Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Review: A Punchy Flex

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Review: A Punchy Flex

Flip phones like the Galaxy Z Flip 5 are a double-edged sword when it comes to photography. For one thing, they tend to have disappointing camera hardware with small sensors. This is because interior space is at a premium given the need for hinges and moving components. On the other hand, partially folded cell phones are perfect for hands-free photography, creative angles, and long exposure photography.

These semi-expensive superpowers have a lot to do with why we love the Galaxy Z Flip 4, even if the camera itself isn't all that impressive. With the Z Flip 5, it looks like Samsung is re-using last year's camera setup, combining two 12MP cameras next to the cover display and a 10MP selfie camera above the main display.

While the Z Flip 5's camera still competes with its main rival, the Motorola RAZR 40 Ultra, Oppo's new Find N3 Flip heats up the image space of the foldable phone announced for the Asian market, with a larger sensor and a telephoto camera with a wide screen. : .

So, can Samsung rest on its popular camera hardware, or is the foldable Z Flip 5 good enough to reign supreme?

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5: Design

If you've ever used a Galaxy Z Flip 4, you know exactly what to expect when you try to hold the Z Flip 5. The dimensions are the same except for the curved edges.

At 187g, the Z Flip 5 is a little lighter than most phones with its large 6.7-inch screen, but it feels solid, especially when closed. Its striking presence has a lot to do with the phone's very smooth sides and flat front and back. There are no ergonomic curves here, so you can expect it to feel like a slab.

Flip 5's visual style is rich and fresh thanks to the many fun color options. We spent the last month with the Mint color variant, but you can also get the Z Flip 5 in blue, graphite, khaki, blue, rose gold, purple, red, white and yellow. As if that wasn't enough, Samsung has also released a special retro version. Style is definitely the most important thing with this foldable phone.

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The ports, buttons and keys are the same as the Z Flip 4, with a combined power button and fingerprint scanner on the right side, as well as a volume rocker. There's a USB-C port on the bottom of the phone and speaker, and the SIM card slot is on the Flip 5's left side.

While the back is made of a polished glass panel (lighter colors look better as imperfections are less visible), the phone comes with a screen protector as standard. There you'll find two 12MP cameras and a new, larger screen with its unique shapes and unique interface, more on that later.

For a phone that's ultimately all about design, we actually found the Galaxy Z Flip 5's design to be a little self-assured and clinical. At the same time, the phone looks clean and we like the color options. The hinge is also one of the most secure we've used, holding it between 45° locked and fully open, and the fact that the phone is IPX8 waterproof puts it at the top of the list when it comes to finishing the phone. Longevity.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5. The screen

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Z Flip 5 has two screens: a 3.4-inch cover and a 6.9-inch main screen. When closed, you can use any app you want on the AMOLED overlay screen, and at 304 pixels per inch of brightness, it's pretty sharp. While it's not suitable for complex tasks like gaming or long-term typing, the screen surface is large enough to respond to WhatsApp or quickly navigate maps without straining your eyes.

Offering a much more intimate experience, the open main screen measures 6.7 inches with a resolution of 1080 x 2640 and a pixel density of 425 PPI. Sharp, bright, glossy, it looks great with deep, rich AMOLED blacks and vibrant colors.

As a foldable phone, the main screen of the Galaxy Z Flip 5 has a clearly visible horizontal notch in the middle. Unlike the Oppo Find N2 Flip and the Motorola RAZR 40 Ultra, the Samsung Flip has a deeper feel and feel, and is the least favorite of the three for everyday use. This is especially true in bright environments where light is caught, especially when viewing dark content. This doesn't detract from the overall solid dual-screen experience, and you'll probably get used to the fold quickly, but if you don't think you will, alternatives from Moto and Oppo are better in this regard.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5: Camera specifications

Wide angle. The Z Flip 5's main camera features the same sensor as the Z Flip 4, with a 1/1.76-inch sensor, 1.8 micron pixels, and f/1.8 aperture lens. The main camera is a 24mm lens and is paired with a wide focal length lens and is equipped with Dual Pixel PDAF and OIS.

Ultra wide angle. The ultra-wide-angle camera on the Z Flip 5 is identical to the camera on the Flip 3 and Flip 4, except that it has a 12MP resolution combined with an f/2.2 lens and takes photos with a wide field of view. 123˚. With 1.12 micron pixels, the ultra-thin device won't be a low-light champ given its specs.

Selfie camera. Open the phone and you'll see a selfie camera open in the middle of the screen. It's not the autofocus camera you'd expect from a Samsung flagship phone, but it's still a good 10MP sensor with an f/2.4 aperture and a 26mm wide-angle lens. However, you'll probably never use it, given that the main camera works in conjunction with the overlay screen for higher-quality selfies.

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The Galaxy Z Flip 5's camera uses the phone's Flex mode in the camera app, so the top half of the screen acts as the viewfinder when folded, and the bottom half as the shooting controls.

Flex mode is especially useful in Pro mode, with the top of the page showing your photos for free and the bottom showing manual shooting options.

Samsung wants the Z Flip 5 to act as a camera when recording videos. This allows for a more secure grip when shooting in landscape mode, although the Flip's soft, smooth sides mean you'll need to grip it when taking photos.

However, photos are limited to 12MP for maximum resolution, and you can record 4K videos at 60fps.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5: camera test

Photos taken with the Z Flip 5 look very rich and bright, far inferior to the simple sensor that boosts the experience. It looks like your phone is applying Instagram filters like Juno to add a little va-va-boom to the shots, and sometimes we were surprised by the results.

The optical focal length is as strong as western flip phones with wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle cameras. It's a shame that the ultra-wide camera loses autofocus, but at least the main camera gets OIS. This means a versatile experience, but zoom performance is modest.

The fact that both cameras have 12MP resolution means there's no room for hybrid zoom (where the high-resolution sensor allows for lossless zoom), so you'll notice a noticeable drop in footage after 1.5x zoom. However, if you choose wide angle and ultra wide angle, detail will be adequate, especially in brightly lit environments.

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A byproduct of the small sensor is poor dynamic range, but the Z Flip 5's auto mode fixes that with next-level computational photography. Samsung has packed the Z Flip 5 with advanced HDR and an auto night mode that can filter out highlight details and aggressively enhance shadows, which looked great in live preview.

The phone's Pro mode opens manual recording and lets you adjust the following settings: contrast, shadows, highlights, saturation, and color. This is the only way to access such a waterproof image.

Pro mode also highlights how poor dynamic range is without Samsung's Intelligent Auto software. Shots in direct light in Auto mode show bright white points in Pro mode, while in Auto mode it's an overly saturated blue sky or incandescent light.

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Focusing is fast and the Z Flip 5's main camera can capture beautifully blurred backgrounds on close-up subjects. However, if you want true portrait-style depth of field, rely on Portrait mode, which works well on faces, pets and subjects.

Automatic night photography increases shutter speed and ensures that the single sensor doesn't fall apart when the light fades. It also packs an ultra-wide angle camera and is a godsend inside.

The Z Flip 5's main camera takes great selfies, and the shutter bezel is a particularly useful tool.

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Video looks good too, though it's particularly poor when the lights are off and the phone can't take advantage of the HDR intelligence that Samsung applies to photos. Additionally, 4K stabilization at 60fps blends scenes very well.

Finally, if you don't like Instagram filter quality photos, don't use this phone. However, if that's your thing, the Z Flip 5 has a lot to offer considering how basic the camera hardware is and how little competition there is in flip phones.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5: additional features

The Samsung Z Flip 5 for Galaxy is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, and its results are impressive as long as you don't load the phone with demanding tasks and then it gets a little warm.

While in other devices the chip is the engine that cools things down, the foldable phone packs a lot of charge into a small space, making the Z Flip 5 even hotter when it comes to resource-intensive tasks. Wi-Fi hotspots and especially wireless charging are the biggest culprits.

The Z Flip 5 has a decent 8GB of RAM and can be had with 256GB or 512GB of storage (plenty of room), though there's no SD card slot, so it's not expandable.

The 256GB version is available in two storage capacities and costs $999 / £1,049 / AU$1,649, while the 512GB version costs $1,119 / £1,149; however, it is more expensive than the Z Flip 4 at launch. The entry-level Z Flip 5 has double the storage capacity. Previous with 128 GB.

The phone runs on Samsung OneUI 5.1, which is a giant build of Android 13. The phone is loaded with tools, from the Samsung Notes app to Game Center, Samsung Wallet, and more. Purists prefer a less complex interface like the Google Pixel 8's native Android or the Motorola RAZR 40 Ultra's simpler interface. However, if you're using a Samsung phone, you'll know exactly what to expect.

New to the Z Flip 5 is the skin display interface, which works like a Samsung smartwatch, with different panels you can add or remove, and launch apps on the skin display. When you turn on the Flip 5's screen protector, only a few apps are available, but it's easy to unlock full access to unsupported apps.

While it takes some getting used to (two interfaces in one phone feels redundant), the Z Flip 5's foldable display interface offers a fun and pleasing UI look and is a leap in the right direction compared to the Z Flip 3.

You can unlock the Z Flip 5 securely using the side-mounted fingerprint scanner or face unlock. It works open or closed, and we found the fingerprint scanner to be the faster of the two options.

Sound is loud with stereo speakers and content plays clearly, though the Flip 5 lacks the depth of traditional flip phones like the iPhone 15 Pro.

The Z Flip 5's modest 3,700 mAh battery is smaller than most of its flip phone competitors. However, we had no problems getting through the day relying on the Surface display for basic tasks. If you're a heavy gamer or want to watch movies or TV shows anytime, anywhere, you may need to top up your credit throughout the day so you can stay active from morning to night.

For charging, the Z Flip 5 doesn't have a power adapter, although it does go up to 25W with a compatible charger. It also supports 15W wireless charging and technically 4.5W wireless charging as well.

In our experience, reverse wireless charging causes the phone to heat up to the point where the feature turns off after about 10 minutes. So don't use it too often unless your environment is arctic in temperature.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5: Verdict

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is a step towards realizing the possibilities of a compact, foldable device. not perfect; The camera setup doesn't live up to our expectations given the price of the phone, and the hotspot and wireless charging are difficult to use.

The best thing about the Z Flip 5 is that it helps Samsung stay relevant in the world of foldable phones. The new flip screen is useful for basic phone needs, Samsung is the only phone maker to make the phone IPX8 waterproof, and the phone's camera is good enough to compete with the RAZR 40 Ultra, Samsung's only waterproof competition outside of Asia. .

While photographers will hate Samsung's extensive HDR effects, Insta-like color science and heavy reliance on computational photography, it's hard to be impressed that a phone with modest camera specs can take decent (if gorgeous) photos in most environments.

So, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is the best camera phone of 2024. Absolutely not; It's not even the best foldable phone we've tested, that award goes to the OnePlus Open. However, if you're looking for a compact case and like a regular Samsung phone, this is the best solution.

Want to know more about the Z Fold 5 contest? These are currently the best foldable phones with flexible functionality . If you're not sold on flip phones, check out our guide to the best camera phones of 2023 .

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Review: Better (with tricks!)

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