If you haven't heard, Samsung launched a 5G version of the Galaxy Z Flip called the Galaxy Z Flip 5G. At first glance, it may not look like it received major upgrades or improvements (next to the February 2020 variant), but the phone is worth checking out if you're looking at clam-style foldable smartphones.
Let's be straight here - the phone's display, build, and the nitty-gritty stuff like (battery capacity or port compatibility) isn't any different with the first Galaxy Z Flip. Even the hinge mechanism and quality of foldable glass stayed the same - what was good enough for the Z Flip made a return on the 5G variant, where the hinge not only supported Flex Mode but was also reassuringly durable.
The changes lie in three key areas: the upgraded Qualcomm chipset, the ability to connect to 5G networks, and the two colour variants to differentiate the Galaxy Z Flip 5G from its previous batch.
First, the Galaxy Z Flip 5G gets the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ mobile platform, while its predecessor comes with an SD855+ chipset. If it matters to you, the Snapdragon 865+ is the same chipset used in the Galaxy Z Fold2 (the luxury-tier, book-style foldable by Samsung), and it's a highly-coveted, current-gen, flagship-tier processor among other Android phone makers too.
The use of this chipset is crucial to the 5G readiness on the Galaxy Z Flip 5G. At our demo, Samsung had the support and assistance of Singtel, our local telco with an active 3.5GHz network spectrum for consumer 5G use. The Galaxy Z Flip 5G was able to reflect downlink speeds of 650 - 900Mbps via speed testing benchmarks conducted at the venue (Mount Faber); this was in line with our findings from our Singtel trial 5G network speed test conducted in September. Further demonstrations also showcased how the 5G network can be swifter in everyday situations: for instance, it could download a 300MB+ video off Netflix in a matter of seconds. 4G speeds were decent, but it was only 50% done when the Galaxy Z Flip 5G smartphone with a 5G-enabled SIM card was good to go.
Unlike the first batch of Z Flip phones, the 5G version came in two colourways with broad appeal: Mystic Bronze and Mystic Gray. The first Z Flip's Mirror Purple - while eye-catching and appealing - wasn't that easy to accessorise with, making the Mystic Bronze option a nice compromise between style and premium sensibilities.
For the remainder of the demo, we tried the Z Flip 5G out by using it like the previous version - Flex Mode for photography, launching App Pair, and generally toying with the device's hinge to see if the software holds up.
If S$2,888 for the Galaxy Z Fold2 is too hard on the wallet, the Galaxy Z Flip 5G would still scratch the foldable itch in a different direction. You get 5G support, a chipset of its time, and two easy-to-match colours to choose from. It also has the same form factor as a regular smartphone when fully extended, so what's not to like?
The Galaxy Z Flip 5G officially retails at S$1,988. It goes on sale on 31 October, and don't forget to check out our news piece for more details. If you want the nitty-gritty of the Z Flip experience, check out the review of Samsung's first Galaxy Z Flip here.