports more widgets and apps, and even has a full-size keyboard. While you can force apps and games to play on the Z Flip 4’s outer screen, it’s a workaround, and they’ll feel a lot less cramped on the Z Flip 5 when following a similar process. By comparison, the Z Flip 5 lets you run a handful of apps right out of the box — including WhatsApp, Google/Samsung Messages, Google Maps, YouTube, and Netflix.

Less obviously, the improved hinge on the Z Flip 5 also folds down flatter than on the Z Flip 4, which had a slight triangular profile when folded flat. That difference is small but notable, and it makes the folding process feel just a bit more complete. The new hinge is also slightly smoother, though it remains to be seen how this feels over time.

Durability is largely the same, though. Both are premium flagship phones made from aluminum and glass. The IP rating is IPX8, which means neither rates at all well for resistance to dust, but can resist immersion of beyond 1 meter in water, which is impressive when you consider how many moving parts each phone has in its hinge.

The winner here is clear; it has to go to the Galaxy Z Flip 5’s larger outer screen and improved hinge.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 4: Performance and Battery

Flagship phones deliver flagship performance, and that’s what we’ve come to expect. Both the Z Flip 5 and Z Flip 4 deliver here, thanks to the premium Snapdragon architecture under the hood. The Flip 4 uses the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, while the Flip 5 uses the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. So yes, the newer phone definitely has the edge in pure power, but in real terms, you’re unlikely to see much of a difference when using your phone day-to-day, and the older chip will also run the latest 3D games without a hitch. While the Galaxy Z Flip 5 technically has an edge, it’s not something worth upgrading over.

Battery performance should be similar, as both phones have 3,700mAh batteries. While the newer Snapdragon chip on the Z Flip 5 may mean it has some power efficiency tricks the older Z Flip 4 doesn’t have, we’re still expecting the Z Flip 5 to also deliver around a day’s worth of battery life. That’s not an incredible result by any means, but neither is it terrible. Both phones also sport the same charging specs: 25-watt fast wired charging, 15W wireless charging, and 4.5W reverse wireless charging. Again, not stellar, but acceptable.

While we noted it’s not worth upgrading based on the improvements offered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, it’s undeniable that it offers an advantage over the older processor, so we’re giving this round to the Galaxy Z Flip 5.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 4: Camera

Samsung has a hard-won reputation for camera excellence, and so it’s a bit of a disappointment that the Galaxy Z Flip 5 doesn’t come with any real improvements to the camera system from the Z Flip 4. Both have a dual-lens setup on the back, comprising a 12-megapixel main wide-angle lens and a 12MP ultrawide lens, with a 10MP ultrawide selfie lens inside on the main display. Samsung has made some improvements to the glass for the Z Flip 5, but nothing else has been changed. Admittedly, the Z Flip 4’s camera is solid, but it’s basically the same setup we’ve seen since the Z Flip 3, and it’s desperately in need of a refresh if it’s going to challenge the best camera phones out there.

One of the neater tricks that both can boast, though, is the ability to take selfies with their rear camera lenses. By using the outer screen as a viewfinder, you can fine-tune your selfie shot with the higher-quality rear camera, giving you an even better shot. Or, you can use the Flip’s ability to stay open half-propped to take remote captures that no non-folding phone can replicate without a stand.

There’s nothing to separate these two here; this is a tie.

Winner: Tie

Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 4: Software and Updates

Being Samsung phones, both of these use Samsung’s One UI skin over the top of Android. It’s a good interface, with plenty of customization options and none of the bloatware and lag that stained earlier versions of Samsung’s Android skins — like the much despised TouchWiz. The Galaxy Z Flip 5 ships with One UI 5.1.1 over Android 13, but the Galaxy Z Flip 4 has received updates to get it to that same version, so that’s not much of an advantage for the newer phone.

Update speeds are also likely to be broadly similar. While we expect the Z Flip 5 will get faster updates, it won’t be by a huge amount, and while the Z Flip 5 will get one more new version of Android than the Z Flip 4, the Z Flip 4 will still get four years of updates — so you’re likely to upgrade before you run out of updates anyway.

It’s another tie. Both of these phones have Android 13 and solid promises of updates for the future.

Winner: Tie

Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 4: Special Features

This is a tough one to judge because so much of what makes each phone special is in the hinge; the flip-fold is special by itself, but both the Flip 5 and Z Flip 4 have it, meaning it’s not much of a factor in a competition. It is pretty amazing, though. Take Flex mode as an example. When enabled, you can use the bottom half of the Z Flip exclusively for controls, leaving the top part open. It looks like an old-school Nintendo DS that’s been transported to a wild future, and it’s an excellent use of the phone’s flipping ability. As mentioned earlier, you can also half-open the phone to leave it propped up, like you might with a kickstand.

All of those are the same on both phones, though. The only extra special feature the Z Flip 5 has going for it is the larger cover screen, but since that already won the display round, it can’t really be brought into the discussion here. It’s another tie.

Winner: Tie

Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 4: Price and Availability

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 will be available for purchase from August 11, and as is now tradition, it will start from $1,000. It will be available from a number of retailers and carriers, and you’re likely to be able to find it anywhere smartphones are solid.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is currently available, and it also starts from $1,000, though expect to see some price drops once the next version is out. Like its successor, you’ll be able to find this in a number of retailers, and it’ll work on most carriers. The main difference is that the Galaxy Z Flip 5 has 256GB base storage, while the Z Flip 4 has just 128GB.

Overall Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

It’s a win for the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5, but a much narrower one than we’d anticipated. Outside of the addition of a larger cover screen (which is excellent, don’t get us wrong) and some updated innards, Samsung hasn’t really done much but fine-tune the formula it’s been using for a few years now. So while the Z Flip 5 is clearly the better phone, when it comes to whether you should ditch your Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 for its successor, the answer is an emphatic “no”.

By all means, do it if you have the money and desire, but keep in mind that all you’re really getting is a slightly faster processor and a larger outside screen. The Z Flip 4 still delivers much the same experience as its older sibling, so our advice is to hold on to your phone for at least another year, and think about upgrading to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 or 7 instead.