Foldable devices prove that the future is really here, giving us phones that bend in half without sacrificing much, if at all. Recent generations of foldable phones continue to raise the bar and defy expectations, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 last year (Opens in a new tab) It is my favorite phone ever and I use it as my main smartphone anytime I am not busy reviewing another phone. With that said, I can certainly pick out a few things I’d like to see Samsung improve on the mandatory Z Fold 5 that we expect to release sometime in late summer or early fall, if previous releases are any indication.
And while Samsung made the best foldable phone (Opens in a new tab) For a few years now, MWC 2023 has proven that it’s best for Samsung not to settle for what it has achieved this year. Competition from companies like Honor (Opens in a new tab)techno (Opens in a new tab)Motorola (Opens in a new tab)And even Google (Opens in a new tab) It proves by itself that Samsung could very well lose its crown if it doesn’t make some significant changes.
It’s been a long time since we’ve singled out Samsung for using a lot of plastic in its phones — the only exception being the Galaxy S21 (Opens in a new tab) Series – and this particular request has nothing to do with the architecture of the phone itself. Instead, we’re dealing with the PET screen protector that adorns the foldable screen on both foldable and flip phones.
All Flip and Fold phones have had some type of protective plastic screen protector applied over the ultra-thin glass since Samsung’s foldables came out, but the PET – this one Polyethylene – Particularly prone to warping and cracking over time.
As you’ll see in the photo above of my wife’s Galaxy Z Flip 3, the screen protector has developed a nice split line in the center of the foldable crease. My Flip 4 and Fold 4 now have an identical font developed after months of use.
While I can (and have) replaced the screen protector with any of the best Fold 4 screen protectors (Opens in a new tab)It would be nice if you didn’t have to keep buying them every few months.
Not only that, but plastic condoms are often cheap, and depending on the material you choose, you can end up feeling dirty with finger oils. If Samsung can develop something that won’t crack or feel greasy over time, I’d love to see it on the Fold 5.
Dying to the crease
All signs point to Samsung swapping out the current hinge design and replacing it with a “Waterdrop” hinge that folds the glass inwards, you guessed it, in the shape of a waterdrop. We’ve seen several other foldable phones use this folding method, and they all result in a crease-free foldable display.
The only caveat is that no one Some of them are water resistant the way Samsung’s foldable devices have been since the Z Fold 3 and Flip 3. But that all seems to be changing based on the latest Fold 5 display rumors. (Opens in a new tab) Which indicates that Samsung has solved the puzzle, which means that we will get a phone that is water resistant and does not have a crease in the screen.
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The interesting thing is that the crease is not formed by the screen itself. Instead, it’s the hinge design that causes the wrinkling. Samsung’s recent prototype, pictured above, is likely what the Fold 5 could look like compared to the Fold 4. As you’ll notice, the new hinge folds completely flat, and the device is also significantly slimmer.
As I’ve said in all of our flip-and-fold reviews, screen crease isn’t much of an issue when looking at it straight on, especially with a bright background. But boy, is that visible from any other angle, especially from the side.
See that photo above? I took a vacation to Santa Monica Beach last year and didn’t take the Galaxy Z Fold 4 with me for this particular part. Why? Simply put, the flip-and-fold feature is not as dust-proof as standard flip-up smartphones. If I had taken it and dropped it in the sand, I probably would have ruined the phone the next few times I opened and closed it.
While Samsung is making a new hinge, it would be surprising to see a proper dust resistance rating on any of the company’s upcoming foldable devices. Not having a dust resistance rating is a real pain in the neck for anyone who enjoys going to the beach or getting dirty because sand or dirt stains can cause serious problems with today’s hinge designs.
Shorter but wider
The rumored Google Pixel Fold is supposed to use a 16:9 aspect ratio for the inner screen, which means that both the inner and outer screens are noticeably wider than Samsung’s Z Fold line. While I really enjoy the larger screen inside the Fold 3 and 4, the aspect ratio was always a little awkward.
This is especially true of the external display, which feels comically narrow the first time you use the fold. If Samsung shortens the phone a bit, it will be a little easier to use the external screen with one hand and the internal screen can display videos without having to turn the device on at all.
In fact, the wider inner screen could be a big advantage for the Fold 5 over previous Samsung Fold phones because it will inherently be in the “landscape” orientation at all times. Given that Google has a newfound interest in making Android more tablet friendly thanks to its upcoming Pixel Tablet (Opens in a new tab)Having the Fold use tablet apps on the inner screen without having to rotate the phone would be a huge boon for Samsung.
Not only that, but the wider phone will make more space for the S Pen…
S Pen upgrades
Since the Fold’s current long and narrow design leaves no room for the S Pen, a wider phone would certainly help fit everyone’s favorite stylus into the body of a potential Fold 5. The S Pen doesn’t take up all that much space but, again, the design The current is too narrow to make it fit.
Since Samsung ditched the Note name in favor of phones like the Galaxy S23 Ultra (Opens in a new tab) And even as it made the S Pens specifically for the Fold line, there’s little reason to believe the company wasn’t working on ways to integrate the S Pen into the body of a future Z Fold phone.
While I much prefer the larger S Pen Fold version (Opens in a new tab) On top of the small pencil included with the S22 Ultra and S23 Ultra, the convenience of a stylus in the body is not denied.
Plus, I’d like to see Samsung slap a Wacom digitizer into the cover display so I can take quick notes without having to open the cover before writing. Currently, only the Fold 3 and Fold 4 support the S Pen on the larger inner screen.
Super camera upgrade
Finally, I want to see Samsung push the boundaries of mobile photography on foldable devices. Z Fold 4 cameras (Opens in a new tab) It was an absolute upgrade to the Z Fold 3’s cameras in almost every way, and the addition of a 200MP sensor and 10x optical zoom from the Galaxy S23 Ultra should put the phone on top, making it the best Android phone out there.
I’m also hoping Samsung can finally figure out how to take better photos of moving subjects like babies and pets before the Fold 5 comes out. While I’d love to be able to zoom in and take a high-quality photo of something from 50x away, I’d much rather be Able to take clear pictures of my active son when he’s jumping.
If it comes down to choosing between a Pixel Fold that can do it and a possible Galaxy Z Fold 5 that can’t, the choice is pretty easy for me.