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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs Z Fold 4: What’s the difference?

  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

    Our top choice

    $1500 $1800 Save $300

    The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is better than ever, the tweak in design making this phone fold better and feel better. In some ways this is an iterative update of the Galaxy Z Fold 4, but it’s clear that if you’re after a book-type folding phone, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the one to choose.

    Pros

    • Upgraded folding design
    • Loads of power
    • Great display quality
    Cons

    • External display too narrow
    • Some bloatware

  • Galaxy-Fold-4-2

    Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

    A superb alternative

    $1420 $1920 Save $500

    The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is might have been succeeded but it remains a great device with solid performance, a lovely design and good camera results. The newer model is superior in its design but there’s stil plenty to love here, and it’s likely to be the cheaper option now too.

    Pros

    • Flagship cameras
    • Loads of power
    • S Pen compatible
    Cons

    • Charging speeds average at best
    • No S Pen storage


Samsung revealed its latest book-style folding phone during a Galaxy Unpacked event on July 26, 2023, succeeding the Galaxy Z Fold 4. The fifth generation of the device was announced alongside the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and a number of other devices, including the Galaxy Watch 6 series of smartwatches and the Galaxy Tab S9 series of tablets.



If you’re wondering how the Galaxy Z Flip 5 compares to the Galaxy Z Flip 4, we have you covered in a separate feature, and we’ve also compared the Galaxy Z Fold 5 to the Pixel Fold elsewhere, but here we are running up the differences between the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Fold 4. What’s changed? Which should you choose if you’re in the market for a folding phone? Or, if you have the Galaxy Z Fold 4, should you upgrade?

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Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 was announced on July 26, 2023, and it was made available on 11 August globally, starting at $1799 in the US. In terms of color options, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 comes in Icy Blue, Phantom Black, and Cream as standard. There are also Gray and Blue options exclusive to Samsung.com.


The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 launched at $1799 in the US, which is the same price as its predecessor. Typically, you can find the Galaxy Z Fold 4 with some money off now though, so you might be able to pick it up a little cheaper than the launch price if you look around. It comes in four color options (Graygreen, Phantom Black, and Beige, as well as a Samsung.com exclusive Burgundy), so the options are slightly different from the Galaxy Z Fold 5, as you might expect.

In terms of specs, you can see a rundown of how the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Fold 4 compare below, though read on for more details on their differences beyond the numbers.

  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
    SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
    Display 6.2-inch AMOLED, 2316 x 904, 120Hz (cover) / 7.6-inch AMOLED, 2176 x 1812, 120Hz (main) 6.2-inch, OLED, 2316 x 904, 120Hz (cover) / 7.6-inch, OLED, 2176 x 1812, 120Hz (main)
    Battery 4400mAh / 25W fast charging, 15W wireless charging 4400mAh, 25W fast charging, wireless charging
    Operating System Android 13, One UI Android with One UI
    Front camera 10MP f/2.2 (cover), 4MP f/1.8 UPC (under-display) 10MP f/2.2 (cover), 4MP f/1.8 UPC (main)
    Dimensions 154.94 x 67.06 x 13.46mm (folded) / 154.94 x 129.79 x 6.10mm (unfolded), 253g 155.1 x 67.1 x 15.8mm (folded) / 155.1 x 130.1 x 6.3mm (unfolded), 263g
    IP Rating IPX8 IPX8
    RAM and Storage 12GB, 256/512/1TB 12GB, 256/512/1TB


galaxyzfold5vszfold4_1

Design and build

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is ever so slightly smaller and marginally slimmer than its predecessor when you look at the measurements, although it’s highly unlikely you would notice in reality. We found it difficult to tell even when we had the devices side-by-side. What you will notice, though, is a reduction in weight by 10g for the Z Fold 5 and a redesigned hinge that allows the Galaxy Z Fold 5 to fold completely flat. The latter marks the biggest distinction between the Z Fold 5 and the Z Fold 4, and it’s a great upgrade, getting rid of the gap next to the hinge when folded. Initial rumors suggested we would see a built-in S Pen this time around, but that didn’t happen, so the overall design – except for the lack of a gap in the new device – is largely the same.


There’s a vertical book-style fold, a large display on the front with a centralized punch-hole camera at the top, and a large internal display with an under-display camera on the Galaxy Z Fold 5. The IP rating remains at IPX8, so while the gap next to the hinge has been closed, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is still no closer to getting an official resistance against dust. On the rear, there is a pill-shaped camera housing in the top left corner with three camera lenses, while the side of the device features a physical fingerprint sensor.

When it comes to the Galaxy Z Fold 4, you get a similar design to the Galaxy Z Fold 3. It was more about refinement than a redesign, with a wider and shorter stance than the Z Fold 3. It’s a great-looking device overall, which the Z Fold 5 builds upon. With a gap next to the hinge, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 doesn’t fold flat like the Galaxy Z Fold 5. However, this model introduced the Armor Aluminum frame, which makes it more resistant to damage from drops. That feature carried over to the next generation, but with an added 25 percent durability, according to Samsung.


Like the Galaxy Z Fold 5, there’s an IPX8 water and dust resistance on the Galaxy Z Fold 4, but the gap near the hinge means it definitely doesn’t get a dust rating. It also has a book-style design with a large flexible display on the inside and a smaller, but very functional, display on the outside. A very similar pill-shaped camera housing is present in the top left, and there is a physical fingerprint sensor rather than an under-display option on the side, like the Galaxy Z Fold 5. On the whole, the design is largely the same with these folding smartphones, although the Galaxy Z Fold 5 brings some great refinements that make it the better-looking handset.

Related

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs Google Pixel Fold camera comparison: How do the two flagship foldables compare?

We compare the Z Fold 5’s camera experience with Google’s Pixel Fold. Which one comes out on top?

galaxyzfold5vszfold4_5


Display

When it comes to displays, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 has pretty much identical screens to the Galaxy Z Fold 4, so there are minimal changes in this department. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, as Samsung delivers some of the best displays in the business. In terms of the hardcore specs, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Fold 4 both feature a 6.2-inch external Dynamic AMOLED display with a 2316 x 904 pixel resolution. This results in a pixel density of 401ppi on a bright and color-rich panel.

The inner display is a 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with a 2176 x 1812 pixel resolution that pushes out a pixel density of 373ppi. It has an Ultra Thin Glass layer over the top, which is what enables it to fold. While there is evidence of the crease on both the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Fold 4, it’s only really noticeable when you swipe your thumb or finger across it, rather than affecting everyday use. Ultimately, these creases are never likely to be invisible, so if you want a folding phone, it is something you are going to have to put up with. The Galaxy Z Fold 5 does have a brighter display compared to its predecessor, with a 1200nits typical brightness and 1750nits peak brightness.


Both the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Fold 4 have an under-display camera at the top, and while it is visible in certain lighting conditions, it can definitely be ignored. Overall, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Fold 4 deliver two brilliant displays, both of which have a 120Hz refresh rate. The main displays have an adaptive refresh rate between 1Hz and 120Hz and a ratio of 21.6:18, while the external displays have a refresh rate between 48Hz and 120Hz and a ratio of 23.1:9.

galaxyzfold5vszfold4_2


Hardware and software

While the displays don’t see any changes between the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and the Galaxy Z Fold 4, there are some differences under the hood. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 runs on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy platform, which the Galaxy S23 series also runs on. It’s a custom version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 mobile platform with increased clock speeds on the CPU and GPU, and the performance is great. Memory and storage options are 12GB RAM with 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB storage options, and there is no microSD on any of the models for storage expansion.

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 runs on Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, and it also offers 12GB of RAM with three storage options of 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. It’s an excellent performer, acting like a flagship phone, which is exactly what the Galaxy Z Fold 5 offers, too. We experienced zero lag with either the Galaxy Z Fold 5 or the Galaxy Z Fold 4, so you aren’t going to be disappointed with either when it comes to performance. There’s a 4400mAh battery inside both the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and the Galaxy Z Fold 4, but the upgraded processor helps improve battery life in the Z Fold 5. We’d like to have seen a capacity bump here too, but in our experience, both the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and the Galaxy Z Fold 4 will see you through to the end of the day.


Faster charging speeds would have been nice to see in the Galaxy Z Fold 5, but that wasn’t to be this time. Fast charging on both devices is limited to 25W, which is significantly slower than rival phones. It’s not a huge issue if you charge your phone overnight, but it is useful for a quick mid-afternoon top-up if you have been busy binge-watching your favorite Netflix show on your commute, for example.

Both the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and the Galaxy Z Fold 4 have some great software features that take advantage of their larger screens, and both devices also support the S Pen. There are plenty of multi-tasking opportunities, and the ability to have a few apps running on the main internal display at once remains core to the user experience of the Galaxy Z Fold 5, as it is on the Galaxy Z Fold 4. The user interface and experience between these two devices are therefore virtually identical.


galaxyzfold5vszfold4_4

Cameras

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 features the same camera loadout as the Galaxy Z Fold 4, which means both devices offer a 50-megapixel main sensor with f/1.8 aperture, a 12-megapixel ultrawide sensor with f/2.2 aperture, and a 10-megapixel telephoto sensor with f/2.4 aperture. There were reports that the Z Fold 5’s main camera could be the 108-megapixel sensor from the Galaxy S22 Ultra, and there were said to be improvements coming to the under-display camera, though neither of these happened. The front camera was also claimed to be getting an update to a 12-megapixel sensor to match that of the Galaxy S23, but again, that transpired to be just a rumor.


When it comes to the results, though, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Fold 4’s cameras perform with a good balance of color and quality between the lenses. There are some clever features that elevate the experience too, such as using the cover screen as the camera’s monitor, so you can use the rear cameras to take selfies rather than the under-display camera or the front camera. The under-display camera is a 4-megapixel sensor, and it’s not the best on either device, while the front camera is a 10-megapixel sensor that performs well enough. For best results, you will use the rear cameras to take selfies and use the cover display to make sure you get the angle you want.

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Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 brings a refined design compared to its predecessor. The ability to fold completely flat is refreshing, and it’s something that competitors now offer, so it was really needed here to remain competitive. There are also some internal upgrades in the form of the chipset, which in turn offers battery improvements.


Galaxy-Fold-5

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Editor’s choice

$1500 $1800 Save $300

On the whole, aside from the design improvements and processor upgrade, there aren’t huge differences between the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and the Galaxy Z Fold 4. If you have the Z Fold 4, we would recommend holding off on upgrading this time around. If you are choosing between these models, then the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the clear winner when it comes to design and performance. Then again, the Z Fold 5 is more expensive, so if you’re fine with the screen gap and last year’s flagship Snapdragon hardware, you could opt for the Z Fold 4 to save cash.

Galaxy-Fold-4

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

A good alternative

$1420 $1920 Save $500

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