Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 gets some big upgrades, but is it worth the hype?
At the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked, the smartphone maker introduced its Galaxy Z Flip 5 smartphone. The smartphone gets a larger display and a more powerful chipset. But is that enough to make it a lucrative proposition? Find out.
The Galaxy Z Flip 5 smartphone has been launched at the year's second Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event today. Over the weeks, we have been reading various leaks and rumors around the smartphone, and it turns out that a majority of the leaked specifications were, surprisingly, accurate. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 gets a bigger cover display, which is now being called a ‘Flex Window', a more powerful processor than its predecessor, and some iterative improvements in the rest of its specifications. This means, unlike the Galaxy Z Fold 5, the Flip 5 actually gets the kind of upgrades that make it worthy of buying. But is it truly an offering you should go for? We compared and analyzed the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 with its predecessor and the other smartphones in the market to understand where it really stands. Let us take a look.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5: The big hits
When it comes to the areas of improvement where the smartphone simply knocked it out of the park, we have to highlight two specific areas — the cover display, and the structural integrity. Samsung upgraded the cover display from a tiny 1.9-inch to a big 3.4-inch Super AMOLED screen. This means, the smartphone now has a bigger cover display compared to the Oppo Find N2 Flip (3.2-inch cover display), and nearly as large as the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra (3.6-inch cover display).
And this takes the cover display from simply being a gimmick to an actual functional display that might reduce the number of times you need to flip the smartphone open. While you get a wide range of widget support for the cover display, there is also a way for users to use full apps through the Good Lock app, but it is buried pretty deep, and you really don't want users to hunt for such an important feature.
Although in another positive, now you can open a full keyboard and type out responses to the messages you get, unlike just responding with 4-5 pre-recorded messages in its predecessor. So, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 appears to be more functional, alongside being aesthetic.
But while we talk about the hits, we have to mention the new teardrop hinge that Samsung has added that appears to make it structurally stronger and has less chance for dust or debris to get stuck in. With a flat closing mechanism, Samsung appears to have solved one of the most persistent problems of this series. The company also claims that the hinge mechanism is very durable.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5: The misses
It was a bit disappointing to me that some aspects of the device were left without any significant upgrades. The inner display is the same, the rear camera panel is unchanged, and apart from getting a slightly larger aperture, even the front camera has been kept the same. On top of that, the battery size and the charging speed have also been kept the same at 3700 mAh and 25W respectively.
The lack of an outstanding upgrade in the hardware is not something new for Samsung. Last year's Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Flip 4 were also criticized for not adding significant improvements to the existing technology. Some have called Samsung complacent for getting comfortable with being one of the only few players with a functional foldable smartphone, while others have defended the company saying that the technology has matured, and now only minor optimizations are what can make the device better. On that note, the SoC does get an upgrade and you will see Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 powering the device.
But while I will hold my final opinion till I have tested out the device, I will say that the lack of upgrades does not make me feel valued as a customer. For example, The main display of the Flip 5 is exactly the same that was used in Flip 3. Any other Android flagship smartphone using a two-year-old display would face big questions that would be tough to answer.
Another question is about the battery size and the charging speed. For a smartphone that is priced higher than most smartphones in existence, a meager 25W charging speed and a 3700 mAh battery feels quite dated. With two displays and a new chipset, I fear many users are going to be stuck to the charging wall longer than actually enjoy their smartphone out in the world.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5: Early impressions
While I do stand by both my praises and criticisms, I will not deliver a verdict on the smartphone till I have used it properly, for we have seen many times that the spec sheet on paper and the smartphone experience is completely different.
One thing that I do have to acknowledge is that despite starting at the same price ($999) as last year, Samsung has actually reduced the price of the Flip 5. This is because the 128GB variant does not exist anymore, and this time around users will get the 8GB + 256GB model for $999, whereas it was priced at $1059 the last year.
But is that enough for a consumer to look beyond the unchanged specifications, slow charging, and essentially the same camera deck, and actually be excited about it? I do have my concerns, but I am willing to give the smartphone a chance to pleasantly surprise me, and notably, Samsung does have the habit of doing that.