Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Review: A pocket-sized powerhouse with a price tag to match
Samsung is a brand that seldom shies away from pushing the boundaries of what's possible with technology. Its Galaxy Z Fold series has been the poster child of innovation, blending the line between smartphones and tablets. The new Galaxy Z Fold 5 is no exception. It screams luxury and utility, albeit at a price point that could make even the well-heeled wince.
Design and Build
A significant departure from the Fold 4, the new Fold 5 is sleeker (13.4mm thick), lighter, and folds flat—thanks to its new hinge mechanism that it shares with its flip-phone sibling, the Z Flip 5. It gets an IPX8 rating so it will easily take a dip in some water but there’s no dust protection rating even with the updated hinge. That said, I do think dust will be less of a problem for users of this generation of Samsung foldables. At 253g, it isn’t exactly very light, but the fact that Samsung have managed to pack all that the Z Fold 5 offers while being just shy of 20g heavier than the S23 Ultra is very commendable indeed.The refinement in the design gives you a hint that Samsung is reaching the zenith of foldable phone perfection. The crease? Well, it's there, but you'll have to really look for it. And as with all Samsung flasghips, the materials are top-notch and there are very few phones that get close to matching the premium feel of Samsung’s top-tier flagships.
The front of the phone and, as a result, the 6.2-inch screen is a tad narrow, leading to a slightly cramped keyboard experience. But if you can look past that, the full-sized screen adds versatility that other foldable form factors just can’t match. During my test period, I was able to get through a whole day of traveling without opening up the Z Fold 5. And when you do need the larger screen, you're greeted by a magnificent 7.6-inch main display that is a visual treat. This screen is brighter, bolder, and according to Samsung, 25% more durable—although it's still not as rugged as your traditional smartphone. Both screens support a 120Hz refresh rate, use a Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel and are just about the best displays on a foldable smartphone. With the larger screen multitasking has always been a breeze and Samsung has improved on that even further with updates to things like dragging and dropping between apps, and Flex mode for when the screen is partially folded. This helps in apps like Youtube where you can watch a video in the top half and scroll through comments on the other half.
Equipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and a whopping 12GB of RAM, the Fold 5 is an absolute beast. Everything functions seamlessly and I doubt there is much that can challenge the Z Fold 5’s processing prowess. Engineered for Samsung, the custom chipset has delivered performance gains in the S23 lineup as well, but where it really shines is in the efficiency department. With about a day and a half of battery life on mixed usage—Samsung once again shows it knows its power management.
With the competition heating up, Samsung has upped the ante with its One UI 5.1 based on Android 13. The multitasking capabilities are second to none, and while the Fold 5 supports the excellent S Pen, it's not included in the box. Samsung’s DeX mode provides a desktop-like experience when connected to external peripherals, further emphasizing the device's utility. Even while multitasking, the Z Fold 5 just sails through.
Photography is perhaps where the Fold 5 doesn't totally shine. The camera setup, very much akin to its predecessor, is good but doesn't break any new ground. You get a 50-megapixel main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide camera, and a 3x optical zoom lens at the back, a 10MP front camera on the cover screen, and a 4MP camera under the main display. While there hasn’t been an update to the hardware per se, the improved processing capabilities of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset do make a mark. The main and ultrawide cameras offer tons of detail, very little noise, and good dynamic range (like other Samsung flagship devices). As for selfies, the unusual form factor gives you five different cameras to pick from. The cameras at the back obviously do the best job but using them for a selfie is a little awkward as you end up having to open up the phone. The selfie camera on the outer screen does a good job with enough sharpness and great colours. The in-display camera however is best restricted to video calls.
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 starts at Rs. 1,54,999. To put it simply, it’s not for the faint of heart or light of wallet. Yet, for those willing to make the investment, it offers an experience unmatched in the Android ecosystem.
If you can indeed get past the eye-watering price tag, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 offers the best of both worlds—a highly capable smartphone and an ultra-portable tablet. It's a showcase of Samsung's engineering prowess and a peek into what the future of mobile technology could look like.
Samsung has succeeded in fine-tuning its foldable formula, and the Fold 5 is the closest it has come to foldable perfection. The device feels like a technological marvel you can slide into your pocket. And for those who can afford it, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is as good as it gets.