Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Review: Much More Than Just The All-new Cover Screen

The Flip 5 boasts a larger external display, a faster processor and a much-improved hinge
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Review: Much More Than Just The All-new Cover Screen

Samsung has just about perfected the design aspect of its flip smartphone. Well, just about. The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is what a flip phone should be, and that’s the biggest compliment one can give.

There are three main upgrades for the Galaxy Z Flip 5 over the Galaxy Z Flip 4: a larger external display, a faster processor and a much-improved hinge. Some will question whether it is enough. We’re here to ease all of your fears. The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is the best flip phone available in India today.

Samsung has learnt from its past and is ready to slay the competition. But let’s start with that much-improved hinge.

The Hinge

The Flip 5 (as I’ll refer to it henceforth) is more refined than ever. The brand-new hinge allows the two halves of the phone to close without leaving any gap. It’s aesthetically pleasing and prevents any kind of dust from getting inside. The phone finally folds flat for the first time ever. Hallelujah.

Anything that doesn’t fold flat in 2023 feels dated. Thankfully, the only other flip phone in India, the Motorola Razr+, does. Thanks to the new design, Flip 5 is thinner and even the size of the crease in the screen has been reduced. The crease is still noticeable, but in day-to-day usage, you pretty much forget about it. The redesigned Flip 5 is a pleasure to use.

The giant cover screen

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen photos of the Flip 5. It’s got a huge 3.4-inch (720x748p) cover screen on the outside of the phone. This is by far the standout feature as it allows you to interact with the phone without having to unfold it over and over again. It’s got the time (of course), notifications, calendar, weather and plenty of other information on its always-on display. It also has a quick settings panel for toggling Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, mobile hotspot and more.

You can also personalise the cover screen with different images and designs, many of which come pre-installed.

There’s also a way, just like with the Motorola Razr40 Ultra, to use any app on the cover screen. I’m not sure who’d want to watch a YouTube video on the 3.,4-inch, but for those out there that do, there is an option.

The best part of the cover screen is that it allows access to a full keyboard for one to reply to messages and more.

A faster processor and refined software

Under the hood is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy processor from Qualcomm. It does a fantastic job of keeping the smartphone lag-free. There’s only 8GB of RAM, but on a Flip phone like this, I don’t think anyone will be complaining. The phone kept up with all my day-to-day tasks. I even went split-screen a lot of times and it handled it with aplomb.

The one thing I would have liked, from a flagship Samsung smartphone is the addition of DeX support. Only a minority of Samsung users use it, but it is a great feature to have, nonetheless.

The heavy lifting is done by Flex Mode. That’s where you get to control the split-screen, have the playback controls on the bottom half of the panel, and alternatively, use it as a touchpad.

On the outside is the Flex Window cover screen. The best use case, other than the included widgets, is for the Google Maps app. It works like a dream and you can easily make out your route without having to unfold the screen and prop it up somewhere.

This Flip is far from perfect

While there is a lot to admire about the Flip 5, at the end of the day, it isn’t a perfect smartphone. Let’s talk about the camera performance. The reality is that the cameras are only marginally better on the Flip 5 than the Flip 4. One would have hoped for a big upgrade vis-a-vis the cameras but alas.

Samsung’s main focus this year was on the redesigned hinge and the brand-new cover screen. It’s put all its eggs in the basket over there. Sadly, the camera takes a backseat. It’s mostly the same as on the Flip 4. One new thing though is the coating which reduces the lens flare. The Flip 5 comes with a 12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide and a 10MP selfie camera. Furthermore, Samsung is relying on the new chipset to do the heavy lifting rather than outfitting the Flip 5 with new camera hardware.

The Flip 5 is a good form factor for clicking photos. It’s flexible and hence the angle isn’t a problem. Like last year’s model, the Flip 5 is good for day-to-day snapping of photos. It’ll satisfy the Instagram crowd. It’s got richer colours and crisper details than the Flip 4, but nothing that will warrant an immediate upgrade.

The giant cover screen

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen photos of the Flip 5. It’s got a huge 3.4-inch (720x748p) cover screen on the outside of the phone. This is by far the standout feature as it allows you to interact with the phone without having to unfold it over and over again. It’s got the time (of course), notifications, calendar, weather and plenty of other information on its always-on display. It also has a quick settings panel for toggling Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, mobile hotspot and more.

You can also personalise the cover screen with different images and designs, many of which come pre-installed.

There’s also a way, just like with the Motorola Razr40 Ultra, to use any app on the cover screen. I’m not sure who’d want to watch a YouTube video on the 3.,4-inch, but for those out there that do, there is an option.

The best part of the cover screen is that it allows access to a full keyboard for one to reply to messages and more.

A faster processor and refined software

Under the hood is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy processor from Qualcomm. It does a fantastic job of keeping the smartphone lag-free. There’s only 8GB of RAM, but on a Flip phone like this, I don’t think anyone will be complaining. The phone kept up with all my day-to-day tasks. I even went split-screen a lot of times and it handled it with aplomb.

The one thing I would have liked, from a flagship Samsung smartphone is the addition of DeX support. Only a minority of Samsung users use it, but it is a great feature to have, nonetheless.

The heavy lifting is done by Flex Mode. That’s where you get to control the split-screen, have the playback controls on the bottom half of the panel, and alternatively, use it as a touchpad.

On the outside is the Flex Window cover screen. The best use case, other than the included widgets, is for the Google Maps app. It works like a dream and you can easily make out your route without having to unfold the screen and prop it up somewhere.

This Flip is far from perfect

While there is a lot to admire about the Flip 5, at the end of the day, it isn’t a perfect smartphone. Let’s talk about the camera performance. The reality is that the cameras are only marginally better on the Flip 5 than the Flip 4. One would have hoped for a big upgrade vis-a-vis the cameras but alas.

Samsung’s main focus this year was on the redesigned hinge and the brand-new cover screen. It’s put all its eggs in the basket over there. Sadly, the camera takes a backseat. It’s mostly the same as on the Flip 4. One new thing though is the coating which reduces the lens flare. The Flip 5 comes with a 12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide and a 10MP selfie camera. Furthermore, Samsung is relying on the new chipset to do the heavy lifting rather than outfitting the Flip 5 with new camera hardware.

The Flip 5 is a good form factor for clicking photos. It’s flexible and hence the angle isn’t a problem. Like last year’s model, the Flip 5 is good for day-to-day snapping of photos. It’ll satisfy the Instagram crowd. It’s got richer colours and crisper details than the Flip 4, but nothing that will warrant an immediate upgrade.

Battery life is satisfactory

Yes, the battery life on the Flip is satisfactory. It’s good enough to last a busy day of work, play, photography and more. I constantly got around 5 hours of screen-on-time (SoT) and that was enough to not have to charge the smartphone during the day. If I had a fully charged Flip 5 in

the morning, I was left with around 15% by the time I went to bed. Thanks to getting a lot more done with the cover screen, and the new optimised chipset, battery life is better on the Flip 5 than the Flip 4, but again, it won’t wow you.

Flip 5 good as a daily driver?

People are still constantly amazed by the form factor of the Flip 5 and the capabilities it provides. Especially that of taking photos and using the outer screen as a viewfinder. As a daily driver, I’ve felt more at ease with the Flip 5 than any flip-style foldable before it. I took my time with the device because I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the Flip 4. The Flip 5 is far better and allays almost all the drawbacks I had with the Flip 4.

Smartphone manufacturers are getting closer to answering that elusive question: “Are foldable phones useful?”

The new cover screen and the redesigned hinge point us in the right direction. If you have small pockets, like compact smartphones, and want a Flip(ping) cool smartphone, then the Flip 5 is for you.

On the other hand, if you’re craving good photography, want to play games, or want access to DeX, then think again.

The Flip 5 isn’t the only folding smartphone in the market. There’s competition from Oppo and Motorola. Still, the Flip 5 is the most refined of the lot and the best one to own in 2023. At a starting price of Rs 99,999, the Flip 5 isn’t cheap. It’s far from being chip. So think carefully as to whether a Flip phone is for you before making the purchase.

Related Stories

No stories found.
logo
Outlook Business
business.outlookindia.com