If This Galaxy Z Fold 5 Hinge Test Report Is True, Samsung May Have A Problem

You could forgive Samsung for any early durability concerns when it first launched the original Galaxy Z Fold back in 2019. After all, flexible OLED displays are a fairly new phenomenon in this form factor, and we should be happy that the tech exists at all. Still, when you're asked to pay a mortgage's worth of cash for something, you want to be sure it lasts.

Thankfully, three iterations later, we haven't seen many major, widespread issues that would have foldable enthusiasts running back to traditional smartphones. Some now swear by the Fold, accepting its love handles, crease and all. However, we're just now nearing the point where even the earliest adopters should be pressing up against Samsung's stated lifespan claims.

The hinge on the original Galaxy Fold was rated to withstand 200,000 folds, which works out to about five years if you average 110 folds per day. Five years can feel like a lifetime when it comes to smartphone ownership, but believe it or not, there's a sizable portion of consumers who don't mind going the distance until they literally can't.

Fast forward to the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and things haven't changed much. It's still 200,000 folds minimum, though a new Elec report suggests Samsung is aiming for a hard upper limit of 300,000 in the Z Fold 5 before you might see major issues. While it still seems an acceptable number, competitors are starting to make Samsung seem stagnant by claiming much better durability.

Samsung durability claims lag behind competitors

When you look at devices like the Oppo Find N2 and Find N2 Flip with a 400,000-fold rating, when considering Samsung's massive head start, you might start to wonder whether it's even trying. However, we'd caution against making such apples-to-apples comparisons, even between devices that look and function so similarly.

For one, you have to consider the engineering goals between the two. Samsung has long pushed the bar for sleekness, always making a point to try and get its phones as thin as possible.

When we compare the difference between the original Galaxy Z Fold and the Galaxy Z Fold 4's thickest points — 16mm and 15.8mm, respectively — we can see that it hasn't been able to move the needle much. But with the Galaxy Z Fold 5 rumored to be no thicker than 14mm, this can impact its potential durability dramatically, even if Samsung has made ample structural improvements.

Back to the Oppo comparison, the Find N2 is coming in at 16mm thick, which doesn't sound like a sizable difference on paper, but you'd likely notice it with both phones in hand.

We also don't know what Oppo considers a respectable threshold for durability at that 400,000 mark — is that normal wear and tear for the hinge to lose just a fraction of its strength, or is that literally its breaking point? We can't answer that today, but that won't stop competitors from using such a big gap as a prime selling point.