The Galaxy Z Flip 5 makes a major update to our favorite foldable phone | emphasized CNN (2023)

Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip has long been our favorite foldable phone - theZ-Flip 4in particular it's excellent - but Samsung's compact and cute clamshell has received mostly iterative updates since its arrival in 2020. It also faced some pretty stiff competition at its recent launchMotorola Razr+, which basically takes the design of the Z Flip and adds a huge cover screen that lets you use all your most important apps without opening your phone.

So how does Samsung respond to 2023? Well, imitate back. The new feature of the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is the Flex Window, which replaces the meager screen coverage of last year's model with a 3.4-inch screen that's much more convenient for checking your calendar, taking selfies, and even launching apps. to use. features like Google Maps and Netflix.

When you combine that with faster performance and a design that promises to be thinner and more durable, you're looking at a phone that takes the place of the Z Flip in ourbeste smartphoneslist. But can it compete with the Razr+? Here's what we thought after a few hours of practice.

Galaxy Z Flip 5 pre-orders and release date

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 improves on our favorite foldable phone with a larger screen, faster processor and greater durability.

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is available for pre-order now starting at $1,000 and will be available everywhere on Samsung's website and most major retailers on August 11. In most stores you can choose from mint, graphite, cream and lavender, in addition to the gray, blue, green and yellow options that are exclusive to Samsung's website.

like youpre-order through Samsung, you will receive a free storage upgrade that increases the original model from 256 GB to 512 GB. You can also save up to $900 on your device with a qualifying trade-in. Additionally, people who bundle their Z Flip 5 with the new Galaxy Tab S9 tablet and/or Galaxy Watch 6 smartwatch can save up to $540.

Best BuyeAmazonasalso offers a free stock upgrade for pre-orders, as well as a free $100 gift card for each respective retailer.

Mike Andronico/CNN We've tried the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 - is it worth pre-ordering?

A flip phone that you hardly have to open

When I first walked into Samsung's bright, pastel-colored event space and got my hands on the Z Flip 5, I immediately had two thoughts: "Wow, this place really shines."barbie kernand "This phone definitely looks like the new Motorola Razr+." I don't mean that last one too bad either. The Galaxy Z Flip was already one of the best-looking foldable phones out there - and now it has a much better external display, which lets you perform your essential tasks before opening it.

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 makes a major update to our favorite foldable phone | emphasized CNN (3)

Where previous Flips had a paltry 2-inch screen coverage for things like checking the time and viewing notifications, the Z Flip 5's heavily updated 3.4-inch Flex Window provides a legitimate second screen that does most of what you need. it does. You need a phone for that. This includes widgets that let you see the weather, check your calendar, and view your text messages - and even reply with a full QWERTY keyboard. (The previous cover only allowed predefined answers.)

You can choose from a variety of attractive remote lock screens for the Z Flip 5, from subtle options to a beautifully animated cartoon heart, the reds and blues of which worked particularly well on this screen. And if you want to take some selfies with the rear camera, the Flex Window makes it much easier to see what you really look like compared to the tiny wrap screen of yesteryear.

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 makes a major update to our favorite foldable phone | emphasized CNN (4)

The Flex window is slightly smaller than the Razr+'s screen (3.4in versus 3.6in to be exact), with an asymmetrical design that cuts close to the camera lens rather than wrapping around it like Motorola's screen . I think the Razr+'s screen is more elegant and flawless when you look at photos of the two phones side-by-side, but what really matters is how these two screens compare in the real world. I also question how versatile the Flex Window really is: we were able to comfortably use most Android apps on the Razr+'s external display, while the Z Flip 5's external display appears to be designed primarily for specific widgets. Either way, it's great to see the second big flip phone embrace this kind of big-screen coverage. It's a feature we've found legitimately useful during our time with the Razr+, and has helped us use our most important apps without being overtaken by the random but endless social media scrolling sessions.

Same great design with some noteworthy updates

Greater screen coverage aside, the Z Flip 5 is actually the same eye-catching flip phone that earned a spot in our best smartphones ranking last year. While the larger flexible window means less outer casing to admire, the glossy bottom half of the phone still looks attractive in a quartet of pleasing colors including mint, graphite, cream and lavender. (I was more drawn to the latter two during my demo time.)

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 makes a major update to our favorite foldable phone | emphasized CNN (5)

Samsung has made some notable updates inside and out, starting with a new "flex hinge" that promises to make the phone more durable for extended bending, and an overall thinner body that promises to fold completely without any unsightly gaps. You also get IPX8 protection against accidental water spills and Victus 2 Gorilla Glass across the entire back - something that should protect your phone from scratches and scrapes. I'll have to put the Z Flip 5 next to the Flip 4 to see how much has changed on the outside, but the phone's sturdy, lightweight aluminum design felt as good in hand as ever.

When I opened the phone and started using a few apps, the Z Flip 5 offered the same smart experience I'd expect from a Samsung device. Scrolling through web pages and flipping through images on the smooth 120Hz AMOLED display feels as good as ever, and Flex mode, which automatically activates some cool dual-screen features when you place the phone in an L-shape, is still new fun. Doing it with the camera app open gives your Z Flip something of a built-in tripod, especially useful for taking hands-free selfies or filming TikToks. And when you get the new oneGalaxy Watch 6in addition to the Z Flip 5, you can even use your smartwatch as a camera remote - something that gives you all the benefits of hands-free camera control without the pressure of the countdown timer.

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 makes a major update to our favorite foldable phone | emphasized CNN (6)

Speaking of cameras, the Flip 5 promises to build on its predecessor's solid photography capabilities with features like AI-powered night photography for clearer, sharper images shot at night and 10x digital zoom to capture more detail from a distance. We've found the Z Flip 4's cameras to be reliable - if not as good as the flagship Galaxy S-series - so we're looking forward to seeing how these improvements fare in day-to-day use. All these features are powered by the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, which delivered impressively fast performance on this year's processor.Galaxy S23range and should give the Flip 5 a slight edge over the Razr+, which is powered by last year's Snapdragon chip.

it comes down to

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 makes a major update to our favorite foldable phone | emphasized CNN (7)

The Z Flip 5 is the most significant update we've seen to the Z Flip series in years, updating our favorite version of the modern flip phone with a large exterior screen that's both practical and fun. If you like the idea of ​​a pocket phone, ideal for quick and minimal outdoor use - pleaseold flip phones- While it behaves like a proper modern smartphone as soon as you open it up, it's arguably the best version of the formula yet.

That said, flip phone fans have more quality options than ever before now that the excellent Motorola Razr+ has hit the market. The Razr+ has slightly larger and potentially more versatile screen coverage than the Z Flip 5, and its cleaner Android experience may appeal to those put off by Samsung's somewhat polarizing OneUI software. That said, the Z Flip 5 has better specs on paper, and judging by our time with previous models, it's likely to offer a better camera experience than the Razr+'s slightly underwhelming shooter. We'll be putting the Z Flip 5 through its paces to see how it compares - both against the Razr+ and the many $1,000 flagship phones out there - so stay tuned for our final verdict.


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