Galaxy Z Fold5 and Flip5 first impressions: Samsung finally closes the gap

The foldables are slimmer and lighter, and promise more power and battery life

Watch: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 unboxing

Watch: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 unboxing
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When Samsung Electronics released the original Galaxy Z Fold in 2019, it wanted to change the game with a new design that combined the portability of a mobile phone with the flexibility of a tablet.

The South Korean tech giant followed that up in 2020 with the original Galaxy Z Flip, as it put more foldables into the hands of consumers.

Fast-forward to 2023 and we now have the Fold5 and Flip5, launched at the first-ever Unpacked event in Seoul. While not much has changed in terms of overall design, Samsung has made sure to provide upgrades that will stir interest.

Here are our first impressions on the Fold5 and Flip5.

The National gets a preview of Samsung's new foldables

The National gets a preview of Samsung's new foldables

How do the Galaxy Z Fold5 and Flip5 feel?

Save for some minor updates over the years, both devices basically haven't strayed away from their original forms.

A couple of key specs for both, their inner and cover displays, have maintained their sizes: the Fold5 still has a 7.6-inch inner screen and 6.2-inch cover screen.

One of the biggest things thrown against the Fold is that it is a large device. But context matters here: it's only large when it's unfolded. When it's folded, it's slimmer and shorter than iPhone's Pro Max models.

Granted, it is thicker, but it feels right in your hands. The Fold5 is now the lightest and slimmest in its series.

The Flip5, meanwhile, also retains its 6.7-inch inner screen, while its cover screen … more on that later.

When folded, it's so handy and pocketable that those old enough will recall those cool clamshell phones of several years past.

It's been widely suggested that the Flip was aimed at female users. Samsung has in the past marketed it towards that demographic – the original Flip was launched on Valentine's Day 2020 – but the lines have been blurred since then.

The Flip5 is a stylish device that has evolved to suit anyone's taste when you consider its capabilities, main screen size and convenience.

What's the biggest upgrade?

Arguably the most significant update is the new Flex Hinge, which closes the gap when the devices are folded, making them slimmer.

The gap in previous Samsung foldables allowed dust to creep in and gave them a somewhat awkward shape.

Fewer mechanisms in the Flex Hinge have also contributed to the devices' lighter build, Samsung said.

The Fold5 and Flip5 are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 2 chip, the same processor used in the Galaxy S23 series.

This is likely to give them a boost in power and battery life, as it did to Samsung's first flagship line-up earlier this year.

Their cameras basically stay put in terms of numbers, with some token upgrades including more artificial intelligence.

And circling back to a hanging statement earlier on the Flip5's screen: its outer screen has been significantly bumped up to 3.4 inches, which is nearly double its predecessor's.

That makes it more flexible as it shows more content and gives a bigger view when taking selfies, similar to what the Motorola Razr+ offers.

It is quite surprising Samsung didn't make this change as early as the Flip3. Google also beat them on the closed hinge which featured on the Pixel Fold launched in May.

Initial verdict

The Fold5 and Flip5 look very promising, albeit with only minor upgrades. The real test is when they are put into action.

There are also a lot more improvements that can be made to these devices. We don't know what Samsung is developing, but given this is the fifth Fold, we should expect some serious upgrades next time around.

In the meantime, we look forward to testing them.

Updated: July 27, 2023, 1:12 PM