Samsung Electronics wanted to make a splash at its first-ever Unpacked event in Seoul recently, and it did just that with its new folding gadgets, as much of the talk focused on its new gapless design and the Flip5's bigger cover screen.
Still, the Fold is the crown jewel of Samsung's foldables, and the latest device to wear that crown is the Galaxy Z Fold5. With an updated design and the usual internal upgrades, the world's biggest mobile phone manufacturer wants to show others how it's done.
So just how unique is the newest Fold? And is it enough to convince users to upgrade or join the flip, er, fold side?
What's new in the Fold5?
That's thanks to the Flex Hinge upgrade, which has fewer mechanisms, allowing the device to open and close more seamlessly, and also helping to make the Fold5 the lightest and slimmest model in the series.
It also keeps dust out and eliminates the awkward shape common to older models.
Aside from that, nothing else is remarkable. In fact, practically nothing has changed since the Fold4.
To be fair, devices in the Fold series have a clean design, and indeed, the Fold5 is the most polished of the lot; it's hard to imagine how its aesthetics could be improved, but this needs to be done.
So, what's the biggest upgrade?
You'll have to look below the surface, as the Fold5's biggest upgrade is its processor – Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, a specially-made “Mobile Platform for Galaxy”.
Samsung promises a faster device with better graphics and a longer battery life. One thing it has highlighted is gaming, and here it does deliver, as the device handles graphics-heavy games without any noticeable delays or lags.
This excellence spills over to its overall performance, which is smooth and a pleasure to interact with. The 7.6-inch main display, which lets you see and do more, is just so easy on the eyes; the 120Hz refresh rate runs smoothly and responds well to the S Pen.
Helping on that front is an advanced cooling system to keep the Fold5 even-tempered. That'll also help handle the device's peak brightness, which is increased by 30 per cent from its predecessor. Sure, you'll feel some moderate heat at certain points, but nothing alarming.
Is the camera good?
By all accounts, yes. The Fold5's triple-lens camera system remains a sturdy little snapper. Technically, its specs haven't changed, having inherited the big bump-ups of the Fold4, but the new, faster chip makes up for that.
Shooting photos and videos feel a tad faster compared to the Fold4, and we had no issues using it as an all-round snapper in both bright and dim light.
We love how much detailed well-lit pictures are, and the crispness makes colourful shots stand out. Image processing is nice, keeping them at a natural level unlike other phone cameras that tend to overexpose or beautify things too much.
At night is where we kind of diverge a bit: there is some overexposure, as all the night shots above were taken in really dark areas.
The logic here is that brightening up shots will do you good if there are people involved, but if you just want to capture the feel of the scene, the results could be less desirable. You can, however, adjust the camera's focus to balance out the lighting you wish to achieve.
For selfies, you have two options – either the cover camera or the inner, under-display front camera. The former does a better job, as we find the latter has the tendency to produce more grain. And don't consider them redundant; you can use either on a video call too.
How long does the battery last?
Looks like that Gen 2 chip is really paying dividends. We were good for a solid day, and had about 30 per cent left in the battery tank by night – and you know you can stretch that out further the following day.
In our one-hour YouTube-at-full-brightness test, the Fold5 only lost an impressive 5 per cent – and that's with the brightness turned up – which easily beats out the Fold4's 8 per cent and the Fold3's 7 per cent, despite all three devices sharing the same 4400mAh battery.
Samsung says the device can charge up to 50 per cent in half an hour. In our test, using a 30W brick, the device hit 44 per cent in 30 minutes, then 77 per cent in an hour. Not bad.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 remains a powerhouse. While it has only inched up internally, the decision to finally close the gap makes the previous iterations look like relics of the past.
However, it's been five years of Samsung Folds now, and we want to see a complete overhaul next year. But with Samsung giving the Fold5 a good polish, are we indeed due for a new-look premium foldable in 2024?
Even Apple has never waited this long. The longest period between iPhone design refreshes was four years, between 2013's iPhone 6 and the 2017 iPhone X, which could be matched by this year's iPhone cycle if rumours about Apple's next flagship hold up.
The company has already teased a number of prototypes. We are hoping for an additional rear cover screen for now, then triple folds and rollables can follow – because, of course, we need to hype these things, right?