We have good reason to believe that Samsung will put a new kind of hinge in its next flagship foldable, and a South Korean trade publication has just supplied more confirmation. Spotted by 9to5Google, The Elec reports that Samsung has started reliability testing a new water drop-style hinge for the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 5.
The new hinge design would make the folded phone thinner and help reduce the appearance of a crease with the main screen unfolded. But according to this report, Samsung is testing the hinge to withstand 200,000 folds like the last one, which falls short of longevity claims from recent competitors like the Honor Magic VS and Oppo Find N2 — both rated to 400,000 folds.
The Elec’s report does mention that the hinge would be tested to a maximum “limit” of 300,000 folds, but 200,000 folds seems to be the main bar that this design needs to clear. After folding 200,000 times (which takes four to five days!), the hinge needs to maintain at least 85 percent of its original strength. That test, in theory, represents about five years of daily use if you open the phone a little more than 100 times per day. The Magic VS and Find N2, on the other hand, would last for around 10 years, which is roughly an eternity in consumer electronics years.
The Z Fold 4’s hinge design leaves a noticeable crease in the main display — hard to see straight-on, but it’s visible at an angle.
Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge
In fairness to Samsung, the Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4 boast IPX8 water resistance ratings — neither the Find N2 nor Magic VS has an IP rating of any kind. If you drop your non-water-resistant foldable phone in a puddle two years into ownership, it’s not much comfort knowing that it would have kept folding for another eight years.
Still, we’re hoping to see Samsung pushing the limits of its folding devices a little further this year. It’s been basically running unopposed for Foldable of the Year the past couple of years in the US, where competition is scarce. With more candidates (hopefully) in the mix this year, it would be nice if Samsung felt a little more pressure to innovate — we’ll just keep our fingers crossed for bigger cover screens and better cameras.