I've been using the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 for a month — 5 ways it beats my iPhone

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 behind iPhone 14 Pro Max
(Image credit: Future)

It's one thing to live with a foldable phone for a week while you're reviewing it, and it's another to use it every day for a month. That's what I've been doing with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, and while I typically use an iPhone, Samsung's flagship is seriously worth considering even if you're knee-deep in the Apple ecosystem.

Yes, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is very pricey at $1,799, but we've already seen it on sale for as much as $400 off, and even at is regular price there are some compelling reasons to make the best foldable phone your own. Here are 5 ways the Galaxy Z Fold 5 beats my iPhone so far and where it falls short. 

Bigger, more immersive display

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and iPhone 14 Pro Max showing Ahsoka trailer

(Image credit: Future)

The Galaxy Z Fold 5's main display is a massive 7.6 inches, compared to 6.7 inches for the iPhone 14 Pro Max, and the difference is pretty stark when you're viewing a TV show or movie.

Side by side the Galaxy Z Fold 5 feels like a movie theater in your pocket while enjoying the best streaming services. And the iPhone feels like, well, a phone. It also helps that the display on the new Samsung Z Fold 5 is brighter than the Z Fold 4, though the crease is still noticeable at certain angles. 

A better multitasker

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 multiwindow 2 apps at once

(Image credit: Future)

I personally think it's overkill that the Galaxy Z Fold 5 can run up to three apps at once, and it's technically four apps if you include the option of a pop-up window on top of everything else.

But in everyday use I've found multi-window functionality great for running two apps side by side, such as the Chrome browser and Slack. And I also appreciate being able to drag and drop content from one window to another, such as a plucking a pic out of the Photos app and placing it in an outgoing email or message. 

It makes me more productive 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and iPhone 14 Pro Max showing Google Sheets document

(Image credit: Future)

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the closest thing you'll find to a laptop in a phone, and I mean that in a good way. For example, on my way home from work I can check on our overnight schedule in Google Sheets to see what stories need a look, and then I can pop into our CMS to edit articles. The Z Fold 5's display is wide enough so I can see much more of the spreadsheet compared to the iPhone 14 Pro Max's relatively cramped panel.

Another way the Z Fold 5 helps with productivity is its taskbar. You don't have to pull up a task switcher to jump from one app to another. You can just touch the app you want in the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. And you can personalize this taskbar as well. 

Flex mode makes your life easier 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Flex mode video call

(Image credit: Future)

One of the chief benefits of the Galaxy Z Fold 5's design is Flex mode, which enables you to position the handset like a laptop on a table and do all sorts of stuff hands-free. This includes taking photos and video without a tripod, as well as watching anything the best Netflix shows or recipes. 

I especially like how I can hold a quick video conference using Google Meet on the Galaxy Z Fold 5 without having to hold the device itself. 

Works with S Pen (but optional)

Galaxy Z Fold 5 with S Pen

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

It's a bummer that this phone doesn't have a holster for the S Pen, but it's nice that you have the option to take notes and draw on the Galaxy Z Fold 5's display with the stylus. The S Pen case with S Pen costs $99, and the S Pen by itself costs $54. The S Pen can also come in handy when performing fine photo edits in apps like Photoshop Express for Android. 

Bottom line

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 in front of pool

(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is far from perfect. It's still noticeably heavier than the iPhone 14 Pro Max, and it doesn't last as long on a charge. But as you'll see in our Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs iPhone 14 Pro Max camera shootout, Samsung's foldable more than holds its own when it comes to photo quality.

Is the Z Fold 5 worth ditching your iPhone for? That's up for you to decide. But the more I use Samsung's device the more I wish Apple would make its own foldable iPhone

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Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.