The latest rumors point to a redesigned hinge that folds flat
If you were being pedantic, you might call Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 4 a bendable rather than a foldable. Its hinge, while one of the best in the business from a usability standpoint, doesn't allow the two halves of the flexible AMOLED inner screen to come together, instead leaving a gap that adds a substantial bit of girth to the phone's folded form. This has been the case ever since the first Galaxy Fold debuted four years ago, but the latest leaks seem to indicate that the Galaxy Z Fold 5 will fold completely flat.
Prolific Samsung leaker Ice Universe posted some juicy details about the upcoming flagship on Chinese social media site Weibo (via SamMobile), mirroring previous leaks about a redesigned hinge in the Fold 5. The two halves of the device should now meet at the hinge, which will reduce the phone's overall thickness in its folded form from roughly 16 millimeters at its widest point to somewhere around 13 millimeters.
Ice Universe's Weibo post, translated from Chinese by Google
This design has numerous benefits. Not only will the folded form factor be thinner, but it should also be uniform in thickness instead of tapered. The hinge also bends the display less, giving it a teardrop shape when the phone is closed, which should lead to a less pronounced crease on the inner display.
The same leaker posted a followup tweet reiterating the Weibo information and adding that the new hinge design will allow the Fold 5 to maintain the IP68 dust and water resistance rating of its predecessor. Interestingly, Samsung had patented a teardrop-style hinge in 2016, years before the first Fold's release, but reportedly didn't want to use the design until it could be refined enough to allow for waterproofing.
Its unclear if this same hinge style will make its way into the Galaxy Z Flip 5, but Samsung has always mirrored its larger foldable’s design in its clamshell foldable series, so there’s reason for hope. Meanwhile, the Flip 5 is rumored to be getting a much larger cover screen, and both devices are said to be equipped with some familiar storage options, so it should be a big year for Samsung’s folding phones.
Conclusion on The Galaxy Z Fold 5 could be a lot thinner thanks to Samsung's teardrop hinge
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