The next version of the Galaxy Z Fold is expected to have some design refinements and other improvements.
Samsung's next foldable phone could be right around the corner. If the smartphone maker maintains its typical product launch cycle, we could see another new version of Samsung's book-style foldable phone around the August time frame. A recent report suggests it could arrive even earlier than usual.
Rumors indicate Samsung's next foldable, expected to be called the Galaxy Z Fold 5, will be a minor update to the Galaxy Z Fold 4. Among the biggest changes is expected to be a redesigned hinge that should reduce the device's thickness. But, of course, we won't know for certain until Samsung makes an announcement.
Still, the rumors pointing to routine changes like a thinner build suggest Samsung is still fine-tuning the Galaxy Z Fold's design. Each year, Samsung has implemented modest but useful changes to the Z Fold's physique that make it more palatable. With the Galaxy Z Fold 4, for example, Samsung increased the cover display's width, a small change that makes it feel a bit more like a regular phone when closed. But the Z Fold 4 is still notably girthy when folded compared to a standard phone, showing there's still work to be done.
Samsung will also have more competition this year now that Google has introduced its first foldable phone, the Pixel Fold, which ships in June.
Here's what we know about the Galaxy Z Fold 5 so far based on rumors and historical Samsung product launches.
Samsung typically releases new foldable phones in August. The Galaxy Z Fold 4, for example, was announced on Aug. 10 and went on sale Aug. 26. Before that, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 hit store shelves on Aug. 27 in 2021.
Samsung seems to have built a tradition around launching its foldable phones in August, and it seems likely the company might do the same this year. Plus, it gives Samsung an opportunity to generate buzz around its own products heading into the fall, which is when Apple and Google typically unveil their new smartphones.
However, Korean news outlet Chosun reports that Samsung will introduce its new foldable phones earlier than usual on July 26 in South Korea.
Samsung's tablet-style foldable doesn't come cheap. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 starts at $1,800 without a trade-in. That's certainly cheaper than Samsung's original Galaxy Fold, but it's still considerably more expensive than your average phone. It's also the same price as Google's recently announced Pixel Fold.
We haven't heard much about the Galaxy Z Fold 5's price when it comes to leaks and rumors. But TM Roh, president and head of Samsung's mobile experience division, acknowledged when speaking with CNET last August that pricing is a challenge.
"It's definitely a challenge that we are tackling, and we will need to tackle," he said.
If the rumors turn out to be true, Samsung may make some design refinements to the Galaxy Z Fold 5. Korean news outlets The Elec and ET News, as well as prolific leaker Ice Universe, have reported that Samsung will implement a new water drop-shaped hinge for the Galaxy Z Fold 5. This could result in a less noticeable crease and a slimmer profile when closed, similar to the Oppo Find N, which has this hinge style. The biggest benefit would be that the phone folds completely shut with no gaps, making it feel more sleek when being used as a normal phone.
That would be a much-appreciated improvement, considering one of the Galaxy Z Fold 4's biggest drawbacks is that it still feels chunky when folded. Competitors like Oppo and Huawei have also done a better job at hiding the crease, as my colleagues Sareena Dayaram and Eli Blumenthal have written, so this new hinge could help Samsung catch up.
Samsung's book-style foldable has supported the S Pen since the Galaxy Z Fold 3, so it seems likely that the Galaxy Z Fold 5 will as well. The question, however, is whether you'll be able to store it within the device as you can with the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
ET News reported that the Galaxy Z Fold 5 will not include a storage slot for the S Pen. There's less room for S Pen storage since the hinge structure has changed, the report said citing a person close to the issue.
However, a previous report from The Elec said Samsung cited adding a designated slot for the S Pen as a challenge that it believes needs to be overcome to further popularize foldable phones. This suggested that Samsung was indeed considering adding an S Pen holster to its next foldable.
Embedding the S Pen in the Galaxy Z Fold 5 could make it more useful as a productivity device, further defining who that product is truly for. But doing so while reducing the device's thickness is certainly a challenge. One solution could be to create a magnetic mechanism for attaching the pen to the Z Fold 5, similar to the way the Apple Pencil attaches to the iPad.
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 will likely have some specifications in common with the Galaxy S23 lineup. The phone may be available in 256GB, 512GB and 1TB storage options, just like the Galaxy S23 Ultra, according to Sam Mobile.
It'll also likely run on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, according to The Elec, just like the Galaxy S23 family. Samsung optimized the version of the chip that's inside its latest flagship phones, so it's possible it will do the same for its next foldables.
We haven't heard many rumors about the camera yet, but The Elec reports it could have a 12-megapixel selfie camera and a triple-lens rear camera with a 50-megapixel main camera. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 also has a 50-megapixel main camera, so it sounds like we won't be seeing too much of an upgrade there. But if it does have the new Samsung-optimized edition of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, we may see some of the behind-the-scenes improvements to image processing that arrived on the Galaxy S23.
The 12-megapixel front camera would also represent an upgrade from the 10-megapixel selfie camera on Galaxy Z Fold 4's cover screen, provided that The Elec's information is correct.
Overall, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 seems like it could be a modest improvement over the Galaxy Z Fold 4. But if the rumors turn out to be true, it'll represent another step toward addressing some of the aesthetic compromises that come with foldable phones, like screen creases and thick designs when shut.