Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6 both tipped for price hikes — this is a huge mistake

Leaked promo image of Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6
(Image credit: Slashleaks)

There's never a good time for a price hike. But if Samsung is considering raising prices on the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6, it couldn't have picked a worse time than right now.

The new foldables haven't been announced yet — that's supposed to happen next month when Samsung holds its next Galaxy Unpacked event. (That event hasn't been announced either, but rumors suggest it will be as soon as July 10.) And when they do, well-established leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer (better known as OnLeaks) thinks the Fold and the Flip will both carry higher prices than their predecessors. Hemmerstoffer is predicting a $100 boost across the board, impacting every configuration of the new foldables.

Mind you, this is just a rumor at this point, and it's the only indication we've heard so far that prices are going up on Samsung's foldables. When we finally see the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6, Samsung could announce that nothing's happening to the respective starting prices of $1,799 and $999.

And I hope that's the case. Because charging more for either the Fold or the Flip would be bad news for would-be shoppers and an even worse development for Samsung itself.

Are these upgrades worth the price hike?

Galaxy Z Flip 6 2nd render

(Image credit: SmartPrix & @OnLeaks)

We only have rumors to go on at this point, so Samsung could always surprise us with new features that place the latest Galaxy Z Fold and Flip models miles ahead of their predecessors. But based on what we've heard so far about the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6, that's not the case.

That's not to say these won't be good updates with needed improvements. But the rumors circulating about both phones right now suggest that we're looking at iterative changes at best, not the kind of revolutionary additions that make us rethink what a foldable should be.

The Galaxy Z Flip 6 is in line to get the most significant changes, particularly when it comes to cameras. After using a pair of 12MP sensors for its external cameras from Day One, the latest Flip is expected to upgrade its main camera to a 50MP sensor. Additionally, the cover screen on the Z Flip 6 is expected to grow even more after last year's expansion, with the outer panel now providing 3.9 inches of space. That should make it easier to perform tasks on the Galaxy Z Flip 6 without having to open up the flip phone.

No one's going to complain about changes like those. But no one's going to think that's worth $1,099 instead of $999, either.

Galaxy Z Fold 6 render

(Image credit: SmartPrix)

Potential Galaxy Z Fold 6 hardware improvements are even less dramatic. Samsung will reportedly change the aspect ratio of the cover display to make it easier to write and work on the exterior panel. Like the Z Flip 6, the Galaxy Z Fold 6 is in line to get a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset. And apart from some tweaks to weight and durability, that's about all we're expecting. A hardware revolution this isn't.

Samsung's next foldables should introduce new Galaxy AI features — possibly even features that relate to the devices' unique designs and multitasking capabilities. But after the Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24 Plus added Galaxy AI without price hikes, it would look funny to charge more for the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6 simply because the phones are a bit smarter than their predecessors. (Keep in mind, software updates have added Galaxy AI features to the existing Galaxy Fold and Flip models.)

The competition's tougher

OnePlus Open and Google Pixel Fold next to one another.

OnePlus Open (let) and Google Pixel Fold (right) (Image credit: Future)

Samsung is no longer introducing its foldable phones in a vacuum. After years of pretty much having this segment of the phone market to itself, Samsung now faces competitors with foldable devices of their own. And in some cases, those rival phones are beating Samsung at its own game.

For example, two weeks or so before the rumored Galaxy Unpacked event, Motorola is hosting its own product launch, where we expect to see that company's latest flip phones, highlighted by the Motorola Razr Plus (2024). The 2023 edition of that device is our favorite flip phone-style foldable right now — yes, even beating the Galaxy Z Flip 5 — and we're eager to see what kind of improvements Motorola has in store.

The Galaxy Z Fold faces competition of its own, with both OnePlus and Google releasing similar models. Reports claim we won't see a OnePlus Open 2 this year, but it's very likely a new Google Pixel Fold is coming in the fall as part of Google's Pixel 9 lineup.

With more foldable phones out there competing for shoppers' attention, charging more for the Fold and Flip would seem like the last thing Samsung would want to do. Imagine if the price of the Galaxy Z Fold 6 were to jump to $1,899 as that one pricing rumor suggests, only to have Google hold the line on the $1,799 cost of the Pixel 9 Pro Fold — or if Google found a way to drop its foldable's price. That's not to be good for business at Samsung.

Samsung foldable price outlook

To be fair to Samsung, it may not have much of a choice when it comes to the price of its foldables. It's undeniable that the cost of phone parts is going up. It's also not coincidental that the only Galaxy S24 model to exclusively feature the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset — the Galaxy S24 Ultra — saw its price go up by $100. (The Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24 Plus used a mix of the Snapdragon chipset as well as Samsung's own Exynos 2400 silicon.)

Still, the relatively modest changes rumored for this year's Fold and Flip models would make a higher price tag harder to swallow, and the number of foldable alternatives makes any price increase even more ill-advised. And that's before we consider that there are plenty of phones with conventional designs that cost less than the Galaxy Z Fold while delivering impressive features — including AI — in their own right.

Again, all this could be fretting over nothing, if Galaxy Unpacked rolls around and the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6 wind up costing the same as their predecessors. But it's important that phone makers realize how make-or-break pricing is, if foldable devices are going to get adopted by more people.

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Philip Michaels

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.