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Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5 finally fixes the foldable’s biggest problem

The $999 clamshell features a larger external display and upgraded silicon; it arrives August 11

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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
Image Credits: Brian Heater

The Pixel Fold may be my personal favorite foldable of the moment, but the Galaxy Z Flip is the device that made me believe — and you can never take that away from it. The first Galaxy Fold was novel, of course, but the product has always been a bit unwieldy and prohibitively expensive. The first Flip arrived with a take on the space that was new and retro, all at once.

Most of us left the world of clamshells long ago, of course, but the form factor always made sense. Price aside, the distinction between the Flip and Fold is a matter of preference — do you value portability or the largest screen possible? The new Galaxy Z Fold has you covered on the latter, with a 7.6-inch screen to the Flip’s 6.5 inches, which places it more the realm of large phones, rather than tablets.

But the Flip has always been the ultimate piece of portability. It’s a great-looking device that slips comfortably in your pocket. It’s the first foldable that I could really see myself owning. That was helped along significantly by its price tag. Obviously the Overton window of pricing has shifted considerably when we consider a $1,000 phone affordable, but keep in mind the Fold was a hair under $2,000 at launch (it’s since fallen to an almost as unreasonable $1,800).

Image Credits: Brian Heater

While the original Flip was a breath of fresh air, it certainly wasn’t perfect. Among its biggest issues was the impractical external display. There’s not a whole hell of a lot you can do with 1.1 inches. Things have gradually gotten better over the generations, culminating with last year’s 1.9-inch external screen. Announced today at Unpacked in Seoul, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 finally blows the lid off that sucker.

Unlike, say the Galaxy Z Fold or Pixel Fold, the new Flip’s screen is still fairly limited in its functionality, but the 3.4-inch AMOLED (720 x 748 resolution at 306 ppi) is still huge (figuratively speaking) for the line. Unlike earlier versions, which were effectively a horizon strip, the new display finally takes up the lion’s share of the front panel. While that removes some of the color pop that made the original so charming, it’s a small price to pay.

The screen can be used for selfies (there’s a camera icon in the corner of the default desktop), along with assorted app shortcuts. Flipping through, you can toggle between a bunch of useful Samsung apps, including weather and calendar, with support for more selections soon. Like previous iterations, it’s more of an “at a glance” feature, rather than full functional desktop, but it presents a lot more useful information, and is frankly a bigger update than anything introduced with the Fold 5. There are currently a dozen widgets to choose from.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

There are a few other notable upgrades on the hardware side. The front-facing camera bumps from 10 megapixel to 12 and has a new coating. That, when paired with improved silicon, should enhance low-light shooting (and will generally look better on that larger external screen). As with the Fold 5, the SoC has been upgraded to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy that was introduced for the Galaxy S23 earlier this year. It’s a customized version of Qualcomm’s latest flagship with tweaks that bring things like improved imaging performance. One more thing worth noting on that front — the baseline storage has been upgraded from 128GB to 256, while retaining the same starting price. That can be upgraded to 512GB, though both options have the same 8GB of RAM (to the new Fold’s 12). The battery capacity stays the same this time out at 3,700mAh.

The main screen is the same size as its predecessor. It’s 6.7 inches with a 2640 x 1080 resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. It retains that somewhat awkward 22:9 aspect ratio. I wholly understand that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea compared to the Fold’s more cinema-friendly 21.6×18, but that’s what you get with this form factor. Unless you make the device considerably wider, you’re going to get a long, skinny screen (see also: the Fold’s external display).

Image Credits: Brian Heater

The Flip 5 features Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the front and rear and is rated IPX8 water resistant — both the same as the new Fold. Also like the Fold, it goes on sale August 6. Unlike earlier versions, there’s no bespoke option here, likely owing to the new, larger external display.

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