Samsung last night announced a new folding phone, the Galaxy Z Fold 5. It’s pretty powerful, but with such power comes a price: the 1TB model will set you back $3,149 ($2,599 for the 256GB and $2,799 for 512GB). The phone measures 129.9 x 154.9 x 6.1mm unfolded, giving you a lot of real estate. It also has some pretty decent specs, including the adoption of the S23 Ultra’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor.
With GPU/CPU improvements, as well as a larger vapour chamber (38 per cent larger than the Galaxy Fold 4) that means it’ll stay cooler for longer, it comes as no surprise that Samsung is marketing this thing as the perfect phone to game on.
I wanted to dive into this a bit more, especially considering many of you might have some questions/be shooting daggers at Samsung for all of its gaming-adjacent fanfare.
“It’s not us coming in and saying, ‘this device is going to compete with your console or your PC’, it’s that those lines are starting to blur,” Samsung vice president of mobile experience Garry McGregor told Kotaku Australia.
“And if we are starting to disrupt that space, that’s a good thing for everyone.”
‘Mobile gamers’ is probably a term a lot of you have heard ad nauseam, but whatever your position on it, there’s no denying it is MUCH easier sitting on a train playing on your phone than it is pulling out a 50kg (exaggeration) gaming laptop that you’ve had to carry around all day just to use for 30 minutes on the train. And Samsung wants to be that phone you use for phone things but also gaming things.
“[The Z Fold 5 and the S23 Ultra] are giving you the best experience on mobile,” McGregor added. “People are, whether we like it or not, people are more addicted to their screens than ever before and they want that continuity and we’re giving them a more viable option to have that mobility.”
The Z Fold 5 can be sat upright like a book, in an L-shape on the table, or opened like a small tablet. Samsung would be silly to not take advantage of that.
“In reality, I don’t believe screen sizes are going to get much bigger for smartphones. We’ve pushed the boundaries – you would then start moving into what becomes a tablet and human genetics are such that our hands aren’t going to get any bigger,” he added, noting that’s why the battle then becomes about how a company optimises the handset.
Adding to the Qualcomm chip is 120Hz (adaptive) refresh rate, Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity Flex display, 1750 nits of brightness – McGregor would argue that all starts to make a difference on what you’re gaming experience is. I tend to agree.
With ray tracing available, too, Samsung would be silly not to optimise the Galaxy Z Fold 5.
So, why not make a handheld console then, if Samsung cares so much about the mobile gaming experience?
“It’s a little bit like the laptop space as well,” McGregor said. “It’s an incredibly competitive market to get into … it’s tough, it’s very, very tough.
“Within Samsung, we have a very clear consumer electronics line, and then we have a mobility line as well. To move into the gaming sector would be really, really interesting.”
But he’d never say never with a business like Samsung.
Asha Barbaschow travelled to Seoul as a guest of Samsung Australia.