Review: Samsung Z Flip5 gives bang for your buck; Fold5 packs incremental upgrades

SINGAPORE – Samsung’s latest foldable phones Galaxy Z Flip5 and Fold5 hit shelves on Friday, offering meaningful upgrades that extend the brand’s lead in the foldables race.

You’ll have to stomach the high price for each device – the Fold5 is going for as much as $2,938 – and questions remain about a folding screen’s long-term durability. But the pair of new phones refine the formula that Samsung has pioneered in the past five years – there is really no reason to look past them if you’re in the market for a foldable phone.

The Straits Times tested both devices for several days – this is what it is like to use the Flip5 and the Fold5. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 (Starts at $1,498) 

Samsung hasn’t rested on its laurels with the immensely popular Flip devices. Continuing to innovate, it has expanded on features that have made its Flip phones so fashionable, with a gorgeous design and, now, an enlarged cover screen that offers even more customisability and functionality.

Starting with the Flip5’s design, it is sleek and slimmer than before as Samsung has finally managed to close the gap created by the hinge. The phone is completely shut when closed, preventing debris from entering and scratching the screen.

The phone also comes in fun colours: mint, cream and lavender. Some colours like yellow, grey and green are available exclusively online. It also has plenty of customisable wallpaper designs for its larger, 3.4-inch cover screen, dubbed the Flex Window, which is a true game changer.

The Flex Window is nearly four times larger than the Flip4’s cover screen, providing users quick access to notifications and widgets like voice recording, calendar and Spotify. 

You can summon a keyboard to respond to messages in apps like Telegram, or conveniently select from pre-written replies, like “okay”, “on my way”, or from your own list of quick responses. 

It is also easier to take selfies with the phone closed, using its 12 mega-pixel wide- and ultra-wide cameras. These are far from the best that Samsung has to offer, but they do the job for photos with adequate lighting.

The Flip5 offers even more personalisation than before, with cover screen designs that range from a handy display of notifications and quick settings, to expressive and colourful wallpapers. Samsung will also release NFC-activated Flipsuit cases with funky illustrations that dynamically alter the wallpaper on the front screen with similar designs.

And at last, we have a cover screen that can run apps like YouTube, WhatsApp and Google Maps, which come as part of the Flip5’s experimental Labs suite, available in the Settings menu. 

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