Similar, yet distinct. That is the best way to describe the Galaxy Z Fold 5, Samsung’s latest entrant into the foldable smartphone market. It looks the same as the Galaxy Z Fold 4 at first glance, but linger a bit longer, and you will uncover a host of changes – the way it folds, how it feels to hold, the spacing between screens – a whole array of refinements that set it apart.
Having spent over a week with the Galaxy Z Fold 5, I can confidently say that it has debunked many doubts I had about using a large foldable phone as my daily driver. But the question remains – is it practical to rely on a phone as big as the Z Fold 5 for daily use? What are the pros and cons? Let’s dive into the details to find out.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5: Design
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 looks similar to the Fold 4 on the outside, but the difference becomes apparent the moment you hold it. It is lighter and more compact and that you notice the moment you pick it up. Just to put some numbers: the phone has a weight of just 253 grams. When folded, the Fold 5 is only 13.4 mm thick.
The overall size and shape remain the same as the Galaxy Z Fold 4, although here too there are subtle changes. The edges in the Fold 5 are sharper, unlike the curved edges of the Galaxy Fold 4. But the biggest design change is in the hinge. When the Fold 5 is folded, there’s absolutely no gap between its displays – a significant difference from the earlier model, where you could fit a pencil in between.
In the phone, the camera sensors are neatly arranged in a pill-shaped module. The Fold 5’s cameras protrude slightly more compared to what we saw in the Fold 4. On the back, the phone has smooth matte finish, which is great because it doesn’t easily get scratched. Unfortunately, it is also a magnet for fingerprints and smudges. The metal frame adds a touch of style, but it also makes the device feel a bit slippery. Since I used the Fold 5 without a cover, I found myself worrying about dropping it. One part I would have liked better was the buttons and their placement. The power button and the volume button are both placed on the right side of the device. Several times, while turning on the device, I found myself accidentally pressing the volume buttons instead of the power button.
The fold, due to its foldable mechanism, may look delicate but it is built like any other top-end smartphone. The phone rocks a Gorilla Glass Victus 2 cover. It also carries an IPX8 rating, meaning you can dunk it up to 3 meters (9.8 feet) underwater for about half an hour without causing any harm.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5: Display
Like the other foldable phones, the Fold 5 too comes with two screens. On the outside there is a 6.2-inch cover screen, with resolution of 2316 x 904 pixels. Inside the main screen measures 7.6 inches, with resolution of 2176 x 1812 pixels.
For someone upgrading from a regular phone, the Z Fold 5’s 7.6-inch display is going to be a dream for enjoying videos and stuff. I have binged on YouTube for hours on the device. Watched movies, shows on it – and I am absolutely digging the tablet-like vibe it gives. If you are a big fan of watching stuff on your phone, like movies and shows, you seriously need to consider this. You are getting a slim, light phone with a massive screen – talk about a killer combo!
The apps like Meta, Netflix are well optimised for the 7.6-inch main display. However, some apps are yet to be fine-tuned. For instance, YouTube by default plays videos in 16:9 ratio. Though you can use the pinching gesture to fill the screen, although parts of the video do end up getting cropped.
Talking about the crease, there is an improvement here compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 4. In the Fold 5, the crease isn’t too noticeable while enjoying videos or games. But it’s also a matter of angle. If the phone is placed on a table flat, you will notice the crease better. When you are holding it at an angle, you will not so much.
The Fold 5 uses AMOLED panels for both screens. They are adequately bright, but I believe the main screen could have been brighter. For indoor use, the brightness of around 50-60 per cent is fine but for outdoor use, particularly if you are watching videos in a reflective environment, you wish the phone was brighter.
Anything that you can do on the inside screen, you can also do on the outside screen. The large size of this outside screen means that when folded, the Fold 5 essentially functions as a regular tall-boy phone that we all carry.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5: Performance and software
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, paired with up to 12GB of RAM. It is powered by Android 13 with One UI 5.1.1. While reviewing the phone, I saw no performance issues. No lags, no jitters, nada.
Notably, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 impressively handles running more than two apps simultaneously, including a floating window and the large inside screen means it is actually viable to keep a couple of floating screens on the phone.
One bit about the performance that I don’t like is the way the phone handles heat, particularly at this time of the year in a hot city like Delhi. It gets surprisingly warm in around 10 minutes when the camera app is recording videos. Similarly, I noticed that the phone got warm when I played games on it: for example, after playing Asphalt 9 for around 20 minutes I felt that the phone was fairly hot to touch.
Because this is a foldable phone it comes with a few unique tricks. One impressive bit is that in the Fold 5you can treat each screen independently. This means you can have different apps on each screen, exactly as you prefer. For example, you can set WhatsApp to be on the smaller cover screen whereas your entertainment apps like Netflix and YouTube are on the inside screen. Another impressive aspect is the app transition between the cover screen and the main screen. If you are using an app on the smaller cover screen and then unfold to the larger main screen, that open app seamlessly moves to the big screen.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5: Battery
The Fold 5 uses a 4400mAh battery. It supports 25W fast charging and 15W wireless charging.
Usually, my routine involves browsing Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for about 20 minutes right after waking up. Throughout the day, I’m on my phone with occasional breaks. I use social media apps extensively, scrolling through Instagram, watching reels, and spending hours on YouTube for blogs and videos. During my commute home, I use Google Maps and YouTube Music for about two hours at a stretch. With this kind of use, on most days the Fold 5 had around 40 per cent battery left when I got home. In other words, it is safe to say that for most people the Fold 5 battery will easily last 15-20 hours.
Charging speed on the phone is slow and can take up to two hours to charge fully.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5: Camera
There are many cameras in the Fold 5. Okay numbers: There are five cameras in the phone, three on the back and two on the front. At the rear, the camera setup uses three sensors: a 50-megapixel main camera featuring Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), a 10-megapixel telephoto lens with 3x zoom optical zoom and OIS, and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera.
On the front, there are two cameras. One of them is on the cover screen. This is a 10-megapixel camera. Then there is one more 4-megapixel camera on the main screen, similar to what you get in laptops. This camera is best used for video calls, because for selfies it is bad. Instead, for selfies the 10MP camera needs to be used.
Samsung has been making smartphones for over a decade now and the company is definitely among the leaders when it comes to photography performance of its phones. The Fold 5 performs like you would expect from a high-end Samsung phone.
The main 50-megapixel camera clicks vibrant — a tad to vibrant at times — photos that are full of intricate details. The portrait shots too come across nice as they capture a lot of details and the edges of people are sharply defined. The skin tones tend to look warm, although you do have the choice to go for a warmer or more natural tone, especially when clicking selfies.
Low-light photos taken in a dim room are just passable. They seem a touch lacking in details and can come off a bit soft. Although, the night mode works very well in extremely dark scenes. The wide-angle camera does a really good job. Photos clicked with it show colours that are true to life, and it scoops up loads of details. In good light, the 30x zoom feels magic. You can check out the images of the tip of Qutab Minar and an Air India airplane that I captured by zooming.
As noted, for selfies the 10-megapixel front camera is the one that gives better results. Selfies clicked with it show warm skin tones, crisp edges, and generally bright pictures. And another neat trick: you can use the camera on the cover screen as a “viewfinder” if you want to take a selfie using the main cameras on the back.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5: Should you buy?
Colour me impressed! I like the Fold 5, although it is an expensive phone. Compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 4, it feels lighter and more comfortable to hold. The design tweaks, like the sharper edges and seamless folding, make a real difference. In daily use, I found the big screen a treat and can now see the advantage a foldable phone offers. The performance is fantastic, barring the mild heating that occurs while playing games or video recording for prolonged duration. Camera performance is in line with what you expect from an ultra-premium phone and battery life is solid.
The big question, though, is the price. It is an expensive phone at a starting price of Rs 1,64,999. But do understand that essentially you are paying for the novelty of the foldable technology, and all the advantages it brings to consumers. The Fold 5 in a way is not just one device. It is at least a couple of phones rolled into one, or rather a tablet and a phone rolled into one. For that reason, the Fold 5 also offers experience that is worth its price.