Jul 10, 2023
Juha Saarinen: The pros and cons of Samsung’s new Galaxy Z Flip5
Share this article Reminder, this is a Premium article and requires a subscription to read. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5. Photo / Juha Saarinen OPINION Samsung has honed its small foldable, which is now
Share this article
Reminder, this is a Premium article and requires a subscription to read.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5. Photo / Juha Saarinen
Samsung has honed its small foldable, which is now called the Galaxy Z Flip5, sorting out several bugbears in the earlier Flip4.
It’s now arguably the best flippable fold-a-phone available locally, but there’s no escaping the limitations the format inevitably brings.
First, the new and improved stuff: I tried to taunt a friend who has the Flip4 by showing off the Flip5 closing properly when folded with no gap between the two screens. This is similar to the earlier Oppo Flip N2.
He didn’t seem all that impressed for some reason, but noticed the Flip5 is a little slimmer than the Flip4.
Tempting as it was, I didn’t dip the phones into the friend’s beverage to see which one had the best IPX8 water-resistant implementation. It’s really bad manners to do that.
At the back of the top half, there’s now a much-larger 3.4-inch Super AMOLED (life’s too short to spell out active matrix organic light-emitting diode) screen, which is much more usable than the tiny 1.9-inch display on the Flip4.
Obviously, you can fit more information on the rear screen now, giving an at-a-glance view of notifications without flipping the phone open. It’s also possible with some effort to run full Android apps on the rear screen.
And it works better as a viewfinder, with the Flip5 bent into L shape, sitting on a desk or held in hand for video calls and exquisite nostril-gazing TikToks that are compulsory among the digital natives of this world.
Using the phone opened to an L shape is really quite useful. The 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X (it has the D moniker courtesy of features such as variable refresh rate up to 120Hz) inner display automatically shows the scene you’re shooting, with the bottom one having the camera controls.
At some point, the next big thing for foldables has to be that they can be used like compact cameras to quickly take photos and videos. That is, without unfolding the phones.
Will that happen through a third-screen viewfinder, or a main camera system that can be set to shoot forwards and rearwards? Or would that just be a ridiculous, battery-draining and expensive-to-engineer complication that increases the risk of broken screens when the phone is dropped? A technology correspondent has to ask hard questions like that.
The Flip5′s camera system is surprisingly uncompromised by the compact foldable format. Its main wide unit has 12-megapixel resolution, optical image stabilisation (you want this), phase-detection autofocus. Along with the unstabilised 123-degree viewing angle ultrawide camera, chances are photos will come out nicely. Ditto with the 10MPl selfie cam.
Video is nice too at 4K resolution but stabilisation is limited to 30 frames per second; at 60fps, there’s no anti-shake available.
Zooming is digital only but works well, although photo and video nerds will miss the optical variety.
Folded out, the 6.7-inch screen is pretty good with 16 million colour hues and high dynamic range (HDR10+). Except, there’s the inevitable crease in the middle — that your finger will feel and eye will see — to get used to.
Other than that, the Flip5 battery is the same capacity as the Flip4′s and could last longer and charge faster than the 25-watt max power. There’s 5G cellular network support, and the Flip5 picked up my fast Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6E with no issues.
Samsung put an eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processing system inside the Flip5, and it’s really quick. Much faster than the Dimensity 9000+ system-on-a-chip in the Oppo Flip N2. Well, initially at least. We’re starting to hit the wall as far as the computing electronics in smartphones goes, because while fast, they heat up.
To Samsung’s credit, I wasn’t able to overheat the phone with stress tests, as the phone’s efficient power management throttled down before things got too cookin’. It does mean the phone isn’t the best choice for gaming or heavy-duty use, which is reinforced by the crease in the screen and low-ish battery capacity.
Finally, the Flip5 is on pre-order, starting at $1879 for 256 gigabyte storage and 8GB of RAM at the moment. In comparison, a more capable “candybar” Galaxy S23 with three cameras, and a few mAh bigger battery is cheaper at $1699 for the same storage and RAM.
But, the S23 doesn’t fold like the Flip5, possibly marking you as a rational smartphone user whose device isn’t a small chat starter in bars. First World consumer decisions are tough, but for the style-conscious at least, the Flip5 wins out.
Share this article
Reminder, this is a Premium article and requires a subscription to read.PremiumPremium