Samsung's Next-Gen Flip phone
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 represents a turning point for foldable phones. Building on previous models, it finally delivers signature features to differentiate itself in a crowded market. While the $1,079 price remains ultra-premium, meaningful improvements make this futuristic phone far more practical for everyday use.
Massive Cover Screen Upends One-Handed Use
The headlining enhancement is the Galaxy Z Flip 5’s expansive new cover display, dubbed the Flex Window by Samsung. This exterior panel blows up to a far more useful 3.4 inches, dwarfing the previous model’s minuscule 1.9 inches.
Having such a spacious auxiliary screen transforms one-handed use. There’s finally enough room for glanceable widgets and quick interactions without needing to unfold the phone. It’s an absolute joy flipping through music controls, calendar appointments, notifications and more on the svelte display. This makes the Z Flip 5 feel like a whole different device compared to its cramped ancestors.
Samsung also nails the user experience, keeping the compact interface clean yet intuitive. Smart touches like pinch gesturing to view all widgets make navigation a breeze. While not every app seamlessly supports the cover screen yet, all the basics like messaging, maps and music are present right out of the box. The Good Lock add-on expands compatibility further.
The Z Flip 5 makes core tasks blissfully convenient on the petite display. Rapidly responding to texts, snapping quick photos, checking directions and more sans ever opening up. For all the hype around folding screens, this shrunken exterior panel may be the Z Flip 5’s secret weapon. It single-handedly transforms the value proposition.
Seamless New Hinge Provides Visual Polish
Beyond the display, Samsung gave the Z Flip 5 a redesigned seamless hinge. This new hardware allows the phone to close completely flush with zero gap. Fittingly finishing off the premium design aesthetics.
The upgrade was a necessary move, as competitors like the Motorola Razr 2022 already eliminated the unsightly gap between screens that plagued earlier models. The Z Flip 5 finally feels visually cohesive and intentional when shut. No more crumbs and particles accumulating in the crevice either.
Samsung says the re-engineered hinge also has fewer moving parts for enhanced durability. And the updated mechanism better absorbs shocks and impacts. While long-term reliability remains unproven over years of use, the hardware itself certainly feels rigid and tough for a folding design.
When unfolded outward, a slight crease still persists down the center of the interior display. But it feels subtly flatter and less pronounced versus prior generations. The Motorola Razr’s screen may still have the edge in true seamlessness. However, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 impresses with a sturdier build overall. For those wanting a folding phone that stands out from the sea of slab designs, the Z Flip 5’s revamped hinge provides serious styling points.
Powerful Performance Matches 2023 Flagship Standards
Processing performance inside the Galaxy Z Flip 5 lives up to expectations for an expensive 2023 flagship. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset customized for Samsung provides swift speed on par with other cutting-edge phones this year.
Apps launch instantly without delay or lag. Demanding 3D games like Genshin Impact also run impressively smooth, thanks to the Adreno 740 GPU rendering all the graphical details.
Synthetic benchmarks back up the real-world findings. The Z Flip 5 clocks over 5000 points in Geekbench’s multi-core CPU test, reflecting exceptional proficiency in handling intense workloads. And around 3500 points in 3DMark’s gruelling Wild Life benchmark cements the new Snapdragon’s elite graphics capabilities.
Multitasking also flows effortlessly with apps switching in the background without slowdown. Unlocking the phone via the convenient side fingerprint reader feels lightning quick as well.
For a phone focused heavily on novel hardware, it’s reassuring to see flagship-tier internals inside. The Z Flip 5 handles demanding loads as capably as traditional slabs like the Galaxy S23 series. There’s no need to compromise on performance just to reap the unique folding benefits.
Camera Hardware Stays Steady But Software Squeezes Out Improvements
With emphasis clearly on the exterior, Samsung made a few upgrades to the Galaxy Z Flip 5’s imaging hardware this year. You still get 12-megapixel wide and ultrawide lenses, plus a 10-megapixel hole-punch selfie cam up front.
However, a new anti-flare lens coating aims to reduce unwanted light artifacts. The upgraded Snapdragon platform uses its computational photography prowess to boost processing for sharper, more vibrant photos.
Shots impress with excellent colour reproduction and crisp details in ideal daytime settings. However image quality deteriorates faster as shadows and mixed lighting creep in. The small sensors can’t match the sheer imaging capabilities of titans like the Galaxy S23 Ultra or Google Pixel 7 Pro. But for most purposes, the Z Flip 5’s cameras document life’s adventures more than adequately for social sharing.
And flipping the script on photography remains a huge appeal of the foldable form. Angling the phone on a surface for impromptu hands-free group shots is tremendously convenient. The cover screen provides a preview for higher-quality selfies with the rear cameras. Composition benefits greatly from the expansive new display as well.
For all the utility provided by its folding ways, the Z Flip 5 still merits more advanced low light and telephoto gear to fully deliver on its photography promises. But for casual shooting, it reliably captures memorable moments fine on both sides.
Inventive Software Features Enhance Hardware Potential
Flipping and folding the Galaxy Z Flip 5 enables special capabilities you won’t find on staid slabs. Inventive modes like Flex Mode prove genuinely handy by optimizing the layout for the bendable display.
Setting the phone at an angle shifts the interface top and bottom. This makes the Z Flip 5 excellent for hands-free video calls, watching widescreen media, and taking photos. The custom UIs designed around the double-folded form factor feel intuitive.
Apps also smartly switch between cover and main displays for a seamless experience. What you see on the petite exterior screen instantly transitions to the larger canvas when unfurling. Everything feels continuous.
These software touches accentuate the versatile nature of the folding hardware. Rather than just a parlour trick, the malleable industrial design enables real utility benefits. Samsung expands the possibilities of what a phone can do through thoughtful features that embrace the unique build.
Mainstream Appeal Rising Despite Ultra-Premium Pricing
With a cost of $1,079 unlocked, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 still commands an ultra-premium price. That’s hundreds above more conventional flagships like the $799 Galaxy S23.
Of course, you’re paying more for the exotic folding construction versus tried-and-true slabs. But Samsung is clearly positioning this model as a viable alternative to mainstream phones for early adopters.
Between significant upgrades and increased competition, foldables are undeniably going to mass market in 2023. Each iteration makes their practical case more compelling beyond novelty.
For those seeking a versatile phone that stands out with a sleek design, the Z Flip 5 makes a very strong case over its predecessors. While not affordable to all buyers, the functionality enhancements bring this futuristic form factor closer to the mainstream than ever before.
Galaxy Z Flip 5 Specification
|Body||Dimensions||Unfolded: 165.1 x 71.9 x 6.9 mm|
Folded: 85.1 x 71.9 x 15.1 mm
|Weight||187 g (6.60 oz)|
|Build||Plastic front (unfolded), glass back (Gorilla Glass Victus 2), aluminum frame|
|SIM||Nano-SIM and eSIM|
|Features||IPX8 water-resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 min)|
Armour aluminum frame with tougher drop and scratch resistance (advertised)
|Display||Type||Foldable Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1750 nits (peak)|
|Size||6.7 inches, 102.0 cm2 (~85.9% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||1080 x 2640 pixels (~425 ppi density)|
|Cover display||Super AMOLED, 3.4 inches, 720 x 748 pixels (Gorilla Glass Victus 2), 306 ppi|
|Platform||OS||Android 13, One UI 5.1.1|
|Chipset||Qualcomm SM8550-AC Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (4 nm)|
|CPU||Octa-core (1×3.36 GHz Cortex-X3 & 2×2.8 GHz Cortex-A715 & 2×2.8 GHz Cortex-A710 & 3×2.0 GHz Cortex-A510)|
|Internal||256GB 8GB RAM, 512GB 8GB RAM|
|Main Camera||Dual||12 MP, f/1.8, 24mm (wide), 1/1.76″, 1.8µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS|
12 MP, f/2.2, 123˚ (ultrawide), 1.12µm
|Features||LED flash, HDR, panorama|
|Video||4K@30/60fps, 1080p@60/240fps, 720p@960fps, HDR10+|
|Selfie Camera||Single||10 MP, f/2.2, 23mm (wide), 1.22µm|
|Sound||Loudspeaker||Yes, with stereo speakers|
|Comms||WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e, tri-band, Wi-Fi Direct|
|Bluetooth||5.3, A2DP, LE|
|Positioning||GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS|
|USB||USB Type-C 3.2, OTG|
|Features||Sensors||Fingerprint (side-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer|
|Battery||Type||Li-Po 3700 mAh, non-removable|
|Charging||25W wired, 50% in 30 min (advertised)|
4.5W reverse wireless
|Misc||Colours||Mint, Graphite, Cream, Lavender, Gray, Blue, Green, Yellow|
|Models||SM-F731B, SM-F731B/DS, SM-F731U, SM-F731U1, SM-F731W, SM-F731N|
Conclusion: The Most Polished Flip Phone Yet
The Galaxy Z Flip 5 hits a turning point for foldable with its expansive cover display, sophisticated design, lightning speed and folding-focused features. For those seeking a versatile phone that stands out, it makes a compelling case despite the sky-high pricing.
The revamped cover screen steals the show by massively improving quick interactions without opening the phone. Meanwhile, visual polish gets elevated by the new seamless hinge closing flush. Performance stands up to 2023 flagships thanks to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. While the camera hardware remains the same, software enhancements squeeze out better quality. And inventive modes like Flex optimize the folding abilities.
So while still extremely expensive, the Z Flip 5’s upgrades make it the most well-rounded flip phone to date. For early adopters seeking a versatile folding phone that stands out, it presents a very convincing package and a huge step toward a mainstream appeal. The functionality enhancements over previous generations bring this futuristic form factor another step toward mainstream viability.