After weeks of anticipation, Samsung finally unveiled its next-generation foldable smartphones on July 26 at Galaxy Unpacked 2023 which was held at its home turf in Seoul, South Korea. While the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Z Flip 5 were the standout unveilings, it is the Flip smartphone, that has got everyone talking about it. The smartphone has received some big upgrades, but is it enough to once again become the best flip phone in the market, especially at a time when there is serious competition in this segment?
After spending a few days with the Galaxy Z Flip 5, here are our first impressions.
The Flex Window
In terms of looks, there is one thing that makes the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 distinctly different from its predecessor – the large cover display. Samsung has (finally) swapped the tiny 1.9-inch panel for a bigger 3.4-inch AMOLED display called the Flex Window, and this opens up all sorts of possibilities. There are different customization options for the Flex Window such as an option to see the notifications, battery percentage, weather, and time, all in one place.
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There’s a carousel of other widgets that you can scroll through such as weather, quick dialer, alarm, health, and more. A simple swipe down opens the quick access settings which has toggles for Wi-Fi- Bluetooth, sound modes, torch, volume, and more. Oh, you can also quickly reply to messages from the cover screen itself too.
At the moment, only first-party apps are supported, but you can run other apps through the Good Lock launcher. We would’ve liked to see at least a native Spotify widget being available similar to the Oppo Find N2 Flip, but it could come out in the future, so here’s hoping for that.
It’s about time that Samsung redesigned the hinge, allowing the device to close fully, and the South Korean tech giant has managed to achieve just that. With the new Flex Hinge, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 now closes fully without any substantial gap. This has also resulted in the phone becoming a bit slimmer, although it weighs the same. Unlike the Find N2 Flip which takes quite an effort to open the device with one hand, the Z Flip 5’s operation is smooth as ever, and the phone stays put at every angle.
Samsung claims the new hinge will also improve durability as it has fewer moving parts, although we’ll only know that after months of use.
The Galaxy Z Flip 5 also gets the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC under the hood which is expected to bring performance improvements across the board. The chip is more powerful than the Z Flip 4’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen1, while also being more energy efficient. The phone feels a bit snappier than its predecessor, although the battery performance remains just about the same as of now. Since smartphone batteries take multiple cycles to get up to speed, there is still a possibility for further improvement.
Perhaps one of the most underrated upgrades is the storage capacity. The Galaxy Z Flip 5 now has 256GB as the base storage, while managing to keep the price the same (albeit only in the US). In 2023, it is about time brands start offering 256GB as the base storage option, especially as the size of Android apps is increasing day by day.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5: Things that could be better
There’s not much to talk about except the new hinge, cameras, and the bigger Flex Window. On paper, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 has identical cameras, battery, and display as its predecessor. One of the bigger disappointments is the crease. At a time when competitors like Oppo have managed to make it minimal, the crease on the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is still as prominent. The charging is still capped at 25W, which is nowhere near the rapid speeds featured by its competitors.
Despite these shortcomings, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is the most refined, and perhaps the most useful flip phone made by Samsung yet. But at a hefty cost of Rs. 99,999, does it offer enough to beat the likes of the Oppo Find N2 Flip and the Moto Razr 40 series? Be sure to find out when we return with our full review.