Skip to main content

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 may get a feature I’ve been waiting years for

Samsung has enjoyed free rein in the foldable smartphone segment for a few years now. But the competition is finally here, and some of them have already surpassed Samsung’s foldables in a handful of crucial areas. Now, it looks like Samsung is ready to take the next step, and the upcoming Galaxy Z Flip 5 might just be the device that definitively propels the company to the top once again.

According to leaker IceUniverse, the next clamshell foldable phone from Samsung will have a cover display bigger than the Oppo Find N2 Flip. Oppo’s latest offers a 3.26-inch external display when closed, and thanks to the larger screen real estate, it can handle a lot more tasks than the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s 1.9-inch secondary display can accomplish.

Notifications on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Oppo Find N2 Flip cover screens.
Find N2 Flip (left) and Galaxy Z Flip 4 Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Right now, the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s screen is limited to basic tasks like checking notifications, controlling basic widgets and quick setting toggles, and paying with Samsung Pay. There is not much you can do in terms of customization, especially app-level functionalities.

There are third-party workarounds like CoverScreen, which lets you run every single installed app in the tiny cover display. The experience is delightful thanks to the sheer existence of it, but it’s not perfect, and some of the truly convenient features are hidden behind a paywall.

Fixing the biggest flaw of an otherwise terrific foldable

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 with CoverScreen OS and app drawer
Can you just imagine an app drawer on the Galaxy Z Flip 5’s larger cover display? Nadeem Sarwar / DigitalTrends

With a larger screen at its disposal, Samsung can dramatically supercharge the Galaxy Z Flip 5’ screen, allowing it to do a lot more than just act as a bare-bones, at-a-glance secondary screen that’s only good enough for checking time and notifications.

Samsung likely won’t port the entire One UI 5.1 experience to the cover screen, but allowing users to at least create shortcuts for their favorite apps and accomplish tasks without flipping the phone open would be a huge convenience. In fact, it would be a better implementation of a “digital detox” secondary screen. Letting users perform app-specific quick tasks right from the cover display would keep them from opening the phone and getting distracted by other irrelevant content appearing on the larger, more immersive inner foldable screen.

With a larger screen at its disposal, Samsung can dramatically supercharge the Galaxy Z Flip 5’ screen.

We’ve lately been hearing rumors of a redesigned hinge for the Galaxy Z Fold 5 that will pave the way for a truly gapless design between the two halves of the phone. Given the shared history of engineering progress between the Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Fold line, it is plausible that Samsung will give the same treatment to its next clamshell foldable,as well.

It is safe to assume that Samsung will arm the Galaxy Z Flip 5 with one of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 series processors, and might officially break cover around August of this year. However, all that firepower will truly shine with a bigger cover display that can get some real work done, and I can’t wait to see that happen.

Editors' Recommendations

Nadeem Sarwar
Nadeem is a tech journalist who started reading about cool smartphone tech out of curiosity and soon started writing…
I thought I’d hate the Galaxy Z Flip 5 — until I changed one thing
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 with its cover screen on.

It's been a little under a month since I got my Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5, and throughout most of that time, I've thoroughly enjoyed every second with it. I was already quite fond of the Galaxy Z Flip 4 last year, and the Flip 5 addresses my main complaint of its predecessor: the cover screen.

The 1.9-inch cover screen on the Flip 4 was fine for viewing notifications or paying with Samsung Pay ... but that was about it. If I wanted to interact with the phone in any meaningful way, I always had to open it up. But with the 3.4-inch cover screen on the Galaxy Z Flip 5, that hasn't been the case this year. I'm able to do so much more with the cover screen than ever before, and it's greatly enhanced the practicality of having a flip phone.

Read more
My camera test of the two best flip phones was frustratingly close
The back of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 4.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 (left) and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Fingers were pointed accusingly in Samsung’s direction when the Galaxy Z Flip 5 was launched — largely due to the cameras, on paper, not being upgraded over the Galaxy Z Flip 4. But was this indignation justified?

Read more
I spent 3 days with the Galaxy Z Fold 5. It’s not what I expected
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 half folded on a showcase.

Samsung’s new Galaxy Z Fold 5 looks like an incremental update on paper. It’s got the same camera hardware, the same form factor with a narrow cover screen, and the same battery capacity as its predecessor. Much like most of you, I thought it to be a minor upgrade over the Fold 4 when it was unveiled at the Galaxy Unpacked event last month. But it’s not.

While the differences over the Galaxy Z Fold 4 can’t be seen in photos of the two phones side by side, they can be experienced. I’m calling the Galaxy Z Fold 5 an experiential upgrade because most of the upgrades can only be felt once you hold the device in your hand or use it for a couple of days. And once you do that, you quickly realize how much better it really is.
The thinner, lighter design is a game changer
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 (left) and Galaxy Z Fold 5 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Read more