Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5: Bridging the gap between style and performance

Is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 worth the splurge? A comprehensive review

samsung galaxy z fold 5 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5

Starting at a price of £1,54,999 and going up to £1,84,999, the Fold5 is among the costliest smartphones available today. Having said that, it’s the latest and biggest foldable smartphone from Samsung, which has been setting the bar for the category for a while now. So, what really does the device bring new to the table? Let’s try and check that.

Design: Like the Flip5, the Fold5’s design is among the biggest changes it gets over its predecessor. With a refined hinge that allows the phone to be closed nearly all flat and a slightly thinner and lighter device, the Fold5 feels a bit of a finished product now. In the unfolded mode, the phone carries a 7.6-inch display while the cover display sits at 6.2 inches. You get the dual SIM card tray on the left; while the right side houses the volume buttons and the Power/lock key. The bottom has the primary mic, loudspeaker and USB type C port; another loudspeaker outlet and secondary mics on the top.

The outer part of the hinge carries the Samsung branding. Coming to the back (when folded), you get a triple camera system layered in a cylindrical cutout placed one above the other, along with the dual-tone LED flash. The cover display, along with the back, is covered with Corning Gorilla Victus 2. The main display still carries a protector on top, but it’s a bit more subtle than earlier, but the crease in the middle is still noticeable and felt when scrolling just as much as it was before. The phone is IPx8 water-resistant but still not dust-resistant. The cover display has a punch-hole camera in the middle; while the main display has a right-shifted under-display camera that’s not hugely noticeable at all times. The phone is made up of a mixture of aluminium, glass, and some plastic, and feels nice in the hand, but it’s definitely a thick and heavy device to be carried around with 253 grams of weight and 13.4 mm thickness when folded. The phone comes in Icy Blue (the one I tried), Phantom Black, and Cream colour options (plus two more options exclusive to the Samsung website).

Displays: The main display of the phone is a 7.2-inch QXGA (2176 x 1812) AMOLED with a 21.6:18 aspect ratio. This display is slightly brighter than before and is usable under direct sunlight without a problem. It’s a really nice and big display to watch videos, edit PDFs, or write Emails on. The protective layer (suggested by Samsung to keep it on) is now not as obstructive to view content with. The cover display is a 6.2-inch full HD+ (2316x904) AMOLED with a 23.1:9 aspect ratio. It’s a sharp and bright enough display and supports 120Hz (same as the main display), which I used for maybe 85% of the time using the device. I preferred using it in natural screen mode rather than the default vivid mode.

Performance and software experience: The Fold5 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen. 2 chipset (up to 3.36GHz processor, Adreno 740 GPU and x70 modem) with 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 256GB UFS4.0 storage (higher models come with with 512GB and 1TB options). It runs on One UI 5.1.1 based on Android 13 with the August security patch installed. I found the phone to be a really smooth operator for day to day tasks as well as for gaming with playback at high refresh rates for titles such as CoD: Mobile and Modern Combat 5 without any stuttering. Importantly, the software takes good care of using the extra screen estate inside, so you can run, say, 4 apps side by side to use the main display and there wasn’t any performance drop there. When in-app, you get an app bar at the bottom, between app menu launcher and navigation keys, from where you can drag and open apps side by side for maybe taking notes while a video call is on or scrolling through one social media app with another open alongside, it works really nicely. You can also buy and use an S Pen with the device if you want. Oh, unlike the Flip series, you do get DeX functionality here, so you can plug the device with a PC and have a desktop-like mode powered by your Galaxy Z Fold5 instantly.

Whatever you have running on the cover display can be continued on the main display as soon as you open the phone. You can choose to have the same or different layouts for the homescreens of your cover display and main display and similarly for its other customization options.

Camera: On the back, the triple camera system holds a 50MP (f/1.8) main camera with OIS, a 12MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide camera, and 10MP (f/2.4) telephoto camera with OIS. The cameras aren’t a big upgrade here, but they do take punchy and detailed shots, and importantly there’s noticeably less shutter lag now. The camera app is quick to launch and navigate around to try different options in it. The front-facing 10MP (f/2.2) on the cover display takes well-stitched shots with decent colour reproduction. The fifth camera, that is, the 4MP (f/1.8) under display camera on the main display is fine for video calls, though I preferred taking video calls with the phone closed.

Battery life: The phone is equipped with a 4,400mAh battery unit and can be charged using a 25-watt charger from 1% to full in about 100 minutes using a compatible charger. The phone lasted me a day quite regularly, with the main display being used for maybe 1.5 hours in total, most of the time being spent on the cover display. The phone does heat up a bit near the rear camera area a bit quickly while it’s put on charge.

Other bits: Call quality, WiFi, Bluetooth connectivity – all work without any glitches to report. I also got pretty good 5G network reception on the phone while commuting in public transportation or using a cab. The loudspeakers (placed on the top and bottom) are loud and punchy enough, though I have used better speakers on a Samsung device before.

Verdict: The Fold5 comes across as a more polished foldable smartphone from Samsung in their effort of making foldables more mainstream. I wished they had put a bit more effort into upgrading the camera part, but it’s still pretty good to use. The phone has good software in place for regular use as well as multitasking several apps on the bigger display inside, while performing well for gaming, too.

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