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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
What we like
What we don't like
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip has been the go-to clamshell-style foldable Android phone since its debut. In terms of outright quality, it hardly faced any meaningful competition in the US until Motorola launched the excellent Razr Plus, a flip phone that beat Samsung to the punch with a substantial new cover screen capable of running fully-featured apps without the need to flip the phone open. Now, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 has arrived with a larger cover screen of its own, dubbed the Flex Window. It may be bigger and bolder, but how much new Flex appeal does the foldable clamshell hold? Find out in our Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review: At a glance
- What is it? The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is Samsung's fifth-generation clamshell foldable phone, complete with a 3.4-inch asymmetrical cover display, revamped gapless hinge, and Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset.
- What is the price? You can buy the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for $999 in the US or save money with select trade-in deals and carrier contracts. If you need more storage, Samsung offers a version of the Galaxy Z Flip 5 with 512GB for $1,119.
- Where can you buy it? The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 launched for pre-order alongside the Galaxy Z Fold 5 at the conclusion of Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2023 from Samsung's website, as well as Amazon, Best Buy, and most major carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.
- How did we test it? I tested the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 for seven days. The review unit was supplied by Samsung.
- Is it worth it? The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is still the cream of the crop when it comes to foldable phone hardware. Samsung's revamped hinge is tight as a drum, and the Flex Window opens up a world of app and widget possibilities. There are still a few software wrinkles that need to be ironed out, but Samsung has fit plenty of value into its thousand-dollar clamshell.
What I like about the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
Coming off a prolonged testing of the Motorola Razr Plus, one thing is clear: Samsung has been around the block a time or two. I thoroughly enjoyed the latest (and best) iteration of Motorola’s resurrected Razr, but the Galaxy Z Flip 5 has a level of hardware polish that only comes from experience. Its combination of Gorilla Glass Victus 2 and Armor Aluminum feels premium and sturdy and offers no wiggle or wobble between the top and bottom halves. Samsung’s IPX8 rating adds plenty of reassurance against splashes and accidental dips, even if the lack of dust protection lags behind Motorola’s mark. By nailing the basics with its frame and materials, Samsung has also left room for the Galaxy Z Flip 5’s main updates to shine.
Samsung’s most apparent upgrade to its fifth-generation clamshell-style foldable is the new cover display, affectionately called the Flex Window. It’s an inch and a half larger than the Galaxy Z Flip 4‘s front display, swelling from 1.9 inches to a 3.4-inch Gorilla Glass Victus 2 panel with an asymmetrical bezel. Like the Motorola Razr Plus, this new real estate means the Galaxy Z Flip 5 can comfortably support a full-size keyboard, much larger, more detail-rich widgets, and select app experiences. Not all those app experiences are perfect, but Samsung’s revamped widgets should be the new standard for flip phone cover displays.
The weather and calendar widgets are especially good, offering the right mix of full-scale features in a glanceable layout. In the case of the weather widget, you get the current and hourly forecasts right off the bat, with yesterday’s high and the predictions for the next week just a scroll away. Samsung’s calendar pairs a small monthly layout with a larger panel to the right, which breaks down your appointments for the day which you can easily open to get more information. As we head into tech’s busy season, it’s become the easiest way to stay on top of my ever-growing commitments.
Some apps also handle Samsung’s Flex Window better than Motorola’s Razr Plus. For example, Motorola partnered with Spotify, giving the music streaming giant a dedicated tile on the clamshell’s cover display. The problem is that Motorola’s tile doesn’t offer a search feature, only a list of your recently played artists and playlists. On the other hand, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5 packs a miniaturized version of the Spotify app once you install Good Lock and run through the setup process. It’s far simpler to search for artists and customize your queue, though Spotify’s Stories feature doesn’t adapt to the smaller display.
Samsung's detail-rich widgets set the gold standard for clamshell-style foldable phones.
On top of the new Flex Window, Samsung has finally updated its hinge. It’s literally closed the gap on the competition, allowing the Galaxy Z Flip 5 to close perfectly flat and block the debris and dust that would have previously nestled in the crease. Unfortunately, the new hinge hasn’t eliminated, or even reduced, the display crease. It’s still there, but it’s still easy enough to ignore after a few minutes with the phone. On the bright side, the new, narrower hinge allows the Galaxy Z Flip 5 to be Samsung’s thinnest foldable phone yet — at least when closed. It’s shrunk from 15.9mm at its thinnest point to 15.1mm, though the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is still 6.9mm thick when unfolded.
As for what’s not so new on the Galaxy Z Flip 5, the foldable’s buttons and ports are where you’d expect them. The side-mounted fingerprint reader and volume rocker hold down the right side, while the SIM tray and mmWave window lie on the left. As always, Samsung’s fingerprint reader is fast and accurate, though I’d recommend adding your right thumb and left index finger to make unlocking the device easier with either hand.
The Galaxy Z Flip 5’s 6.7-inch internal display also tells a tale of the familiar, at least for the most part. It’s still a smooth, sharp Dynamic 2X AMOLED with a 120Hz refresh rate, but now the display is brighter than ever. Samsung upgraded its peak brightness from 1,200 to 1,750 nits, matching its flagship Galaxy S23 Ultra. The display is still made of Ultra Thin Glass, still has a screen protector that you really shouldn’t remove, and, yes, it still has the crease across the middle, as mentioned above.
Samsung’s remaining updates lie under the hood, and they come in the form of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset and upgraded internal storage. The overclocked processor bumps both the Galaxy Z Flip 5’s CPU and GPU performance in our testing benchmarks, and it’s smooth as butter in everyday life, too. I had no problems bouncing from light gaming titles like Warhammer 40,000 Tacticus to social media mainstays like Instagram and Threads while waiting for a summer concert to start. The Galaxy Z Flip 5 warmed up during my prolonged use before the show, though it was a humid 90-degree day in the Mid-Atlantic summer. Despite the warming, the phone never slowed down, and it cooled down quickly, becoming comfortable to use when I needed the camera to capture a few of my favorite songs.
As for some specific benchmarking highlights, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 comfortably kept pace with its Galaxy S23 cousins while running Geekbench 6. It came up just shy of the Galaxy S23 Ultra in both single and multi-core performance, despite having 4GB less RAM under the hood. The clamshell-style foldable phone stayed within striking distance on single runs of 3DMark’s Wild Life and Wild Life Extreme tests, showing that it has the muscle to keep up graphically — at least in the short term (more on this later).
Moving on to a few of the finer points, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5’s speakers are downright remarkable. It gets impressively loud for such a small phone (at least when folded), and the single down-firing unit combines nicely with the earpiece. The setup isn’t quite as loud as the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which currently sets the standard for speakers on a smartphone, in my opinion, but it tops other foldables like the Razr Plus and Google’s Pixel Fold. We can also appreciate a free storage bump — the base Galaxy Z Flip 5 now packs 256GB instead of 128GB at no extra cost.
What I don’t like about the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
As detailed above, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5’s Flex Window gets a lot right. It’s a significant improvement over the previous cover display, and the widgets are excellent. However, the Flex Window’s dedicated app experience is lacking, to say the least. I’d go so far as to say it feels half-baked and can confidently declare that it lags behind Motorola’s revamped approach in several ways.
For starters, the process of adding apps to the Flex Window feels a bit like running the Takeshi’s Castle course. After you pass the first hurdle, at least two more are waiting to take its place. Samsung optimized a few choice experiences, which you can access through the Labs section of the Advanced Features tab in the settings menu, but most require a bit more work. Labs currently supports apps like Google Messages and Maps, WhatsApp, YouTube, and Netflix (who wants Netflix on a 3.4-inch display?), but you have to install Good Lock for everything else.
Once you install Good Lock from the Galaxy Store — not the Google Play Store — you must install MultiStar and set up your Good Lock launcher. You can then add apps to the Good Lock launcher, but the kicker is that it’s a separate Flex Window tab from the Labs launcher. That means you’re stuck with two different tabs for two distinct groups of apps, and both groups are optimized slightly differently.
Why have one app drawer when you can have two? Wait, what?
One of the Galaxy Z Flip 5’s most significant swings and misses is the Google Maps experience. If you’re trying to use the Flex Window for navigation, the default interface squeezes the map out of the picture. As seen above, Google Maps prioritizes the top row of directions, the remaining time and distance, and the Spotify integration, leaving no room for the map itself. You might not need the map layout if you’re in a city, but roads often veer in unexpected directions in my part of Pennsylvania, so I usually count on the map for a quick heads-up.
Samsung’s reliance on Good Lock to open up its app experiences also means multitasking suffers on the Flex Window. The Galaxy Z Flip 5 doesn’t currently offer a way to access recent apps on the Flex Window, meaning that as soon as you swipe out of an app, you’re right back to the cover display. If you wanted to hop from Twitter (or X, or whatever it’s called these days) to Instagram, you would have to swipe to the Good Lock launcher, open Twitter, swipe out of Twitter, swipe back to the Good Lock launcher, and then open Instagram. The Razr Plus, on the other hand, offers a shortcut back to your app drawer and the ability to swipe up to recent apps just like you would with the internal display. So far, the closest thing I’ve found to a workaround is to set the Good Lock launcher right next to the Flex Window home screen so that I only have to swipe once instead of several times.
Outside of the often quirky Flex Window experience, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5’s main flaws come down to the features that Samsung hasn’t changed — specifically, the battery life. While it’s better than the first few generations on Galaxy Flip phones, it’s still not especially good, and you can just about count on charging the phone once per day. You might be able to stretch it a day and a quarter if you’re lucky, but the 3,700mAh cell is among the smallest in Samsung’s lineup. I’m fortunate to hit four hours of screen-on time on my best days, but that comes from moderate usage and plenty of reliance on the Flex Window.
Intense usage, like running a slate of benchmarks, offers far worse returns. Our full suite of testing requires about half an hour of constant use (with time between tests for the phone to cool back down), and it dropped my Galaxy Z Flip 5 from a full battery down to around 65%. The biggest culprit was 3DMark’s Wild Life Stress test, and the Galaxy Z Flip 5 didn’t exactly fight the good fight in the process. It dropped from a run of 12,600 out of the gate to just over 5,900 by the seventh loop, eventually settling at just over 5,000 by the 20th run. The poor sustained performance could be down to temperature-based throttling, with the tiny footprint offering limited real estate for the heat to escape. The net result is the Galaxy Z Flip 5 can offer great peak performance, but may struggle over time when put under GPU load in demanding games, for example.
When you drain the Galaxy Z Flip 5’s small battery, your best bet to get back up and running is Samsung’s 25W wired charging. The charging setup is on par with the vanilla Galaxy S23 and requires a USB PD PPS-enabled charger (check out our picks for the best Galaxy Z Flip 5 chargers here), which does not come in the box. You can also tap into wireless charging at up to 15W, as well as reverse wireless charging for your Galaxy Buds or Galaxy Watch at 4.5W. On the bright side, the small battery charges quickly, taking around 75 to 80 minutes when charging at 25W.
It’s also a personal taste, but the Galaxy Z Flip 5 feels too boxy for my liking. The nearly flat side rails make it feel like I’m holding a Klondike Bar when the phone is closed — a nice and compact Klondike Bar — but not one that melts nicely into my hand. This also makes it a slippery customer, so I recommend grabbing a case to protect it. By comparison, the Motorola Razr Plus has rounded sides that nestle comfortably into the creases of my hand. It’s also tricky to reach the volume rocker at the top of the Galaxy Z Flip 5, a common complaint for those of us with small hands.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 camera review
The Galaxy Z Flip 5 may have a new-look Flex Window design, but the two cameras tucked in the asymmetrical bezel haven’t changed. Samsung is still rolling with its tried and true 12MP wide and ultrawide duo that kept the Galaxy Z Flip 4 among the best foldable camera phones, using the same apertures, fields of view, and sensor sizes as the Galaxy Z Flip 4. On the front, the 10MP selfie camera picked up a few new tricks, shifting to a wider maximum aperture (up to f/2.2 from f/2.4) and a slightly wider field of view (up to a 23mm equivalent from 26mm).
Unsurprisingly, the camera app hasn’t changed either. It still offers the same set of defaults, with a toggle for the wide and ultrawide cameras (1x zoom and 0.5x zoom) and tabs for portrait mode and video mode along the bottom. Advanced features like Night mode, Single Take, and Pro are hidden in Samsung’s More tab, though I typically count on Night mode to kick in automatically. The lack of a telephoto lens means you still can’t tap into the Expert RAW app on the Galaxy Z Flip 5 for greater editing options, but I’m pleased with the Flex Window’s performance as an upgraded viewfinder. It’s significantly easier to make out details when lining up your shot, and it’s easier to tell when you’re using the wave gesture to trigger a three-second timer.
A clever (or dishonest) reviewer would have taken unused samples from our Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review and presented them below as if they were taken with the Galaxy Z Flip 5. I’m not that reviewer, of course! So, I have a fresh set for you. As usual, I used the Galaxy Z Flip 5’s wide camera for most of my testing because it offers a field of view that I prefer to the ultrawide alternative.
While the camera samples below are brand-new, the analysis is similar to the previous generation’s. Samsung’s 12MP primary camera captures solid detail at its default zoom, partly thanks to its large pixels. The Galaxy Z Flip 5 recreates the finer details of the bright on the bottom right nicely, and it’s easy to identify several background characters in the portrait image of Jigsaw. Mentioning portrait effects, the edges of my bubble tea are spot-on, holding nicely to the edge of the cup even as it transitions from a brick background to a reflective metal table. As usual, however, Samsung is all about its reds and greens, as seen on the caboose and the Fink’s trailer. The saturation of those two colors is tuned beyond natural, though it’s not to the level of recent Hasselblad-influenced OnePlus phones, for example.
Shifting to the ultrawide lens, we get many of the same results, with punchy colors but good detail preservation. The Galaxy Z Flip 5’s 12MP ultrawide camera can capture interesting aesthetics like the slight distortion on the brick building to give it a sense of scale or the gaping mouth of the fish-shaped chimney, but sometimes the distortion works against the user. In the image to the right, both the man in the black shirt and the man in the orange shirt are distorted unnaturally, as are the edges of the banners flanking the stage.
Despite its occasional distortions, the ultrawide lens makes zooming out on the Galaxy Z Flip 5 preferable to zooming in. Samsung’s lack of a telephoto lens means that digital zoom has to do much of the heavy lifting, which isn’t easy to do past a certain point. I’d have no issues sharing 1x zoom or 2x zoom images on social media, but the details get noticeably softer as the Galaxy Z Flip 5 progresses to 4x and 10x zoom. The lines are a bit blurry on the mill sign, and the blue color recreation appears slightly lighter than in the 2x zoom snap. It’s not a terrible shot, but I might use the 10x zoom setting to catch a menu I can’t quite read rather than make it my first choice at a concert.
Speaking of concerts, we come to Samsung’s low-light performance. The Galaxy Z Flip 5 can capture good low-light shots — at least if you don’t have to zoom. I’m impressed by the clarity of the movie projection to the left and the barely visible drumset in the foreground. It accurately captures what I could see while watching the movie without trying to artificially brighten the scene and blowing out details. The image to the left is good, too, capturing the lighting effects on the stage and the Harrisburg University Presents sign up top. A few of the band members get lost in the details of the background, but Jason Isbell and his keyboard player are easy to make out.
Then we come to the middle image. I attempted to zoom in on Isbell himself but found that the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is faster to give up on details when the lights are low. Some stationary aspects, like the stage lights and the drum kit, aren’t bad, but Jason Isbell is a bit soft, and his guitar is mostly a yellow blob at 4x zoom.
Last but not least, we have selfies. Like the Galaxy Z Flips that came before, the fifth generation has a few options to choose from. You can use the 10MP punch hole camera on the main display, as seen in the shots to the left, or flip the phone around to use the primary 12MP camera like I did on the right. Ignoring the difference in default aspect ratios (you can change this with the tap of a button), it’s clear that the rear cameras are miles ahead of the selfie shooter. They offer richer colors, a more defined portrait effect, and the option to jump to the ultrawide lens if you want to fit friends or family in the shot. You can also wave to the camera to set a three-second timer.
Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 tackles video like its predecessor. It supports 4K recording at 30 or 60fps from the rear cameras and 4K at 30fps from the front camera. Personally, I prefer to prop up the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and pair the Flex Window preview with the two rear cameras to record videos. I’ve noticed better color recreation, just like in the section on selfies above, and it’s much easier to sit the phone flat than to record hand-held. If you’re after slow-mo, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 can drop as low as 960fps at 720p.
If you want to check out full-size versions of all of these camera samples and several more, you can do so at this Google Drive link.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 specs
|Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
- 3.4-inch Super AMOLED 60Hz
- 720 x 748
- 6.7-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X
- 120Hz adaptive refresh rate
- 2,640 x 1,080
- 22:9 aspect ratio
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
256GB or 512GB
No expandable storage
25W Super Fast Charging
15W Fast Wireless Charging 2.0
5W Wireless PowerShare
No charger in box
- 12MP wide, 1.8μm, OIS, Dual Pixel AF, ƒ/1.8
- 12MP ultra wide, 123-degree FoV, 1.12μm, ƒ/2.2
- 10MP, 1.22μm, ƒ/2.2
Dolby Atmos support
No 3.5mm headphone port
Side-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor
Single nano-SIM tray
One UI 5.1.1
Dimensions and weight
- 85.09 x 72 x 15mm (measured at hinge)
- 165 x 71.9 x 6.9mm
Mint, Graphite, Cream, Lavender
Samsung.com exclusives: Gray, Blue, Green, Yellow
Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5?
It’s not as easy to nail down a verdict on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 as it might seem. On the one hand, Samsung finally gave us what we’ve been asking for in the form of a large, feature-rich Flex Window. The revamped hinge means there’s no more gap when the phone is closed, and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy brings a nice little bump to short-term performance. There’s no question that the Galaxy Z Flip 5’s materials are on point, and Samsung’s update policy of five years of security support and four years of OS upgrades sets the gold standard among Android OEMs. A free storage bump on the base model from 128GB to 256GB is just the icing on the cake when you don’t have a microSD slot. The Galaxy Z Flip 5’s unchanged rear cameras are good enough for another year, even if most of their improvement comes from the Flex Window’s larger preview and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2’s upgraded camera support.
On the other hand, some of the Flex Window’s best features are tricky enough to isolate the average user, while others feel incomplete. Splitting the supported apps into the Labs launcher and Good Lock launcher is a headache, and even optimized experiences like Google Maps offer wonky layouts. Samsung’s battery life and charging setup continue to be just okay, and graphics performance suffers heavily under stress.
The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is great, but it's no longer alone at the clam(shell) bar.
Perhaps the biggest threat to Samsung’s clamshell dominance is that it’s no longer alone in the segment. Yes, Samsung holds a sizeable lead when it comes to market share, but the Motorola Razr Plus ($699.99 at Amazon) is hot on its tail. Motorola’s revamped Razr has a slightly larger cover display at 3.5 inches and much better app performance. Some might say the Razr Plus’s cover screen is overkill with a 144Hz refresh rate and nearly 100 more pixels per inch, but the difference is noticeable — and particularly enjoyable when scrolling social media. Of course, Samsung still offers a better update commitment and superior cameras, and the Galaxy Z Flip 5 has a much sturdier hinge.
Another clamshell worth cracking into — if it’s available in your region — is OPPO’s Find N3 Flip ($1199 at Giztop). It takes a slightly different approach to the cover screen, stretching from top to bottom rather than left to right, complete with its own tiny apps. OPPO also bumped to a 50MP primary camera as the star of a triple camera setup. Raw megapixels aren’t everything, but OPPO’s extra sensor gives the Find N3 Flip a serious edge when it comes to zooming in and out. The Chinese flip phone has a much larger 4,300mAh battery and 44W wired charging to top it all off — you just might have a tough time getting one in the US.
At the end of it all, maybe you don’t even want a clamshell-style flip phone after all. Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Plus ($999.99 at Samsung) costs the same as the Galaxy Z Flip 5, and it offers a bigger battery, faster wired charging, and a more capable camera setup to boot. No, it won’t turn any heads while walking down the street, but you don’t have to worry about the hinge or display crease wearing down over time, either. Both phones benefit from Samsung’s excellent update commitment and rich integration with other Galaxy products, so it’s up to you how you want to spend a thousand dollars.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review: FAQs
No. The larger Flex Window means that any case with a cutout for the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s cover display will be too small for the Galaxy Z Flip 5.
No, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is available with either 256GB or 512GB of fixed storage.
Yes, like Samsung’s previous Galaxy Z Flip models, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 has a thin screen protector on top of its Ultra Thin Glass display.
Yes, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 supports both mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G.