Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5 Gives Us a Bigger Cover Screen For Less Than $1,000

With newcomers like the Motoralza Razr+, it’s safe to say that the folding flip phone market is heating up, and Samsung is definitely not standing idly by. During the 2023 Galaxy Unpacked event in Seoul, South Korea, the technology giant just unveiled the Galaxy Z Flip 5 — and I was on the ground to get hands-on.

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is a fifth-generation folding smartphone that sports a new hinge that makes it more durable, allows it to fold fully flat, and sports a cover screen that is 4x larger. That means you can do much more without opening your phone, including responding to messages with a full keyboard and getting more mileage from the camera.

Samsung is keeping the $999 starting price for the new Z Flip while doubling the internal storage to 256GB. It’s up for preorder now with some excellent saving options, and I’m sharing my first impressions below. You can also check out my first looks at the Galaxy Z Fold 5, the new Galaxy Tab S9 family, and the Galaxy Watch 6 as I report live from Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event.

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How To Preorder the Galaxy Z Flip 5 Ahead of the Official Release Date

If you’ve been eager for a next-level Z Flip, want your first foldable, or just need a new phone, Samsung’s already taking orders for the Galaxy Z Flip 5. It’s available in Mint, Lavender, Cream, and Graphite on Amazon, and will also exclusively have the device in Yellow, Green, Blue, and Gray.

While the Z Flip 5 comes in two storage sizes—256GB and 512GB—Samsung will automatically upgrade the entry-level to the 512GB size at no additional charge during the preorder window, which goes from now to August 10. That’s double the space for photos, videos, apps, music, and more. In another opportunity to save, you can take up to $900 off the price of the Z Flip 5 with an eligible device trade-in. That would bring the cost of the latest folding phone to just $99, flat.

You can preorder the Galaxy Z Flip 5 from Samsung directly, and it will ship on August 11, 2023, which is the official release, or street, date.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 with 256GB of Storage, $999 at Samsung

Galaxy Z Flip 5: First Impressions

Jacob Krol/TheStreet

While the actual form factor of the Galaxy Z Flip isn’t changing, generation 5 does make some changes that make it a more pocketable and flatter flip phone. For starters, there is no longer a gap between the display when folded, which makes it less prone to damage as debris can get stuck in between, and it’s easier to slide in a pocket as it’s thinner—when closed, it’s just 0.59 inches thick.

It feels pretty substantial in the hand and I especially love the new Mint color, light blue. The Galaxy Z Flip 5 weighs in at just 6.6 ounces as well. You’ll still find that the colors on the back and around the Cover Screen are a matte glass finish that is smooth to the touch, and the frame is still shiny, stainless steel. Samsung’s proprietary Armor Aluminum and Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 combine to make this a durable flip phone. It’s still IPX8 rated, which means it can survive a little rain or even a dip in the pool.

Aside from a more durable and gap-less build, the other big change is a Cover Screen on the front that is nearly four times larger than the one on the Z Flip 3. It finally gives consumers what they’ve wanted—a much-more usable outer display, which might further limit how often you flip open the Z Flip 5. It’s now a 3.40-inch Super AMOLED display with a 60Hz refresh rate and is much more upscale. For instance, when taking a selfie and using it as a view-finder, you can get a clearer view of the shot and adjust the shooting mode.

Jacob Krol/TheStreet

The Cover Screen has many more widgets to swipe in between and packs more functionality, from clocks to recent contacts with weather, messaging, and playback control in between. Better yet, a full QWERTY keyboard appears when responding to a message. Additionally, users can open other Android apps and use them on the front via Samsung Labs.

Unlike the Razr+, which wraps the screen around the camera cutouts on the front, Samsung’s approach looks a little cleaner and better represents the screen’s actual size. The Z Flip 5 packs nearly the same hardware as the Z Flip 4’s cameras, which should provide an excellent shooting experience.

It’s still a 12-megapixel wide and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens for shooting a variety of photos, and these both support a variety of modes like Portrait, Slow-Motion, Time-Lapse and extensive up to 10x zoom. Additionally, Samsung’s added a coating to the lens to further reduce any chance of lens flare.

From the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chip—the same processor as in the Galaxy S23 family—there is a new ISP (image signal processing) and AI improvements, which should deliver better photos or videos. Specifically, with low-light conditions, the Z Flip 5 is better equipped to capture a great shot.

Once you flip the Galaxy Z Flip 5 open, you’ll be greeted with a 6.7-inch Full HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display that features a 12-megapixel selfie camera. In my brief testing, the display opened smoothly and did a close with a stronger clap. Visuals from some test photos and streaming videos via YouTube looked sharp and crisp. The display scales from 1Hz up to 120Hz for a smooth experience for gaming or playback.

The opening and closing of the Z Flip 5 is enhanced and feel stronger from a newly designed waterdrop hinge. There are two that make the flip-and-fold action possible here. Alongside the latest chipset designed by Qualcomm and Samsung is 8GB of RAM. Out of the box, the Z Flip 5 is running Android 13 with Samsung’s One UI 5.0 interface. It all felt very fluid and prompt, regardless of which screen I interacted with.

Samsung still promises all-day battery life from a non-removable 3,700mAh dual battery. You can recharge the Z Flip 5 with a USB-C cable or wirelessly with the Qi standard.

As a whole, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5 feels like a coming age of moment for the flip-smartphone thanks to the larger Cover Screen, which brings a whole lot more functionality. That, paired with durable and speedy hardware and matured software, should make for a great experience.

Prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publishing.

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