We should be seeing the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 around the middle part of the year, and new leaks give us some idea of the sort of design improvements we can expect compared to the 2022 versions of these foldables.
Prolific tipster Ice Universe has taken to Chinese social network Weibo (opens in new tab) (via Android Police (opens in new tab)) and Twitter (opens in new tab) (via Notebookcheck (opens in new tab)) to confirm that both phones will adopt waterdrop-style hinges – essentially, both sides will be flat against each other when folded (the closed hinge looks like a drop of water from the side).
In the case of the Galaxy Z Fold 5, that has apparently shaved a few millimeters off the thickness of the device compared to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 – specifically, we're talking about a maximum thickness of around 13 mm compared to 16 mm. As yet we don't have the dimensions of the Galaxy Z Flip 5.
Confirmation: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 and Flip5 will adopt water drop hinges and support IPX8 waterproof.February 24, 2023
As well as looking a bit nicer, the switch to the waterdrop hinge should make the foldables more reliable and durable. The technology is already in use in certain phones from Chinese manufacturers, so it's been tested out in the wild.
This type of hinge usually comes at the cost of waterproofing, but according to this source, that won't be the case here – apparently the Z Fold 5 and the Z Flip 5 will be able to survive a dunking up to a certain depth for a certain amount of time.
It's worth bearing in mind that these rumors have been reported before, so this isn't completely new information. However, getting it repeated by a tipster who's right more often than not means we're now more likely to take it seriously.
Analysis: we've come a long way
It's credit to Samsung that we're now at a stage where the durability of foldable phones isn't really an issue. Through successive years, its foldables have become more reliable, and it looks like that trend is going to continue with this year's pair of handsets.
Okay, these foldable phones are still very much on the expensive side – but you would expect that considering the intricate technology involved. These prices are hopefully going to come down over time as manufacturing processes improve.
That will of course also bring in more competitors. Rumors keep on swirling about the existence of a foldable iPhone, while the Google Pixel Fold could be out even sooner, and may even be out at some point this year.
These new entrants will have Samsung to compete with, and Samsung has got a five-year headstart when it comes to foldables. With the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5, we'll see just how far ahead they can get before Apple and Google catch up.