Samsung’s new Galaxy Z series of foldables were unveiled last week at Unpacked in Seoul, South Korea and Recharged was in attendance. Separately, I’ve written two articles about it so far, one for News24 Tech & Trends; and one for City Press Trending.

This piece is a quick first impressions about my very short time with the Z Flip 5. I was part of three South African media who attended, and we were supplied with one device to use between us for a day.

Also interesting to note, well something I’ve noticed being in Samsung’s home country, I saw a lot of Z Flips. I’ve not seen that many flip phones in the wild before, and it makes sense I guess, Koreans supporting a Korean giant. Most of them hold it in their hand anyway, so very easy to spot.

I want to say the Z Flip 5 is now a fifth-generation device but it’s not; only the Fold is. You may recall, the original Flip was launched alongside the Fold 2, and the following year, both were called the Fold 3 and Flip 3. There was no Flip 2. So, as a fourth-generation device, let’s take a look at the Flip 5.

Flip 5 Cover Display

With each iteration, Samsung is improving the overall experience. And the Z Flip 5 receives the biggest one yet, purely because of the size of the cover display. The general sentiment from the previous ones was that it was too small to do much.

Z Flip

The new 3.4-inch nearly full cover display addresses that fully, because a bigger screen makes it useful without flipping it open unnecessarily. It has a super AMOLED display with a 720×748 resolution at 306 pixels per inch (PPI). It has a 60Hz screen refresh rate.

Samsung calls the front display a Flex Window, and it is a major upgrade from the 1.9-inch Flip 4. You can check emails and reply with a full size keyboard; same with messages and access to emojis. There’s a lot of widget support, notifications, access to settings, and plenty of personalisation and customisation going on.

There is currently support for apps like Maps, Messages, Netflix and YouTube, with Whatsapp and Spotify support coming soon. However, because this is Android and open, you can run full screen apps through the Good Lock app, available via the Galaxy Store. Android Authority has detailed a post on how to open any app on the Z Flip 5’s cover screen, which you can read here.

Flip 5 Camera

The selfie camera is 10MP but the rear dual cameras are 12MP each, one wide angle, the other ultra-wide. I’ve said previously in my reviews that nobody is buying a folding phone for the camera primarily. In this instance, the Z Flip 5 acts like a tripod, so you can shoot from the rear cameras when you’re alone, so you never have to actually use the selfie-cam. This is not a bad thing. It just means you have access to the better camera because of the cover display.

Speaking about the cover display, it will show you instant previews of photos that you take. As a group in Korea, when we took selfies, we could see the it and use it like a tripod by holding our hand up to trigger the shutter. It also has wide-angle support for group shots.

Another cool thing is that you can shoot your videos while the phone is propped upright, as with the Find N2 Flip. This is great for when you don’t want to ask someone else to shoot or take pics for you. When positioned correctly, you can shoot full length videos of yourself. As a Galaxy ecosystem tie-in, if you have a Watch 6 or 6 Classic, you can control the camera from it, the way you do on an Apple Watch and iPhone.

While we’re not talking Galaxy S flagship cameras, this Z Flip 5 is pretty decent for content creation.

Flex Hinge

Another major update on the new Z foldables is the completely flat hinge. On previous Fold and Flip models, there was a gap, which of course, attracted dust. I love the gapless hinge, which also fit perfectly in my jeans pocket. You know, cos women get half sized pockets in 2023, but happy to say the Flip 5 fits inside it perfectly. It is also one of the reasons I prefer a flip phone to a folding tablet; it’s pocketable.

Flip 5

Overall, the Z Flip 5 has received one of the biggest flip phone updates yet, and I think if you were previously hesitating to buy a Flip 4, this is definitely worth your time now. The new updates make the experience so much better. I cannot comment on battery life just yet, but the Z Flip 3 that I have to compare is not great. Awaiting a review unit to reserve full comments.