The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the expected sequel to the current best foldable phone you can buy. But if Samsung wants to keep that title, it needs to put more work in.
When we tested and reviewed the Galaxy Z Fold 4, we found highs and lows that were similar to those of the previous Z Folds. So, we're hoping that this time is different. Samsung should change up the formula a little more, and really refine its larger foldable as the premium productivity machine that it's meant to be.
The rumors so far show promising signs of this actually happening, but some of the key issues with the Z Fold, and foldables in general, seem like they could stick around.
After a couple of years of smaller Z Fold updates, we're hoping to see a bigger one with the Galaxy Z Fold 5. Competition is only heating up with devices like the Oppo Find N already showing alternative ways of making a top-quality folding phone (though only in China). And the Find N2 and Find Flip are also on the way.
Samsung needs to up its game. If it doesn't? How will the company maintain its lead before its competitors like the rumored iPhone Flip and Google Pixel Fold arrive?
Read on for a summary of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 rumors as they stand, as well as what we really want Samsung to fix for its 2023 flagship foldable.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 latest rumors (updated March 10)
- We may see no camera updates for the Galaxy Z Fold 5.
- The outer display of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 may once again measure 6.2 inches.
- A new report claims Samsung is now testing the waterdrop hinge, which could prove to be more durable, thinner and lighter than the one on the Galaxy Fold 4
- One leak says Samsung could eliminate the crease completely on the Galaxy Z Fold 5 with a new “waterdrop” type display structure.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 possible price and availability
It's too soon for any rumors of specific Galaxy Z Fold 5 launch dates yet, but we can fairly safely assume that it'll likely arrive next year in the late summer or early fall. This is when Samsung foldables dropped over the past couple of generations.
We've no indication of pricing either, but we expect that the Galaxy Z Fold 5 would cost $1,799/£1,649/AU$2,499, just like the Galaxy Z Fold 4. We still think Samsung needs a cheaper full-size foldable to tempt more users to swap to folding phones, but we'd be grateful if the price at least stays stable.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 design and display
In lieu of any leaks telling us otherwise, we're going to assume that the Galaxy Z Fold 5 will remain a book-style foldable, with a narrow outer display and a square-ish inner display. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 widened both displays and made them a bit shorter too which helped them be more usable, and we hope that the Galaxy Z Fold 5 keeps this subtle but important change.
One of the most notable parts of the Z Fold series design is how thick and heavy the phone has to be to house that large inner display. The Z Fold 5 may be somewhat lighter thanks to new materials, but it’ll still most likely weigh more than even the sturdiest regular smartphones.
In fact, one rumor claims that the phone could be thicker and heavier than the Galaxy Z Fold 4. This would be to allow space for a built-in S Pen though, so it would arguably be worth the extra weight and depth.
The screens of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 should be a 6.2-inch outer display and a 7.2-inch inner display, both using 120Hz refresh rates and OLED panels going by previous models. We had hoped Samsung may enlarge the cover screen but Ice Universe reckons that's not happening.
That inner display may change by having a larger, but shallower, crease, at least according to Samsung's previous comments. Doing so makes the line through the display less visible overall.
A more recent rumor suggests that Samsung could eliminate the crease completely on the Fold 5 with a new “waterdrop” type display structure. The new structure could work by allowing some portion of the inner screen to roll inside the phone's main body to prevent the display from creasing. Samsung apparently calls this mechanism a “dumbbell” type hinge internally and the company reportedly patented this design back in 2016.
Thanks to this new dumbbell hinge design, the durability of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 might improve as well — and it will be able to withstand more folding and opening in its lifetime. According to The Elec Samsung is aiming to test the new hinge to 300,000 folds, 50% more than the Z Fold 4's 200,000. The report also claims that the Z Fold 5 will be thinner and lighter than its predecessor as a result of the new hinge design.
The Z Fold 5 may also finally add on-board storage for the S Pen Fold Edition that you can currently buy as an optional extra. It's annoying to have to store the stylus separately or in a case that adds a lot of bulk to the back of the phone, so if Samsung can find a way to store the stylus in the Z Fold 5 without adding too much extra bulk, that would be perfect.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 cameras
We already like the Galaxy Z Fold 4's cameras, which have at last brought the foldable up to par with Samsung's other flagship phones by using the same rear sensors on the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus. The foldable features a 50MP main camera, 12MP ultrawide camera, 12MP 3x zoom telephoto camera, a 10MP outer selfie camera and a 4MP under-display inner camera.
Even so, more and better sensors would be ideal, since you're spending a lot more than you would for the Galaxy S22 Ultra, Samsung's best camera phone. Fortunately, Samsung agrees that the Z Fold series needs to take better photo, and has said that to the press and in a reported meeting with component suppliers.
One leak now suggests that the Fold 5 could upgrade to a 108MP main camera. This could be the same main camera we saw on the S22 Ultra. In addition, the leak mentions the phone could get a 64MP telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom and a 12MP ultrawide shooter.
A separate leak however says there could be no change from the Galaxy Z Fold 4. To really rub salt into the wound, it would apparently be impossible to add a 200MP main camera like the Galaxy S23 Ultra has.
According to the latter, Samsung apparently wanted the Z Fold 4's cameras to be even better than they already were, but was limited by the phone's weight.
Also, it's time for Samsung to ditch the inner under-display camera. While it lets you enjoy the display in full, the quality of the picture it produces just isn't good enough for anything outside of video calls. But without any rumors to back up this hope of ours, we assume it's sticking around.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 performance
The safest bet for the Galaxy Z Fold 5's chipset is that it will be a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 or better. We're expecting this silicon to be announced soon (going by Qualcomm's previous announcement schedule) and to power the vast majority of Android phones in 2023.
That said, there may be a Plus or similarly enhanced version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 that the Z Fold 5 would use instead. For instance, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 uses a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, giving it a performance and power efficiency edge over the regular Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip in phones from earlier this year like the Galaxy S22 series.
We're likely to see some new One UI updates specifically designed for the Z Fold 5's inner display, just like how Samsung added a taskbar to the Z Fold 4's interface. Samsung's also said it hopes to make software that's adapted better for the 4:3 inner display, which we really hope is true. Most apps are still designed for use on rectangular displays, particularly when gaming on the Z Fold, which makes it hard to get the most out of the big inner folding screen.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 battery and charging
Samsung also needs to improve battery life and charging for the Z Fold 5. It's unlikely that the Z Fold 5 will be able to outperform regular phones on battery efficiency, due to its limited internal space and the fact it's got two displays to run. However, being able to last longer than the 8 hours and 20 minutes of the Galaxy Z Fold 4, and closer to the 10-hour mark that most normal smartphones achieve, is something we're keen to see the Z Fold series match sooner, rather than later.
There is a similar story for charging. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the fastest charging Samsung foldable yet at up to 25W (delivering roughly 50% battery in half an hour), but other Android phone makers regularly offer charging that's twice as fast — if not faster. We would expect Samsung to offer upgraded charging on the Galaxy S series before the Galaxy Z series though, so if it doesn't appear on the Galaxy S23 (and currently it looks like it won't), we won't hold out much hope for the Galaxy Z Fold 5.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5: what we want to see
Internal storage for the S Pen
We've had two years of using the S Pen with Samsung's Galaxy Z models, but Samsung's yet to figure out how to include the S Pen in the design of the phone it would seem. Just like the convenience of the Galaxy S22 Ultra's built-in S Pen, an included stylus would make the Galaxy Z Fold 5 far better rounded, and provide some much-needed extra value for its price.
Cameras to rival the Galaxy S22 Ultra
The Galaxy S22 Ultra (and the upcoming Galaxy S23 Ultra) ought to remain the top Samsung camera phone, but the Galaxy Z Fold 5 needs to be a close second. Samsung's most expensive phone shouldn't have this problem. Giving its new foldable a more detailed main sensor or a stronger zoom magnification would help draw in flagship phone buyers who don't want to give up the typically excellent photography of premium smartphones, but are still tempted by a foldable.
Better battery life
An obvious quality-of-life upgrade for the Galaxy Z Fold 5 would be greater battery life. This would likely have to come from a more efficient chipset since Samsung's already short on room inside the phone, so if it's possible, we want it so we can make the most of both displays without needing to run to a charger every few hours.
A less obvious display crease
Of course this is something we'd like reduced or even eliminated with the Galaxy Z Fold 5. The display crease is an unwelcome distraction when using the inner display, whether it's looking at it or feeling it as you drag things around the interface. Making the display flatter overall would likely attract a lot more potential users who would rather carry a separate tablet around than deal with the fold in the Z Fold, and would show that Samsung's keeping up with other foldable phone makers who have shown that subtler creases are possible already.