The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 is probably the funnest phone I’ve ever used. It doesn’t take itself seriously, yet it offers a pretty decent experience when we take away the fun and look purely at it as a phone. It’s… it’s just a sweet phone that wants you to be happy.
But it’s also an engineering marvel, so there’s that.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5
Samsung’s latest flip phone was announced less than a week ago in Seoul, at the company’s Galaxy Unpacked event. As the ‘5’ part in the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 moniker would tell you, it’s Samsung’s fourth attempt at a flip phone (yep), and it shows. This year, the Flip has undergone some pretty small year-on-year enhancements, but it’s also had one massive one: The large display on the front, the Flex Window, that allows you to do a number of things while the phone is clamshelled shut now allows you to text on-screen and display a whole range of new things.
I’ve been using it non-stop since Wednesday night and I have so many thoughts.
It’s a sweetheart
When closed, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 fits in the palm of my hand with an easy grip. When opened, it’s pretty much the same size as my iPhone 14 Pro Max. It fits in my jean pockets, easily into a small bag I might take out if I don’t have jeans on, and it snaps great photos.
It’s customisable, allowing you to add the widgets you want to the Flex Window (just like the adoption of Apple’s Dynamic Island, more widgets will become available as developers jump on board). And unlike normal phone cases, every case Samsung has made available for the Galaxy Z Flip5 has been made with a deliberate purpose in mind.
It also flips, which I cannot understate just how fun it is to sit there and open-close, open-close, open-close, despite the Galaxy Z Flip5 this year feeling more sturdy and therefore making you put a little more effort into the opening.
But it’s still a phone
As it opens up to be a ‘normal’ sized phone, albeit one with a crease across the middle, you can still use it as you would any of Samsung’s other non-folding phones. Unlike its folding brother, the Flip’s crease isn’t as noticeable as you might think. I mean, you can see it and you can feel it, but realistically, the only videos you’d be watching on this thing are TikToks or Reels/Stories whatever and you’re only on the video for a few seconds. So I have to say it’s not worth a whinge.
Using Smart Switch to make the Galaxy Z Flip5 a copy of my iPhone, I was able to intensely use the Flip how I do my iPhone – in every way except from a work productivity perspective. The easiest way to get photos from the Flip to my MacBook Pro was via Google Drive, which is more time-consuming than AirDrop. I also can’t copy on the Flip and paste on my MacBook. But that’s a whole other article for a whole other time. Instagram was fine – the scrolling didn’t really get interrupted by the crease, so was TikTok, and everything else really behaved the same way it would on say an S23.
The screen doesn’t feel as sturdy as it does on the S23 (or any other phone, ofc), feeling a little more like a sheet than a block. But to expect it to feel as sturdy and still flip is defying science and simply asking too much from technology than is possible. Samsung will likely get there one day, the Z Flip5 is proof of that, but not yet. And that’s fine.
Great if you take a lot of photos
We said it last year when reviewing the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4, and we’ll say it again with the Flip5: For a phone targeted towards influencers and selfie-takers, the camera system is underwhelming when compared to Samsung Galaxy S series phones.
On the back (well, front when closed) you’ll find an ultrawide 12MP and a wide 12MP camera, while the selfie camera (when opened) is 10MP. None of these were changed over last year’s model. The software, however, has gotten better and can up your photo game a little.
While the camera on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 isn’t the best camera, the way you can use it is the star. But, again, none of this is really new.
Here are a few snaps I took over the last week.
When looking at the above, please be mindful that the quality has been reduced dramatically as is the nature of transferring from phone to laptop, to Canva, then uploaded into our CMS and optimised for your choice of device/viewing. These photos are stunning and absolutely on par with the ones I took on my iPhone 14 Pro.
Portrait mode in low light is stunning.
Selfie cam (left) (thank you to Elly Awesome for agreeing to be in my review), then main camera with clamshell closed on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 (right).
Unfortunately, capturing photos at night is not worth your time.
The phone is made to take photos, especially with the different ways you can set up the camera (L-shape, in various different positions and angles), but although I plonked my iPhone into the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5, I still used the iPhone to film TikToks over the week – the camera was just so much better for video, but it was still fine. All this said, let’s remember the phone is $1,649-$1,849 and it flips. A better camera would push this thing out by another $1,000.
Don’t go camping without a battery pack
A very specific sub-header here for something I didn’t actually do, but the sentiment remains: The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 doesn’t have the best battery life. On every phone/gadget we can, we play all 3 hours of Avengers: Endgame, getting a gauge for how good the battery is against other devices.
On best quality, full volume, brightness all the way up, by the end of the first hour, from 100 per cent full, the Galaxy Z Flip5 had 86 per cent battery left. Hour two it was at 70 per cent, and by the third, 55 per cent. For comparison, the Google Pixel 7 had 79 per cent when we did the same test and the iPhone 14 had 54 per cent. We haven’t done this test with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 just yet, but we’re expecting it to be on par with Apple’s and Google’s ‘Pro’ phones.
The battery is by no means terrible – I’ve charged it every night, even though it hasn’t always needed it. It’s enough to handle your selfies/videos, constant flipping, doomscrolling, and TikTok playing. But it won’t handle all that for more than a day. I kinda wanna c+p what I wrote above regarding the camera and the price tag of this thing.
Anything else to say about the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5?
Look, not really.
Samsung’s Android is a lot better than it used to be, apps haven’t had to have been modified much to allow for this formfactor, and anything I really have taken issue with (such as Samsung’s biometrics not being good compared to those of Apple) have nothing to do with the Z Flip5 and everything to do with the fact I’m more comfortable with Google’s version of Android.
If you’re an Android user and you’ve always wanted to jump to Samsung’s flip phone, this is the model to do so. If you’re an iOS user, it’s going to take you some time to get used to the new operating system, one that’s not as intuitive, pretty, or walled garden-y as what you’re used to. But Apple hasn’t made a flip phone, so if it’s a flip phone that you’ve got your heart set on, the Galaxy Z Flip5 isn’t going to disappoint you. It’s made me smile nearly every time I’ve opened it. Even as a tech fiend, I’m still in awe at what Samsung has managed to do.
But it’s not just because it seems to defy physics: The size of the phone feels so inclusive, the fact it can easily fit in my and in my jeans is a big deal to me. It feels like a premium piece of tech that has finally considered me, a woman, as its target without it being tokenistic or privy to the ‘pink tax’.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 has filled me with joy.
Where to buy the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 is available from August 14 and will cost:
- RRP $1,649 for 256GB
- RRP $1,849 for 512GB.
Asha Barbaschow travelled to Seoul as a guest of Samsung Australia.
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