There's something deliciously nostalgic about a flip phone, even when they're jam-packed with the latest tech and gadgets and in reality, don't flip so much as fold. But still.
Foldable devices have come a long way since we first saw them peak way back when – and some of the modern iterations are even remakes of the original devices we thought were so so cool. Like the Motorola Razr 40 and Razr 40 Ultra. But for many of us, it's all about what's on offer from the biggest names in mobile tech, and that means diving into the latest foldable releases from one of our favourite brands, Samsung.
So, what do the Galaxy Z Flip5 and the Galaxy Z Fold5 have to offer? Are they better than the Flip4 and Fold4 releases last year? Is flipping or folding the better way forward, or are they all about to flop?
Who knows? Well, we do – we like to stay on top of these things, after all. That's why we've gathered up everything you need to know about these two lovely little devices, so you can decide whether you want to flip, fold, or if you'd rather stick with something else altogether.
Let's start with design…
Not to point out the obvious, but the first thing anyone would notice about these two devices is their design. The Galaxy Z Flip5 is the smaller of the two by a fair bit, and although it falls far more into the "flip phone" category, it still definitely folds – but pretty discreetly, since one open the crease that runs down the display is barely visible, and an improvement on the Flip4 by a fair bit. However, it's not invisible by a long shot.
The petite, clamshell design of the Flip5 makes for a compact and convenient phone that still opens up to a size that's comparable with plenty of other modern smartphones – it just fits in your pocket better, and has a nice selection of colours like Cream, Graphite, Lavender and Mint for you to choose from.
With the Galaxy Z Fold5, there's a bit more to handle, as the design comes across as longer and narrower than the average smartphone but opens out into a decent-sized tablet that's more of a powerhouse and less about how well it fits in your bag. With the Fold5, you can choose from Cream, Icy Blue or Phantom Black – and design-wise, that's about where the differences end.
Considering their different appearances, Samsung have actually kept it pretty equal when it comes to other areas of the design here, with both devices crafted with the same, highly polished Armour Aluminium, and boasting the same IPX8 water resistance rating. In fact, Samsung foldables offer the best rating of any foldable on the market.
One similarity that's an improvement on last year's models is the new Flex Hinge, which now has no gaps when the devices are folded. This is a nice little addition to both, but as we mentioned before, there's still that visible crease on the screen that could be fixed up for next year.
Quite a display.
First of all, if you were to place the Galaxy Z Flip5 side by side with 2022's Galaxy Z Flip4, you'd be far more likely to spot the difference than if you did the same with the Fold5 and Fold4. And for good reason, because Samsung have hit back at competitors by increasing the outer display size on the Flip5, and we actually rather like the change.
This time around the Flip5 has a 3.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x external screen, which is a significant bump up from the Flip4's 1.9-inch display and makes using this device a whole lot easier when closed. Now, it's easy to reply to messages with a full keyboard, manage your devices, control your music and use a variety of handy widgets designed solely for the smaller screen – it's basically all the quick access you need.
Of course, the 6.7-inch internal screen is also a Dynamic AMOLED 2x display, and functions just like any other smartphone – maybe a tad narrower. But its ability to fold into a palm-sized piece of tech is still a great selling point.
As for the Galaxy Z Fold5, there's not a huge amount of change from 2022's predecessor. Both the 6.2-inch cover screen and 7.6-inch internal screen use Dynamic AMOLED 2x tech and share a 120Hz refresh rate – but there's an undeniable satisfaction in the sheer size of that main screen, and all you can do with it. Gaming, streaming, or just watching cat videos on YouTube become a whole lot better on this device. And of course, there's the brilliant multi-tasking capabilities, if you tend to work a little harder than you play.
One feature we particularly enjoyed was the behaviour of optimised apps – as these seamlessly adapt from how they appear on a closed screen to the main screen as you open it, to make sure you're getting your money's worth out of every pixel. There are exceptions to this optimisation (Instagram, we're looking at you) but all in all it makes it a fun device to use.
We all love a little power.
But "little" isn't exactly how we'd describe the chipsets or batteries on board these foldables.
Starting with the batteries, both the Galaxy Z Flip5 and Galaxy Z Fold5 have had precisely zero upgrades since the Flip4 and Fold4 when it comes to the power pack. Which at first might seem disappointing, but in actuality doesn't mean they perform in the same way.
Yes, the Flip5 has a 3700mAh battery and the Fold5 has a 4400mAh battery (though slimmer), however, the upgraded chipset in both foldables means they're powered more efficiently.
Both devices use Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 silicone – which is the same chipset that the Galaxy S23 device uses and offers a serious leg-up when it comes to processing juice. In fact, it improves productivity by a fair bit, as well as stretching out the longevity you'll get from a single charge on both phones.
For those wondering, the Flip5 and Fold5 both include 15W wireless charging and 25W wired charging, up to 50% charge in 30 minutes, and one charge and heavy daily usage will get you around 11 to 12 hours of steady use. You'll get more if you do less, but that's not unusual, especially with double the number of screens to power.
Cracking on with the camera specs, then…
For most of us, a great camera is crucial in a new mobile – but how we use our cams can vary wildly, and that's the most important part when you compare the Samsung foldables.
If you look at lens size alone, then the Galaxy Z Fold5 is the clear winner, packing a 50MP main lens, 12MP wide angle lens and a 10MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom.
For comparison, the Flip5 drops down to a dual-lens setup, with a 12MP main camera and an additional 12MP ultrawide camera. The fact of it is, Samsung haven't changed the camera line-up on either device, which is a bit of a disappointment.
But. Yes, there's a but.
Now that both devices are packing the oh-so-powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, you'll likely notice a significant difference in just how well a photo can turn out with the same lens power on board since that tiny bit of silicone has a much better signal processor and can do more with what's available.
It's also worth mentioning that Flex Mode on both phones makes it easy to get a great shot with the rear cameras as opposed to the front selfie cams, which means it doesn't matter so much that those have also stayed the same (10MP on both the Flip5 and Fold5).
What's the verdict? Flip or Fold?
Not to walk the line here, but… we're walking the line. We love the Galaxy Z Flip5 for its unique look, durability, compact design and touch of nostalgia (all while staying up to date with the latest tech.) And we're big fans of the Galaxy Z Fold5 for the seriously massive (nay, luxurious) screen and powerful capabilities.
Price-wise, there's a pretty big difference, with the Fold5 coming in at £1749.00 to buy outright whereas the Flip5 comes in at £1049.00. But with tons of amazing contract deals on both, that might seem like less of an obstacle.
So, it all depends on what you want. If you're a gamer, love to stream on your mobile, or need a multi-tasking master for your job, then the Fold5 is for you. If a smaller size but brilliant capability is more your style, then the Flip5 is perfect.