If there’s one company that has more experience designing foldable phones, it has to be Samsung. That’s because the company’s working on its fifth generation foldables, far more than its closest competitors. As we’ve seen, however, newcomers like the recent Google Pixel Fold have literally closed the gap.
All eyes are on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 as we quickly approach Samsung Unpacked 2023 later this month, but the newest leak gives us all our first real-world glimpse at one of the phone’s biggest changes — its gapless hinge design. Purported real life photographs of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 with a gapless hinge were initially posted by Twitter user Ahemd Qwaider, but were quickly removed soon after. That’s pretty telling if you ask us.
Update: A massive new set of official looking renders of the Galaxy Z Fold 5, Galaxy Z Flip 5 and more has dropped. We could see a takedown order from Samsung here as well.
You can still find the images he shared, which revealed how the two halves of the inner display are essentially against each other when the phone’s closed. As a result, there doesn’t appear to be any gap in between the display where the hinge is located. Most people may not be bothered as much by these gaps in foldable phones, especially when they don’t interfere with how they use them, but there are several important reasons why this iterative upgrade is important.
A crease that should be less noticeable
After we’ve spent a fair amount of time testing the recent Google Pixel Fold, it set the expectation that all foldables going forward should feature zero-gap designs with their hinges. It became abundantly clear in our Google Pixel Fold vs Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 comparison, seeing that the zero gap hinge design results in a crease that’s less noticeable.
Just earlier this year, there were rumors swirling about how Samsung was working on a waterdrop hinge design with the Galaxy Z Fold 5 — and these new leaked images seemingly confirm that. This should make the crease less noticeable, especially when watching videos because they can often become an eyesore at just the right angle. If you’ve ever tried watching in full-screen mode in foldables like the Galaxy Z Fold 4, then you know exactly how the crease can be a distraction.
Not only would the crease be more subdued with the Galaxy Z Fold 5’s 7.6-inch inner display, but it would also feel less apparent as you’re using the touchscreen. Again, it’s not an overwhelming change, but the issues of seeing and feeling the crease can add up. For mobile gamers that require precise actions, the crease does add a little bit of a challenge.
A more pocketable sized design
Another benefit of a gapless hinge design is that the phone could be a lot slimmer than its predecessor. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 was at a bloated 0.62-inches thick on the side where its hinge was incorporated when closed, versus the Pixel Fold’s uniform 0.5-inch thinness. On paper it might not look like a huge gap, but believe us that it makes a huge difference when you hold them.
If these leaked real-world photos of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 are indeed legit, we should be getting a foldable that’s going to be slimmer and more pocketable. Although, previous reports have hinted it to be around 0.53-inches (13.5mm), which is still not as thin as newer foldables like the Motorola Razr+ and Pixel Fold. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 felt awkward to hold in the hand with its aspect ratio, which made it look taller and narrower than other phones — so perhaps the Galaxy Z Fold 5 would at least feel better with this new hinge design.
But of course, a slimmer phone could also put into question its durability, because let’s face it, thinner phones do feel more brittle.
Improved durability against wear and tear
It’s tough to say if a slimmer phone would make the Galaxy Z Fold 5 more susceptible to breaking. However, the gapless design would help alleviate the wear and tear of the crease over time. We know this first hand because we’ve been using the Galaxy Z Fold 4 since its release, and have noticed that the hinge now feels looser than what it was when we first used it.
By implementing a gapless hinge design, it could lessen the wear and tear of the crease over time. Although, the answer’s still out whether or not the Galaxy Z Fold 5 will benefit from an improved water-resistance rating due to this. We last heard it could make the jump to an IP58 rating, up from the Z Fold 4’s IPX8 rating, but this rumor is now in doubt.
Beyond the focus on the hinge, the leaked images also gave us a look at the back of the phone — where we can see that the LED flash has been repositioned outside of the main camera housing. Unfortunately, there are no clues whatsoever to the details behind those sensors. It won’t be long before we know what else Samsung has in store for its foldable. In the meantime, our Galaxy Z Fold 5 hub has all the leaks and rumors you need in one place.
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John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.
Actually it is disappointing to see editors so hang up over products from Google, Apple and Samsung like there is nothing else out there in the world. Have some open mind and you find better phones with gapless hinge already in the market like oppo find n. Tech is expanding and growing, stop being shallow.Reply