Samsung Z Fold 5 Initial Impressions

Today, while shopping at the mall, I saw the Samsung Z Fold 5 on display at a Samsung store. Compared to the previous generation, it had significant improvements in its hinge design. Coincidentally, my iPhone was causing signal issues and had become quite a nuisance. So, I decided to trade it in for a new 512GB blue Samsung Z Fold 5 right then and there.

I traded in my iPhone 13 Pro 256GB, and with Samsung’s $800 trade-in offer, the total cost came to $5300. The offline store also gave me an official stand and phone case, and I applied for an S Pen phone case using my pioneer quota. Additionally, the mall had a promotion that day where you could get a $300 discount voucher for reaching a certain spending threshold. All in all, it was a great deal. It seems the strong sales incentives were effective, as there were noticeably more customers in the Samsung store. During the hour I was there for the trade-in process, they sold a total of 3 Z Fold 5s and 2 Z Flip 5s.

The last time I used a Samsung phone was the S10+, which I used as a backup until last year. This time, I’ve made Samsung my primary phone again. I’ll provide more detailed feedback after using it for a few days.

Here’s a short-term usage experience, rated subjectively on a scale of 1-10. I’ll start with a chronological account and organize it by function later when I have more time.

  1. Signal! Signal! Signal! The first thing I noticed is that the signal is back to normal. Previously, I used an iPhone 14 Pro with dual SIM cards (China Unicom and China Mobile), and there were times when I had a full signal but couldn’t connect to the internet. It was really frustrating. While signal strength isn’t Samsung’s standout feature, it’s a night-and-day difference compared to the iPhone. On this aspect, I give it a full 10 out of 10.
  2. Weight! Weight! Weight! The second thing I noticed is the weight, especially when it’s folded. It feels notably heavy, and if you’re not used to it, holding it in one hand for a 10-minute phone call can make your hand ache. Since I haven’t used other foldable phones, I’ll rate the weight a 5 out of 10 purely subjectively.
  3. In the afternoon, during a meeting, a colleague sent a report, and I opened the screen to review it while simultaneously using WeChat to discuss changes with my colleagues. I felt like my productivity increased by at least 30%. I haven’t received the S Pen yet, but once I do, I’ll try using it to annotate and make notes directly on the report, which should further improve efficiency. For lightweight office use, I’ll rate it an 8 out of 10 because I haven’t used the S Pen yet, so I’ll reserve 2 points.
  4. Regarding multimedia, I propped it up and watched highlights of a Chelsea vs. Liverpool match while having lunch. When it comes to video entertainment, the large screen is fantastic. The sound quality is generally good, but due to the noise in the cafeteria, I couldn’t discern much of a difference from my iPhone 14 Pro. Overall, I’d rate it 8 out of 10 for multimedia entertainment. I deduct 1 point for the large black borders on the screen and 1 point for the slight crease when viewing from an angle.
  5. Customization of the home screen: In the evening, I downloaded Good Lock and did some basic customization of the home screen. I hadn’t used it in two years, and the functionality of Good Lock has become quite powerful. Essentially, if you can think of it, you can achieve the corresponding desktop effect. I’d rate this a full 10 out of 10, simply because of the freedom it offers.