Samsung unveiled the much anticipated Galaxy Z Fold 5 at its Galaxy Unpacked event on July 26, in Soul, South Korea. The new foldable flagship was announced alongside the new Galaxy Z Flip 5, Galaxy Tab S9 series of tablets, and the new Galaxy Watch 6 series smartwatches. All the new devices come equipped with the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 premium platform, and they’re the best Samsung foldable smartphones to date, offering a more refined and enhanced experience.
However, there are a few reasons that users like myself find it hard to upgrade from the previous generation, and if you’re in the same shoe, you might want to read why you should hold out for another year and skip upgrading to the Galaxy Z Fold 5 this year.
You might want to skip upgrading if you already have the Galaxy Z Fold 4
Product Shown: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Before I get to the other reasons, let’s just get this out of the way. I’m a Galaxy Z Fold 4 user, and I bought the Fold 4 when it came out in August back in 2022. It’s been serving me well, and it’s hands down my most beloved and favorite device of all time. It’s excellent for all the things it can do, and while there are some areas it could do better, it’s an excellent device and perfect foldable.
Comparing the differences between the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and the Fold 4 reveals that the new foldable has minor differences from the one-year-old Fold 4, and that makes it very hard to justify spending another $1,800 on a brand-new device. It’s fair to say that if you’re also relying on the Fold 4, and unless you’re made out of money, it’s probably best to skip this year’s iterative update and wait another year for the Galaxy Z Fold 6.
Price hikes outside of the US
Pocketnow / Adam Z. Lein
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 costs the same as the Galaxy Z Fold 4 in the US. However, outside the US, Samsung hiked its prices quite a bit. In the UK, where I’m located, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 costs £100 (~$120) more than the Galaxy Z Fold 4. The price went from £1,650 to £1,750 in the UK. Considering the upgrades and the new innovation Samsung brought to the new device, it’s hard to justify the extra £100, especially as the company re-used many of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 components inside the Fold 5, such as the cameras, displays, and more.
Now, although the price adjustment could be explained by the living crisis and high inflation rates, it still makes the price a hard pill to swallow, especially considering that there are only a few new noteworthy features and hardware improvements, such as additional icons on the dock, a brighter display, and a hinge mechanism that folds flat.
No S Pen slot
Pocketnow / Adam Z. Lein
The S Pen is one of the highlighted features of the Galaxy Z Fold series, and it’s one of the main reasons many people bought or even considered spending $1,800 on a small tablet that functions as a smartphone. For those who want a Galaxy Note-like experience, the accessory method to store the stylus isn’t a viable option. However, Samsung’s latest case looks stylish and appealing, especially as the S Pen Fold Edition is now smaller and more compact than ever.
Still, I’d much prefer a dedicated, embedded S Pen slot on the Fold that can store the stylus. The space would make storing and using the stylus easier whenever and wherever. It would make the Fold the ultimate device for stylus lovers, and it could give a reason for Galaxy Note and Galaxy Ultra users to try out the new form factor, if they haven’t already.
Small battery & slow charging
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 wasn’t much of a battery champion, but luckily Samsung fixed some of the shortcomings with the Galaxy Fold 4. With the Fold 5, we can expect an even better battery life thanks to the more efficient and powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC. However, the chip won’t solve everything, and the Fold 5 has the same 4,400 mAh capacity as the Fold 4 and previous Folds.
It’s unsurprising that Samsung didn’t improve the battery capacity, given the Fold 4 is already crammed with hardware in the tight enclosure. It makes sense that Samsung doesn’t want to add more thickness to the device, especially as its engineering team only just managed to shave off a few milimeters, which makes the device easier to use and more user-friendly. Samsung also advertises the Fold 5 as a refinement, and it’s constantly highlighting that it’s not even on all sides, and that it folds flat.
While I understand Samsung’s reasoning and the marketing department’s approach, I wish the company had made the Fold 5 slightly wider. A wider display could allow Samsung to fit a larger battery, and maybe even include an S Pen slot, offering the best of both worlds for existing and new users.
Pocketnow / Adam Z. Lein
That’s not all. The Fold 5 also comes with the same 25W charging technology used in nearly all Galaxy smartphones for several years. The 25W charging solution works well in most cases, but it’s now considered slow at an age where most other Asian smartphone makers offer 65W+ charging speeds that can fully top up smartphones in half an hour to an hour.
Samsung needs to find a solution to innovate in the battery and charging department for its foldable smartphones lineup and its high-end premium Galaxy S series devices, as it’s constantly behind the likes of HONOR, OPPO, Xiaomi, and many other players.
Who should buy the Galaxy Z Fold 5?
It may seem like I’m bashing on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, but make no mistake. The Fold 5 is an excellent foldable flagship, and while yes, it’s a minor iterative update over the Fold 4, it’s still a fantastic device. I’m sure that Samsung has further refined the hinge mechanism, and added many extra touches on the software and the hardware that makes it the best foldable yet from the company. Still, it’s just not something that I can outright recommend for existing Fold 4 users.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the latest foldable flagship in the lineup. It’s equipped with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, a powerful triple rear camera, a large 6.2-inch cover and 7.6-inch main display, and a large battery that can last all day on a single charge.
If you’re relying on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 or an older foldable, or perhaps you just want to take advantage of the amazing pre-order deals, or you’re ready to give a foldable smartphone a try, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the best Samsung foldable you can get your hands on today. The new phone will benefit greatly from the new and more powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, the new tear-drop hinge design, improved brightness and other advancements.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is already up for pre-orders, and the device will become available on August 11.
- Free storage upgrade: Users selecting the 256GB model of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 or Galaxy Z Flip 5 will be eligible for a free storage upgrade, and will be automatically upgraded to the 512GB version. Additionally, users will receive up to $900 off the Galaxy Z Flip 5 or $1,000 off the Galaxy Z Fold 5 with an eligible trade-in!
- Save up to $540: During pre-order, users will also be to save up to $540 when they bundle a Galaxy Z Fold 5 or Galaxy Z Flip 5 with Galaxy Tab S9 series and the Galaxy Watch 6 series smartwatches.
- Save 30% on Samsung Care+: Users will also be able to receive 30% off Samsung Care+.