Samsung Galaxy Fold 5 Long-Term Review: Influential iteration

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the latest and best from Samsung’s top-tier foldable line, with its refined design and enhanced features. The upgraded hinge ensures a seamless closure, a departure from its predecessors, while the new Snapdragon chip, customized for Samsung, powers an unparalleled performance. Building on the legacy of its predecessor, the Z Fold 5 inherits noteworthy software enhancements, gracefully passed down through updates to the Z Fold 4. In this long-term review of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, we delve into the realms of battery life, camera capabilities, displays, and overall performance.

For devoted Z Fold 4 enthusiasts, the incremental nature of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 might not scream “must-have.” However, beneath its seemingly modest upgrades lies a compelling foldable experience, making it an enticing choice for those venturing into the Z Fold lifestyle for the first time or seeking an upgrade from an older model. Join us as we unravel the nuances of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5.

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The Galaxy Z Fold 5, while sharing a striking resemblance to its predecessor, takes a giant leap forward in design, primarily attributable to the significantly improved hinge. Unlike previous models that sometimes emitted creaky sounds and left an unsightly gap when closed, the Z Fold 5 exudes a much more refined feel. The hinge operates smoothly, devoid of any peculiar noises, and the closure of the two flaps is notably parallel.

One standout improvement is the shallower crease along the middle of the main screen, a subtle enhancement perceptible to touch, though challenging to capture visually. The hinge not only contributes to a sleeker appearance but also addresses the issue of the adhesive for the internal screen’s protector. Samsung asserts that the new adhesive is stronger, aiming to prevent the notorious issues of bubbling up or peeling off experienced by older Fold models. We’ve had the device for an extended period of time and can see none of those issues so far.

Samsung persists with a distinctive design choice regarding the Z Fold 5’s ratios — a narrow external screen paired with a square-ish internal screen. This deliberate asymmetry aims to facilitate a clear distinction between one-handed and two-handed modes, intending for a closed Z Fold to be easily stowed as a narrow object. Nevertheless, the narrowness of the external screen poses challenges for comfortable dual-thumb typing, and when we reverted to other foldables it was immediately obvious that this narrow screen shouldn’t be the route Samsung takes going forward. The proximity of letters near the screen’s edge demands extra effort, particularly when using gestures for navigation.

Water-resistance makes a return with an IPX8 rating, allowing the Z Fold 5 to endure submersion in up to 1.5 meters of fresh water for 30 minutes. Despite this resilience, it lacks particle resistance, urging caution outside in dirty or sandy environments.

The fingerprint scanner embedded in the power button retains its exceptional speed and accuracy, outshining the under-screen alternatives found in Galaxy S models. However, its side placement on the frame introduces challenges during interactions when the phone is positioned on a stand, car mount, or placed flat on a table. The Z Fold 5, with its refined design and thoughtful enhancements, offers a compelling proposition for those seeking a sophisticated foldable experience.


Samsung continues to dominate the AMOLED landscape with screens that exhibit brilliance, vibrancy, and a remarkable semblance of reality. The Z Fold series showcases this prowess through its dual AMOLED panels — a sleek 6.2-inch external display and the expansive 7.2-inch foldable screen within.

Both screens boast a dynamic refresh rate, ranging from 1 to 120 Hz for the primary display and 48 to 120 Hz for the external one. The adaptive refresh rate proves to be an energy-efficient feature, with the 1 Hz reduction particularly beneficial for Always On Display usage. It is a strange decision to not have the same LTPO technology on the external display, however, since the main display will mostly be used by most for content consumption whereas the front display is more suited for general scrolling, browsing and quick viewing.

Impressive resolutions adorn both displays — 2176 x 1812 pixels (373 PPI) for the internal screen and 2316 x 904 pixels (401 PPI) for the cover panel. These specifications align with expectations, delivering sharp visuals. The inclusion of colour calibration options allows users to opt for vibrant, lively colours or choose a basic mode for a more subdued, realistic, and eye-friendly experience.

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 was slightly brighter at peak brightness but leaned towards a cooler overall display tone. In practical usage, the screen remains comfortably visible under direct sunlight. When it comes to colours and viewing comfort, the implementation of the Eye Comfort Shield dynamically adjusts colour temperature throughout the day, ensuring a pleasing visual experience.


In terms of software, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 follows a similar path to its predecessor, the Z Fold 4. Running on Android 13 with Samsung’s OneUI 5.1 overlay, the differences are more evolutionary than revolutionary, bringing minor improvements to the overall software experience.

However, it’s not without its interesting aspects. The foldable experience remains polished, featuring an iPad-style toolbar on the inner display for quick access to frequently used apps. The Flex Mode, which dynamically adjusts the layout of apps like Camera and YouTube in a half-folded laptop mode, adds a touch of sophistication to the interface.

A significant evolution since my exploration of the Z Fold 4 in 2022 lies in app support. The previous experience was hit-or-miss, with many apps compelled to run in fullscreen mode, neglecting the boxy aspect ratio. Fast forward to 2023, major applications like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Spotify have embraced dedicated layouts for the internal display. This is a notable improvement compared to some other foldables, like the Pixel Fold, which still struggle to optimize third-party apps for the inner display.

While it’s not a flawless lineup—some apps still feel like enlarged smartphone versions—Samsung deserves credit for actively encouraging developers to embrace this new aspect ratio.

Let’s talk multitasking. I’ve found myself leaning more into split-screen functionality than I initially anticipated. Tasks such as sending images on WhatsApp directly from the Gallery app or updating a Google Spreadsheet with benchmark results become remarkably convenient. The expansive screen lends itself well to juggling multiple activities, with enough room even for a third pop-up window for those who find it beneficial.

Crucially, the Z Fold 5 won’t be left behind on the software front. Samsung pledges an impressive five years of security updates and four OS upgrades, ensuring compatibility and longevity up to Android 17. This extended support surpasses the industry standard for book-style foldables, providing users with a substantial and enduring software commitment.


The camera setup on the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is pretty much identical to its predecessor. The camera configuration remains identical, featuring a primary 50MP snapper with Dual Pixel AF and OIS, a 12MP ultrawide lens, and a 10MP 3x telephoto lens with OIS, all equipped with the same sensors.

This pattern extends to the selfie cameras as well, with the 10MP sensor on the external 6.1-inch display staying unchanged, along with the (notably underwhelming) 4MP under-display camera within the larger 7.6-inch panel.

Images captured by the main 50MP snapper in well-lit environments are rich in detail and vibrancy, with ample light. HDR performance is generally commendable, showcasing balanced lighting even when shooting directly into the midday sun. However, HDR performance in dimmer indoor settings might lead to slightly over-processed images.

Colours across all three lenses are vivid, perhaps a bit overly saturated, especially in the case of reds, greens, and blues, occasionally bordering on an unnatural appearance in shots of flowers and the sky. Nevertheless, the cameras display consistent colour profiles across all lenses.

In low-light situations, the performance of the main lens is acceptable, bringing out light in lamp-lit streets and dusk scenarios, but it’s evident that software plays a significant role. It falls short of flagship competitors like the AI-powered Google Pixel 7 Pro or the Xiaomi 13 Pro with its 1-inch sensor, offering more accurate colours, light, and detail.

The 12MP 123-degree ultrawide lens excels at capturing expansive shots or wide group selfies with minimal distortion at the image edges. However, without pixel binning technology, images appear less detailed when zooming in.

The 10MP 3x optical lens is useful for close-up portrait shots with a tighter angle than the main lens, although there’s a decline in overall quality in lower light conditions compared to the other lenses. The 30x Space Zoom feature appears somewhat gimmicky, yielding less detailed results than what you’d find in the S23 Ultra at a similar level of zoom.

Video recording maxes out at 4K@60fps, delivering ample light and detail suitable for Instagram Stories and TikTok content. Steady stabilization ensures minimal wobble when recording while moving. While it lacks advanced features like Dolby Vision HDR capture, it should meet the needs of most casual users.

Hardware and Performance

At the core of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 lies the custom version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the same powerhouse found in the Galaxy S23 series. This version, dubbed the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, takes things up a notch with a higher CPU clock and an extra GPU core compared to the standard 8 Gen 2 found in most flagship devices. This gives the Z Fold 5 a competitive edge, be it against other foldables or the more traditional smartphone designs.

Paired with this robust chip is a substantial 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM and storage options ranging from 256GB to 1TB of UFS 4.0. A quick note: the top-tier 1TB model is exclusively offered directly from Samsung.

As expected, the Z Fold 5 delivers a swift and responsive user experience. Apps open instantly, handling two on-screen simultaneously is a breeze, and capturing images is practically instantaneous.

Gaming on the expansive internal display is delightful, once you get accustomed to the slightly boxier aspect ratio. It smoothly runs demanding games like World of Tanks at a seamless 60fps, even with all graphical options cranked up. While the back may warm up a bit after around 45 minutes of gameplay, it doesn’t noticeably impact performance.

In terms of power, the Z Fold 5 holds its ground, corroborated by benchmark results. The CPU, in particular, stands out as one of the most potent in the market, even when compared to conventional flagship smartphones. Although the GPU tests may not appear as impressive on paper, it’s essential to consider that the internal display boasts a higher resolution of 2176 x 1812 compared to standard smartphones. More pixels naturally translate to increased processing demands.


The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 maintains the same 4,400mAh battery as its forerunner, resulting in a predictably comparable battery life. In other words, it holds up quite well, even with increased usage on the internal display, thanks to expanded app support this year.

Breaking it down, in practical terms, I typically managed about five hours of screen-on time throughout a 16-hour day, leaving around 15–20% battery remaining. This usage involved a mix of texting, WhatsApp messages, scrolling through TikTok and Instagram, listening to music, occasional photography, and reading an eBook on the Kindle app during my commute.

While hoping for an improvement in charging speeds with the Z Fold 5, it retains the same 25W charging capability as its predecessor. Although not sluggish by any means – hitting 50% in 32 minutes and reaching a full charge in just over an hour and 20 minutes – the comparison with some candybar smartphones achieving a full charge in 20 minutes suggests that Samsung could potentially push the boundaries further.


So, is the Galaxy Z Fold 5 a good foldable phone? Yes. If you are looking for a premium foldable experience, it delivers in speed, style, quality, and functionality. But so does the Galaxy Z Fold 4 — if you have the 2022 model, you can skip this one for sure.

If you are looking for your first foldable phone — this is definitely an option, but we can’t fully commit to recommending it due to the external screen. At the office, we are torn — some hate how narrow it is, and consider it is crippling the overall experience. Others have learned to use it or didn’t mind it in the first place. So, that’s something you need to experience to be able to evaluate — maybe hands-on in a store.

Assuming the external display is not an issue for you, and that you don’t currently have a deal offer on the older Galaxy Z Fold 4 to take advantage of — yes, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is excellent. It is still pricey, starting at R29,999, but if you want a flagship large foldable it is difficult to find anything better.