We kicked this review off, stating that the Galaxy Z Flip5 has no real competition, but that's only sort of true. While it is, indeed, the go-to option if you're out for a clamshell foldable, the breed does offer alternatives. And depending on what got you zeroing in on the small bendy Samsung in the first place, you might find what you're looking for in a conventional bar phone.
The Z Flip5 technically starts at $1000/€1200, but still-ongoing pre-order discounts, bundles, and promotions can sweeten the deal. Indeed, when you consider that a Z Flip4 now goes for a little over half that, it's hard to swallow paying the full MSRP for a Z Flip5. Admittedly, the new cover display is a lot more useful, the gapless design looks nicer, the extra battery life is appreciated, and the cameras are a tiny bit better if still the same. But the last generation is about as cool and is almost as good in most respects. Perhaps the Flip4 could still build a case for itself, with price at the foundation.Old one vs. new one
The Razr 40 Ultra (or Razr+ 2023 in North America), on the other hand, won't be saving you any cash. It does have some pros over the Galaxy, though - for example, larger, higher-refresh rate displays in and out, plus the fact that the cover one is fancier-looking and the internal one has a smoother crease. The Razr arguably has a better software implementation for the outer display too, if you want to run real apps there. The Ultra's ultrawide is more versatile thanks to its autofocusing capability, but that's about all the camera advantages the Moto has - we'd pick the Galaxy for cameraphone use. The Galaxy's IPX8 water resistance is also a solid argument in its favor, as is the beefier chipset and, believe it or not, the faster charging.
That just about exhausts the list of globally available high-end clamshell foldables, but there are a couple of other options from China that you could entertain getting - conveniently, each of them called Flip.
The vivo X Flip has unmatched battery life in the class, and is quite likely the best camera system on a small-size foldable. Those two points might make it worthwhile to go through the hoops needed for importing one from China, though unforeseeable issues in long-term use may end up ruining the experience. The Find N2 Flip sounds less enticing. White it does snatch a victory in battery life, the Find's camera isn't as capable as the Galaxy's, and we reckon it's not worth the trouble.
Which then brings us to the plain old flat non-bendable phones - if you're after a Z Flip5, maybe you just don't like to stuff large handsets in your pockets, and a foldable is only one of the ways to avoid that. Another road to that destination is the Galaxy S23 - Samsung's smallest-size conventional high-end phone. You'll get everything that's good about the Flip, plus a slightly better zoom camera, a bit longer battery life, and DeX. And money in the bank too - the S23 starts at around €650, but you can splurge and get the 256GB version for €100 more, and be far from the Flip5's price tag.
Samsung may not be having the leading market share in the Chinese foldable scene, but we can't imagine the bendy Galaxies are anything close to being threatened elsewhere. In that sense, Samsung didn't have to bring dramatic improvements to this year's lineup, so they didn't.
That said, the Z Flip5, in particular, comes with two meaningful and significant upgrades. The gapless folding design is finally here, so the handset no longer looks like a prototype - it's sexier this way but also simply more compact. The other thing is the cover display - the new one is large enough to actually be useful for a change.
Alongside those two major developments, we're getting a handful of small ones that add up. The new chipset deserves a mention even if it was a given, but it's also at least partially responsible for the improved battery life compared to the previous generation - it has to be, since battery capacity has remained the same. Similarly, the camera hardware is unchanged, yet the 5 takes better pictures than the 4.
The Galaxy Flips have been steadily evolving, and with the Z Flip5, Samsung is approaching that point where it would need to do something big soon. For this year, however, we think a cover display and hinge will do. We'd be happy recommending the Galaxy Z Flip5 - just be sure to either grab one of the early promos or wait a couple of months for the inevitable price drops.
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