Let's get this out of the way once and for all: despite the "5" on its name, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is now on its fourth iteration, the company having skipped a "2" to align it with the Fold.
That being said, we're still wondering why it took this long for the world's biggest mobile phone manufacturer to nail it, giving the Flip5 the full screen it deserves on its cover, having been beaten to the draw by the Oppo Find N2 Flip and Motorola Razr+ by seven months and one month, respectively.
Nevertheless, we cannot fault Samsung for waiting it out and ensuring they'd bring us the best possible version of the Flip by far, a tactic similar to what Apple does: don't launch something just for the sake of launching it.
So is the Galaxy Z Flip5 worth that wait? Let's find out.
What's new on the Flip5?
Again, on the spec sheet, it's a very minimal upgrade compared to the Flip4. But some good news: prices have been lowered, not by much but it will still save you a hundred dirhams.
Anyway, one of the critiques that has dogged the Galaxy Z series – both the Flip and Fold – is that they've barely changed in terms of aesthetics. Samsung has focused on ensuring the stability of these devices, because building a smartphone with a foldable screen is no joke.
That said, the crease at the centre of the main display is still visible, especially from certain angles. While certainly not something that actually disrupts the experience, it still looks odd.
With the Flip5, however, Samsung was able to hit numerous birds with a single stone: it redid the hinge, which it calls the Flex Hinge and has a number of benefits.
The new hinge lets the Flip5 open and close seamlessly and with fewer moving parts there's less chance of these parts breaking up. Samsung has always promoted its foldables to be able to withstand 200,000 folds in their lifetime, which is about five years at 100 folds/unfolds per day – a figure verified by French certification company Bureau Veritas.
(However, that's at room temperature, or about 25°C. They won't last as long in extreme conditions: at 60°C, this goes down to 150,000, while at minus 20°C, it slides all the way down to 30,000 – all according to Samsung.)
The Flex Hinge also – finally – closes the gap between the Flip5's two sides, so no dust can creep inside nor can you peek through it while it's folded. This also shaves 2mm from the Flip5 to make it the slimmest so far in the series, although it maintains the 187g weight of the Flip4.
Performance-wise, you can't say anything bad about it: the Flip5 is still blazingly fast. Also take advantage of its Flex Mode, in which you can make it sit and split the screen: the top shows the app content, while the lower area turns into a control panel, akin to a trackpad.
The biggest change, however, deserves its own dedicated section.
Finally, a bigger cover screen
And here it is: while the Fold5 is the ultra-premium of the lot, the Flip5 has arguably stolen the show with one important and, really, inevitable upgrade – a bigger cover screen.
Now up at 3.4 inches – from a modest 1.1 inches in the original and 1.9 inches in the previous two iterations – this is a really huge deal for a number of good reasons.
The most obvious is that now you can do and see more of apps with it, making the device more flexible and not limiting you to a very cramped space as with previous versions. It's also advantageous for those who love selfies, which we'll explore later.
By default, the cover screen has notifications and widgets for calendar, weather, alarms, a step counter, plus five apps that fully work on it – Google Maps and Messages, Samsung Messages, Netflix and YouTube.
Seems limited, but there is a way to use other or all apps within the device on the cover screen: download Good Lock, an app that lets you customise Galaxy phones.
Good Lock isn't on Google Play, but rather on the Samsung Store. Once installed, open it, then look for and download MultiStar; after that, head over to the Flip5's settings, tap on widgets and select Launcher; this will then let you choose which apps you want to use on the cover screen on the now-activated Launcher Widget.
Every app on the launcher's list – including Google Chrome, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Spotify and others – now works on the cover screen. This is a big plus especially if you don't really need the main screen for certain things you want to do.
Of course, using certain apps on the cover screen means there will be limitations: YouTube, for instance, will now play videos as if you're watching them on full screen mode on the main screen.
Good Lock's been around since 2016, and why Samsung hasn't integrated it fully into its smartphones is unclear. One theory could be Samsung wants to give users the freedom to spruce up their UIs. In any case, it's a perfect complement to the Flip5's bigger cover display.
One more thing to note before we leave this part: the Flip5's cover display doesn't fully encroach the entire space, with a little strip on the lower left-hand side that runs beside the camera lenses. It could look awkward, but that strip serves a purpose, as it's where you can find the virtual home and back buttons for the cover screen.
Is its camera good?
We again get a dual-lens main camera system on the Flip5, which hasn't really changed from the Flip4. Despite that, photos are still nice; we found no significant issues with good-light shots but as it gets dimmer there tends to be some overexposure, making you feel some photos don't look that natural.
Switching over to the front camera, which also hasn't changed, you will feel, or rather see, the full power of the bigger screen, as you get a bigger preview with it.
One advantage is FlexCam, the one distinct advantage this device has when it comes to taking selfies. Basically you can just let the Flip5 sit somewhere and, by waving your palm or saying a trigger word such as "cheese" or "smile", you'll be able to take a snap – all hands-free.
A word on the palm gesture, though: you can trigger this as long as the camera detects your palm, which we found out is doable within more or less two metres. If that won't work, either scream a trigger word (subject to whether the device can hear it depending on how noisy or quiet the environment is), or just simply use the timer that gives you up to 10 seconds to pose.
How long does it last?
On the Flip5, Samsung still promises everything it did with the Flip4 – starting with a similar 3700mAh battery – and all of which we feel should've been improved.
It guaranteed all-day battery life and it didn't disappoint, leaving us with about a quarter of its juice, give or take a few percentage points, by nightfall. That's compared to the 20 per cent on the Flip4. Keep your use a bit down and it would last you until noon the following day.
In our standard one-hour YouTube-at-full-brightness test, we added some extra burden by switching on its extra brightness mode, and the Flip5 lost 9 per cent, compared to its predecessor's 10 per cent. Use the standard full brightness and it'll settle at an 8 per cent loss.
The Flip5 once again supports 25W fast charging, which Samsung says will fill the device up at 50 per cent in half an hour – more holdovers from last year. To keep in step, we again used a 30W charger, which is safe to do (chargers are backward compatible so in this case it will charge at 25W).
It didn't reach the halfway mark but it did charge up at 47 per cent in 30 minutes and 82 per cent in an hour, which gives it good marks. Wireless charging, as usual, is as slow as a snail.
This version of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 should've really come earlier but there's no point in sulking over that: a bigger cover screen is finally here and that's what matters.
For a device meant to be used in a compact way at your pleasure, this significantly boosts functionality and certainly gives it more appeal – and at an even lower price (even by not that much).
If you find the Fold too expensive or too grandiose, then the Flip5 will be more than enough to satisfy your foldable desires.