Samsung’s just revealed its Galaxy Z Flip5 phone with its innovative external display. Problem is, Motorola’s already there for a similar price. So whose phone should you buy?
It wasn’t exactly a secret that Samsung was going to announce the Galaxy Z Flip5 at its Galaxy Unpacked event. Indeed, before Unpacked, I had the opportunity for some brief hands-on time with the Z Flip5 in Sydney.
I’ve tested all the prior generations, and even based on a simple half-hour with the phone (where sadly I couldn’t take away photos, benchmarks or indeed the handsets themselves) it’s definitely an improvement on prior Z Flip models for sure.
Which would be fine if Samsung still had the entire Western foldable phone market to itself.
But it doesn’t.
Ahead of the Z Flip5’s reveal, Motorola announced and launched its own next-gen Razr foldables, the Razr 40 (which I’m testing right now) and the Razr 40 Ultra (AKA the Razr+), which I’ve already reviewed:
Motorola Razr 40 Ultra Review: Exceptional
Both are priced at (roughly) the same level, and both a compact folding flip phones. So which should you buy?
Let’s break it down first at a specifications level:
Samsung Galaxy Flip5 vs Motorola Razr Ultra 40: Specifications
|Device||Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5||Motorola razr 40 Ultra|
|Interior Display||6.7 inch 2640×1080 Dynamic AMOLED 2x||6.9 inch 2640×1080 pOLED|
|Exterior Display||3.4 inch 720×748 Super AMOLED||3.6 inch 1066×1056 pOLED|
|Dimensions (folded)||71.9 x 85.1 x 15.1mm||73.95 x 88.42 x 15.1mm|
|Dimensions (unfolded)||71.9 x 165.1 x 6.9mm||73.95 x 170.83 x 6.99mm|
|Weight||187g||188.5g (Infinite Black, Glacier Blue),184.5g (Viva Magenta)|
|Rear Cameras||12MP UW f/2.2, 12MP Wide f/1.8||12MP Wide f/1.5, 13MP UW f/2.2|
|Front Camera||10MP f/2.2||32MP|
|Processor||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 For Galaxy||Snapdragon 8 Gen 1|
|Colours||Mint, Graphite, Cream, Lavender, Grey, Blue, Green, Yellow||Glacier Blue, Viva Magenta, Infinite Black|
|Buy||On Amazon||On Amazon|
On paper, it’s really mixed… and I have to be clear and honest upfront, because I can’t (at the point of writing) offer a full comparative review.
I’ve had about half an hour to get to grips with the Flip5, where I’ve had a full review period with the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra. That doesn’t quite bend everything the Razr 40 Ultra’s way, however, because it also means I’ve had time to uncover all of its weaknesses as well as its benefits.
So let’s break this down by category:
Samsung Galaxy Flip5 vs Motorola Razr Ultra 40: Design
Earlier foldable Razrs had that classic Razr “Chin” of the early 2000s handsets… and it wasn’t a great choice. I mean, fine if you like nostalgia (I may be guilty from time to time…) but not that functionally great.
The Razr 40 Ultra’s style is very reminiscent of the Flip4, which means it’s also very similar to the Flip5. It’s a tad larger, but not so much that you’d particularly notice it in your hand or pocket when folded up.
The Flip5 does win the colour wars, with a lot more choices on offer, although not all of them are available locally, and some are specific colours that you’ll only be able to get through Samsung itself. Also, oddly, there’s no sign of the “bespoke” option — or at least there wasn’t one being announced locally when I spoke to Samsung Australia about this.
Where the design differences perhaps matter a little more is in durability. Samsung was first to market with a properly water resistant phone with the Galaxy Z Fold3 and Z Flip3… and it hasn’t changed that formula at all for the Flip5. As such, if you drop the Flip5 into clean water, it should survive, but there’s no dust resistance at all.
Motorola’s take is a little different, with IP52 rating for the Razr 40 Ultra. What that means is that you should only lightly splash it with water; full immersion is likely to kill it, but it’s a touch more secured against the ingress of dust, sand or grit.
Ideally I don’t want to abuse phones in any way at all, but if I had to pick, I’d give that one to the Razr, because people are generally bad to phones in multiple ways, not just in the ways that might get them a touch moist.
Samsung Galaxy Flip5 vs Motorola Razr Ultra 40: Cameras
The Razr 40 Ultra’s got better camera megapixel numbers and I’ve tested it fully, so it’s going to win by default, right?
No. Well… maybe not. While it’s true I’ve not been able to fully test out the Flip5’s camera prowess just yet, the reality of the Razr 40 Ultra was that it did leave me wanting. It’s not a bad camera phone, but for what you can get for $1499, it’s far from the best.
Motorola hasn’t delivered a premium phone into my hands that’s really wowed me for years now, and the Razr 40 Ultra was no different in that respect.
Meanwhile, while the Flip5 has lesser camera specs, Samsung does know a thing or two about delivering good quality photos to the end user. Again, I could wish for a phone that starts at $1649 to have better cameras…
And I do, Samsung, why are your foldables cursed with worse cameras than your regular phones…? But I digress…
The reality here is that this feels like Samsung’s battle to lose. I’ll know for sure once I can get my hands on the Flip5 and put it properly through its photo paces.
Samsung Galaxy Flip5 vs Motorola Razr Ultra 40: Processor
The Razr 40 Ultra runs on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, which is what the Flip4 uses. The Flip5 gets an upgrade to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, giving it a certain quantity more muscle to flex in comparative terms. I’m a big fan of the fact that Samsung uses the same premium processor family on the smaller Flip5 as it does on the bigger Fold5, too.
The real question here is how much this matters to you on a foldable flip phone. The reality for these premium handsets is that there’s not been much that’s really stretched a processor much in app terms for some time. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 on the Razr 40 Ultra is plenty enough for most users.
Where this gets more interesting however, is with those external displays. Both companies have opted for screens that (more or less) take up the entire top half “front” of the phone, and both offer widgets for common information sources such as time and weather and so on.
However, that’s all Samsung’s opted for, with a range of 13 widgets to choose from. You can select and sort them and have them in the order you like, and that’s absolutely an upgrade over the Flip4.
The Razr 40 Ultra has widgets too, although less that I could spot, but this matters less. That’s because the Razr 40 Ultra will let you run installed Android apps on that external display as you choose. Yes, many don’t run well because they make no changes to the user interface, meaning some buttons and inputs are tiny. Still, that means that just about anything you can do on the internal display of the Razr can be done on the external display too.
I really don’t get why Samsung didn’t go down that route, because it seems like such an obvious step, especially as this is exactly what it does with the Fold5. Open an app on its inner screen, and you can transfer that to the outer screen with ease. I live in hope that maybe the Flip5 will add that as a software upgrade down the track… but you should never buy any hardware on the hopes of what it might do, only what it can do when you buy it. This round I have to give to the Razr.
Samsung Galaxy Flip5 vs Motorola Razr Ultra 40: Battery
From day one with the Flip phones, I had a problem. That problem was battery life, because it’s historically not been good, especially for a premium phone. The Flip4 made some inroads with making the most out of its meagre battery allocation, and I’m hopeful that the optimisations in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 can take it even further, especially given the extra power draw of that external display.
It’s got its work cut out for it, though, because the Razr 40 Ultra is the second best folding phone for battery life I’ve ever tested. The best, if you’re curious, is the Razr 2022, its immediate predecessor. Here’s what I managed to get out of it from a one hour YouTube battery test from a full battery, compared against other foldable options running the same test:
If you’re wondering why there’s no Oppo Find N2 Flip in there, it’s’ because they’ve yet to send me one for review. Oppo knows where to find me if it wants to.
Samsung Galaxy Flip5 vs Motorola Razr Ultra 40: Price
The Motorola Razr 40 Ultra is less expensive than any model of the Flip5, though that’s perhaps not the only value equation to take into consideration. The Razr 40 Ultra is (at the time of writing) only available as an outright purchase phone, where the Flip5 will be stocked by carriers and also has some interesting pre-order bonuses depending on where you get it from. That could tip the value scales a little more in its favour.
I’m waiting to get the Flip5 in for more concrete testing to properly answer that question. Stay tuned…