Following Samsung’s event promoting its latest batch of foldables, analysts welcomed improvements to the company’s Flip option, but pointed to challenges in persuading consumers to upgrade given the lack of obvious changes to the larger Fold model.

Samsung presented the Galaxy Z Fold5 and the Galaxy Z Flip5 in South Korea earlier today (26 July), with the major promotion at the event around a larger screen on the front of the latter, and upgraded hinges and screens on both.

CCS Insight chief analyst and CMO Ben Wood highlighted the most important upgrade across the pair of devices is the “introduction of the Samsung Flex Hinge, which enables a zero-gap design which has become a common element on rival devices,” pointing to the increasingly-competitive nature of the foldable market.

“The competitive landscape for foldable smartphones has intensified, and Samsung needed to step up. The Galaxy Z Flip5 and Galaxy Z Fold5 offer iterative improvements over their predecessors,” he noted, adding the former was the “star of the show”.

“Although it’s not the first flip foldable to have a large external display, the 3.4-inch cover screen is striking and a significant upgrade to the 1.9-inch display on previous models,” Wood added.

However, the analyst added perceived durability issues with the form-factor were still a major concern for consumers, as he welcomed the addition of stronger screens and water resistance in the latest launches.

PP Foresight analyst Paolo Pescatore agreed the Flip device was the highlight of the event and the company’s standout product in the foldable category, again highlighting the external display.

“There will be mixed fortunes for Samsung’s latest foldable devices. The new Flip should perform better than the Fold as it will resonate with a wider range of consumers.”

Tough sell
Pescatore added the “ongoing challenge is getting users to upgrade, with what they perceive to be incremental improvements on previous models, particularly when most are tightening their belts”.

“It will be a challenge for Samsung to articulate the merits of the new Fold when the updates are hardly noticeable to users, that’s why it is increasingly being positioned as a productivity device.”

In a social media post, Opensignal VP of analysis Ian Fogg offered a physical assessment of the devices, noting the crease remained visible but is “less prominent”.

“All of the new products are impressive in-person. But this year’s designs appear at first glance to be evolutionary with a very similar appearance to previous models: this makes it harder for Samsung to communicate the many improvements to potential buyers.”

“Visibly-different designs are easier to position as new and compelling and tend to sell better, especially in a difficult economic market.”

Wood noted although Samsung’s ongoing investments in premium-tier foldable smartphones are “an important differentiator over arch-rival Apple”, he said “beating the iPhone still remains a daunting task despite Samsung’s scale and breadth in consumer electronics”.