The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 just broke cover at the Galaxy Unpacked event, and Samsung's made quite the overhaul this year. The changes have brought with them some excellent new or enhanced features, and I got to give them a try at a recent hands-on event.
There were some big updates to check out, several of which revolve around the newly enlarged outer display, the most noticeable upgrade. Samsung's also been working on the design to make the Galaxy Z Flip 5 even more compact and tougher. Plus there are the internal updates you'd expect from a new phone that should make it run better and smoother than the last version.
If you want to catch up on the rest of the Unpacked announcements before proceeding, then read our Galaxy Z Fold 5, Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Tab S9 hubs for the low-down. Otherwise, let's take a look at my pick of the top 7 Galaxy Z Flip 5 features.
Cover screen widgets
On the Galaxy Z Flip 5's new and enlarged outer display — or "Flex Window," as Samsung calls it — you now have access to a selection of widgets for various Samsung and Google apps, as well as a few third-party ones. Some apps, like Whatsapp, YouTube, Netflix and Google Maps, are even lucky enough to have full compact versions usable from this bigger cover screen, with a miniaturized keyboard if needed.
Previous Z Flips required you to swipe between widgets and windows on the notification screen to get to where you wanted. But the Flex Window, as well as enabling bigger and better widgets, now lets you open previews of all your chosen widgets at once. Just like using the recent apps menu on a phone, or Mission Control or Task View in macOS or Windows, it gives you an easy way to see everything you have open, and switch to any widget quickly.
Cover screen photos
The last of the big new features that the Flex Window enables is enhanced photography using the main cameras. It's now far easier to take selfies, or show a preview of the shot to your friends in front of the lenses, on the larger display. There are also shortcuts to swap between two different color profiles depending on your mood, and to quickly favorite or delete shots as you take them.
A fully closing hinge
Previous Galaxy Z Flip phones have had a gap between the two halves of the display when folded up in order to stop the hinge from cracking the display. But now the hinge has been redesigned to allow the phone to close flush. That should mean far less chance of dust, lint or any other particles sneaking into your phone while it's in your pocket to potentially damage or just mess up your screen.
Tougher exterior glass and inner UTG
This is hopefully something you'll never have to put to the test, but Samsung's toughened up the Galaxy Z Flip 5 with the latest Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the outside and a strengthened ultra-thin glass (UTG) layer on the inside, while bringing back its Armor Aluminum material for the frame. If the worst happens and you do drop your Z Flip 5, it's got a better chance of surviving than before.
Camera software enhancements
Samsung hasn't changed the physical cameras on the Galaxy Z Flip 5 from last year's Z Flip 4, but it has made some changes still. The main camera's lens has been swapped out for one that'll apparently cause less lens flare, and has improved the software, such as multi-frame processing, more accurate reading of skin tones and more. It's not as flashy as getting a new camera or two, but it still sounds like the Galaxy Z Flip 5 will be a better photography experience all the same.
A better chipset
The least you can ask from a new phone is for it to offer greater power and efficiency compared to the model from last year, and luckily for us Samsung has provided. Within the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, updated from the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 found in the Galaxy Z Flip 4. We've not quite had time to run benchmark tests yet, but we should see impressive results in line with what the Galaxy S23 series, running on the same chip, achieved earlier in the year.
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Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.