Why I didn’t buy the Galaxy S24 Ultra, but the Z Fold 5 in 2024

It’s 2024, and the Galaxy S24 Ultra just came out. A new year, a new flagship from Samsung – that’s two reasons to consider freshening things up…

Life’s quirky like that – you gotta keep it interesting, and try new things. At least I constantly feel that way.

I only just bought my iPhone 15 three months ago, and already I’ve switched to a different phone, but it’s not the new Galaxy S24 Ultra, even though that was the plan initially.

So yeah…

I’m finally switching away from the iPhone…

…And I definitely needed a bigger reason than the S24 Ultra to do that switch, because I’ve been picking mostly fruit-based phones for the last three years. With that in mind, switching back to Android was never going to be a smooth transition, in part due to the fabled Apple walled garden.

Jumping from my iPhone 15 to the Galaxy S24 Ultra just doesn’t feel like enough, because at the end of the day, it’s basically me going from one flagship slab to another, while losing a lot of the Apple-only apps and features that I use on the daily.

The iPhone 15 and Galaxy S24 Ultra aren’t that different, if you think about it – just two major companies’ predictable, safe annual upgrades meant for the masses. Nothing wrong with that, but nothing overly-exciting either.

But the Galaxy Z Fold 5… now that’s a phone capable of converting any tech fan into an Android user, no matter how much they love their iPhone.

Unlike its predecessors, the Z Fold 5 is ready to bring people over to the Google side with no regrets, because it’s finally an absolutely polished folding phone, following four generations of trial and error.

It feels premium, about as weighty as an average flagship, folds flat, unfolds without creaking, with a big, flexible screen that still manages to feel pretty hard to the touch, and thus – seems like it should last.

Choosing a modern Z Fold no longer feels like a crapshoot, now that you can definitely tell that this thing is built to last. Will it start tearing? Will it go kaput after the first time that I inevitably drop it? According to Samsung, and everyone who publicly tested its durability – it appears that – nope, it should be good for a long while.

So I chose the Z Fold 5 over the Galaxy S24 Ultra. But it wasn’t just my need for justification that made me ignore the S24 Ultra.

Believe it or not, where I live, the Z Fold 5 is actually a few petty bucks cheaper than the Galaxy S24 Ultra

As I mentioned earlier, I was initially eyeing the Galaxy S24 Ultra when it came out, planning to buy that slab powerhouse instead. But luckily I first did a little price check on all Samsung flagships, and lo and behold – here in Europe I can actually get the Z Fold 5 for less than what an S24 Ultra costs at launch. Insane!

Over here the S24 Ultra starts at about $1,462, while the Z Fold 5 starts at about $1,451. So yeah, 11 bucks cheaper! I don’t know if I’m supposed to blame import taxes or local markups.

Regardless – are you kidding me? Of course I’d rather get the cool folding phone! So yeah, price played a role in my choice, and I’m actually pretty thankful for it, because I feel like I would have regretted an S24 Ultra purchase pretty quickly, considering I just bought an iPhone 15 only 3 months ago, while a Z Fold 5 actually feels like a major leap that I can stand behind.

For reference for our US-based readers, in the States the S24 Ultra starts at a much cheaper $1,299, while the Z Fold 5 goes for $1,799, unless you catch a deal or discount.

The iPhone is a great phone, and so is the Galaxy S24 Ultra, but I’m greedy, I want more than that – a phone, a tablet, and a PC

This revelation won’t shock anybody, but I’m not an average phone user. I’m what they call a power user, as I like to push every device I own to its absolute limits, test its capabilities, and do a lot more with it than what most people will ever attempt. Why? Because it’s fun for me – why not?

Thing is, the iPhone is just a phone. A great one, but that’s it. It’s definitely not trying to go beyond that, as Apple wants you to buy an iPad if you want more, and preferably also a MacBook if you want even more.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, meanwhile, is like: “I am the only device you’ll ever need, my friend.”

It’s a great phone, but additionally a solid tablet, and even a PC replacement if you want it to be, thanks to its DeX desktop mode feature.

But I’ll be real – power user or not, at the end of the day my big issue with phones is not being able to watch YouTube videos on a screen that small.

My iPhone, or the Galaxy S24 Ultra, which I also tried out, both don’t do it for me, so I don’t know how some of you guys watch even full movies on them. The screens are just too tiny for my eyesight.

The Z Fold 5‘s folding 7.6-inch display is something else, though. Sure, to be fair, unless you pinch to zoom your videos, you get black bars at the top and bottom of the screen, and not a much larger viewing experience than the usual, but I can live with cropping some of the image to fill this big screen.

And if you watch 90s shows as much as I do, which were traditionally filmed in a 4:3 aspect ratio, you’ll be happy to know that those fill the screen almost ideally, unlike modern 16:9 content.

The Z Fold 5‘s screen is also great for multitasking, but do I actually use it for that? To be honest – not as much as I expected. Rarely do I feel the need to use two apps at a time, let alone more, and even if I do, simply switching between them the traditional way works pretty well.

But it’s good to know that you can split the screen between three apps, and throw even more on top if you feel adventurous, which are all things the good ol’ iPhone refuses to do even in 2024.

Its Android competitor – the Galaxy S24 Ultra can do it, but considering its “small”, traditional 6.8-inch screen, split screening apps isn’t exactly worth it, unless you’re cool with reading 4 lines of text at a time, or viewing half an Instagram post.

No joke – the Z Fold 5 feels thinner than the S24 Ultra, and isn’t much heavier than it, or the iPhone 15 Pro Max

I wasn’t totally on board with the Z Fold 5‘s tall candybar shape when closed, but it grew on me. It’s perfect for one-handed use; easy to hold, easy to reach the sides of the screen. Typing is kind of a problem due to how narrow the outer display is, but hey, when it’s time for a nice, long chat, or immersive entertainment, just unfold the phone.

Unfolded the Z Fold 5 feels like the thinnest, nicest tablet that ever was. It is indeed shockingly thin and light, a feat of Samsung engineering, a work of art in terms of its design.

For some reference – the iPad mini 6 is nearly 300 grams, and 6.3 mm thick. Meanwhile the Z Fold 5 is just 253 grams, and unfolded – only 6.1 mm thick. That’s barely any heavier than an iPhone 15 Pro Max or a Galaxy S24 Ultra, mind you, so for someone who’s used to these flagships – the Z Fold 5 doesn’t feel heavier, nor thicker, even though it understandably is, especially when closed.

I remember giving the Z Fold 4 a go a while back, but it just didn’t feel this nice. Likely because its hinge design didn’t allow it to close flat, or perhaps its 10 extra grams, but regardless – I definitely get to appreciate the seemingly small, but not really, design upgrades Samsung managed to give the Z Fold 5.

iPhone: “You can’t do that.”; Z Fold 5: “Sure you can, go ahead, champ!!!”

How’s my switch to Android going? Stay tuned to find out, as in the coming days, I’m about to reveal some major reasons why iPhone users avoid having to switch to Android, based on this experience. Spoiler alert – it’s not just the walled Apple garden.

For now I’ll just mention that having a phone that lets me do absolutely anything I want is very refreshing. Not to say Apple hasn’t been trying to give the iPhone more and more customization features, but that’s still nothing compared to what Android lets users do, and all the features Samsung throws on top of it.

And kudos to Samsung for its software too! Its OneUI operating system has made my transition to Android easier, because it has all the iPhone features I’m used to using, and they work suspiciously similarly. From screen recording, to Bixby setting my basic timers and stuff, to cropping a screenshot – it all feels very familiar to an iPhone user, and that’s a good thing.

But I’ll end it here for today, and ask you – would you rather buy the new Galaxy S24 Ultra, or would you go with a Galaxy Z Fold 5, or Z Flip 5, or perhaps a Google Pixel Fold; just anything more extravagant than a slab phone? Which phone will you be rocking in 2024, and why?

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