Feature Articles

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 hands-on: More productive with the flattest, slimmest Fold yet

By Liu Hongzuo - 29 Jul 2023

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 hands-on: More productive with the flattest, slimmest Fold yet

Note: This article was first published on 26th July 2023.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 (left).

How do you improve a multi-tasker’s dream machine? You make it even better at multi-tasking. 

We assume that’s how Samsung pitched its book-style Galaxy Z Fold5 foldable smartphone, since our hands-on in Seoul with its demo units offered detailed look at the effort Samsung put into its design, handling, and productivity apps.

Paring down weight for a flush fold

Behold, the following:

The all-new hinge design - note how much more polished and uniform the new Z Fold5 is on the right versus the Z Fold 4 on the left.

In our launch coverage, we noted how Samsung claimed a 10g reduction in weight and a 2.4mm reduction in thickness. But those reductions can’t really be felt unless it’s been put into context. 

No more gaping hole hole between the screens. Plus, it feels better in-hand with a better weight distribution.

When compared to the Fold4, the newer Fold5 offers a more parallel clasp in its folded state. This matters a lot to people who constantly use the book-style’s 6.2-inch HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X Cover Screen in its closed format, since the phone is no longer as lopsided as before.

We’d say that this change offers a major handling benefit to existing Fold users who want to use both displays. It literally (and figuratively) closed a gap in its panel offerings. In short, the physical changes to Fold5 made these foldables feel more polished and refined than any of its predecessors. The improved weight distribution further helps in device handling and we're sure existing Fold users will see this benefit immediately.

Updated internals for better performance

On display were the less apparent changes that came together under the hood.

One of Fold5’s key difference is the 38% larger vapour chamber for its Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy chipset, which requires aggressive thermal management to milk more raw power out of the handset. 

The better fold also means a redesigned Flex Hinge to achieve its parallel clasp. We won’t pretend to know what was exactly different with these hinges, and we were also stopped by the Koreans when our itchy hands went ahead to fiddle and explore the new Flex Hinge.

Did we get told not to touch the Flex Hinge? Yes. Was it worth touching? Also yes.

That said, it’s still nice to understand what was going into a S$2,398 foldable handset. It’s a lot of money, after all.

Productivity goes through the roof

A major upgrade to the Galaxy Z Fold5 is extra integration with enterprise or business use apps. At the demo, there was a booth that explained how Samsung was partnering with even more players (like SAP, and Bloomberg Finance, to name a few) in bringing in apps that fully take advantage of the Fold’s Main Screen format.

Part of the demo also showcased how you can use a paired Galaxy Watch6 to make any changes via the smartwatch, and have it automatically reflected in the enterprise app without a hitch. It works just as well over mobile data or Wi-Fi, making the Fold handsets truly integral to its overall productivity positioning for professional users.

Many of the existing apps are upgrades from previous iterations (like BlueJeans, Wrike, and more), with a new Folio partnership coming along in the near future. 

All these upgrades don't even look at the new and improved Taskbar yet, which Samsung said now operates up to four recent apps for even more convenience. If you recall, it used to be a single recent app, allowing you to flit between both on the go. Four apps certainly help a lot with even more multi-tasking, although it's strange why this wasn't included when Taskbar was introduced.

The crease stays

Unfortunately, a big part of the foldable experience follows the inevitable crease in the middle of its panel, and that hasn’t gone away with the new Fold5. We think it has to do with the reduced bulge along the hinge. 

Trying out Auto Framing in a videocall, an important feature for busy professionals using the Fold5.

Fortunately, it retains and even takes on many of the conveniences offered by its clamshell sibling, Galaxy Z Flip5. As a productivity device, Galaxy Z Fold5 also greatly benefits from Auto Framing, especially during video calls. It’s just as snappy as its clamshell variant when we tried it out.

Samsung showed a diagram of components made using recycled sources of metals, plastic, and glass, all colour-coded to indicate its source and material type.

It is worth mentioning that Samsung retains IPX8-certified water resistance, despite all the physical changes they’ve made to the Z Fold5 (and also the Flip5). Other foldable phones in our market tend not to have a water resistance guarantee, which still makes the Korean brand’s foldable a small cut above others — it’s already difficult enough to fold glass 200,000 times, much less ensure that it works even if it gets a little wet.

Our time with the Galaxy Z Fold5 was understandably short and we had to give up the demo units in quick order. We didn't even get to try the optional S Pen Fold Edition.

Until then, we’ll be sure to explore the Galaxy Z Fold5 in our full review.

Pricing and pre-orders

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 pre-orders begin in Singapore on 26 July 2023, 7 PM, with its official retail date on 11 August 2023 onwards. It’s available in Icy Blue, Phantom Black, and Cream, in 256GB (S$2,398) and 512GB (S$2,578) variants. The 1TB variant (S$2,938) is a Samsung Exclusive and comes only in either Blue or Gray.

Pre-order the Galaxy Fold5 now

For more details, please refer to our comprehensive pricing and availability article here

Join HWZ's Telegram channel here and catch all the latest tech news!
Our articles may contain affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we may earn a small commission.