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When you think “foldable phone,” there is a good chance that Samsung’s Galaxy Fold5 comes to mind. It’s the traditional smartphone that folds into a tablet and is now in its 5th generation with a kitchen sink-like strategy of features, with a high price to match.

The Galaxy Z Fold5, like the Z Fold4 before it, is a productivity powerhouse that impressed and lets you breeze through tasks from anywhere. It’s not cheap at €1,999, though.

With the Z Fold5, though, Samsung still continues to progress the form factor and makes key refinements that previous Fold users didn’t necessarily appreciate; mainly, when folded, there is no longer a gap. I’ve spent several weeks with the Galaxy Z Fold 5 now, and even with more competition in the space, Samsung is still the leader in this category.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 Review | TheEffect.NetDesign & Build Quality

Like the Z Fold 4 before it, the Galaxy Z Fold5 folds open like a book. It first presents itself as a thick—about two typical smartphones stacked together, ,more specifically, two “candy bar” smartphones with a screen that is not as wide as a Galaxy S23 or iPhone 14.

For this front display in particular, it’s a bit more cramped for banging out a text or email, but the increased height makes it great for browsing the web or scrolling through a feed like Instagram or TikTok. Like any Samsung phone display, it’s impressively vibrant with punchy colour next to stark, dark contrast points: specifically, it’s a 6.2-inch HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display set in a 23.1:9 aspect ratio.

There’s no denying it though, the Galaxy Z Fold5 is a substantial device, but also one that feels very solid in the hand. Samsung uses a proprietary “Armor Aluminium” material, super-strong Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2, and stainless steel as the main components.

Generation over generation, the Galaxy Z Fold5 is thinner at 13.4 millimeters and lighter at just 253 grams. It’s not a giant leap on paper, but it is more comfortable to hold and a bit easier to travel in real life. The slimmer build makes it easier to slide in the front pockets of jeans and into a bag.

Arguably more important is the upgrade Flex Hinge that lets the Galaxy Z Fold5 fold flat and eliminates the gap. This way, it’s less likely that debris from your pocket and dust or other particles could get in and mess with the internal display.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 Review | TheEffect.NetThe hinge is the most crucial part of any folding phone, and three Flex Hinges are inside the Z Fold5. You can still position the Z Fold 5 open at almost any angle. You can prop up the front display for a mini-cinema-like experience or use it like a mini laptop. I didn’t notice any issues or abruptions with the smoothness of the Z Fold5 opening or closing. Over five generations in with the mechanism, Samsung’s really nailed it.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 Review | TheEffect.NetOpening up the Z Fold5 presents you with one of the nicest and most pocketable displays. It’s still a massive 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity Flex display made from “ultra-thin-glass” (aka a mixture of plastic and bits of glass for added durability that allows the display to fold). It’s easily the most immersive display and the best one to watch content on, be it a YouTube video or an entire feature-length film.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 Review | TheEffect.NetIt won’t disappoint, and for gaming or scrolling through a spreadsheet with thousands of rows, it’s buttery smooth thanks to an adaptive refresh rate that spans up to 120Hz. As far as the crease goes, it’s still there, and you can feel it with your finger when scrolling over it. It won’t impact your everyday phone use like the notch on an iPhone or a pinhole notch on a Galaxy. It’s also not a reason not to get foldable.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 Review | TheEffect.NetAnd just like the Z Fold 4 before, the Galaxy Z Fold5 is IP68 water-resistant. This means it can survive some light rain and even dips in water, but I wouldn’t put this to the test on purpose. Additionally, since it’s not an “X” resistance rating, there is still no protection against dust.

Software

One of the main appeals of the Galaxy Z Fold5 is that when a task you’re working through requires a bigger screen, you can open utilise the larger inner display. For example, if you’re reading an email on the external display, you can flip the phone open and reply to it with a large keyboard that is easy to type. It doesn’t stop there, though.

You can then split the screen in half or with two apps on the left and one on the right. You can open another application using the side or bottom taskbar, like messages that hover above that layer, or start playback on a video in picture-in-picture. It’s a true desktop-like multitasking experience in the palm of your hand on an expansive 6.7-inch display.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 Review | TheEffect.NetThis many generations into a foldable, Samsung’s also delivered a fluid experience without many hang-ups or slow-downs. It all felt very prompt in my testing—the Z Fold5 quickly opens apps and triggers proper functions.

Powering the whole experience is the made-for Galaxy, Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor with a hefty amount of 12 GB of RAM. That’s about as top-of-the-line as you can get for any smartphone, and it ensures the Galaxy Z Fold5 never skips a beat. Also, considering the €1,999 price point, Samsung guarantees years of software and security updates. Specifically, it is four years of Android upgrades, which equates to four generations of Android, and five years of security updates.

The Galaxy Z Fold5 lets you scale farther than just a candy bar smartphone in day-to-day use. You have more space to breeze through tasks, but the ability to split screen in various ways on the main screen is where it really comes into its own. You can quickly dive through emails and read the headlines in the morning while grabbing Teams messages in real-time. Separately, you could produce a social post on one side and edit the visuals on the left side. The options are endless, and thanks to a taskbar at the bottom with access to your application library, you can easily pull up any of the apps on your phone.

Cameras

I’ve been wondering over my testing period why Samsung didn’t make this the year to upgrade the physical camera hardware on the Fold. It’s the same physical hardware as the Galaxy Z Fold4. However, the latest generation tosses in some new software processing for improved photography or videography, mainly at night or in lower-lighting conditions. That being said, the ultra wide angle lens still needs some improvements to help reduce the levels of noise in low light scenarios unfortunately.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 Review | TheEffect.NetIt’s still an impressive five-camera array, and you can achieve some really nice shots from the Galaxy Z Fold5. Still, for the €1,999, I would love to see more advanced optics available on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which costs €1,459.

The main camera array on the Galaxy Z Fold5 consists of a 50MP wide lens, a 10MP ultrawide lens, and a 12-megapixel telephoto. This allows you to shoot from 0.5x to 3x with optical zoom and stretch it to 30x with Space Zoom. The latter is much less of a usable option than the S23 Ultra.

Image results are generally excellent, especially if you max out at 10x digital zoom. You’ll find colours incredibly punchy with high vibrancy levels, a Samsung trend that the company will likely never give up on and the lenses capture plenty of details. You can generally zoom in and explore other elements of the phone.

You can see some images I captured in below, and the Galaxy Z Fold5 still can capture excellent photos; it just feels that the hardware is getting a bit stale when you compare it to other smartphones in Samsung’s line or even competing phones.

The ‘Selfie’ camera options here are quite mixed unfortunately. With the internal ‘Selfie’ camera actually built under the inner display, Samsung has to rely on some heavy post processing to make up for the lack of detail due to actual pixels sitting in front of the camera lens.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 Review | TheEffect.Net

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 Review | TheEffect.Net

 

The external display’s built in Selfie camera (below) fairs much better in most lighting scenarios with higher levels of detail and dynamic range. Hopefully Samsung’s under display camera implementation evolve enough into the future where there isn’t as noticeable a divide.

Battery Life

I am quite surprised at the longevity of the battery life on the Z Fold5. In more than a month with this phone, I haven’t reached critically low on my battery percentage a single time. For a phone that needs to illuminate multiple screens, I’m impressed at the efficiency in which it handles tasks. Most days I end the night with around 40-50% of battery life. Qi charging and 25W wired charging adds additional bells and whistles to get the 4400mAh battery life back up.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold5 is a productivity powerhouse with enough performance prowess to power through any task, and it delivers on some exceptional use cases with a robust feature set. Additionally, it boasts one of the most immersive displays you can carry in your pocket, and the upgraded hinge finally allows it to fold-closed without leaving a gap.

The €2K price point is higher than pretty much any other smartphone, but it accounts for the 2-in-1 form factor. If you’re looking for a smartphone that covers pretty much every base along with doubling up as a pocketable tablet, the Fold5 is probably the only phone you should look at!

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 Pricing & Availability

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 is available now on all major network providers and also SIM free on Samsung.com, starting at €1,999 for the 256GB/12GB RAM model. It’s also available in three colours, Icy Blue, Cream and Phantom Black.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 Review | TheEffect.Net

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5
  • Design & Build Quality
  • Software
  • Cameras
  • Battery
4.1
John Reilly

John is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheEffect.Net. His favourite gaming series is Uncharted and his favourite film is Interstellar. He is also known to quote 'Father Ted' and Keith Lemon more than is normal. John@theeffect.net