Samsung promised that it would roll out more affordable foldable phones this year. Its first step in that direction includes a phone you may be familiar with.
The phone maker kicked off this week by cutting the price on the Galaxy Z Flip 5G by $250, which lowers the cost of Samsung's flip phone to $1,199. That's the lowest price Samsung has ever set for a foldable device.
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More significantly, it's also the same price Samsung charges for the new Galaxy S21 Ultra, the centerpiece device in the new Galaxy S21 lineup. Not that you should ever confuse a $1,200 handset with a budget device, but the Galaxy Z Flip 5G's price cut is clearly a step toward Samsung making its foldable devices more affordable.
To that end, as part of a current promotion, you can save up to $1,000 on your Galaxy Z Flip 5G when you trade in your current phone. Normally, Samsung offers a $450 trade-in on rebates.
Galaxy Z Flip 5G: What you need to know
The Galaxy Z Flip debuted a year ago, and it was the first Samsung foldable to arrive fully polished. The handset took the flip-phone design of yesteryear and added a foldable 6.7-inch screen that was strengthened by the addition of a layer of ultra-thin glass. That gave the Z Flip a durable feel that had eluded previous Flip models.
The Z Flip also had a strong hinge that allowed you to open the phone in different positions, enabling a feature called Flex Mode.
When you open your Z Flip at a 90-degree angle, you can split the screen in certain apps to handle different functions — a viewing area for YouTube, for example, augmented by an area where you could control playback and add comments. The feature proved so successful, Samsung adapted Flex Mode for the Galaxy Z Fold 2.
In announcing the new $1,199 price of the Galaxy Z Flip 5G, Samsung also touted some of the special features it has built into its foldable flip phone. Those include multitasking, which lets you run two apps at once on the Z Flip's main screen as well as the ability to use the phone's 1.1-inch exterior display as a view finder for selfies.
In addition, by double-tapping on the Z Flip's home button, you can enable one-handed mode, which scales down what's on the display so you can reach it with one hand.
Galaxy Z Flip 5G: Should you buy it?
The Galaxy Z Flip 5G is certainly a more tempting option these days than it was at $1,449. But there are a couple things to consider before you mash that "Buy" button.
For starters, price cuts like this generally signal that a company is hoping to rid itself of inventory in advance of new product releases. And we've heard rumors that Samsung has a Galaxy Z Flip sequel in the works. While there's no immediate time frame on when that phone may come out, rumors are also picking up about the Galaxy Z Fold 3, a new version of Samsung's foldable that could arrive as soon as May if not in the second half of this year.
Samsung has made no secret of its desire to make more foldables. Samsung Electronics president TM Roh said at the end of 2020 that the company was seeing "growing momentum" from its foldable business and vowed to keep that up in the new year.
"We'll be expanding our portfolio of foldables, so this groundbreaking category is more accessible to everyone," Roh said at the time.
Whether a cheaper Galaxy Z Flip ticks the box for more affordable foldables or Samsung has even lower-cost devices in the pipeline remains to be seen. Other reports claim Samsung's efforts include rollable and slidable phones in addition to foldables, so it's likely we haven't heard the last from the phone maker on this front.
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Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.