Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 review: The best foldable phone gets (a little) better

While it's an iterative upgrade, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 delivers a better hinge, lighter design and brighter display along with longer battery life

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the best foldable phone for those looking for a phone and tablet in one and are willing to pay a steep price. The new Flex hinge, thinner and lighter design and better multitasking are all welcome upgrades. You also get better performance and longer battery life, but this is an iterative upgrade for sure and the front display is still narrow.

Pros

  • +

    New Flex hinge closes flat

  • +

    Thinner and lighter design

  • +

    Improved multitasking

  • +

    Strong cameras

  • +

    Longer battery life

Cons

  • -

    Very expensive

  • -

    Front display still narrow

  • -

    Not dust resistant

  • -

    Slow 25W charging

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Has Samsung phoned things in with the Galaxy Z Fold 5? After all, there are few big changes between this foldable phone and the previous Galaxy Z Fold 4. And this device faces real competition from the Google Pixel Fold, which has a wider front display and great cameras.

Let's take a step back, though. The Samsung Z Fold 5 wasn't made for Z Fold 4 owners. It's mostly for people who have never tried a foldable and are intrigued by owning a phone and mini tablet in one device. The whole point of doing a full Galaxy Z Fold 5 review is to dig deeper and see the true impact of the upgrades Samsung has made.

Now that I've been using the Z Fold 5, I can say there are some welcome changes, including a new Flex hinge that enables the device to fold fully flat. The Z Fold 5 is also thinner and lighter; the main display is brighter; and there are some multitasking upgrades along with a faster and more efficient new chip. 

Based on my testing, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 has done enough to nab the top spot on our best foldable phone list. But the high $1,799 price remains an obstacle, and I wish Samsung had widened the front display and included the S Pen. Here are the pros and cons so you can decide for yourself if this foldable is right for you, and check out our Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs Google Pixel Fold face-off and video below to see which foldable phone wins. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 review: Specs

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Specifications
Row 0 - Cell 0 Row 0 - Cell 1
Starting price$1,799 / £1,749
Inner Display7.6-inch QXGA+ (2176 x 1812) Dynamic AMOLED, 21.6:18 aspect ratio
Outer Display6.2-inch HD+ (2316 x 904) Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 23.1:9 aspect ratio
Refresh rateUp to 120Hz (Inner), 120Hz (Outer)
ChipsetSnapdragon 8 Gen 2
RAM12GB
Storage256GB/512GB/1TB
Rear cameras50MP main wide-angle, f/1.8,85 ̊ FOV + 12MP ultra-wide F2.2, 123 ̊ FOV + 10MP telephoto f/2.4, 36 ̊ FOV, 3X optical zoom
Selfie camera10MP f/2.2 85 ̊ FOV (outer) 4MP f/1.8 80 ̊ FOV (inner)
Battery4,400 mAh
Size6.1 x 2.64 x .53-inches (folded) and 6.1 x 5.11 x .24-inches (unfolded) / 67.1 x 154.9 x 13.4mm (folded) and 129.9 x 154.9 x6.1mm (unfolded)
Weight8.92oz (253 grams)
ColorsIcy Blue, Phantom Black, Cream, Gray, Blue

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 review: Price and release date

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 half folded on bench.

(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 has a release date of August 11, and pre-orders are available now. The price starts at a steep $1,799 / £1,749 for 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, and you can upgrade to 512GB for $1,919 and 1TB for $2,159. For those who think these prices are too steep may be in luck as Samsung's first cheaper foldable phone could arrive next year.

Samsung also offers an optional S Pen carrying case for the Z Fold 5, which costs $99, or you could buy the S Pen by itself for $54. See our Galaxy Z Fold 5 deals page for the biggest discounts. (For more ways to save, check out our guide to today's best Samsung promo codes.)

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 review: Design and colors

Samsung Galaxy Fold 5

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 comes in Phantom Black, Icy Blue and Cream (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I have good news to report about the Z Fold 5's design. It feels lighter carrying it around in my front pocket. This thing is less of a brick, so much so that it's close in weight to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is definitely sleeker than the Z Fold 4, and that’s thanks to a new Flex hinge that has a streamlined construction with fewer moving parts. The result is a design that folds all the way flat with no gap between the two halves. And that’s good because there’s less of a chance of debris getting stuck in there.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs Galaxy Z Fold 4 closed.

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 (right) closes fully flat while the Z Fold 4 (right) has a gap.  (Image credit: Future)

Another plus is that the Z Fold 5 is thinner and lighter than the Z Fold 4, weighing 8.9 ounces vs 9.2 ounces. When folded, the Z Fold 5 measures 0.53 inches thick and 0.24 inches when unfolded, compared to 0.62 and 0.25 inches for the previous model.

By comparison, the Google Pixel Fold is even thinner, but it weighs a heftier 10 ounces. The iPhone 14 Pro Max is 8.47 ounces. 

The Z Fold 5 is IPX8 water resistant, which means it can survive 1.5 meters of freshwater for up to 30 minutes. But it’s not dust resistant. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs Galaxy Z Fold 4

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 (left) has a sleeker camera bump than the Z Fold 4 (right).  (Image credit: Future)

I do like how the Z Fold 5’s camera bump is a bit less prominent, as the flash is now positioned to the right of the three lenses. But it’s still big enough to make the phone wobble on a table. The Z Fold 5 comes in three colors: my favorite is Icy Blue, and there’s also Phantom Black and Cream. The black model I tested is more businessy and therefore boring. 

Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs Galaxy Z Fold 4 s pen.

The new S Pen for the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is thinner than the Z Fold 4 pen.  (Image credit: Future)

The Z Fold 5 still doesn’t have a place to put the S Pen, but the S Pen itself is smaller this time around and the case is slimmer. I just wish it wasn’t still an optional accessory. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 review: Displays

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 viewing Barbie trailer

(Image credit: Future)

Just like the Z Fold 4, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 packs the same size displays with a 6.2-inch OLED panel on the front and a 7.6-inch screen on the inside. But the inside panel now has a rated brightness of 1,750 nits, which is 30% higher than the Z Fold 4. 

The Barbie trailer looked brilliant on the larger display with vivid colors and fairly wide viewing angles. Yes, the crease is still very much present, but you'll notice it more in direct sunlight than you will indoors. 

Samsung Galaxy Fold 5

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The front display is crisp and supports the same smooth 120Hz refresh rate as the inner screen, but it’s fairly narrow compared to the Pixel Fold’s wider cover display. 

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Display Test results: Main display
Row 0 - Cell 0 Brightness DCI-P3 (color gamut)Delta-E (accuracy)
Galaxy Z Fold 51,346140.6%0.09
Galaxy Z Fold 41,131 nits 158.7%0.34
Google Pixel Fold 90088.4% 0.05

In our lab tests, Galaxy Z Fold 5 registered a max of 1,346 nits when displaying HDR content, which beats both the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Google Pixel Fold. It's also worth noting that the Samsung's Z Fold 5 display outshined the Pixel Fold when we put both phones in direct sunlight. The Pixel Fold's screen dimmed much faster, even with adaptive brightness on. 

Google Pixel Fold next to Galaxy Z Fold 5 in direct sunlight

(Image credit: Future)

I'm not a big fan of the Galaxy Z Fold 5's 6.2-inch cover display. It's fine for running apps like TikTok and Chrome but feels a bit cramped when typing due to its odd 23.1:9 aspect ratio. It's not as roomy as the Pixel Fold's wider but smaller 5.8-inch front panel.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs Google Pixel Fold cover displays

(Image credit: Future)
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Display Test results: Front display
Row 0 - Cell 0 Brightness DCI-P3 (color gamut)Delta-E (accuracy)
Galaxy Z Fold 5703 nits 128%0.1
Galaxy Z Fold 4870 nits 146.7%0.33
Google Pixel Fold 1,172 nits 124.8%0.06

Oddly, the Galaxy Z Fold 5's cover display turned in lower numbers than the Z Fold 4 and Pixel Fold in our brightness testing, and the panel was also less colorful than its predecessor. We will retest to confirm. The Pixel Fold's front screen was the brightest and more accurate of the three. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 review: Multitasking and Flex mode

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 multi window

(Image credit: Future)

One of the key reasons to buy the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is its ability to run multiple apps at once. You can have up to three apps on screen simultaneously, while the Pixel Fold can only do two.

And Samsung is making it easier to multitask by adding new gestures. You can swipe in from the left side of the display with two fingers or up from the bottom at any time to start running a second app, though you can continue to drag apps onto the screen from the taskbar. Another plus: the taskbar shows your four most recently used apps in addition to your favorites you pin, up from two faves. 

There are some other new multitasking tricks as well, including the ability to create a floating window from any app by swiping diagonally down from the top right of the main screen. I found this handy for YouTube and Spotify

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 taskbar

(Image credit: Future)

You can even perform two-handed drag and drops. So, for example, you can select an object in a photo and press and hold with one hand, then open the messaging app with the other hand and just attach the image. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Flex mode video call

(Image credit: Future)

One of the best Galaxy Z Fold 5 features remains Flex mode, which lets you position the phone as a mini laptop using the hinge. In this mode, the main content appears up top and controls and menu options appear on the bottom. This came in handy when performing a Google Meet call. I could tap on emojis for reactions or even share my screen. 

If you want to use this foldable as a full-flown PC, you can plug the Z Fold 5 into a monitor and engage DeX mode. This allows you to run apps at full screen. Think of it as a mini Chromebook. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 review: Cameras

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 rear cameras

(Image credit: Future)

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 has the same camera specs as the Z Fold 4, but the image quality has improved in certain cases and it more than holds its own against the Pixel Fold — except in low light.

The triple rear camera system includes a 50MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide and a 10MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom. You also get a 10MP selfie camera up front and a low-res under-display camera on the inner display. 

While it would be nice to see a $1,799 flagship pack the same 200MP camera as the $1,199 Galaxy S23 Ultra and the same dual telephoto zoom, this could be a very capable camera phone. 

In this photo of a globe amaranth flower, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 delivers sharp details in the pink petals and even the bee that happened to land while I was taking the shot. The Pixel Fold delivers a paler pink and an even sharper details at the edge of the petals, but I slightly prefer the more saturated colors in the Samsung shot.

I put the Z Fold 5 up against the iPhone 14 Pro Max in this shot of the Bryant Park Fountain, and the Z Fold 5 wins when it comes to its brighter exposure of the areas in shadow. However, the water looks crisper through the iPhone. 

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 shows a modest improvement versus the Galaxy Z Fold 4 in this image of a fruit tart, as the strawberries look sharper. The Pixel Fold's photo is dimmer and less appetizing, but the iPhone 14 Pro Max wins overall by keeping all the fruit and tart in focus. 

I'm torn when it comes to this portrait taken with the Z Fold 5 and Pixel Fold. The blue checkered shirt my colleague Mike is wearing pops more through the Samsung and it's a brighter overall pic. But the Pixel Fold offers a more dramatic bokeh effect and handles the sun a bit better.

It's no contest with the zoom photo taken at 20x. The Galaxy Z Fold 5 can go all the way to 30x, but with these results, I wouldn't want to. The top of the Chrysler building looks way sharper through the Pixel Fold. 

This time the Galaxy Z Fold 5 delivers a much better selfie than the Pixel Fold. My face and eyes are brighter and my shirt pops more too. The Pixel shot looks dull.

Next, I put the ultrawide cameras on the Z Fold 5 and Pixel Fold to the test. The blue sky, grass and surrounding trees look much more vibrant through the Samsung, even if it's not as realistic as the Pixel Fold's image. I prefer the Samsung's pic because there's more contrast. 

In low light, I give the edge to the Pixel Fold. Yes, the lantern looks more colorful through the Z Fold 5, but the rest of the image is brighter with the