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Buying a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5? Make sure to order this model

You can get Samsung's flagship foldable phone in 5 different colors this year, but I've got an important recommendation before you buy one.
Written by Jason Hiner, Editor in Chief

Samsung offers two online-exclusive colors of the Fold 5 with unique matte finishes that have several benefits.

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

For Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, I've gone hands-on with all this year's color variants in the run-up to the official launch on August 11 and I discovered something unexpected: two of the colors are actually superior to the others in multiple ways. 

Here's the deal. The Fold 5 comes in three standard colors: Phantom Black, Cream, and Icy Blue. Their metal parts all have shiny chrome finishes with tints to match the colors. These three are the models that will soon appear in stores and be sold by the wireless carriers. 

Hands on: These 3 Samsung Z Fold 5 upgrades make it ready for wider appeal

However, Samsung also offers the Fold 5 in two additional colors -- Blue and Gray (a very light gray that's more like off-white) -- that are online-exclusives this year. Normally, that wouldn't be a big deal. But these two online exclusives come with a matte finish, both on the back color panel and on the exclusive "Deep Gray" metal finish on the rest of the phone. 


The online exclusives include a Deep Gray matte finish on the hinge on other metal parts of the Fold 5.

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

After using both the Blue and Gray models for about an hour alongside the other standard finishes, I discovered that they are much nicer to hold in your hand. They are more tactile and less slippery, which makes it more likely that you could get by without using a case. And that's an added plus this year because with the new Flex Hinge, the device folds completely flat and is almost 20% thinner when folded. If you also use it without a case, the Fold 5 is going to feel even less bulky in your pocket or bag. 

Also: Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic vs. Watch 5 Pro: Which smartwatch is best for you?

The other advantage to the matte finish is that it doesn't pick up fingerprints and smudges as easily. Lastly, the two finishes look very sharp and distinctive. They even have a slight design flourish that adds to their visual appeal. While the three standard finishes have an oval around the back cameras that matches the back color panel, on the two matte finishes the oval around the camera carries over the Deep Gray color from the metal to provide a little extra symmetry. 

Again, you won't be able to buy the two matte finish models in stores since they are online exclusives through Samsung. You have to purchase directly on samsung.com or from the Shop Samsung app. Clearly, even just the look of the matte finish in Blue is attracting potential customers, because as of the time this article has published the estimated delivery on that model has already been pushed out by almost a month from Aug. 11 to Sep. 8. 

The challenge, of course, is that if you purchase directly from Samsung then you may not be able to apply any discounts from your wireless carrier.

Also: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4: Should you upgrade?

The Z Flip 5 also has the same online-exclusive matte finish options, although it gets two additional colors -- Yellow and Green. These also look terrific and all four of the matte colors for the Flip 5 have the same benefits mentioned above for the Fold 5, although the Flip is already a device that's easier to use without a case because it is smaller, lighter, and easier to hold with one hand. Again, if you want one of the four matte versions of the Flip 5, you'll have to purchase directly from samsung.com or via the Shop Samsung app.

Disclosure: The cost of Jason Hiner's travel to South Korea for Unpacked was covered by Samsung, a common industry practice for long distance trips. The judgments and opinions of ZDNET's writers and editors are always independent of the companies we cover.

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