Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 review slightly improved but satisfactory

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 review slightly improved but satisfactory

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5: A Marginal Advancement in Foldable Technology

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Samsung has released its latest foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Z Fold 5. While the differences between the Z Fold 4 and the Z Fold 5 may seem minimal, it’s these incremental advancements that continue to push the boundaries of foldable technology. At first glance, the Z Fold 5 is just two millimeters thinner than its predecessor, measuring 13.4mm when folded. However, this device offers more than meets the eye.

Nudging the Envelope Forward

The Z Fold 5 may not be the revolutionary device that brings foldables into the mainstream, but it is an impressive piece of technology nonetheless. Samsung has made slight improvements, such as a brighter inside screen, a new hinge that allows for a completely flat fold, and the inclusion of the latest Qualcomm processor. However, there are still significant barriers to adoption, such as the lack of dust resistance, the considerable weight, and the hefty price tag of $1,800. In comparison, traditional smartphones offer lighter, more durable options at a lower cost. If you weren’t swayed by the Z Fold 4, the Z Fold 5 is unlikely to change your mind.

The Good

  • Powerful multitasking features with a sleek inner screen experience.
  • New hinge folds flat.
  • Good software support policy, including four OS upgrades.

The Bad

  • Still expensive.
  • Still chunky and relatively heavy.
  • Long-term durability is still uncertain.

Of course, the Z Fold 5 isn’t just competing with its predecessor; it now faces a new challenger—the Google Pixel Fold. While the Pixel Fold offers certain advantages, such as a stronger camera and a landscape-oriented design, Samsung’s device still holds the lead in several areas.

Multitasking Made Seamless

One of the standout features of the Z Fold 5 is its multitasking capabilities. Samsung has spent years engineering clever software solutions to overcome the challenges of using a foldable device in a world designed for smaller screens. The Z Fold 5 excels at multitasking, allowing users to effortlessly set up multi-window views and save their preferred configurations for quick access. The Google Pixel Fold, on the other hand, lacks these features, making the Z Fold 5 the superior option for users who value seamless multitasking experiences.

Aesthetics and Ergonomics

While the Z Fold 5 boasts slight improvements in size and weight compared to the Pixel Fold, it is still a chunky device, especially when folded closed. Using it for extended periods in this state can be uncomfortable, as the weight is not evenly distributed. When open, the Z Fold 5 becomes a two-handed device, making it less appealing for those who prefer one-handed phone use. The long and narrow dimensions of the outer screen can also be challenging, particularly when typing, requiring more precision than usual.

On the other hand, the inner display offers a peak brightness of 1750 nits, making it easy to use even under direct sunlight. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset powering the Z Fold 5 remains cool even during prolonged gaming sessions, ensuring optimal performance.

Pushing the Boundaries of Software

Samsung’s software updates for the Z Fold 5 may be minor but impactful. The ability to drag and drop content between apps or organize the home screen is an example of the thoughtful optimizations they have made. These improvements, combined with the expansive inner screen, provide an unparalleled user experience. The Z Fold 5’s software capabilities outshine those of the Pixel Fold, offering users a range of powerful features that make the most of the large display.

An Ecosystem Ahead of Its Time

The Z Fold 5 often outpaces the mobile ecosystem it resides in, highlighting the limitations of certain apps and web experiences. The device is equipped to handle more than most mobile apps allow, leading to occasional frustrations. For instance, using the Gmail app’s tablet configuration on the Z Fold 5’s inner screen provides a great user interface but falls short when you want to select multiple messages for deletion. In contrast, the mobile web version of Gmail lacks essential features like message selection. While these discrepancies can be inconvenient, they showcase the Z Fold 5’s potential for expanded functionality beyond traditional smartphone capabilities.

Endurance for the Heavy User

One of the Z Fold 5’s most notable improvements is its battery life. With a full day of heavy use, including five hours of screen-on time, the device still retains around 10% battery life by bedtime. Even with moderate usage, the Z Fold 5 typically has around 40% remaining at the end of the day. While extended usage of the inner screen may drain the battery faster, the Z Fold 5 provides a reliable battery performance, alleviating the anxiety of midday recharging.

Durability and Camera Performance

Durability remains a concern for foldable devices, and the Z Fold 5 shares similar characteristics with its predecessor. While it features a new hinge that is aesthetically pleasing and reportedly more impact-resistant, it still lacks dust resistance. As a result, using a folding phone in dusty environments remains unadvised. On the bright side, Samsung’s commitment to software support shines, with the Z Fold 5 guaranteeing four years of OS upgrades and five years of security updates—one more OS upgrade than the Pixel Fold.

In terms of camera performance, the Z Fold 5 is unremarkable given its high price tag. It uses the same triple rear camera setup as previous Samsung flagships, with results that are good but not exceptional. Google’s Pixel Fold offers a 5x telephoto lens and more consistent image processing. While the Z Fold 5’s portraits have their own appeal, particularly in well-lit conditions, its processing can sometimes result in a cardboard cutout effect. It does, however, offer impressive video recording capabilities, supporting up to 8K/24p resolution.

A Narrow Lead

Comparing the Z Fold 5 to its predecessor, it offers marginal improvements that make a difference in extended usage scenarios. However, for most individuals, a traditional slab-style smartphone offers comparable performance at a lower cost. The real competition lies between the Z Fold 5 and the Pixel Fold, with the former edging out as the better option overall.

While the Pixel Fold excels in certain areas, such as camera performance and its preferred landscape orientation, the Z Fold 5 surpasses it in the crucial aspects of weight, multitasking, and battery life. However, users who prioritize Google’s photo processing or are averse to the tall-and-narrow design of the Z Fold 5 when closed may find the Pixel Fold more appealing.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Closing Thoughts

Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 5 represents a step forward in the world of foldable technology. While it may not revolutionize the smartphone market, this device showcases Samsung’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of what is possible. The Z Fold 5 offers a seamless multitasking experience, a stunning inner display, and all-day battery life. It sets a high standard for foldable devices, even though the gap between Samsung and its competitors is closing.

Despite the hefty price tag and the lingering questions about durability, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 stands as a testament to Samsung’s dedication to innovation and the future of mobile technology. As Samsung continues to refine its foldable series, it must strive for more significant advancements to maintain its leading position in the market. For now, however, the Z Fold 5 represents a compelling choice for those seeking a versatile and powerful smartphone experience.

Photography by Allison Johnson

Agree to Continue: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Z Flip 5

Every smart device now requires users to agree to extensive terms and conditions before use. While most people simply click “agree” without reading the contracts, it is essential to highlight the terms users must accept to utilize the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 or Z Flip 5:

  • Samsung’s Terms and Conditions.
  • Samsung’s Privacy Policy.
  • Google Terms of Service (including Privacy Policy).
  • Google Play Terms of Service.
  • Automatic installs from Google, Samsung, and the user’s carrier.

In addition to these mandatory agreements, there are numerous optional ones, including sharing diagnostic data with Samsung, utilizing Samsung services for personalized ads and suggestions, and Bixby’s privacy policy. The final tally reveals a minimum of five compulsory agreements and at least ten optional ones, making it crucial for users to be aware of the terms they are accepting.