Samsung is likely to use a novel type of hinge in its upcoming flagship foldable device, and a South Korean trade newspaper has now provided additional confirmation. Samsung has reportedly begun reliability testing a new water drop-style hinge for the next Galaxy Z Fold 5, which was spotted by 9to5Google, according to The Elec.
With the main screen opened, the new hinge design would help make the phone appear less creased and make it slimmer when folded. Nevertheless, this source indicates that Samsung is only testing the hinge to resist 200,000 folds, which is less than the 400,000 fold rating of current rivals like the Honor Magic VS and Oppo Find N2.
Although the Elec’s report mentions that the hinge would be tested up to a “limit” of 300,000 folds, it appears that the key hurdle that this design needs to pass is 200,000 folds. The hinge must retain at least 85% of its initial strength after folding 200,000 times (which takes four to five days!). If you open the phone just a little bit more than 100 times each day throughout that test, it should roughly simulate five years of everyday use. On the other hand, the Magic VS and Locate N2 would last for around 10 years, which is a very long time in terms of consumer electronics.
To be fair to Samsung, the Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4 both have IPX8 designations for water resistance; neither the Find N2 nor the Magic VS has any sort of IP rating. It’s not much consolation to know that your non-waterproof foldable phone would have continued to fold for a further eight years if you dropped it in a puddle two years after purchasing it.
Still, we’re optimistic that Samsung will extend the capabilities of its folding devices this year. In the US, where there is little competition, it has essentially been running unchallenged for Book of the Year the last couple of years. We’ll just cross our fingers for bigger cover displays and better cameras and hope that Samsung feels a little more pressure to innovate this year with more contestants (hopefully) in the running.