still a top foldable phone in 2024

Foldable display technology has led to a reinvention of the flip phone of the 00s, and Samsung has paved the way with its Galaxy Z Flip devices. The Z Flip is one of Samsung’s most stylish phones: it’s as much a fashion statement as it is an impressive Android device.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5, launched in mid-2023, improved on its predecessor, the Z Flip4, with a slimmer build, a larger cover display, an improved processor, and fresh colors. The fifth-generation, then, finally felt like a foldable phone that could work for most people.

With the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 now around a year old, the next in line is on its way. But that’s not to say you shouldn’t buy one, it’s still one of the best phones in 2024 and we recently saw it slashed from its original £1,049 price to just £649 – there’s basically never been a better time to buy one.

I’ve been testing Samsung’s smallest foldable phone for a few weeks and have taken notes on everything you need to know, including details on the design, displays, performance, cameras, battery life and software.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 review: design

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 is a palm-sized smartphone that unfolds to the size and shape of a regular phone. When folded, it’s a square shape, with a large 3.4-inch cover display (known as the Flex Window) taking up most of its exterior. That’s nestled within glossy black bezels, alongside two circular camera lenses stacked horizontally next to each other. When you unfold the phone, you’ll reveal a massive 6.7-inch display inside with a crease running down the middle and a selfie camera placed centered at the top.

You can buy the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 in a ton of colors, including Graphite, Cream, Lavender, Blue, Yellow, and Green. I tested the Mint colorway and it’s pretty cool, with a block of glossy color on the back and a matching “Armor” aluminum polished frame around the edges.

samsung galaxy z flip5

Digital Spy/Yasmine Crossland

The Z Flip 5 is a very nice looking gadget and at 187 grams it is also light. Folded it fits in small but loose pockets and there is almost no space between the two halves. When unfolded the long screen inside is easy to use with one hand, I have small hands and my thumb easily reaches over it.

Foldable phones have a reputation for being a bit rickety, but the Z Flip 5 feels solid. Samsung claims it should last 200,000 folds, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to test that in a few weeks. It folds shut, the hinge is sturdy, and the frame can withstand a few knocks.

Additionally, the handset is IPX8 water-resistant, so it can survive immersion in up to 1.5m of fresh water for up to 30 minutes. The only downside is that there is no official rating for dust resistance.

The sturdy hinge lets you lay the phone flat, or you can unfold it partially and place it on a table at almost any angle.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 review: display

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 has dual displays – a 3.4-inch Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 720 x 748 pixels and a 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X main display with an FHD+ resolution of 2640 x 1080 pixels.

The quality of the cover screen is fit for purpose. It’s bright, clear and easy to read, plus it’s a great size. Other generations of the phone have had a much smaller secondary screen and I didn’t find them as practical. The cover screen on the Z Flip 5, however, is big enough to use.

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Digital Spy/Yasmine Crossland

You can choose from a ton of different designs for the Flex Window and add all sorts of useful widgets, such as quick access to your calendar, weather, alarms, Spotify, step count and more. You can also open a full keyboard, making replying to messages from the cover screen much easier than before.

Samsung Labs lets you run unsupported apps from the cover screen, so you don’t have to open the phone to find a new playlist or check the news headlines. Be aware, however, that there might be some formatting issues.

The main display inside is as good as that of the best Android smartphones.

The aspect ratio is much thinner and taller than I’m used to, but it’s handy to be able to split the screen in two: you can have a couple of app windows open and navigate through them comfortably. The crease on the screen is barely visible from the front, but is still visible when you tilt the phone and catch the light.

The main display is vibrant, sharp and detailed, a joy to use whether you’re binge-watching shows on the most popular streaming services (I rewatched Desperate Housewives on Disney+), shopping online for early Prime Day deals, or playing mobile games.

It has a peak brightness of 1750 nits, which makes for a solid display even in sunlight. And there’s a 120Hz refresh rate that can drop to just 1Hz to save battery, making it silky smooth when it needs to be and self-adjusting when it’s not.

To unlock both displays, you get the choice of the usual PIN, pattern or password, as well as a fingerprint sensor and facial recognition. I opted to use my fingerprint and found it worked quickly most of the time.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 review: cameras

Samsung has opted for a 12MP main camera on the Z Flip5, alongside a 12MP ultra-wide camera and a 10MP selfie camera. It’s the same setup as the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4, though the main camera has a “Super Clear Lens” that reduces glare and boosts colors and contrast.

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Digital Spy/Yasmine Crossland

The results are good, photos are bright and colourful, if perhaps a little gloomy at times, especially on a dark day. You won’t get the same level of detail as you would with the Google Pixel 8 Pro, for example, but it still produces reasonably sharp shots. It would be great to see more definition and depth to the images, but rest assured, you’ll get photos worthy of your Instagram grid.

With the handset folded, double-tapping the power button opens the camera, letting you start shooting without opening the device. You can use that screen to start a timer, adjust blur, and change the aspect ratio of your shot.

Another way to take photos is to partially unfold the phone and place it on a table. This way you can take a photo or video with the selfie camera.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 sample photos

Check out the gallery below for a selection of raw photos taken with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 review: performance and battery

Equipped with the top-end Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy processor, alongside a choice of 256 or 512GB of storage and 8GB of RAM, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is powerful and capable. It’s one of the most efficient clamshell-style foldable phones available.

Whatever you plan to use your next smartphone for, the Z Flip 5 can handle it. It delivers fast load times, seamless gaming, and responsive camera functions. It does get a little warm from time to time, but only when it’s being pushed hard for extended periods of time.

samsung galaxy z flip5samsung galaxy z flip5

Digital Spy/Yasmine Crossland

When it comes to battery life, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 has a 3,700mAh cell. In my experience, it lasted until the evening, but did need to be charged when I got home. That was after a day of scrolling through social media, listening to music, and using Google Maps.

To compare it to other smartphones, I downloaded a video and played it for two hours at full brightness. During that time, the battery percentage dropped by 16%, suggesting it would have lasted a total of 12.5 hours. That’s fine, but still a far cry from the 20+ hours offered by some of the best-performing flagship phones, which ultimately use less power because they don’t have a dual-screen setup.

It takes about 90 minutes to fully charge the battery from 0 to 100%. You can also charge this phone wirelessly.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 review: software

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 was launched with One UI 5.1 based on Android 13, but can now be updated to One UI 6.1 based on Android 14.

Samsung’s operating system is sleek and colorful, but it also comes with a lot of bloatware, including duplicates like the Google Play Store and Samsung App Gallery, and Google Chrome and Samsung Internet. Of course, you can uninstall software that you don’t want taking up space.

samsung galaxy z flip5samsung galaxy z flip5

Digital Spy/Yasmine Crossland

Samsung has promised four major Android OS updates for the Z Flip5 devices, one of which has already come and gone. Samsung’s flagship S24 devices recently received a massive seven years of updates, so it would be great to see this expanded upon next time around.

One thing Samsung does really well, and perhaps better than other foldable phone brands, is adapting select software to the size. I already mentioned the extensive suite of cover screen widgets and how you can split the main screen into two app windows. But beyond that, Samsung Labs also lets you try out some more experimental features, like running non-customized apps on the cover screen and opening split screen functionality for all apps even if they haven’t been resized to fit.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 review: verdict

When the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 first launched, it was the best foldable clamshell phone you could buy and that’s still the case today. The biggest problem with it is its hefty price tag, although prices should drop significantly in the coming months with the next-gen device likely launching very soon.

The Z Flip5 isn’t as good at taking professional-looking photos as the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, and it’s not as durable as the Google Pixel 8 phones. But if you want a modern clamshell phone that’s sturdy and reliable, with a solid camera system, a decent battery, and speedy performance, the Z Flip5 will tick all the boxes. Its cool, colorful design makes it as much a fashion accessory as it is a great smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 review: also consider

Another clamshell-style foldable phone to consider is the Oppo Find N2 Flip. It looks smart with a great set of features and a large display.

If you want a foldable phone with a top camera, the Google Pixel Fold is the best one out there right now. When I tried it out, I also really liked that the front display is the same size as a regular smartphone and the main display looks more like a mini tablet. That said, the Pixel Fold does have its shortcomings, namely that there isn’t as much compatible software as Samsung offers.

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