Samsung Galaxy fans just got the ultimate flip phone upgrade option, as at Samsung Galaxy Unpacked the Korean giant revealed its brand new Z Flip 5 clamshell folding phone – and it's a significant development over the earlier Z Flip 4.
I've used both phones extensively, along with many of the best folding phones from the last few years, with the Z Flip 5 landing on my desk in advance of Samsung's big reveal (here's a Galaxy Z Flip 5 early verdict review with lots of pictures of the device).
If you've had your eye on a Samsung Galaxy flip phone for some time but have been waiting for a larger cover display then the Z Flip 5 answers that call (and is arguably better than the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra). But besides the screen just how else does it differ from the Z Flip 4? Here I'll break down what's new between the two Galaxy models.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 was released in 2022 for an attractive £999/$999/AU$1499 price point. It's now significantly cheaper, as you can see from the shopping widget above, so if you're nonplussed about a larger cover display then it's the more affordable option by far.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 will go on sale from 11 August 2023. It'll be a little pricier at launch in the UK, though, at £1049. I don't have Australian pricing just yet, but the US price holds year on year: it's $999 over the pond. You get a lot more for your money, too, as I'll dig into below...
- Z Flip 4: 1.9-inch AMOLED, 260 x 512 resolution, 60Hz
- Z Flip 5: 3.4-inch AMOLED, 720 x 748 resolution, 60Hz
The greatest difference between the Z Flip 4 and Z Flip 5 is the cover display: the newer model has a much larger window, offering greater functionality, more widgets (including third-party apps) and a full QWERTY keyboard. Think of it like a mini phone. At 3.4-inches it's among the largest on the market.
The Z Flip 4's cover display is significantly smaller, at 1.9-inches, which is great for viewing notifications, but isn't as fully equipped as the Z Flip 5's larger and more thorough solution. For me the Z Flip 4's cover display is closer to having a smartwatch, useful for notifications and knowing when to open the phone fully rather than using the cover extensively.
- Z Flip 4: 6.7-inch AMOLED, 1080 x 2640 resolution, 120Hz
- Z Flip 5: 6.7-inch AMOLED, 1080 x 2640 resolution, 120Hz
When you do flip either of these phones open – and it's a really satisfying sensation, as the Z Flip 5 is the best-feeling flip phone I've used – you'll be faced with a 6.7-inch AMOLED screen. Indeed, it's the same screen in both phones, so no upgrades here for the Z Flip 5.
I'd like to point out some of the shortcomings of a folding display, too, as the coating is unavoidably reflective, meaning sunlight and fingerprints can be a nuisance, and there's a slight 'crease' where the hinge is. No biggie, really, this is part and parcel of any folding phone – but I did dream up a Z Flip 5 wishlist where the mighty arm of Samsung R&D had found a fix for such issues (it's still just a dream though).
- Z Flip 4: 71.9 x 165.2 x 15.9-17.1mm / 6.9mm unfolded / 187g
- Z Flip 5: 71.9 x 165.1 x 15.1mm / 6.9mm unfolded / 187g
Aside from the larger cover display, generally speaking the Z Flip 4 and Z Flip 5 otherwise look the same. They're the same thickness when unfolded, for example, at 6.9mm – but that's not to say there's no change at all.
As you can see from the all-important figures above, adjustments to the hinge design has enabled Samsung to sandwich the Z Flip 5 together tighter in its folded position, which trims an effective 2mm from its scale. Subtle but so worth it.
- Z Flip 4: Graphite, Bora Purple, Pink Gold, Blue, Yellow, White, Navy, Khaki, Red
- Z Flip 5: Mint, Lavender, Cream, Graphite, Yellow, Grey, Blue
Each year there's always a 'special' colour and for the Z Flip 5 that's Mint. It's not especially minty green, though, so whether it'll be the colour for you or not is all a matter of personal taste. There are plenty of special edition online-only colour options available too. But it's the Z Flip 4 that has the wider palette range.
- Z Flip 4: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, 8GB RAM (LPDDR5), 3700mAh battery
- Z Flip 5: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, 8GB RAM (LPDDR5X), 3700mAh battery
Under the hood and the two flip phones are fundamentally similar, with generational upgrades to the hardware being used. Both devices opt for Qualcomm Snapdragon platforms, which are tuned for Samsung specifically, but the Z Flip 5 benefits from the latest and greatest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. There's 8GB RAM in both, but the Z Flip 5's is faster.
When it comes to charging there's been no changes to the battery: both Z Flip 4 and Z Flip 5 feature a 3700mAh cell with 25W wired charging, 15W wireless charging, and even reverse wireless charging. Now that's not especially large as batter capacities go, but I don't think putting a larger cell in this flip phone series and making it thicker as a result would be an acceptable design option.
- Z Flip 4: 12MP f/1.8 main with OIS, 12MP f/2.2 wide, 10MP f/2.4 selfie
- Z Flip 5: 12MP f/1.8 main with OIS, 12MP f/2.2 wide, 10MP f/2.4 selfie
The fundamentals of both devices use the very same cameras setup, which at 12-megapixels maximum is something I'm surprised to have not seen upgraded. But I suspect that's in the interests of keeping the price down.
The Z Flip 5 does introduce one new addition to the cameras setup though: the main camera's lens has been swapped out for one that should better deal with lens flare, according to Samsung. Every little helps.
While large portions of the Galaxy Z Flip 5 reflect that of the Galaxy Z Flip 4 – same internal display, same cameras, same battery, same thickness when unfolded – it's the newer device's massive cover display upgrade that makes it hugely standout. That 3.4-inch panel is a game-changer for this flip phone series.
That Samsung has been able to introduce this significant change but keep the price in line with inflation is impressive. Because if you owned a Z Flip 4 then the incentive to upgrade is massive (literally). And compared to the competition I think the Z Flip 5 is streets ahead when it comes to design, robustness and a hinge mechanism that feels just right.