Should you buy the Galaxy Z Fold 4 or wait for the Z Fold 5?

Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Fold 3 standing seen from the back.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Foldable devices have been growing more and more popular over the last few years as major smartphone manufacturers have begun making more of them. In the U.S., one of the only companies making foldable devices is Samsung, which has the Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip lines.

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is an excellent device that serves as a hybrid of a smartphone and a tablet. However, now that the Fold line is established in Samsung’s lineup of yearly releases, it can be difficult to know if you should buy the Fold 4 or wait a few weeks for the launch of the Galaxy Z Fold 5. There are certainly pros and cons to both devices, so here’s everything you need to know about each foldable to help you make an informed decision before purchasing.

Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs. Z Fold 4: design

A leaked render of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5.
Galaxy Z Fold 5 render Smartprix

Like just about everything with the Z Fold 5, Samsung has yet to officially reveal its design. However, there have been plenty of credible leaked renders that give us a good idea as to what we should expect from the foldable — and how it’ll differ from the Galaxy Z Fold 4.

As far as the overall design is concerned, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 will likely look strikingly similar to the Z Fold 4. Samsung has hit something of a sweet spot when it comes to the overall shape and feel of the Fold line at this point and, based on the renders we’ve seen so far, it seems to be sticking with most of what we saw on the Fold 4 with one major exception: the hinge.

For as good as Samsung foldables are, the hinges have always left something to be desired — mainly since they don’t fold completely flat. This has been an irritation for many buyers since the very first generation of the Fold, however, it seems like with the Fold 5, Samsung has cracked the formula and eliminated the gap. This is reportedly due to the Fold 5’s use of a new “water drop” hinge. Thanks to the tighter fit of the hinge, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 should be drastically slimmer when folded than the Z Fold 4.

A person holding a partially open Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

There are some drawbacks to using the new hinge, as reported by leaker Ice Universe on Twitter, who says that it’ll cause the Z Fold 5’s crease to be bigger than the one found on the Fold 4. However, Samsung fans have long been asking for devices that fold completely flush against themselves, as seen in other foldables like the Oppo Find N2 and the Motorola Razr Plus, so despite the larger crease, it’s a net positive change.

In general, it’s likely that the Galaxy Z Fold 5 will very closely resemble the Z Fold 4, with some slight dimensional exceptions and a vastly improved hinge. If the gap that’s found when the Z Fold 4 is folded up bothers you, then it’s easy to recommend waiting for the Fold 5 to launch to make a purchase. If you don’t care much about the design of the hinge, however, then you’ll need to look at other areas where the two phones differ since they’re about neck and neck in this regard.

Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs. Z Fold 4: screen and performance

Reading book on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

The screens are a major part of what makes a foldable device like the Galaxy Z Fold 4 so appealing. It’s outfitted with two sizable displays: one 6.2-inch screen on its outside and a 7.6-inch inner screen when unfolded — both of which have a 120Hz refresh rate. The cover screen tends to be a little bit on the slim side when compared to the likes of the Galaxy S23 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4. However, that size is completely made up for once it’s unfolded.

Because the overall design of the Z Fold 5 seems to be nearly identical to that of the Z Fold 4, expect the screens to be equally identical at 6.2 inches when folded and 7.6 inches when unfolded. While it might be a little disappointing to hear that there are virtually no differences in terms of the screen when comparing the Z Fold 4 and the Z Fold 5, it’s currently pretty difficult to iterate on the technology that was packed into the Z Fold 4 since it’s already such an impressive device.

There is a big difference between the two, however, when it comes to performance. The Z Fold 4 is outfitted with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, but the Z Fold 5 will likely get the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset — the same one found in the Galaxy S23 line. While the Z Fold 4 remains a strong performer in 2023, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 will benefit from faster performance and more efficient battery use.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip
Qualcomm

We don’t know if there will be any other spec improvements outside of the updated processor with the Z Fold 5, but since the Z Fold 4 was already so well-equipped with its 12GB of RAM and its internal storage offerings of 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB, there’s not much more that the Fold 5 can offer outside of 16GB of RAM and 2TB of internal storage. While both would be nice to have in the device, we haven’t heard any news one way or the other as to whether the Galaxy Z Fold 5 will have them.

When it comes to the technical specs and the screens, the Z Fold 4 and the Z Fold 5 are only truly differentiated in one area: the processor. The Z Fold 4 ran very well with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, but the Z Fold 5 should run even better with the newer Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. For those who care about having the most cutting-edge hardware, the Z Fold 5 will be the foldable for you, but the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is still a perfectly good processor that will hold up for the next few years, even though it’s been outdone by the new generation of Qualcomm chipsets.

Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs. Z Fold 4: cameras

The Galaxy Z Fold 4's camera module.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 has a solid array of cameras: three on its rear camera island and two selfie cameras, one for each screen. Truth be told, the camera offerings were the area where the Z Fold 4 felt the most lacking, so there’s a lot of room for growth with the camera array on the Z Fold 5. Unfortunately, it seems like Samsung won’t be changing much when it comes to the cameras on its newest foldable.

While the cameras on the Galaxy Z Fold 5 have been debated, the prevailing rumor has it that the Fold 5 will feature the exact same camera array that was found on the Z Fold 4: a 50MP main lens, a 10MP telephoto lens with a 3x optical zoom, a 12MP ultra-wide lens on its rear, a 10MP selfie camera on its cover display, and a 4MP in-display camera lens in the folded display. If that’s the case, then Samsung may be dropping the ball in a major way in this regard.

Galaxy Z Fold 5 closed back and unfolded front.
Galaxy Z Fold 5 render Smartprix

There were some rumors, however, that the exact opposite is true and that the Z Fold 5 will have a camera array that puts its predecessor to shame. The initial rumor regarding its cameras claimed that it would have a 108MP main camera, a 64MP 2x telephoto lens, and a 12MP wide-angle lens housed on its rear side. Those specs have been contested by credible leaker Yogesh Brar, though, so it’s currently not clear what fans should expect from the Z Fold 5.

It’ll be best, then, to wait for the official reveal of the foldable if the camera capabilities are the deciding factor for you. If it’s true that the Z Fold 5 isn’t getting a camera update, it’ll be a major disappointment, especially seeing how impressive Samsung’s phone cameras have gotten as of late — especially with the Galaxy S23 Ultra. If it is going to be outfitted with the more impressive lineup of lenses listed above, however, then it’ll be a major step up from the Z Fold 4, which was kind of a disappointment in terms of its cameras when it launched.

Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs. Z Fold 4: battery and charging

The Galaxy Z Fold 4's hinge.
Galaxy Z Fold 4 Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is rumored to be outfitted with the same 4,400mAh battery as is found in the Galaxy Z Fold 4. While that’s certainly a little bit disappointing, it’s not entirely surprising since Samsung tends to be a little bit behind the curve in the battery department when compared to other smartphone manufacturers.

Rumor has it that both devices will have the same battery capacity and that the Z Fold 5 will have the same charging options as the ones that the Z Fold 4 offers: 25-watt wired charging and 15W wireless charging. Currently, the Z Fold series is essentially hitting the bare minimum when it comes to flagship smartphone charging, which is a shame since we’ve seen how impressive a great battery can be on a foldable with the Oppo Find N2, which supports 67W wired charging.

Although they may appear to be the same on paper, it’s likely that the Z Fold 5 will have a slightly increased battery life when compared to the Z Fold 4 on account of its updated processor, but it’s likely not going to make much difference unless you’re comparing them side by side.

Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs. Z Fold 4: software and updates

Galaxy Z Fold 4's multitasking screen feature.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Because the Galaxy Z Fold 4 launched in 2022, it’ll be receiving major Android OS updates until 2026 and security updates until 2027. This is par for the course when it comes to Samsung OS updates since the company promises to support its devices for four full years of OS updates and five years of security updates. Currently, the Z Fold 4 runs Android 13 and will eventually run Android 17 before its support ends.

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 will likely run on Android 13 right out of the box and then quickly adopt Android 14 depending on when it launches. That pattern has been followed by previous Samsung foldables, so we’re not expecting much difference in that department. Similar to the Z Fold 4, expect four years of Android OS updates and five years of security support for the Z Fold 5. This means its final OS should be Android 18 and it will stop receiving support altogether in 2028.

Obviously, the Z Fold 5 will have more longevity than the Z Fold 4 in terms of support, but that’s standard when picking up any phone. If you want your purchase to be good for five years, go with the Z Fold 5. But if you’re OK with trying something new in four years, the Z Fold 4 will do you just fine.

Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs. Z Fold 4: price and availability

Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Fold 3 standing seen from the back.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Because of how much tech is packed into such a small amount of space, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is quite expensive — retailing for $1,799 for its 256GB version, $1,919 for its 512GB version, and $2,159 for its 1TB version. While we’re expecting a relatively similar price tag for the Z Fold 5, a recent rumor says that the new foldable will be getting a “slight reduction in price,” though the leaker doesn’t reveal what the new price will be.

While the leaker might be right, even if the Z Fold 5 is getting a price reduction, don’t expect its price to vary too much from what the Z Fold 4 is being offered for. It’s certainly an expensive device either way — and for good reason, considering how much impressive hardware is on display.

If you’re looking to save some cash on the Z Fold 4, it’ll almost certainly be discounted at various retailers once the Z Fold 5 launches. The price likely won’t plummet to anywhere less than $1,500, but any discount is welcome. Who knows? If it’s true that the Z Fold 5 will be launching at a lower price than the Z Fold 4 did, those discounts might be even better and you could save even more.

Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs. Z Fold 4: verdict

The Galaxy Z Fold 4's open screen and crease.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Based on everything we’ve seen so far regarding the Galaxy Z Fold 5, there isn’t much that’s majorly setting it apart from its predecessor — except for its improved processor and hinge. While those two things alone may be enough for some, going from the Galaxy Z Fold 4 to the Z Fold 5 simply doesn’t seem to be justified unless it gets a major upgrade to its cameras. Unfortunately, there’s not enough certainty in the rumors to say if the better cameras are actually coming, or if it’ll be outfitted with more of the same.

Cutting-edge hardware is always a big want for those looking to purchase a new phone, however, outside of its chipset, there isn’t much cutting edge about the Fold 5 that isn’t found in the Fold 4. The longevity of software support that the Fold 5 will see over the Fold 4 can also be a reason to buy the newest generation of Samsung foldables, but the higher price tag will only buy you an additional year of support, so that’s not too enticing either.

Concept render of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5.
Technizo Concept/Super Roader

The improved hinge that the Fold 5 is rumored to get will reduce its size overall, possibly making it a much more comfortable device when folded.

If those changes seem large and important enough to justify waiting for the Galaxy Z Fold 5 to launch and paying full price for it, then you’ll be able to enjoy one of the best foldables on the market. If not, go with the Galaxy Z Fold 4 — which is still also one of the best foldables on the market. It’s a great purchase now, and if you wait a little bit longer, you can probably get it for less when the Fold 5 hits store shelves.

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