Samsung is the top dog for foldable phones, and in 2023, all eyes are on what the company will do with the Galaxy Z Fold 5. This will be Samsung’s fifth attempt at a flagship folding smartphone, and this year, it’ll be entering an unusually competitive market.
Google launched the Pixel Fold in July, OnePlus is expected to release its first foldable phone this year, and there’s mounting competition from the likes of Huawei and Honor. So, how will Samsung ensure it stands out from the crowd? Here’s everything we currently know about the Galaxy Z Fold 5.
You can expect the Galaxy Z Fold 5 to retain a very similar form factor as the Galaxy Z Fold 4. This means it’ll likely feature a narrow cover display and an almost bezel-less foldable display on the inside. We don’t expect Samsung to go the Oppo and Google way to make the cover display wider and offer the inner screen in a horizontal aspect ratio.
As per the first Z Fold 5 renders shared by Technizo Concept and YouTuber Super Roader, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 will look similar to the Fold 4. It lines with the prototype images we saw via Naver in January. The next Samsung Fold is also likely to feature a proper IP rating for dust and water resistance.
We got a better look at more renders in May from Smartprix. The publication states that the Z Fold 5 will feature different dimensions from its predecessor but retain the same screen sizes. It reiterates that the Galaxy Z Fold 5 will feature a new droplet hinge mechanism, which is touted to ensure that there are no gaps when the device is folded.
For reference, all Samsung foldables released to date have had a gap around the hinge when closed. This is not the case with foldable phones that feature a water-drop hinge mechanism. But Samsung’s take allows its devices to have a firm hinge, so it can support Flex Mode at any angle.
A recent tweet from Twitter user @UniverseIce states that the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 will use a water drop hinge, but the crease will be larger than on Chinese brands of mobile phones. The end result for the Z Fold 5 crease will be similar to the Fold 4, with only a 15% reduction.
Another recent tweet from leaker @chunvn8888 states that Samsung will be adding dust resistance to the Galaxy Z Fold 5, as well as the Galaxy Z Flip 5.
While Samsung has offered an IPX8 rating for water resistance since the Galaxy Z Fold 3, the Z Fold 5 might be getting an IP58 dust- and water-resistance rating. This would be higher than the IPX8 rating on the Fold 4 and Flip 4, and the first time Samsung’s foldables will have an official rating for dust resistance. However, the most recent rumors seem to backtrack on this, with Twitter user @IceUniverse saying that the Z Fold 5 will not meet the IP58 dust-proof standard.
As we get closer to Samsung’s next Galaxy Unpacked event taking place on July 26, we have some new hands-on images of what appears to be the Galaxy Z Fold 5, as well as more renders. In these hands-on photos, we can see that there is no longer a gap when the phone is closed shut, thanks to the new hinge design.
This also means the center crease will be less visible as well. Also, on the rear, we have slightly larger camera rings and a repositioned LED flash. While the camera setup is the same, it should have better processing power to deliver better results.
We also have some new renders of what the final product will look like as we approach the next Galaxy Unpacked event. Though these renders don’t show a good angle where we can see if there indeed isn’t a gap when closed, the above hands-on photos should be good enough for that, if true.
But we can see that it will still retain the tall and narrow candy bar form factor and the camera island. But the flash is repositioned, just like the photos above.
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is tipped to play upon the same tried and tested formula of offering a 6.2-inch cover display and a 7.6-inch inner screen. Both of these are likely to be AMOLED panels with support for a 120Hz refresh rate.
The smartphone could be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor. We expect it to be the “Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy” version, similar to what’s found on the Galaxy S23 series.
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is said to support 25W fast charging on the 4,400mAh battery. While that’s the same battery size found in the Z Fold 4, you are likely to get a better battery life out of it because of the more efficient processor. It might run Android 13 based on a newer version of One UI out of the box. The Z Fold 5 is rumored to sell in three major color options: beige, black, and light blue. Samsung might also have some exclusive color variants on its website.
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is said to retain the same triple rear camera setup found on the Galaxy Z Fold 4. This includes a 50MP primary camera, 10MP telephoto sensor with support for 3x optical zoom, and a 12MP ultrawide-angle camera. You are likely to get a 12MP selfie shooter on the cover display, while we expect some sort of improvement in the quality of the 4MP under-display camera on the inside.
The camera setup on the Galaxy Z Fold 4 wasn’t flagship-grade. While it’s still better than almost all other foldables on the market, it is far behind Samsung’s slab flagship, the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Moreover, the under-display selfie shooter on the inside isn’t of very good quality on the current-gen foldable. It captures below-average photos and is just OK for video calls. We expect Samsung to work on improving the in-display selfie shooter’s quality.
The latest leak suggests that Samsung will be releasing the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 earlier than usual. The last two devices in Samsung’s foldable lineup were released in the second week of August. But this time around, Samsung has confirmed that it will be holding an Unpacked event in Seoul, Korea on July 26 for its “next-generation foldable devices.” We’re definitely expecting the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 to be revealed during the event, along with some other devices, with the possibility that they go on sale to the public not long after.
There is no word on the Galaxy Z Fold 5 price. It is expected to launch at the same price as the Galaxy Z Fold 4, that is, $1,799. This is the same price as Google’s recently-announced Pixel Fold, which is slated to go on sale starting late June or early July.
A nonexistent crease
The Honor Magic Vs showed us that big foldable smartphones can have better hinge designs to reduce the crease. The gearless hinge holds the two sections of the Magic Vs together, and there is no gap between the two parts when closed. Surprisingly, there is minimal crease when unfolded. The Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold has a similar design with a lesser crease than the Galaxy Z Fold 4.
It is time for Samsung to overhaul its hinge approach for the bigger foldable. It’s used the same design for a while now, and it still rules the U.S. market, but only because the Honor, Xiaomi, and Oppo foldables aren’t available in the country. But if Samsung wants to seriously compete with other foldables in Europe or Asia, the company needs to rework the crease to make it less visible.
Better battery life and faster charging
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 packs the same size battery as the Galaxy Z Fold 3 at 4,400mAh, which also charges at the same 25 watts. It’s 2023, and 25W is simply not enough for any flagship smartphone. Fortunately, the Galaxy S23 Plus and Galaxy S23 Ultra offer 45W fast charging, so I expect the tech to come to the more expensive Fold series this year.
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 lasts me all day only on moderate use. If I use it to its full potential with multitasking and navigation, my battery anxiety kicks in by the evening. For a phone that starts at $1,800 and almost demands you use it regularly, that’s not ideal.
Big camera improvements
I don’t expect the 200MP camera from the Galaxy S23 Ultra to come to the Galaxy Z Fold 5, but I’d still like to see better camera performance. A 50MP primary camera like on the Fold 4 should be enough, but the telephoto and ultrawide cameras shouldn’t feel like an afterthought.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra and the S23 Ultra have spoiled me with their zoom capabilities. I hope Samsung gives us a better zoom camera this time around. I click a lot of 3x and 10x photos now, and the Fold 4 just doesn’t cut it for the latter.
Plus, the selfie shooter present under the folding display isn’t the best. It still puts out fuzzy photos. I hope that things will improve with the Galaxy Z Fold 5. This mixed camera performance was easier to forgive a couple of years ago, but as the Z Fold enters its fifth generation, it’s high time Samsung makes some big camera improvements.
Integrated S Pen slot
It is likely that the Galaxy Z Fold 5 will have S Pen support because the previous two generations of the series supported the stylus. But Samsung didn’t provide a built-in S Pen slot on either device. And it’s incredibly annoying. If I am using a stylus with my phone, I want a place to keep it with the phone.
The bad news? Current rumors suggest Samsung is not including an S Pen slot on the Z Fold 5. It’s reported the company was toying with the idea but ultimately decided not to move forward with it as a result of it taking up too much space. We’ll have to wait until we see the final product to know for sure what happens here, but I have my fingers crossed that Samsung finds a way to make the S Pen slot a reality.
A thinner and lighter design
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is a handful. It’s a big device and I expect it to weigh a lot, but making it thinner and lighter is definitely on my list.
Samsung worked on the design to shed about 8 grams on the Fold 4 compared to the Fold 3. It made a difference, but after using the Oppo Find N foldable, my expectations of what my wrists can handle with a big foldable phone have changed. The Oppo phone is smaller, yes, but it still sets a remarkable example for the design of all foldables. Finding additional ways to reduce the Z Fold’s footprint is no small task, but it’s one I hope Samsung is working on.
A wider cover display
The current 6.2-inch screen size on the Z Fold 4’s cover display seems enough on paper, but in practice, it’s a bit odd to use. I’m someone whose messages are filled with typos even if I’m typing on the big screen of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, so the slim profile of the Fold 4 cover display makes it harder for me to type without mistakes.
Using the Oppo Find N was a much better experience with the cover screen. It’s smaller and wider and works like any other slab smartphone. I don’t want the same dimensions for the Galaxy Z Fold 5, but having a wider and shorter display might help the ergonomics — while also improving my typing capabilities.
Make it less expensive
The $1,800 price tag of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is a lot to consider. The foldable form factor is no more a niche segment. There are better-designed foldables like the Oppo Find N2 at a cheaper price tag than the Fold 4. Samsung’s high prices were easier to justify with the Z Fold 2 and original Galaxy Fold, but it’s time we see prices become (somewhat) reasonable.
It’s not usual for a company to drop the price of its next iteration, and I’d love to see a less expensive Fold 5.