Samsung saved this year’s biggest advancements for the flip phone. As for the bigger Z Fold 5, it gets a new hinge, a brighter inner screen, and not a whole lot else. For better or worse, that includes the price: still $1,799.
There’s an updated processor, of course — the same overclocked Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset in Samsung’s S23-series flagship phones — and it’s a bit thinner and lighter than the Z Fold 4 thanks to the new teardrop-shaped hinge that allows it to close flat. The Z Fold 5 measures 13.4mm thick when closed; at its slimmest point, the Fold 4 was 14.2mm thick. It’s also about 10g lighter (two nickels), down to 253g from 263g. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s six nickels lighter than the Google Pixel Fold.
The Fold 5 carries the same IPX8 rating for water resistance as last year’s model but should be a little more durable. The new hinge’s double-rail design can better withstand impacts, plus there’s the latest Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the front and inner screens.
The main 7.6-inch screen’s peak brightness has been boosted up to 1750 nits, the same as the screens on the Galaxy S23 series. And the S Pen designed for use with the Fold series is 40 percent thinner now. There’s still no silo built into the phone for it, but Samsung says the Fold 5 case that’s designed to hold the stylus is “nearly the same thickness as a regular case for the Fold,” so that’s a win, I guess?
There are a handful of minimal software improvements, too: the taskbar now shows four recent apps rather than two, and there’s a new two-handed drag-and-drop feature to more easily copy content from one app to another. Samsung also plans to bring these features to older Fold phones via a One UI update later on.
On the whole, the Fold 5 doesn’t look like it’s designed to entice current Fold owners to upgrade. Instead, Samsung seems to be shoring up its position against its newest foldable competitor: Google. The things that Samsung was already doing better — a lighter device, robust multitasking features — are improving even further. And the Pixel Fold’s advantage in closing totally flat is now a wash. But the Z Fold 5’s outer screen is still just as skinny and awkward as it was last year, and the Pixel Fold’s wider form factor has won a lot of fans — me included.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 goes up for preorder today, with availability on August 11th. Standard color options include icy blue, phantom black, and cream. If you order directly from Samsung, you’ll have two extra choices: (warmer?) blue or gray.