How Samsung could take the Galaxy Z Flip 5 to the next level

With the new Motorola Razr Plus, Samsung has new competition in the foldable phone arena. While last year’s Galaxy Z Flip 4 was a step in the right direction, there’s a lot Samsung could do to make its next flip phone more compelling.

With the Galaxy Z Flip 4, Samsung has fine-tuned the phone’s design, added a few new software tricks, and improved staples like night photography and battery life. These are all welcome updates that address the shortcomings of previous models and make the Galaxy Z Flip easier to recommend than in years past. Now that Samsung has perfected the Z Flip, I’d like to see it take it a step further by coming up with new features that take advantage of its foldable design.

Google and Motorola, both of which will launch new foldable phones in June, have shown they’re thinking about ways to make foldable devices stand out with features that show how the outer and inner screens can work together.

Now it’s Samsung’s turn. The company typically launches new foldable phones in August.

A larger coverage screen

Even after spending just a few minutes with the Razr Plus, I’m convinced the Galaxy Z Flip 5 needs a bigger screen coverage. Motorola’s new phone has a 3.6-inch external display compared to the Z Flip 4’s 1.9-inch coverage screen. You can do a lot with the Razr’s external display, from playing games to navigating Google Maps and typing an email. The Galaxy Z Flip 4’s smaller screen coverage is much more limited and is ideal for brief interactions, like sending a canned reply to a text message or sneaking a peek at your calendar.

You may be wondering why having a larger coverage screen is so important if you plan to use your phone mostly when it’s open. While I haven’t used the new Razr extensively yet, the coverage screen seems to have the potential to add more convenience on the go. Since it’s small enough to fit in the palm of my hand when closed, I can imagine it’s useful for replying to a text message or browsing my mailbox when I only have one hand free.

razr plus cover screen

The new Motorola Razr Plus has a large coverage screen.

John Kim/CNET

If the rumors turn out to be true, Samsung could actually equip the Galaxy Z Flip 5 with a larger external screen. The Twitter account Ice universewhich has a solid history of leaking details about unreleased Samsung products, says the Z Flip 5 will have a 3.4-inch display.

Other features of Flex mode

Samsung has popularized the idea of ​​using flip phones as a built-in tripod for taking photos and videos. Samsung calls this feature Flex Mode, and it allows Z Flip and Fold to split apps between the top and bottom of the display when it’s folded in half. Samsung has expanded Flex Mode since the launch of the original Flip by adding new features like the ability to use the bottom of the display as a mini trackpad.

While it’s great to see Samsung brainstorm new ways to use the Z Flip’s non-traditional form, the trackpad functionality isn’t very practical, as my colleague Patrick Holland wrote in his review. It feels like a solution to a problem rather than a reason to want a foldable phone in the first place.

In the Z Flip 5, I’d like to see Samsung add more features to Flex mode which taps into the phone’s ability to bend and fold in different ways. Having a bigger screen at the front could also open up some new possibilities in this regard.

Samsung Z Flip 4


Samsung could take notes from Google and Motorola, both of which have shown some creative uses for foldable phones. The new Razr, for example, can show a preview of a photo taken on its external display, allowing your subject to see what it looks like before you press the shutter button. Pixel Fold can use its dual screens to show translated speech on the external and internal displays during a conversation, potentially making real-world encounters in different languages ​​less awkward.

Truth be told, I won’t know how useful these features actually are until I’ve tested both phones. But the use cases that Motorola and Google are rolling out look practical rather than gimmicky, which seems like a step in the right direction for foldables.

A less noticeable crease

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 in Flex mode in someone's palm

The Galaxy Z Flip 4’s hinge allows it to stay at various angles. When it is close to the perpendicular it can activate Flex mode for the software.

Patrick Holland/CNET

One of the biggest challenges with foldouts today is the crease that runs across the center of the screen. Now that Samsung is entering the fifth generation of its foldable phones, I’d like to see a significantly less noticeable, if not invisible crease. Oppo and Huawei have done a better job of eliminating the crease in their leaflets in recent years, as my colleagues have noted, making me hopeful that Samsung’s next device will show similar progress.

There is a possibility that could very well be the case. Ice universe it also reports that the Z Flip 5 and Fold 5 will have a new hinge that will allow the phones to close completely when closed, with no gaps, a change that could also make the fold thinner.

Longer battery life

Samsung has improved the battery life of the Galaxy Z Flip 4 over the Z Flip 3, and I hope it continues to do so on the Galaxy Z Flip 5. As noted in CNET’s Galaxy Z Flip 4 review, the phone’s battery can take a while. full day but discharges faster if you watch videos and answer video calls: two activities for which the Z Flip is suitable since it can be easily set down.

A Galaxy Z Flip 4 in the open position

Patrick Holland/CNET

Battery life in a phone can never seem long enough, so I hope to see more of an improvement in the Z Flip 5. If the Z Flip 5 runs on the same processor as the Galaxy S23 series, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 version that has been optimized for Samsung devices, it is possible that we will see some improvements in energy efficiency.

Better cameras

The Galaxy Z Flip 4’s 12-megapixel wide-angle and ultrawide cameras take decent photos, but I’d like to see Samsung bring the Z Flip 5’s cameras up to par with the Galaxy S23’s. Samsung’s non-folding phone has a 50-megapixel primary camera, a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera, and a 10-megapixel telephoto camera.

The exterior and cameras of the Galaxy Z Flip 4

There are two external cameras on the Flip 4: a main wide angle and an ultrawide.

John Kim/CNET

I don’t expect Samsung to add a telephoto lens to the Galaxy Z Flip 5, as that would make it difficult to increase the coverage screen size. But I hope Samsung improves the camera in other ways, such as increasing the resolution or pixel size. In his review, CNET’s Patrick Holland described the Z Flip 4’s cameras as level B, proving that there’s definitely room for improvement. But if the Galaxy Z Flip 5 inherits the processor from the Galaxy S23, we’ll likely see back-end updates that also improve the way photos are processed.

Overall, I hope to see Samsung add more features that make the Z Flip stand out, while reducing the compromises that need to be made when choosing a foldable phone over a standard phone. Changes like these could go a long way in making foldables broadly attractive in the way Samsung envisions them.

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