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Samsung unveils new foldable phones at much-hyped ‘Unpacked’ event

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Hands-on with the Galaxy Z Flip5, Galaxy Z Fold5, and other gear

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While K-pop artist Psy wasn’t singing about foldable smartphones in his global 2012 hit “Gangnam Style,” he might as well have.

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Mirroring the style and decadence of the Gangnam District of Seoul, Samsung chose the Coex Convention & Exhibition Center, in the heart of Gangnam-gu, to officially launch its collection of fifth-generation foldable devices.

Article content

Specially, the tech giant took the wraps off its Galaxy Z Flip5, a modern and fashionable take on the iconic flip phone, and the Galaxy Z Fold5, which resembles a regular smartphone at first blush but magically unfolds to become a 7.6-inch tablet.

Teased by the event hashtag #JoinTheFlipSide, both form factors received a refreshed look, added functionality, and new customization options.

Here’s a look at each of the big announcements, and some impressions of these Android-powered mobile devices:

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WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN

As with its predecessors, the Galaxy Z Flip5 is a clamshell flip phone. When closed, it can easily fit into a pocket or clutch purse (at just 71.9 x 85.1 x 15.1mm), but then flips open to resemble a typical smartphone, with a 6.7-inch display (measured diagonally).

And yes, when you’re done a call, it’s oddly satisfying to hang up by just closing the phone.

A redesigned hinge is one of the newer features, which is said to be more durable but also allows for more of a firm and flush fit when both sides are folded flat (opposed to a small gap with the Galaxy Z Flip4). This also makes it 2mm thinner when closed.

More impressive is the much larger cover (outer) screen, which is what you look at and interact with when the phone is closed. Now at 3.4 inches — nearly 3 times larger than previous Galaxy Flip phones — it supports customizable widgets and new clock options, fun camera features (like a viewfinder for selfies), and for the first time, a digital keyboard for replying to text messages — all without ever opening the device.

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Now called “Flex Window,” this cover screen along with the expanded inside display are protected by IPX82 water resistance, Armor Aluminum frames, and Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 durability.

The Flip5 also has a more powerful Snapdragon processor, a brighter display, and new accessories.

Starting at $1,299, Galaxy Z Flip5 is available for preorder July 26 and available for purchase starting Aug. 11. Colours include Mint, Graphite, Cream, and Lavender. The Samsung website also offers exclusive colours Grey, Blue, Yellow, and Green.

Quick take: Not sure I understand the appeal of the redesigned hinge with no gap, as the previous versions didn’t bother me, but the larger and more useful Flex Window brings several new features when the flip phone is closed.

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Article content

BIGGER IS BETTER

While a flip phone is for those who want something more compact, the Galaxy Z Fold5 caters to those who want even more real estate in which to engage with content.

When closed, it looks like a typical smartphone, but open up this foldable display to reveal a larger tablet-like device. For productivity, you can have multiple apps open at the same time, like conducting a Zoom interview on one side of the open Fold5, while jotting down notes on the other side. When it comes to entertainment, the Flip5 is ideal for streaming video, playing games, or reading ebooks and digital magazines on the entire 7.6-inch display.

Galaxy Z Fold5 looks like a typical smartphone, but open up to reveal a larger tablet-like device. HANDOUT/SAMSUNG
Galaxy Z Fold5 looks like a typical smartphone, but open up to reveal a larger tablet-like device. HANDOUT/SAMSUNG

So, what’s new?

Just like the Galaxy Z Flip5, the new Fold5 offers a gapless hinge design when you close the phone. In doing so, this looks to address the small crease you may see down the middle of the open display, which annoyed a few owners of previous models. By abandoning the “teardrop” gap, the bendable OLED display seems to stretch nicely when opened, revealing only a teeny line that’s barely visible.

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The Galaxy Z Fold5 is also about 10 grams lighter than the Fold4, as some users liked the larger screen but not the heavier form factor.

Along with a faster processor, longer battery life, and increased brightness, the Fold5 supports many accessories including a protective case that conveniently holds a redesigned S Pen (stylus) in the back.

Available for preorder starting July 26 and available Aug. 11, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 starts at $2,399, and is available in Icy Blue, Phantom Black, and Cream.

Quick take: You can really feel how much lighter the Fold5 is over the Fold4, and while I like the idea of a case that fits the new S Pen, it can be difficult to pop the stylus out of the back of its holder — if my hands-on time is any indication.

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Galaxy Z Fold5 looks like a typical smartphone, but open up to reveal a larger tablet-like device. HANDOUT/SAMSUNG
Galaxy Z Fold5 looks like a typical smartphone, but open up to reveal a larger tablet-like device. HANDOUT/SAMSUNG

The Galaxy Z Flip5 and Fold5 offer a wider variety of recycled materials than their previous generations, including pre-consumer recycled glass and aluminum and post-consumer recycled plastics, sourced from discarded fishing nets, water barrels and bottles.

OTHER PRODUCTS, TOO

Samsung also chose Unpacked to reveal its new premium Galaxy Tab S9 tablet family, which includes three new models with varying screen sizes (11-, 12.4- and 14.6-inches), power, and colours. Prices start at $1,099.

Rounding off the ecosystem are a pair of new and bigger-screen smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch6 and Watch6 Classic, the latter of which brings back the rotating bezel around its circular display.

Along with the Unpacked event, other highlights of the trip include a visit to SIM (Samsung Innovation Museum) with a look at various technological advancements over time; walking through the Samsung MX QA (Quality Assurance) Lab, with hundreds of machines that rigorously test mobile devices against drops, water, and more; and a discussion about Samsung’s cross-platform service strategy between appliances, televisions, wearables, mobile phones, tablets, and computers.

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Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Join the Conversation

Advertisement 1


Hands-on with the Galaxy Z Flip5, Galaxy Z Fold5, and other gear

Article content

While K-pop artist Psy wasn’t singing about foldable smartphones in his global 2012 hit “Gangnam Style,” he might as well have.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Mirroring the style and decadence of the Gangnam District of Seoul, Samsung chose the Coex Convention & Exhibition Center, in the heart of Gangnam-gu, to officially launch its collection of fifth-generation foldable devices.

Article content

Specially, the tech giant took the wraps off its Galaxy Z Flip5, a modern and fashionable take on the iconic flip phone, and the Galaxy Z Fold5, which resembles a regular smartphone at first blush but magically unfolds to become a 7.6-inch tablet.

Teased by the event hashtag #JoinTheFlipSide, both form factors received a refreshed look, added functionality, and new customization options.

Here’s a look at each of the big announcements, and some impressions of these Android-powered mobile devices:

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AGAIN

As with its predecessors, the Galaxy Z Flip5 is a clamshell flip phone. When closed, it can easily fit into a pocket or clutch purse (at just 71.9 x 85.1 x 15.1mm), but then flips open to resemble a typical smartphone, with a 6.7-inch display (measured diagonally).

And yes, when you’re done a call, it’s oddly satisfying to hang up by just closing the phone.

A redesigned hinge is one of the newer features, which is said to be more durable but also allows for more of a firm and flush fit when both sides are folded flat (opposed to a small gap with the Galaxy Z Flip4). This also makes it 2mm thinner when closed.

More impressive is the much larger cover (outer) screen, which is what you look at and interact with when the phone is closed. Now at 3.4 inches — nearly 3 times larger than previous Galaxy Flip phones — it supports customizable widgets and new clock options, fun camera features (like a viewfinder for selfies), and for the first time, a digital keyboard for replying to text messages — all without ever opening the device.

Advertisement 4

Article content

Now called “Flex Window,” this cover screen along with the expanded inside display are protected by IPX82 water resistance, Armor Aluminum frames, and Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 durability.

The Flip5 also has a more powerful Snapdragon processor, a brighter display, and new accessories.

Starting at $1,299, Galaxy Z Flip5 is available for preorder July 26 and available for purchase starting Aug. 11. Colours include Mint, Graphite, Cream, and Lavender. The Samsung website also offers exclusive colours Grey, Blue, Yellow, and Green.

Quick take: Not sure I understand the appeal of the redesigned hinge with no gap, as the previous versions didn’t bother me, but the larger and more useful Flex Window brings several new features when the flip phone is closed.

Advertisement 5

Article content

BIGGER IS BETTER

While a flip phone is for those who want something more compact, the Galaxy Z Fold5 caters to those who want even more real estate in which to engage with content.

When closed, it looks like a typical smartphone, but open up this foldable display to reveal a larger tablet-like device. For productivity, you can have multiple apps open at the same time, like conducting a Zoom interview on one side of the open Fold5, while jotting down notes on the other side. When it comes to entertainment, the Flip5 is ideal for streaming video, playing games, or reading ebooks and digital magazines on the entire 7.6-inch display.

Galaxy Z Fold5 looks like a typical smartphone, but open up to reveal a larger tablet-like device. HANDOUT/SAMSUNG
Galaxy Z Fold5 looks like a typical smartphone, but open up to reveal a larger tablet-like device. HANDOUT/SAMSUNG

So, what’s new?

Just like the Galaxy Z Flip5, the new Fold5 offers a gapless hinge design when you close the phone. In doing so, this looks to address the small crease you may see down the middle of the open display, which annoyed a few owners of previous models. By abandoning the “teardrop” gap, the bendable OLED display seems to stretch nicely when opened, revealing only a teeny line that’s barely visible.

Advertisement 6

Article content

The Galaxy Z Fold5 is also about 10 grams lighter than the Fold4, as some users liked the larger screen but not the heavier form factor.

Along with a faster processor, longer battery life, and increased brightness, the Fold5 supports many accessories including a protective case that conveniently holds a redesigned S Pen (stylus) in the back.

Available for preorder starting July 26 and available Aug. 11, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 starts at $2,399, and is available in Icy Blue, Phantom Black, and Cream.

Quick take: You can really feel how much lighter the Fold5 is over the Fold4, and while I like the idea of a case that fits the new S Pen, it can be difficult to pop the stylus out of the back of its holder — if my hands-on time is any indication.

Advertisement 7

Article content

Galaxy Z Fold5 looks like a typical smartphone, but open up to reveal a larger tablet-like device. HANDOUT/SAMSUNG
Galaxy Z Fold5 looks like a typical smartphone, but open up to reveal a larger tablet-like device. HANDOUT/SAMSUNG

The Galaxy Z Flip5 and Fold5 offer a wider variety of recycled materials than their previous generations, including pre-consumer recycled glass and aluminum and post-consumer recycled plastics, sourced from discarded fishing nets, water barrels and bottles.

OTHER PRODUCTS, TOO

Samsung also chose Unpacked to reveal its new premium Galaxy Tab S9 tablet family, which includes three new models with varying screen sizes (11-, 12.4- and 14.6-inches), power, and colours. Prices start at $1,099.

Rounding off the ecosystem are a pair of new and bigger-screen smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch6 and Watch6 Classic, the latter of which brings back the rotating bezel around its circular display.

Along with the Unpacked event, other highlights of the trip include a visit to SIM (Samsung Innovation Museum) with a look at various technological advancements over time; walking through the Samsung MX QA (Quality Assurance) Lab, with hundreds of machines that rigorously test mobile devices against drops, water, and more; and a discussion about Samsung’s cross-platform service strategy between appliances, televisions, wearables, mobile phones, tablets, and computers.

Article content

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Join the Conversation

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