Galaxy Z Fold 5: Everything We Know So Far
The Fold lineup kicked off with the Galaxy Fold 1 in 2019, and the initial batch that had faulty screens aside, the phone still had a lot of compromises just because of the foldable form factor.
The cover screen was unusably small, and the bezels on the outer screen were huge. It launched at a high price tag of 1980$. The durability was, and still is, a huge concern for any device that folds in half.
The Fold 2 was a massive upgrade, and it featured a much better cover screen with way slimmer bezels. While the cameras remain a step down from the slab flagships, the performance was still an improvement from the first Fold.
There were several multitasking additions, and flex mode made productivity better. The inner bezels were trimmed, and the notch was removed, creating a much cleaner experience. This also refreshed at 120Hz, for a smoother and snappier experience.
The third generation (Galaxy Z Fold 3) introduced an under-display front camera and many upgrades like stylus support, an official IPX8 water resistance on a foldable, and much better overall durability with more robust Aluminium and better drop ad scratch resistance.
The fourth generation (Galaxy Z Fold 4) was a minor upgrade that played around with the aspect ratio to make the outer screen less tall and the overall phone more petite. While a chip bump to the 8 Plus Gen 1 SOC from the 888 might look incremental on paper.
It’s a massive upgrade that improves efficiency, performance, thermals, sustained performance, and battery. This is because the chip used was based on TSMC’s 4nm fab.
Samsung has been leading the foldable pack ever since its inception. Recently, in this race to make a standard device on the outside and is a productivity powerhouse when unfolded, Xiaomi, Vivo, and Oppo’s foldable phones have rapidly been catching up, acting as tough competition.
April 5: As per CEO and Founder of Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) Ross Young, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 will arrive with three color options: Beige, Black, and Light Blue.
March 29: The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 with the model number SM-F946U was spotted on Geekbench. The listing mentions 12GB RAM and Android 13 OS.
March 20: As per Reliable tipster Ice Universe Galaxy Z Fold 5 will use water droplet hinges and are waterproof up to IPX8 level. The Z Fold 5 is almost the same size as Z Fold 4, with only a 0.2mm difference. However, the gap disappears when folded, and the thickness reduces to 13.x mm. It weighs 254g. The outer screen will remain 6.2 inches. The device will feature new touchscreen technology.
March 12: Galaxy Z Fold 5 will have the same primary sensor as the Z Fold 4 because it is “impossible to use HP2” on it.
February 22: The Galaxy Z Fold 5 will reportedly arrive with three storage options: 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. These are the same storage options as the Z Fold 4.
January 16: Samsung will fix huge design flaws on an upcoming foldable device. As per the Korean publication Naver, Samsung will adopt a new waterdrop-shaped hinge on the Fold 5. So the display will fold completely flat without any gaps in between.
January 7: The Z Fold 5 will reportedly arrive with an S-Pen Slot. The report further said that the phone could be powered by a Snapdragon 985 5G SoC based on a 4nm process node.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Specifications: What we want to see
Competition is always great for consumers since it drives companies to innovate and price their products competitively, so we get better products. Hoping that Samsung does not make another incremental and minor upgrade this time, let’s look at the most expected upgrades to the fifth generation of Samsung foldable phones.
1: The Crease
The crease right down the middle has plagued several foldable phones. The line that runs down the middle when you fold a paper in half? A similar line is visible whenever you unfold the Galaxy Z Fold 4. You can feel the crease as you move around with your finger or stylus
It slightly interrupts the content consumption experience on display, but users get used to it after a while. The crease is something that people accepted as a necessary compromise when they bought a foldable. However, companies like Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo have made several advancements to make the crease nearly unobtrusive.
To accomplish this, they use a waterdrop-style design. The display neatly sits in a hole that is built into the hinge. The result is a much softer folding angle than the harsh one on the Fold. It’s a firm hinge with no gap. The waterdrop design is like holding a piece of paper in a U shape instead of completely folding it and pressing it down.
The Fold 4 still presses the display down at one point, making the crease look harsh. It’s weird to see Samsung stick with the objectively worse design, and it’s one improvement we hope to see in their fifth generation, i.e. Galaxy Z Fold 5.
2: The Cameras
While the Fold 4 has good cameras with strong HDR and decent processing, the hardware is a significant letdown. The sensors are small; there’s no fancy periscope zoom and no higher-resolution camera sensors. It’s not even close to the camera system that’s used on the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
It is understandable why they have kept the sensors small initially. Since the phone has to be folded, it’s already quite thick. Putting in fancy large sensors will surely disrupt the internal arrangement, causing added thickness which will add weight and make the phone inconvenient to use.
While this explanation was valid before, it’s their fifth generation now, so we expect them to have the technology to house larger camera sensors while maintaining weight and thickness.
Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo have already managed this. While the cameras on those are also nowhere near their flagship slab-style phone cameras, the hardware still trumps Samsung’s. It’s disappointing that they skimp out on camera hardware at the expensive 1799$ price tag.
3: The under-display camera
The implementation of the under-display front camera on the Fold 3 was comically bad. The quality of the images was terrible, and people would struggle to use it as a decent webcam. The saving grace was that you could still use the rear set of cameras to take some of the best selfies in the world. The front camera was also not all that invisible with the Fold 3, and it was prominent in daily use at many angles.
Quality hasn’t changed much with the Fold 4, with images still lacking detail and dynamic range and looking incredibly washed out, but the visibility aspect did improve. The front camera is now really hard to see, though if you look hard enough at certain angles, you can still catch it. That’s not a significant usability concern, however.
A better solution is bringing back the punch-hole camera; it’s not something Samsung will probably do. Under-display camera tech is not ready yet due to the apparent degradation in the quality of photos.
So with the Z Fold 5, it might finally be time we see an exemplary implementation of an under-display front camera that strikes a good balance between quality and visibility.
4: The Design Flaws
The way the Z Fold 4 fundamentally folds leaves a gap and does not fold completely flat. It leaves a gap and adds thickness. While it was excusable for the first two generations, we’re on the fourth now, and that hasn’t changed. Other phones like the Mix Fold 2 and Vivo X Fold Plus are much thinner, lighter, and more comfortable to use than the Fold 4.
Then, there’s the usual aspect ratio problem. The Fold 4 made the outer screen way wider than the 3, and it was pretty usable. It’s still narrow and quite tall, creating an uncomfortably cramped typing experience.
Some apps still look weird with the tall aspect ratio, and you still see black bars on the content, both when folded and unfolded. When folded, a slightly wider outer screen will make it feel more like a standard phone.
It’s a great idea to put the S Pen into the Galaxy Fold 5, just like Samsung does with the S22 Ultra. This will massively boost productivity since buyers won’t have to spend additional money on a stylus after spending a massive amount on the phone itself.
They give the S Pen free with their tablets, so it’s possible to somehow put an S Pen in the phone by rearranging some internal components to create space. If not, they can always let it magnetically attach to the back or the top, as they do with the tablets, but this might be a convenience hassle.
This is still extremely hard to do. We have a problem with weight and thickness again. Also, rearranging components internally might cost battery capacity, which isn’t something anyone wants to see. While this might not happen soon, it’s still a great idea.
5: Software and App Optimisation
The software on the Fold is excellent, with app continuity, DeX Mode, Flex Mode, Secure Folder and Goodlock, and some superb multitasking capabilities, aided by Samsung’s ecosystem and the S Pen, which works as a mouse too. A cursor will appear if you hover it over the screen, mimicking a mouse pointer. The dock on OneUI 5 is nice too.
However, many felt the experience could use smoother animations and better transitions, with improved smoothness overall when using the phone.
At the moment, only some apps take advantage of the large inner display. Working with developers to optimise more apps to take advantage of all that screen real estate will improve the user experience tenfold.
6: Bigger Battery and Faster Charging
The Fold 4 has a 4400 mAh battery, enough for most people to last a day. This might not cut it for power users who use phones at high brightness with a lot of GPS navigation and heavy gaming, with plenty of media consumption and multitasking. Bumping the capacity to 5000 mAh isn’t a huge ask.
The Fold 4 charges at a slow 25W (Wired) and 15W (Wireless). We already saw 45W on the S22 Ultra, which was also relatively slow. We obviously won’t see crazy 150W or 200W, but improving these charging speeds to 60W or 80W would be good.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Expected Price
- The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 could be priced at $1799 in the US.
While the Original Fold and Fold 2 started at nearly 2000$, and the Fold 3 dropped that price to 1799$, making it more affordable. Unfortunately, the Fold 4, which had only a chip bump and a slight change in aspect ratio, didn’t get a price drop, and it still starts at 1799$.
We can still expect a price drop for the Z Fold 5 since Samsung might be waiting for two generations to reduce the price. The Fold 3 started at a price cheaper than the original Fold two years after it launched.
The 1799$ price tag is still really high and is out of reach for most people in the world, which is why foldable phones sell in millions, but they don’t make sales figures that are significantly huge as the slab phones.
Dropping the price to 1599$ would be fantastic since that would make the phone way more reachable, though even a drop to 1699$ would be fine if there are significant improvements. It’s worth noting that the Find N launched at 1250$ when converted from Chinese pricing. This is nearly the same price as the Vivo X Fold Plus.
Around 1300$ is the Chinese price of the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2. This proves that Samsung’s foldable phones are priced significantly higher than the competition, and they seem to be taking advantage of the fact that they’re the only ones that sell globally.
The software is tailored to suit a global audience. Apps that the majority use are well-optimised, though that could still improve. Software optimisation and apps remain an issue with the other mentioned foldable phones, but that’s not a reason for Samsung to charge such a high price.
When can we expect the Galaxy Z Fold 5 to be released?
- Samsung might release the Galaxy Z Fold 5 in August 2023 at its Unpacked Event alongside Galaxy Z Flip 5.
It’s unclear at the moment since there are no official leaks, and there’s still plenty of time for the phone to launch. Going by the current schedule, we can expect the phone to launch somewhere in the middle of August. For two years, Samsung has announced their foldable devices in their summer event, so we can expect the same next year.