Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review: Slimmed down, brightened up

A more flexible Flip is here

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 hands on cover display clock handheld 21:9
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
(Image: © Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

TechRadar Verdict

Despite being the most refined expression of Samsung’s clamshell foldable to date, the Z Flip 5 also marks the first time it's felt as though Samsung has had to play catch-up in a category it has, for the longest time, defined. But catch up it has, and now that it’s addressed one of the biggest shortcomings of its predecessors – its folded form factor – it marks a leap in functionality for the series, and offers the best performance and software support in its field, while still leaving door open for further improvement in areas like cameras and, yes, even design.


  • +

    Most powerful clamshell foldable on the market

  • +

    Superb long-term software support

  • +

    Finally usable battery life

  • +

    Versatile cover display


  • -

    Colorways are a little lackluster

  • -

    Design is playing catch-up to rivals

  • -

    Even better battery life would be great

  • -

    UK and Australian pricing far higher than US

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Editor's Note

• Original review date: July 2023
• Launch price: $999.99 / £1,049 / AU$1,649
• Target price now: $899.99 / £999 / AU$1,434

Update: April 2024. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 has now been available for the best part of a year, meaning it's almost time for the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6. That phone is rumored to make an appearance at Galaxy Unpacked 2024 in July, but the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is still worth considering – especially since it's only getting cheaper. At the time of writing, Amazon is offering strong deals on the Galaxy Z Flip 5 in the US, UK and Australia (it's currently priced at $899.99 / £999 / AU$1,434), so whenever you're reading this, that's worth bearing in mind. What's more, Samsung's big One UI 6.1 update – which brings Galaxy AI features to older Galaxy phones – is now available for the Galaxy Z Flip 5. In many ways, then, this phone is a better buy than ever. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Axel Metz
Axel Metz

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5: Two-minute review

While it was Motorola that popularized the clamshell form factor when it appeared back in the mid-1990s, in the smartphone era it's been Samsung that has steered the ship with regard to what a clamshell foldable smartphone should look like and be capable of.

In the three short years in which the Galaxy Z Flip line has cemented its place among the best foldables, we've seen the rapid evolution of both the form factor itself and Samsung's specific approach, with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 offering some overdue refinements to combat fresh-faced competition in a field which Samsung once had to itself.

Looking at the evolution of its foldable lines up to this point, you certainly couldn't call the company complacent, but the main upgrades that the Z Flip 5 brings to the table give us the impression that – for the first time – Samsung is playing catch-up to newcomers to the foldable space such as Oppo and the aforementioned Motorola. But caught up it has.

The Z Flip 5 – like the Galaxy Z Fold 5, which launched alongside it at July's Samsung Unpacked event – offers one important and overdue upgrade over its folding forebears: when you close the phone, its two halves finally fold perfectly flat against one another, with no gap. Despite the near-wizardry that phones with folding displays such as these are seemingly imbued with, in order for past Flips and Folds to bend in two, Samsung has always had to make an allowance for the radius of the bend on each device's main screen, and that resulted in a wedge-shaped profile, with a visible gap through the middle of their folded forms.

Now, both the Flip 5 and Fold 5 echo the numerous rivals that already boast such a silhouette, making them markedly thinner without compromising on what still remains a rarity in the foldable space – IPX8-certified water resistance.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review front angled half open other foldables

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Beyond its new slimmed-down profile, the Flip 5 arguably has a bigger upgrade to shout about than its transversely-folding sibling, courtesy of a significantly larger cover screen that now dominates the exterior of the phone. A more expansive display on the outside allows for more functionality without the need to open to phone up, meaning that email triage, quick-reply messaging, and checking your notifications without diving into the full-screen apps is more accessible than it ever was on the stamp-sized outer screen of the Flip 5's predecessors.

There's still a dual 12MP camera setup on the outside, as with the 2022 Flip; however, the bigger external cover display also makes for a far more prominent viewfinder, meaning that framing shots when you've set the Flip 5 down on a flat surface to capture photos with friends is easier than ever.

In practice, despite seemingly identical camera hardware between generations (save for a new reduced-glare lens on the main sensor and a new image signal processor (ISP) thanks to its fresh chipset), image quality is, across the board, an impressive improvement, especially with regards to white balance and detail.

The last major upgrade to speak of has to be the chipset, with the same exclusively-tuned Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy that Samsung and Qualcomm collaborated on for the Galaxy S23 series that launched at the start of the year also making an appearance here (it also powers the new Fold 5 and Galaxy Tab S9 series), resulting in class-leading performance that's head and shoulders above the next-best clamshell foldable.

Also like the senior models in the S23 line – namely the Galaxy S23 Plus and Galaxy S23 Ultra – there's no longer a 128GB storage option to speak of. Instead, you have the choice of 256GB of 512GB of internal space, with the price starting at £10 less than you would have paid for the equivalent storage on 2022's Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 in the UK, and Australian customers paying the same. Meanwhile US customers pay the same as they would have for a 128GB Flip 4 ($999.99), making this phone an even better deal Stateside.

With the key upgrades and highlights out of the way, let's dive into details of Samsung's most sophisticated Z Flip yet.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review: Price and availability

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review front angled half open

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Pre-orders from July 26, on sale August 11
  • Available from $999.99 / £1,049 / AU$1,649
  • Far better value in the US versus the UK or Australia
  • One of the most expensive clamshell foldables available right now

In an impressive display of self-confidence, Samsung actually let fans register their interest for pre-orders before the Flip 5 had even been announced, pairing the experience with the promise of pre-order bonuses which varied by region.

In the US, buyers could claim $50 of Samsung Credit on their pre-order, and save up to $540 when they bundled a Z Flip 5 (or Fold 5) with a Galaxy Tab S9 series and / or a Galaxy Watch 6. In the UK those who ordered multiple new products launched at the July Unpacked event could stack a similar credit deal – meaning savings of up to £150 – along with a free upgrade to the 512GB Flip at no extra cost (also available on US pre-orders). In Australia, buyers who pre-ordered received AU$100 off their purchase or could instead grab a 10,000mAh battery pack, worth AU$59.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 prices
RAM / StorageUS priceUK priceAU price
8GB / 256GB$999.99£1,049AU$1,649
8GB / 512GB$1,119.99£1,149AU$1,849

Pre-orders kicked off during Unpacked, on July 26, with the Z Flip 5 going on sale from August 11.

As you'll see from the table above, US customers get the best deal, being asked to pay no more than they would have for a 128GB Z Flip 4 at launch. UK customers pay £10 less than they would have for an equivalent 256GB Flip 4 (making the double storage pre-order bonus all the more worthwhile), while pricing remains unchanged relative to storage between generations in Australia.

Check out our rundown of the best Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 deals for the latest offers on this next-gen foldable and its launch partner.

For reference, this pricing lines up almost exactly with the Flip 5's most fresh-faced rival – the Motorola Razr Plus, as it's called in the US, or Razr 40 Ultra elsewhere, which is priced at $999.99 / £1,049.99 / AU$1,499 (for 8GB RAM / 256GB storage). While the Razr may take the lead on design and fast charging, however, it falls short in terms of performance, camera prowess and software support, relative to the Z Flip 5.

There's also the Oppo's Find N2 Flip, if you're outside the US, which arrived at a price that undercut even the Z Flip 4, and which, when looking at retailers like Amazon, has continued to drop significantly (at the time of writing it's available for under £575 from Amazon UK, for example – approximately $730 / AU$1,125).

At the very least, these new rivals highlight just how much more competitive the foldable market has become in the last few years, and their presence also frames the Flip 5 as one of the most capable but highly-priced devices in a category where the Z Flip line once ran basically unopposed.

  • Value score:  3.5 / 5

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review: Specs

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review side half open

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Unlike the last two generations of Z Flip, Samsung doesn't appear to have launched a Bespoke Edition of this model. Previously users could mix and match the colorways of the two halves of the phone, but perhaps the shift to that new larger 'Flex Window' negates the choice. Instead, along with the four standard launch colors, there are some colorways that you won't find from other retailers.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 specs
Header Cell - Column 1
Dimensions (folded):71.9 x 85.1 x 15.1mm
Dimensions (unfolded):71.9 x 165.1 x 6.9mm
Weight:187 grams
Main display:6.7-inch Full HD+ (2640 x 1080) adaptive 120Hz AMOLED
Cover display::3.4-inch (720 x 748) 60Hz AMOLED
Chipset:Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
Storage:256GB / 512GB (UFS 4.0)
OS:Android 13 w/ One UI 5.1.1
Primary camera:12MP, f/1.8 w/ OIS
Ultra-wide camera:12MP, f/2.2, 123º FoV
Front Camera:10MP, f/2.2, 85º FoV
Charging:25W wired charging, 15W wireless charging, 4.5W reverse wireless charging
Colors:Mint, lavender, graphite, cream colors:Blue, green, gray, yellow

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review: Design

  • Gorilla Glass Victus 2 back
  • IPX8-certified water resistance
  • 2mm thinner when closed, compared to Z Flip 4

There aren't all that many clamshell foldables currently on the market, but the Galaxy Z Flip series sports the most defined aesthetic of the bunch, notably the design that Samsung established with the Z Flip 3 and Z Flip 4.

The Z Flip 5 shares plenty of familial traits, if you're familiar with the last two generations of Samsung's signature clamshell, with a polished color-matched (with most colorways, at least) Armor Aluminum frame, relatively tight radii at its corners and a flat back – save for the dual circular camera lenses jutting out of the top-left corner.

With the display placement on the last two models, the cameras were arranged vertically, with the ultra-wide underneath the main camera), but in order to accommodate the new greatly-expanded cover display on the Flip 5 they're now arranged horizontally. The phone doesn't have the same two-tone finish of its predecessors either, with the cover display dictating that the top half of the Z Flip 5's back is now a glossy black (when the screen's off), regardless of colorway.

Speaking of colors, Samsung has stuck with a similar pastel palette to previous generations; however, saturation looks to have been reduced across the board, meaning that in some lighting it's hard to tell what color the finish of the phone is at all – is that the new signature Mint finish, or just white?

Thankfully, and especially if you aren't sold on the default Mint, Lavender, Graphite and Cream hues, there are a few bolder options to choose from. As with previous generations there are a number of exclusives to choose from: blue, green, gray and yellow, which I haven't seen in person but which look to be bolder finishes by comparison.

Beyond new colors and a rebalancing of visual contrast in the design (brought on by that new larger outer screen), the big hook of opting for the Z Flip 5 over its predecessors – from a design perspective, at least – is the revised water-drop hinge, which finally allows the two halves of the phone to lie perfectly flat against each other when the device is closed, resulting in a significantly slimmer profile than the Flip 4; 2mm might not sound like much, but in the hand, and, more importantly, in the pocket, you'd notice the difference if you compared the two phones side by side.

Despite reworking the series' most complicated mechanism, Samsung has equipped the Flip 5 with the same reassuringly sturdy Flex Hinge feel that you'll find on the previous generations, and as before you can unfold the phone to between 75 degrees and 115 degrees to enable Flex Mode, which optimizes UI placement when you place the phone on a flat surface and view it with the screen angled within that range; it's great for watching shows while you're busy in the kitchen, or if you want to sit back hands-free while on a video call.

Samsung has also managed to retain the phone's IPX8-certified water resistance – a standout durability feature that most rivals can't match. There's also talk of improved dust resistance, although Samsung hasn't confirmed this in an official capacity, meaning that on paper durability is similar to the Flip 4, albeit with the guarantee of newer Gorilla Glass Victus 2 – as introduced on the Galaxy S23 series.

The Flip 5 retains the polished metal frame of its predecessor, while reverting from the textured glass of its immediate predecessor to the reflective glass last seen on the Flip 3. This doesn't look as nice, or feel quite as nice under the finger, as the Flip 4's finish, and is far more susceptible to cosmetic micro-abrasions than the last Flip's bodywork ever was, which makes a strong case for picking up one the best Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 cases available.

While I didn't subject my review unit to the 200,000-fold figure that Samsung promises the phone is rated to withstand (the same as the Flip 3 and Flip 4), independent testing has revealed that the Flip 5 is far hardier than Samsung lets on. A livestream by Polish YouTuber MrKeybrd shows (at the time of writing) the Flip 5 blazing past 400,000 folds, whereas the Razr 40 Ultra gave up the ghost well before its quoted maximum, at just shy of 127,000 folds. Both phones had also been subject to water and dust, with the Flip 5 demonstrating an impressive resilience to both, despite still not possessing any certified protection against dust ingress.

  • Design score:  5 / 5

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review: Display

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 hands on cover display clock handheld

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • 6.7-inch Full HD+ (2640 x 1080) AMOLED main display w/ adaptive 1Hz to 120Hz refresh rate
  • 3.4-inch 720 x 748 60Hz AMOLED cover display
  • Almost 80% larger cover display than Z Flip 4

Compared to prominent rival Motorola, Samsung has proved consistently reluctant to expand the size of the cover display on its recent clamshells between generations, plateauing at 1.9 inches for the two entries prior to the Flip 5.

In 2023, however, it finally decided to make the jump, and cover the majority of the upper half of the phone's back with pixels, resulting in a screen-size increase of almost 80%. This means the functionality of the 'Flex Window' – as Samsung calls it – has been greatly expanded; with familiar experiences like a variety of clocks, a calendar and timers on all hand, as well as third-party support (for things like Spotify and Google Stocks) that's likely to keep growing beyond the 13 apps available at launch, now the phone is out in the wild.

The added size also allows for a full QWERTY keyboard typing experience, so you're no longer relegated to quick replies-only when responding to messages without opening the phone up.

The Samsung Labs menu in the phone's settings also lets you enable unsupported apps to be run on the Flex Window, bringing functionality more in line with what the last two generations of Motorola Razr have been capable of, and I'd posit it's an essential feature that should really be enabled by default to get the most out of the cover display experience on the Flip 5. Being able to play games and browse music and files in full without having to open the phone up is great for one-handed use cases, even if some unoptimized experiences don't format perfectly every time.

Speaking of the Razr, or more specifically the aforementioned Motorola Razr Plus / Razr 40 Ultra, while both foldables have gone big on their cover displays in 2023, Motorola's iteration looks to be ahead of the curve, aesthetically speaking, with pixels wrapped all the way around its dual camera system, while the Flip 5's Flex Window skirts around the cameras, leaving a little more bezel. (Not that you'd know from the press images, where the darkest areas of the wallpaper conceal the cover screen's true boundary, in a similar way to how Apple tried to hide the notch on the iPhone X's press images when it first launched.)

It's a small cosmetic quirk that helps differentiate these two top-tier clamshell foldables, but when we're talking about phones for which design is one of the key selling points, it feels like a distinction worth highlighting.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 hands on display crease

The crease is perhaps a little less prominent on this generation of Z Flip, but it's hard to tell (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

While there's a lot to talk about with regard to the cover display, the Flip 5's main screen is comparatively less interesting, at least in the sense that it's seemingly unchanged from the main screen on the last Z Flip: it's a 6.7-inch Full HD+ (2640 x 1080) 'Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity Flex Display' (Samsung's marketing team was clearly left unsupervised with that one), with an adaptive refresh rate that can scale from a silky-smooth 120Hz all the way down to 1Hz for optimum power consumption.

Protected under what Samsung calls UTG (ultra-thin glass), this is a stunning Full HD+ panel, with great colors, contrast and viewing angles, bolstered by even higher peak brightness than the Flip 4 (1750 nits, up from 1200 nits), making for enhanced outdoor legibility on what was already a respectable viewing experience.

There's still a dip along the display's fold line that, despite the altered Flex Hinge design, looks practically identical to the one on the Flip 4, meaning you'll still feel it under the finger, and see it when viewing the phone at an angle, but you won't notice head-on and will likely grow accustomed to its presence in everyday usage. That said, the sooner Samsung (or any foldable phone maker) figures out how to eliminate the crease entirely, the better, as it's actually slightly more noticeable under-finger than the crease on its predecessor's screen.

The Flip 5's user experience – as with its predecessor – supports dark mode (making wallpapers and UI elements black or dark, rather than white or bright), adaptive brightness (on the main display), the ability to set the refresh rate to adaptive (1Hz to 120Hz, based on device-detected use case) or fixed at 60Hz), eye comfort shield (to reduce blue light output for more comfortable viewing), color profiles (Vivid by default but can also be set to Natural or custom-tuned with color temperature and RGB sliders), and, among other settings, there's support for an always-on display on both the main and the cover screen, letting you check the time and outstanding notifications at a glance.

  • Display score:  4.5 / 5

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review: Software

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 hands on front angled handheld

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)
  • Runs Android 13 on top of One UI 5.1.1 out the box
  • 4 years OS updates + 5 years security updates
  • Can run third-party apps on cover display

If you're coming from an existing Samsung phone, One UI 5.1.1 (atop Android 13) on the Flip 5 should feel wholly familiar, with both Google Play and the Galaxy Store at your disposal, and in fact a number of Google and Samsung apps sitting side by side (most of the latter can be uninstalled or hidden if they're duplicates you don't intend on using).

One UI has a distinct aesthetic that differs from more stock builds of Android, from its use and placement of color to the 'squircle' icons throughout your home screens and app drawer. Of course, Samsung wants to give users a little added value beyond a new coat of paint and its own app store, so you'll also find features like Edge Panels – granting access to favorite apps or contacts, and even app pairs, so you can jump into split-screen multitasking (particularly enjoyable on the Flip 5's tall display) with a single tap.

Of course, the enlarged cover display (the Flex Window) which graces this Flip 5 serves as one of the biggest and most interesting upgrades generationally. Not only does it help close the gap that rivals like Motorola and Oppo were creating back up, but it greatly expands functionality beyond what was possible on its predecessor's relatively tiny 1.9-inch panel.

Being able to check on notifications, toggle quick settings and scrub through widgets like a timer, a calendar and the weather are all well-considered inclusions for what are understandably the most likely use cases, but the cover display's strength really lies in its more experimental functionality.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review quick settings

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Within the settings menu on most Samsung phones, you'll find the Samsung Labs sub-menu, which lets you enable more experimental and less polished features. In the case of the Z Flip 5, it's here you'll find the option to allow apps to run on the cover screen – not just widgets, but full-blown apps. The selection is limited based on which apps your phone comes pre-loaded with, but includes the likes of Google Maps, Netflix, YouTube and Messages (where you're no longer limited to quick replies and can type with a full on-screen keyboard – nice). Even this isn't the pinnacle of the cover display's potential, however.

If you're willing to opt for an even more experimental experience, Samsung's own Good Lock app – downloadable from the pre-loaded Galaxy Store – offers support for a plugin call MultiStar, which in turn lets you run apps by way of its launcher widget, and by that I mean (almost) any app installed on your device. This means far more choice than what Samsung Labs has to offer; even if it comes with the notice that 'some apps may not be optimized for the cover screen.'

The Flip being the Flip, there's also Flex Mode to consider, which lets you place the phone down on a flat surface partially open (between 75 degrees and 115 degrees), at which point supported apps will shift to the upper half of the display, so they're more easily viewable, while controls will appear on the lower half. If you're streaming a show, for example, you'll be able to play/pause, scrub, skip forward or back in time and change the volume, all without obstructing what's on the screen. There's even a one-touch screenshot button, and you can turn the lower half of the display into a computing-style trackpad, complete with mouse cursor.

In practice, there's no getting around the fact that most 16:9 content is very small when viewed in Flex Mode, as you're essentially watching landscape content in portrait; however, it definitely has its uses – if you're streaming a podcast on YouTube, or you're tuned into a Just Chatting stream on Twitch, for example. Otherwise, the Z Fold 5's landscape oriented Flex Mode might be a better fit for your lifestyle.

One aspect of the software experience that Samsung has instilled within its top-tier phones (and even its mid-range entries) is practically unmatched long-term software support (particularly in the Android camp). The Z Flip 5 benefits from four years of OS updates post-launch, and an additional year of security updates; that's more than practically all of the other best Android phones, and means better long-term value and usability for buyers.

  • Software score: 4.5 / 5

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review: Cameras

  • 12MP primary and ultra-wide rear cameras
  • 10MP hole-punch selfie camera
  • New main lens with reduced lens flare
  • New FlexCam third-party optimizations

It would appear that the cameras on the Z Flip 5 ape those of its predecessor exactly, with a 12MP primary sensor sporting 1.8μm pixels, an f/1.8 aperture and OIS (optical image stabilization), accompanied by a 12MP ultra-wide snapper with 1.12μm pixels, an f/2.2 aperture and a 123-degree field of view. The front-facing 10MP punch-hole selfie snapper reads the same as well, with 1.12μm pixels and an f/2.2 aperture. All of which begs the question "are there any upgrades to consider here?" 

Thankfully, despite the seemingly untouched hardware, there are small but consistent improvements to image quality between generations that the Z Flip 5 demonstrates across the board. As to why that is, read on.

According to Samsung, the 'Super Clear Lens' on the main 12MP sensor is new, and less prone to flare that would otherwise wash out and reduce contrast in shots, however, most of generational improvements to image quality come straight from the new silicon at the phone's heart, provided by Qualcomm. Improved multi-frame processing with the chipmaker's AI Object Aware Engine is likely what's responsible for the bulk of the visual upgrades, which are abundant.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 camera samples