Although it was never really the only game in town, Samsung’s lead in the foldable phone market is starting to narrow down. There are now plenty of competitors, both in the book style and clamshell designs, and some of them are even scoring higher than Samsung on some points. Despite the growing rivalry, Samsung’s response so far has been modest or even downright disappointing. That might finally change with this year’s generation of foldables, with some big changes rumored to already be in the works. Based on unofficial 3D renders, it seems that the biggest change will be seen on the Galaxy Z Flip 5, though that much-anticipated upgrade still leaves a few questions unanswered.
Unlike with a large, horizontal book-type foldable phone like the Galaxy Z Fold, you don’t really expect to be able to use the Galaxy Z Flip as a regular smartphone when it’s folded shut. Samsung, however, took that to the extreme and provided only a small window into your phone with a screen that’s barely larger than the two cameras beside it. Not only was it barely usable, but it was also a huge missed opportunity, something that the likes of the Motorola Razr and the new OPPO Find N2 Flip took advantage of.
It was probably only a matter of time, and the upcoming Galaxy Z Flip 5 might finally try to get ahead of the race with what may be the biggest Cover Display for clamshells, a good 3.4 inches if the leaks are to be believed. This is only a tiny bit larger than the OPPO Find N2 Flip, which we reviewed a few months back, but it’s plenty big for plenty of content. It almost covers the entire upper half of the phone’s back, which suggests it will have a more comfortable user interface compared to the cramped Galaxy Z Flip 4.
The shape that Samsung chose, however, is quite odd and might not bode well for the experience that people can expect from it. It has a tab-like cutout to make room for the camera, similar to the notch on the first Galaxy Fold. This would suggest that the Galaxy Z Flip 5 will still use a custom UX for this external display, and it is unlikely that it will support the use of regular apps, unlike the Motorola Razr.
It’s admittedly a small nitpick compared to finally having a large external display. What the renders don’t show, however, is whether the Galaxy Z Flip 5 will be able to fold shut completely flat. That would require a change to the hinge technology that might, in turn, bring undesired regressions, like the loss of water resistance that only Samsung is able to confidently promise.