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iPhone 15 is coming – but will I cave in when it comes to the amazing Flip 5?

I’ve just spent the weekend with a foldable phone – what did I make of it…

iPhone 15 - will it beat the Samsung Z Flip 5?

Food for thought

The iPhone 15 event is looming and I am confused – ever so confused.

A few weeks back everything seemed so simple. September would roll along, I’d buy the latest iPhone and then spend the next few weeks making content about it and comparing it to the previous year’s phone.

Suddenly though I’m not sure if iPhone 15 will be for me. You know the way all cars tend to look the same – a little bland not being able to tell one from another. That is how I was starting to feel about phones but over the weekend I was shown something new – something took my attention and woke me up.

Same old same old…

This late in the update cycle we are pretty locked on as to what we can expect from Apple’s latest iteration of iPhone.

USB-C across the range with Thunderbolt coming to the Pro phones which will also benefit from some shaved weight thanks to the titanium chassis. The phones will have marginally thinner bezels and a larger battery. The cameras will get their normal tweaks and there will doubtless be some new colours – oh and Dynamic Island rolls out this year across the entire range. Pretty much though, that is it. The now iconic design will remain untouched and the OS will get a facelift.

Meanwhile…

All new

The Samsung Z Flip 5 landed with me on Friday to add to the arsenal of phones I seem to be amassing. I got time to play with it over the weekend and it’s proven to have some unique, quirky and fun features.

The form factor, the actual size is super convenient. For most of its life, the Samsung Flip 5 will be folded and it sits securely in your hand. You never feel as if you’re going to drop it as you do with so many other slab-style phones. And that size carries over to when you pop it in your pocket too. It sits unobtrusively in either the front or back pocket of your jeans. I also learned over the weekend that this is even more of a win for woman’s clothing whose pockets are even skinnier and less deep than men’s. So the size and shape get a big tick.

It’s available in four colours although Samsung does online-only special colours and I went for one of those – a lovely olive green. The fit and finish are every bit the match of the iPhone with a high-end feeling of quality to it.

The engine

Inside powering the Flip 5 is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen2. Using it feels quick and fluid again being the match of an iPhone. I’ve not experienced any lagging or glitches.

My phone has 8Gb of RAM and a free upgrade to 512Gb of storage. Although the Flip 5 has a fun aspect to it, it’s surprised me how professional it feels at the same time.

Unlocking the phone is quick too and you have the option of both face recognition or an Ultrasonic Fingerprint Scanner on the side of the phone.

Displays

The main display is the same size as an iPhone Pro Max – it’s a 6.7-inch AMOLED Infinity flex panel with a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate with 1600 nits of outdoor peak brightness. It stood up well to using it in the sun yesterday. The Cover display is locked at 60Hz though.

The Cover screen comes into its own as you start to customise it – you can honestly spend ages on that from changing the design you want to the amount and balance of tints and what widgets you want to appear. And one of the best bits is you can even have access to some of your favourite apps on the cover screen as well. Both YouTube & Netflix are supported so can consume content without even having to open the Flip 5 up.

Opened up the phone is fractionally taller than my iPhone 14 Pro but the same width. It doesn’t feel quite as comfortable to type on – it’s a bit too tall and feels kind of out of balance, but it more than makes up for that in other ways that I’ll get to later on.

And then to the elephant in the room – the crease. Yes, it is noticeable both visually and to the touch…but it is a flip phone! My point is, if you are buying a flip or foldable phone then you know what you’re getting into, and taking that into account, Samsung has dealt with the crease well. To get the convenience of the size and all the other bonuses that this phone offers, the small trade-off you need to make is the crease.

The hinge on the Flip 5 is newly engineered meaning that the phone now sits tight shut when folded with virtually no gap. Apart from the aesthetics its also a practical step forward as well as it means there’s less chance of grit, dust and dirt getting in to scratch the glass – although the glass should be pretty resilient as it now has Gorilla Glass Victus 2 for external protection and it’s also IPX8 water resistant.

Battery

iPhone 14 has a 3200 mAh battery so it’s going to be very interesting to see how the larger 3700 mAh in the Flip 5 gets along.

Out of the box, it came with a 60% charge on it which was enough to see me through the first day and a bit. I charged it fully yesterday morning at around 10 in the morning and by the time I woke up today, it was down to about 20% charge. It’s not the quickest of chargers though with going from 25% – 100% taking well over an hour.

It did have quite a full-on day yesterday though in fairness as I was camera testing for much of the day. I also installed most of the apps I needed on it, logged in to various accounts and was generally busy using it throughout the day. My iPhone generally has more charge left over in a similar period even though it’s a smaller battery – so the battery is something I’ll have to keep an eye on.

The Flip 5 supports QI wireless charging and also offers reverse charging as well.

Call quality & audio

The call quality, at least on my network was perfect the speaker was clear and concise – again feeling and sounding premium and the person I was calling said that the mic sounded good on their side too. The Flip 5 is 5G enabled.

The call quality was enhanced, obviously when wearing earbuds but Samsung has taken that one stage further with their Adapt Sound function. You simply enter your age, pop in your earbuds and the app will run some tests to try to set the audio up to best suit your hearing.

Listening to music or content on the Samsung is not too bad but the speakers are no match for those on the iPhone. Where Flip 5 starts to win though is in the fact you can EQ the sound to improve the listening experience – the Flip is also Dolby Atmos enabled as well.

Another Samsung trick is to give you 360º audio through earbuds or headphones when recording video.

The cameras

And in the time-honoured way – and saving the best until last, let’s talk cameras.

First the specs – you only get two main cameras on the Flip 5 a wide and ultra-wide both of which are 12MP with up to 10x digital zoom and then you have a 10MP selfie camera. The wide camera has a ƒ1.8 aperture while both the ultra-wide and front camera have an ƒ2.2 aperture.

The range of video camera options available to you is vast – Slow-Mo, Super Slow-Mo, and Pro Video which lets you shoot in HDR10+ bit. For photos, you get Pro and Portrait.

On testing the cameras yesterday the colours looked great – it was as quick and easy to get great results from the Flip 5 as it is on the iPhone. The colours looked punchy, sharp and vibrant and the Flip was able to cope well with both bright sunlight and shadows.

Of course, it’s the flexibility of the way that you can use these cameras that is the USP for the Flip 5. In Flex mode you can arrange the camera to be at the top of the screen whilst all the controls are on the bottom half of the screen – making it much easier to actually use them.

The Flex comes with its own built-in tripod making this a very convenient content-creator tool. You can set the Flex 5 down on the desk in front of you and use the main camera as a selfie camera for shooting videos.

And Samsung has gone one stage further to make this a great phone for solo creators – you don’t even have to be within reach of the phone to take pictures – simply by holding your hand up in front of your face will activate the shutter which is another great touch.

The cameras are superior on the iPhone but these 12MP cameras are hitting way above their weight and are way better than I expected them to be. You could easily use this phone for social media content and get damned good results. If this is an example of Samsung’s glass – then I am mighty impressed.

First thoughts

I like it!

I honestly thought that this phone was going to be a fashion phone. I thought it would just be relying on its party piece of being a flip phone to gain any credence. But I was wrong. It somehow manages to be fun and productive. I was keen to try out DEX on here, but sadly the Flip 5 isn’t DeX enabled

The crease may take some getting used to but as I said earlier, if you are buying one of these you must know that there is going to be some crease to deal with but, honestly, Samsung have dealt with it well. What the durability of the Flip 5 will be like only time will tell but out of the box it feels quality and as if it’s built to last.

The functionality of the phone and the different ways you can use it makes it stand out from the crowd and its competition. It’s not afraid to be different.

Apple has long been at odds with the idea of foldable devices, but on the strength of this Flip 5, I think they need to re-think that line of thought.

If phones are starting to become like cars with one looking much like the next then what Samsung has done here is given us a classic sports car full of quirky character. If the Flip 5 were a car it would stand out from the crowd that’s for certain.

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