The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is poised to headline Samsung Unpacked on June 26, but before the foldable’s big debut, I think it’s important to remember the device that saved the Z Fold series from its disastrous start: The Galaxy Z Fold 2.
When the original Samsung Galaxy Z Fold arrived in September 2019, it didn’t take long for the phone to land in controversy. Reports of the phone breaking dampened what was supposed to be a momentous new venture for Samsung’s smartphone business. The company had to recall review units and delay availability. Then, when the phone actually arrived, it didn’t live up to its $2,000 price.
Version 1.0 devices are rarely faultless, but the Z Fold had some major work to do. So much so that when Samsung revealed the Galaxy Z Fold 2 in August 2020, many were skeptical about whether it could make amends and be considered one of the best phones.
Samsung made two significant design improvements for the Galaxy Z Fold 2 vs. Galaxy Z Fold: First, the external display grew from 4.6 inches to 6.2 inches, making the device more usable when folded. Second, the hinge featured Samsung’s new “sweeper system,” that uses bristles to effectively prevent dust and debris from getting under the phone’s screen.
Pair those improvements with a price reduction down to $1,800, which has remained the standard starting cost for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Fold 4, and the Fold 2 proved that Samsung’s foldables are more than just a novelty.
Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs Galaxy Z Fold 2: Biggest changes to expect
In the summers since the Z Fold 2 launch, predecessors have arrived with further improvements. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 brought Samung’s S Pen stylus to the product line, officially phasing out the long-standing Note series. If you're drawn to Samsung's foldable because you want a tablet-sized workspace with smartphone portability, the S Pen is a must-have.
Then, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 delivered the camera improvements we had been craving for a phone of its price, better keeping up with the Galaxy S Series phones. It still can’t match the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which is the best camera phone overall, but at least the Z Fold 4’s cameras perform up to par.
For the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 5, we expect to see further changes that will demonstrate just how far the Z Fold concept has come. While the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is expected to retain the basic, book-like design, rumor has it that the new version is going to be the thinnest and lightest version yet.
Samsung is also reportedly developing a more durable waterdrop-style hinge. This could minimize the crease while making the phone more durable overall. What’s more, when the device is closed, the space between the two halves could have a gapless effect.
In terms of cameras, the 108MP camera found on the S22 Ultra could be headed to the Galaxy Z Fold 5. That would likely make the Z Fold 5 Samsung’s best foldable phone for photography to date, but the jury is out on that rumor. If we were to do photo comparisons between Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs Galaxy Z Fold 2, we’re guessing the difference would be dramatic.
Price remains a major question mark, as the Galaxy Z Fold series has not seen a price change since the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Some rumors say the Z Fold 5 will be more affordable, while others say it could be slightly more expensive. With growing competition on the market such as the Google Pixel Fold, Samsung could get a major advantage if it can manage to bring the cost down.
This story is part of a new series on Tom’s Guide called The Fold Down. On Reels, TikTok and YouTube Shorts, you can find unboxing videos of the foldable or flippable phone featured above. For the Galaxy Z Fold 2, AT&T loaned us the unit you’ll see in the TikTok we've embedded.
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Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.