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Home / Features / Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs Fold 4: what’s the difference?

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

One's newer - but is it better?

Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs Fold 4

Samsung wants the Galaxy Z Fold 5 to become the best folding phone on the market, which will be no easy feat when it already set the bar so high with the previous-gen Z Fold 4. That phone wasn’t perfect, but it was my favourite foldable for its entire shelf life thanks to effortless multitasking, plenty of power and a capable set of cameras.

This newer generation addresses some of the Fold 4’s design shortcomings, steps up on CPU and improves things on the photography front. If you want the complete lowdown on the Galaxy Z Fold 5 you can read my full review, but for a top-line breakdown on how it stacks up to its predecessor, read on below.

Design & build: goodbye gap

The biggest generational upgrade is how the Z Fold 5 now folds shut completely, with no visible gap between the two halves of the phone. The Z Fold 4’s hinge design left a bit of space, which meant a shallower bend (helpful for hiding the inner screen’s crease) but let dust and dirt collect while the phone sat in your pocket. The Z Fold 5 looks far slicker as a result. It’s also slightly skinnier when folded now, so won’t bulge out of your pocket quite as prominently as the outgoing model.

In most other respects, there’s little to separate the two phones. Both have frames made from aluminium, can be snapped up in a selection of colours, and are IPX8 water resistant. Icy Blue is exclusive to the Z Fold 5, which replaces Emerald Green on the Z Fold 4. Both have side-mounted fingerprint sensors, and both have a trio of cameras at the rear contained in an oval-shaped bump. The camera flash has moved slightly, but that’s pretty much the only other visual difference.

It won’t be immediately obvious that those with a Z Fold 4 are rocking last year’s model, but the Z Fold 5 is a definite step forward.

Screens: still skinny

Being one of the first out the gate with a book-style foldable, Samsung set the trend for skinny outer displays. The Z Fold 4 had one, and so does the Z Fold 5. At 6.2in with a 23.1:9 ratio, both phones are exceptionally tall, while also being wider than previous-gen models. Each has a 2316×904 resolution AMOLED with 120Hz refresh rate, and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass: Victus+ on the Fold 4, and Victus 2 on the Fold 5. The latter is more scratch resistant.

On the inside, both phones have a 7.6in flexible OLED panel with a 2176×1812 resolution, 120Hz refresh rate and support for HDR10+ content. The bezels are a tiny bit slimmer on the Z Fold 5, but there’s very little in it. The crease is also a little less noticeable thanks to that redesigned hinge, although it’s still possible to spot at certain angles.

Brightness is where the two phones show any major differences. The Z Fold 4 can deliver a peak 1200 nits (or 1000 nits in High Brightness Mode), but the Z Fold 5 goes even further with a 1750 nits peak and 1200 nits HBM. That makes it a lot easier to see outdoors, and give a lot more impact to HDR videos.

Cameras: three of a kind

Both the Z Fold 5 and Z Fold 4 have three rear cameras: a 50MP main snapper, a 12MP ultrawide and a 10MP telephoto good for 3x optical zoom. There’s also a 10MP punch-hole camera on the outer display, and a 4MP webcam hidden underneath the inner display. There have been no major hardware changes between generations.

The biggest differences will be on the software side, with Samsung claiming improvements to low-light stills and videos thanks to some streamlined image processing. Both phones are capable of consistently great snaps, with the newer handset taking the lead at night – but only slightly.

The very best traditional phones do an even better job, as they have room for larger sensors and more complicated lens systems. A few foldable rivals have since left the Samsungs behind too, but these are still very capable snappers.

Performance & battery: generational jump

The Z Fold 5 uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. It’s power powerful and more efficient than the previous generation, has more GPU muscle, and is custom-tuned for Samsung devices to deliver even more oomph than the versions found in other manufacturer’s phones. Samsung has paired it with either 12GB or 16GB of RAM, and your choice of 256GB, 512GB or 1TB of storage.

It ran Samsung’s OneUI interface, sitting on top of Android 13 at launch; an over-the-air update to Android 14 followed later. As usual, there’s lots of useful custom features to take advantage of the large inner screen, including a taskbar for quickly launching apps and four-app multitasking. It will also be getting some of the software additions found on the Galaxy S24 series, including Circle to Search and Galaxy AI.

The Z Fold 4 has a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 at its heart, paired to 12GB of RAM and 256GB/512GB/1TB of storage, depending on the model. It’s not as zippy as the Z Fold 5, but still feels perfectly responsive – as you’d expect from any flagship phone that’s just a few years old.

Both phones have a 4400mAh battery with 25W wired, 15W wireless, and 4.5W reverse wireless charging. The Z Fold 5 lasts a little longer between top-ups thanks to a more efficient CPU, but there’s not a lot in it. Both phones can eke out a day of use, if you mainly stick to the outer screen. Heavy use of the inner display will usually drain things much faster.

Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs Fold 4 verdict: which should you choose?

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 review rear

It’s no surprise the Galaxy Z Fold 5 bests its predecessor across the board. Samsung had an entire year to streamline the design, add fresher hardware, and improve the camera image processing. Updated software and a handful of new productivity features give it an edge, although you’ll certainly pay a premium for it.

The Z Fold 4 is still a superb foldable, though, and can be snapped up for considerably less cash now. But it has been left behind in terms of styling, performance, camera quality and battery life. If you’re after a flagship folding phone and money is no object, the Z Fold 5 gets my vote.

Shop around before you decide Samsung’s latest and greatest is out of your budget, as there are plenty of tempting discounts to be had with retailers and mobile network providers – especially if you have an old handset to trade in.

Profile image of Tom Morgan-Freelander Tom Morgan-Freelander Deputy Editor

About

A tech addict from about the age of three (seriously, he's got the VHS tapes to prove it), Tom's been writing about gadgets, games and everything in between for the past decade, with a slight diversion into the world of automotive in between. As Deputy Editor, Tom keeps the website ticking along, jam-packed with the hottest gadget news and reviews.  When he's not on the road attending launch events, you can usually find him scouring the web for the latest news, to feed Stuff readers' insatiable appetite for tech.

Areas of expertise

Smartphones/tablets/computing, cameras, home cinema, automotive, virtual reality, gaming

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