At first glance, the new Galaxy Z Fold 5 looks remarkably similar to the Galaxy Z Fold 4, which means that the older model could still be a really good option, especially if you find it discounted. On the other hand, there are a few significant changes in the updated model that, for many, may be crucial when choosing a new foldable smartphone.
What if you already have a Z Fold 4? Is it really worth upgrading? Let’s delve into a comparison of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 with its predecessor, the Galaxy Z Fold 4, to understand this evolution.
Design & build
Henry Burrell / Foundry
Starting with the design, both the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Z Fold 4 exhibit Samsung’s signature folding mechanism. The Galaxy Z Fold 5 boasts dimensions of 129.9 x 154.9 x 6.1mm when unfolded and 67.1 x 154.9 x 13.4mm when folded. On the other hand, the Z Fold 4 measures 130.1 x 155.1 x 6.3mm when unfolded and 67.1 x 155.1 x 14.2-15.8mm when folded. The Z Fold 5 is slightly lighter, weighing 253g, compared to the Z Fold 4’s 263g. Both, of course, are bulky, heavy devices compared to regular phones.
And both feature a 6.2in 120Hz AMOLED cover display, providing vibrant visuals and smooth interactions. The Z Fold 5’s has a taller aspect ratio of 23.1:9, while the Z Fold 4 has an aspect ratio of 21.1:9. However, the internal foldable displays are exactly the same – both phones offers a 7.6in 120Hz AMOLED foldable internal display with an aspect ratio of 21.6:18.
They also offer an array of color options to suit different tastes. The Z Fold 5 is available in Icy Blue, Phantom Black, Cream, Grey, and Blue. The Z Fold 4 offers Graygreen, Phantom Black, Beige, and Burgundy.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
One of the most important changes in the construction, however, is that the Galaxy Z Fold 5’s hinge has been upgraded, yielding two significant improvements.
The first is that the crease in the inner Infinity Flex screen is much less obvious. Second, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 now folds completely flat. There’s no longer an awkward gap between the two halves of the screen as with previous Fold generations. This not only contributes to a slimmer profile of the phone but also mitigates the risk of debris like sand or small objects infiltrating between the inner screen’s two parts, thus reducing the potential for damage.
It is also worth mentioning that the S Pen designed for the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is now 41% slimmer. Furthermore, a notable advantage is that the S Pen case accompanying the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is more streamlined compared to its counterpart for the Z Fold 4. As a result, carrying it around is a more ergonomic and less cumbersome experience.
In terms of a design and build, the biggest changes are in weight, dimensions, colours, a slightly different aspect ratio in the external screen and of course the fold-flat hinge on the Galaxy Z Fold 5. Other than that, they are almost the same phones on the outside.
Specs & performance
Under the hood, the Z Fold 5 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, offering improved processing capabilities over the Z Fold 4’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. In the Geekbench 5 Multi-core test, the Z Fold 5 scored 4740 points, while the Z Fold 4 scored 3636 points, so the performance advantage of the newer model is evident.
Both models come with 12GB of RAM and storage options of 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. However, the Z Fold 5 utilises faster UFS 4.0 storage technology, contributing to quicker data access and application loading times.
They both offer a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, 5G connectivity, NFC and support up to 8K video recording, catering to users seeking high-quality multimedia creation. One small difference is Bluetooth 5.3, as the Z Fold 4 had Bluetooth 5.2. Both phones have tri-band Wi-Fi 6E.
Camera & video
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
The rear camera setup in Z Fold 5 includes a 50MP main sensor with f/1.8 aperture, a 10MP 3x telephoto lens with 30x space zoom, and a 12MP 123-degree ultra-wide lens. In contrast, the Z Fold 4 features a similar 50MP main camera, a 10MP 3x telephoto lens with 30x space zoom, and a 12MP 123-degree ultra-wide lens. However, the Z Fold 5 incorporates a more advanced under-display camera system with 4MP resolution, leading to improved front camera performance.
Being honest, however, you won’t see much difference in photos taken with these phones. They are basically the same cameras, and only differences between them may appear in the software and algorithms responsible for processing photos.
You can see the quality of these photos in our reviews of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Battery & charging
Both models are equipped with a 4,400mAh battery and support 25W charging. This ensures a reliable battery life to support the foldable displays and powerful processors. However, it’s important to note that the Z Fold 5’s advancements in processor efficiency lead to optimised power consumption. In our battery test, it scored a respectable 11 hours and 10 minutes, while Galaxy Z Fold 4 lasted only 7 hours and 40 minutes.
You also get Qi wireless charging built in, and you can wirelessly charge earbuds or other compatible devices with reverse charging on both models.
Software & updates
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is bundled with One UI 5, Samsung’s customized interface built on Android 13. The preceding Z Fold 4 also received the One UI 5 upgrade this year – however, it’s likely to receive fewer subsequent software updates compared to the newer Z Fold 5. On the whole, One UI 5 is a robust Android skin accompanied by a collection of pre-installed apps. Samsung showcases the most advanced multitasking capabilities and exceptional app optimization among all available foldable devices.
To maximize the utility of its 7.6in screen, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 maintains the capability for users to operate three apps simultaneously, with several useful enhancements over its predecessor. For starters, there’s an added convenience: you can initiate multi-window mode by swiping up using two fingers from either the bottom or the side of the display.
Furthermore, the bottom taskbar on the display now showcases the four most recently utilized apps, an increase from the two displayed on the Fold 4. Additionally, you can effortlessly convert any app into a floating window by dragging down from the top right corner of the screen.
Last, an important inclusion in the Z Fold 5’s features is the support for two-handed drag and drop. This means, for instance, that you can press and hold an image in your photo gallery using one hand, while simultaneously activating the messages app with the other hand, and then seamlessly transfer the image between the two applications.
Price & availability
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 starts from $1799/£1749 (256GB), but there are two more capacious versions that cost $1919/£1849 (512GB) and $2159/£2049 (1TB). Every version comes with 12GB RAM.
You can buy a Z Fold 5 directly from Samsung, as well from Best Buy in the US, and Currys and John Lewis in the UK.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is now cheaper, starting at $1599/£1649 with 256GB of storage. You can also get another storage variants: 512GB for $1919 (discounted at the time of writing to $1499)/£1,769 and 1TB for $1959/£2019.
You can still buy the Galaxy Z Fold 4 from Samsung directly. It’s also available from retailers including Amazon and Best Buy in the US, and Amazon, Currys and John Lewis in the UK.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
Surprisingly, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 has not fully replaced the Galaxy Z Fold 4, as both phones are available from Samsung at the same time. However, Samsung’s website displays a message about the unavailability of certain colours and storage capacities, so we can expect the Galaxy Z Fold 4 to be discontinued soon.
The enhancements in terms of the processor and hinge do justify the Z Fold 5’s price, which is the same as what the Fold 4 cost last year. The Fold 4 is now a bit cheaper, but both are still very expensive phones.
As things stand, if you’re contemplating purchasing a Samsung foldable, the Z Fold 5 is the one we recommend you choose. Considering the enticing trade-in offers available, it could be a lot more affordable if you have a recent phone you’re looking to get rid of.
Given the substantial resemblances between the Z Fold 5 and Z Fold 4, the distinctions between these two foldables are likely to escape the notice of most users day to day. The latter, being one of the best foldables from last year, certainly hasn’t been upstaged by the arrival of the Z Fold 5. So if you come across a discounted Z Fold 4 and aren’t bothered about having the faster processor and fold-flat screen, this phone would indeed serve you well.
However, if you’re venturing into foldables for the first time or if your last upgrade was a few years ago, the enhancements introduced in the Galaxy Z Fold 5 should make it the one to buy. The sleeker and lighter design definitely is the most appealing aspect, closely followed by the seamless appearance when the device is closed. Being the newer phone, it will also get at least one one extra Android update and will be supported for longer than the Z Fold 4.
Ultimately, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 represents an evolution rather than a revolution.