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Fast Charge: Samsung could be about to give up its foldable crown

OPINION: Samsung is set to reveal its updated Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Galaxy Z Fold 5 at an event confirmed to take place on 26 July, but with leaked images showing minimal changes to the book-style foldable, Samsung could be about to lose its foldable crown. 

The leaked images started doing the rounds online earlier this week, seemingly showcasing a pre-release test model of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 – and it’s not that exciting. 

At a glance, it seems that the phone will be near-identical, sporting the same tall-and-narrow design when folded and even keeping the same lozenge-shaped camera bump from the Z Fold 4. 

Considering the rest of Samsung’s 2023 smartphone collection sports a minimalist rear camera housing, it seems the Z Fold 5 will be left with the 2022 style housing.

The only real advancement we can see from the images is the hinge mechanism, with the top-down photo seemingly showing the two halves of the Z Fold 5 sitting flush against one another – a big improvement compared to the awkward angled gap present in all previous models of Z Fold.

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Admittedly we can’t see the internal display so it’s hard to see how much work Samsung has done to reduce the central crease, but overall, it seems like a very minimal update.

That would’ve been fine had other manufacturers not thrown their hats into the foldable ring in 2023, with much more competition than ever before. That’s especially true of the Honor Magic V2, which was announced in Bejing earlier this week and seems to absolutely blow the Z Fold 5 out of the water. 

Honor Magic V2 marketing image
Honor Magic V2

The book-style foldable sounds impressive; despite a similar overall design to the Z Fold 4 (and likely the Z Fold 5), the Honor Magic V2 measures in at just 9.9mm thick when folded and weighs just 231g. That’s not only lighter than the 263g Z Fold 4 but also the 234g Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, bringing the foldable into standard smartphone territory. 

That’s despite the fact that the Magic V2 boasts a larger 5000mAh battery, a bigger 7.92-inch foldable display and a 6.43-inch external display with a 20:9 aspect ratio that resembles a regular candybar phone. 

Throw in a triple camera setup with 50MP main, 50MP ultrawide and 20MP telephoto lenses, a pair of 16MP selfie cameras and up to 1TB of storage and you’ve got some pretty competitive hardware. 

Admittedly this is all compared to the Z Fold 4 and not the upcoming Z Fold 5 so Samsung could close the gap in some respects, but given the pre-release images, it’s clear that the general form factor is the same. 

The Honor Magic V2 is China-only for now, but like with the Magic Vs, it’ll likely get an international release in the coming months. Will Samsung’s loyal fans allow the Z Fold 5 to compete or will Honor come in and wow a Western audience with its top-end foldable hardware

Only time will tell, but I think it’s clear that Samsung’s days as the top foldable maker are numbered.

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