If you're looking for a powerful device in a portable package, it's tough to beat the Galaxy S23 Ultra right now. True to its Note legacy, Samsung's latest phablet carries on the tradition of combining a massive display with a stylus and other tools to boost your productivity while on the move. That said, true road warriors know that getting work done remotely requires an even larger screen, and to achieve that in a pocket-friendly shape, you have to turn to foldables.
Folding phones have transformed from a specific niche for early adopters to an excellent alternative to traditional slab-shaped devices. With more competition than ever before, Samsung — the company that really paved the way for foldables to achieve mainstream success — looks to continue dominating the field with this year's upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 5. We expect it to arrive alongside the Z Flip 5 and Galaxy Watch 6. Here's everything we know about a device likely to be one of the most powerful — and expensive — of 2023.
A familiar Galaxy Z Fold design with one major exception
Like last year, we expect Samsung to stick with the same basic foldable design for the Galaxy Z Fold 5. That means an identical 6.2" outer display with a tall aspect ratio, rather than opting for a wider aspect ratio like the one on Oppo's foldable, or the one on Google's Pixel Fold. Presumably, this chassis would also house the same 6.76" inner screen, though we could see some improvements made to things like the under-display camera.
This graphic, from a Pixel Fold leak, demonstrates the current Samsung hinge in comparison to devices from Oppo and Google. Samsung is rumored to switch to an Oppo-like hinge on the Fold 5.
Really, the newly-upgraded hinge is likely to be the biggest design change for the Galaxy Z Fold 5. This generation, Samsung will finally catch up to the competition, adopting a teardrop hinge that nearly all of its rivals use, international or otherwise. Up to this point, Samsung has relied on a more extreme bend for its flexible display, one that keeps it from folding completely closed in your pocket. With this change, Samsung will allow its next-gen foldable to close up entirely, eliminating the gap. It's a design tweak the company is likely to celebrate on stage, despite being very, very late to the party on a global level.
Leaked marketing images for the Galaxy Z Fold 5.
Otherwise, the Galaxy Z Fold 5's design remains pretty familiar. Much like this year's Galaxy S23 series, we expect an iterative upgrade that lets more people jump on the foldable train while last year's buyers can remain satisfied. At the very least, that new hinge will allow the entire device to feel thinner in your pocket, with rumors pointing to its widest point hitting around 13mm. For comparison, last year's model hit 16mm at its thickest point. Likewise, we're looking at a lighter overall weight, down from 263g to just 254g.
Noted leaker SnoopyTech tweeted their own images of the upcoming foldable, showing off a familiar candybar design that avoids copying Google's rival. It's not surprising, but the refinements we've been hearing about for months should be enough to win some fans over.
Real-world photos doubled down on this new mechanism, showing a familiar design now capable of folding flat. Aside from a few other changes, though, these devices are looking pretty similar to each other.
In addition to the improved hinge, Samsung is finally rumored to be adding dust resistance to its foldables. Both this phone and the Galaxy Z Flip 5 are set to be IP58-certified, adding dust protection — though not a dust seal — to the already-existing water resistance. Not bad.
For those hoping to see a Pixel Fold-esque redesign, you'll likely have to wait for the Galaxy Z Fold 6 in 2024. The earliest renders for the Z Fold 5 show off that upgraded hinge, but not much more in the way of change.
If you wanted the Fold 5 to take a page out of the S23 Ultra's playbook and finally adopt a built-in S Pen, prepare to be disappointed. While the Z Fold 5 should retain its stylus support, we don't expect to see it built into the chassis itself. We know Samsung originally wanted an S Pen slot for the Z Fold 4, but as the saying goes, you can't always get what you want. Thankfully, some of our favorite Galaxy Z Fold 4 cases include a stylus slot, and that will likely remain true for this next-gen device.
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 could be the most powerful Android phone of 2023
Specs-wise, recent leaks gave us some insight into what's powering Samsung's next foldable. As expected, it'll sport a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, 12GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage. It's similar to last year's device, albeit with the likely addition of UFS 4.0 storage, following in the footsteps of the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Although early rumors pegged the phone with a 108MP main sensor, the same one previously used on the S22 Ultra, it's sounding like this is unlikely. Leaker Yogesh Brar claims we're seeing a 50MP primary sensor, a 12MP ultrawide, and a 10MP telephoto camera on this year's Fold — an identical lineup to last year's model, something backed up by SnoopyTech's leak in June. If that's true, it's pretty disappointing — we'd loved to see that 108MP sensor make another appearance on a Samsung phone, even if it's not perfect.
All this said, the Z-series is not as focused on camera quality as Samsung's proper flagship series, so one constant remains: if camera quality is a priority, the S-series is a must-buy for you.
Look for some early post-launch software upgrades for the Galaxy Z Fold 5
Samsung usually launches its latest foldables in late summer, the same slot once held by the now-defunct Note series. If that pattern follows, we'll likely see an August release date, right around the same time we expect Google to ship a final build of Android 14. Samsung's foldables won't run on Android 14 from the jump, unfortunately, but this device — along with the Flip 5 — should be one of the first to see an upgrade later in 2023.
Expect the Galaxy Z Fold 5 to arrive with Android 13 and One UI 5.1.1, a small refinement to the version of One UI that shipped on the S23 series earlier this year. Samsung might include some fresh tricks and tools for the larger display, but a broader overhaul will have to wait for Android 14 and One UI 6.
Galaxy Z Fold 5 availability and pricing remains a predictable mystery
Samsung's foldable lineup is a summer event, usually set in the first couple of weeks of August, with retail availability following soon after. That said, the company recently confirmed its event is being held in Seoul in late July, moving up its slot by a couple of weeks. With the summer heat finally upon us, we now know the exact date: July 26th, with a 7:00 AM ET event planned to be livestreamed around the world. If you reserve your foldable right now, you can save $50 on accessories after preordering, no commitment required.
Samsung Galaxy Unpacked
Samsung's next Galaxy Unpacked event is bringing us the latest foldables, wearables, and tablets on July 26, but if you already know you're going to be buying the Z Fold 5 or Z Flip 5, you can take $50 off when you reserve one right now. You don't have to put any money down or even commit to actually buying a device once preorders roll around; just clicking this link and putting in your email is all you have to do. So even if you're not sold on one quite yet, sign up today.
Your guess on price is as good as ours. Samsung's previous foldables have all seen similar price points, and it seems likely that those prices hold out for another generation. If that's true, expect to pay at least $1,800 for a Galaxy Z Fold 5. Trade-in values and carrier deals can help bring this price down, but either way, you're paying quite a pretty penny for some cutting-edge tech. Considering even Google didn't manage to go below $1,800 for its foldable, don't expect a cheaper base price this year.
An impressive foldable with more competition than ever
This year marks the fourth anniversary of the original Galaxy Fold, an extremely flawed phone that nevertheless paved the way for foldables to get to where they are today. As we look ahead to Samsung's fifth generation, the amount of momentum behind the company's back is incredible. That said, it's also a more packed playing field than ever before, with companies like Honor, Google, and OnePlus either launching or planning to launch rival devices this year.
That makes the Galaxy Z Fold 5 a device that, more than ever, needs to prove itself. It's not enough to just be a folding phone anymore — you have to be a good folding phone, too. Samsung's previous couple of generations have met that mark, but with expectations higher than ever, the company could have its work cut out for it. Either way, we'll know everything on July 26th.