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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review

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9Expert Score
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review: Flippin' great

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 shows just how stylish a foldable phone can be, though it’s far from a perfect phone.

Design
9
Performance
9
Pros
  • Really stylish design
  • Screen folds flat
  • Plenty of power
Cons
  • Battery life is a little underwhelming
  • No real improvements to camera
  • Limited support for widgets on external screen

Let’s make this quick: My one word review of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is “Fun”.

This is a fun phone, designed to exude style and personality. While Samsung has pushed the productivity aspects of the Galaxy Z Fold 5, it has rightly made the Flip 5 all about its user. 

From the colour selection to the case designs, this is a phone that will tell people who you are.

And with its larger external display, you can suddenly do many simple tasks without needing to open up the phone. You can check messages and reply to them conveniently, without having to open up your phone. 

Unfortunately, there are a few sacrifices on the battery life and camera front that means choosing the Fold 5 is a decision of style over substance.

But what style! 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review: Design

In a market drowning in devices that look almost identical, it’s so refreshing to open the box on a phone that is different.

The Z Flip 5 is stunning from the moment you take it out of the box. Even before you notice the folding screen or the external display, there’s a premium look and feel to the phone. 

Sleek black screens and bright aluminium trims, with a colour infused glass back that is the first step to defining your personal style with this phone.

Samsung has managed to make the Flip 5 fold flat with this model, doing away with the wedge seen in the Flip 4. It’s a welcome addition and helps its premium aesthetic.

While the phone gets an IPX8 rating this year, making it resistant to water, that “X” in the rating means it’s not rated against dust ingress. I had no problems in the few weeks I have been testing, but the phone does come out of my pocket covered in lint. 

One of my concerns with this phone is its long-term durability, but given last generation’s phone seems to have been strong enough, I can’t imagine performance on that front would go backwards.

The external Flex display

Aside from the flat-folding design, the biggest visual update in this year’s Flip phone is the larger Flex screen on the outside. 

Measuring 3.4-inches, the screen is large enough to be useful. It can be used to display certain Android widgets on the outside of your phone as well, giving you immediate access to some of your most frequently used apps.

Compared to the Flip 4’s tiny 1.9-inch screen, it’s a game-changer. Being able to reply to text messages without opening up the phone on the external display was much more convenient. 

And the ability to use the Flex display as a frame for taking photos, using the folding design to position the phone, is great. You wouldn’t want to do it with people around who could just pick up your phone and run, though.

There are some limitations on that external display. The number of widgets available seems pretty restricted right now. There are workarounds if you’re adventurous, but this seems like a missed opportunity for Samsung at the moment. 

You can, for example, unlock the ability to use full YouTube, messages and Google Maps apps on the Flex display. 

Yet, there’s no easy way to start a music playlist without opening either Spotify or Apple Music on the main screen. Though once music is playing, you can control it on the Flex window easily enough.

This could all change over time, but for now, it is limiting. Fortunately, the internal folding screen is still pretty great to use.

The Z Flip 5 half folded in a hand

The internal folding screen

I don’t care what anyone says, the fact that we have folding screens in phones is a miracle.

While I had some challenges with the aspect ratios of the Fold 5’s screens, the Flip 5’s internal screen is great. It’s wide enough to be comfortable to type on and use, but tall enough that it feels like using a standard smartphone. 

At 6.7 inches and 2640 × 1080, it’s a bit wider on the horizontal than I’m used to with its 22:9 aspect ratio, but that’s great for watching movies.

Of course, there’s a big old crease in the middle of the phone. There’s no getting around it – you can see it, you can feel it.

But it’s mostly easy to ignore. If you’re contemplating buying a foldable phone, by this stage you have to realise that there’s going to be a crease in the middle of the screen.

It’s worth noting that while this looks like the clamshells of old, it doesn’t open like them. One-handed opening is possible, but it’s a bit of hard work.

I imagine that’s mostly due to the fact the hinge allows for the phone to stay open at a range of angles. But you’re mostly going to want to use two hands when you open this phone.

Close up of the cameras on the Z Flip 5. There's a lot of dust and lint around the lenses.

Cameras

Samsung opted not to update the cameras in the Galaxy Z Flip 5. You get twin 12MP external cameras with f/1.8 and f/2.2 apertures. You can zoom up to 10x digitally, but your standard options are 1x and 0.5x.

Given how impressive the S23 Ultra’s camera was this year, it would have been nice to see some bigger improvements here.

On the upside, the phone’s design means you’ll tend to use those rear cameras for your selfies rather than the internal 10MP pinhole camera, using the external screen to frame your shots. 

The phone is bright enough to use in full sun

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review: Performance

Samsung has packed the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 For Galaxy processor inside the phone, which is the same processor last the Fold 5.

There’s 8 GB RAM on board (compared to 12 GB in the Fold 5), which is plenty to create a positive, responsive experience on the phone.

From watching videos on YouTube, to playing Marvel Strike Force, the Flip 5 is quick to respond. The internal display looks great, though as mentioned above, there’s no getting around the fact there’s a crease in the middle of the screen.

From a benchmarks’ perspective, our Geekbench 6 tests indicated that the Flip outperformed the Fold 5.

Single-core:

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
2098
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
1999
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
1967
Google Pixel 7
1038
Google Pixel 6a
1063
Apple iPhone 14
1738

Multi-core:

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
5512
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
5286
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
5088
Google Pixel 7
3172
Google Pixel 6a
2968
Apple iPhone 14
4741

Vulkan Compute:

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
9343
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
9100
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
3568
Google Pixel 7
4528
Google Pixel 6a
7550
Apple iPhone 14
12507

Battery life

Samsung only managed to squeeze a 3,700mAh battery into the Flip 5. I imagine squeeze is the perfect term here too, with two screens, three cameras and the folding hinge, there can’t be too much space for a battery inside.

3,700mAh is pretty small for a hero phone in 2023. You’ll notice it in your day to day – this is not a two-day experience like the Fold 5. 

If you’re already in the habit of chucking your phone on the charger when you go to bed, then everything will be fine. But don’t expect more than a day’s battery from the Flip 5.

The phone does support wireless charging, though, which makes charging it much more convenient.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Folded on a table

Cameras

If it’s been a few years since you updated your smartphone, then you’ll be happy with the photos the Z Flip 5 produces. It does a good job of capturing detail in good light, though like all Samsung phones over-saturates colours a bit.

But there’s not a huge amount of growth here over last year’s model, and compared to the flagships of this year’s phones, the Flip 5 struggles.

That’s not a bad thing necessarily. If photography is your number one purchasing feature, you’re probably going to opt for the S23 Ultra or the iPhone 15 Pro.

And by keeping the camera relatively low-specced, Samsung has been able to keep the phone’s price point a bit lower, despite adding a much larger external screen.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review: Verdict

The foldable phone market keeps getting better and better, and Samsung is the largest force behind that improvement. 

The Galaxy Flip 5 is a great phone for those who value style over specs. 

While the Fold 5 is arguably a better phone thanks to its better cameras and longer battery life, the Flip 5 turns out to be a better companion, with an ease of use and stylishness the larger phone can’t provide.

I feel that for most people, the benefit of a folding screen still isn’t there, though. There’s no absolutely killer feature to convince that having a folding screen is a better experience than a traditional phone.

Which is to say that the Fold 5 is a perfect phone for showcasing your personality, and having a bit of fun while doing it.

Buy the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 online

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* Delivery cost shown at checkout.
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AU $1,170.15
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AU $1,239.84
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* Delivery cost shown at checkout.
Product disclosure

Samsung supplied the product for this review.

Author

  • Nick Broughall

    Nick is the founder and editor of BTTR. He is an award winning product reviewer, who has spent the last 20 years writing, editing and publishing technology and consumer content for brands like Finder, Gizmodo and TechRadar.

    View all posts
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