Fold-flation — I asked Samsung about the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6 price hikes

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

Maybe this could be the first question you ask of Google Gemini AI when you get the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6 out of the box: "Why do you cost $100 more?"

Or maybe you'll decide not to buy one of Samsu g's new foldable phones because of the price hikes. I mean, $1,799 was already a lot of money for the Galaxy Z Fold 5, but $1,899 for the Galaxy Z Fold 6 feels like we're going in the wrong direction if the goal is to make this category more mainstream.

"The price hike is a bold move by Samsung," says Nabila Popal, senior research director at IDC. "To me, it gives a strong statement that says Samsung believes the upgrades offered in device are worth it."

Meanwhile, the Galaxy Z Flip 6 starts at $1,099, which is also $100 more than the Galaxy Z Flip 5. This at a time that Motorola's new Razr Plus 2024 still costs the same $999 as the 2023 version, and that's with a bigger cover display and upgraded chipset on the new model.

Yes, there are some attractive Galaxy Z Fold 6 preorder deals and Z Flip 6 deals that can bring the prices way down. But what's going on here and what are you getting for your extra dollars? And what does Samsung have to say about it? Let's break it down. 

Galaxy Z Fold 6 price: What do you get for $1,899?

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 playing Asphalt 9 game

(Image credit: Future)

As you'll see in my Galaxy Z Fold 6 hands-on review, this foldable phone does pack a bunch of improvements along with powerful new AI features. 

The Galaxy Z Fold 6 is both lighter and thinner than the Galaxy Z Fold 5, measuring under 0.5 inches when closed and coming in at 8.4 ounces. It's a notable difference versus the 0.53-inch profile and 8.9-ounce wight on the Z Fold 5. In fact, the new weight is the same as the iPhone 14 Pro Max I use daily (8.47 ounces). So we're getting to the point where carrying around a big-screen foldable doesn't come with a big penalty. 

"There's lots that help justify the $100 price hike — at least for me," says Popal. "Our research finds that 'thinness' and 'lightness' are important features to consumers when choosing the Fold device, so these upgrades will boost Samsung's sales and gain back some of its lost share in the foldable market." 

Other welcome upgrades for the Fold 6 include a slightly wider and bigger 6.3-inch cover display, which makes it less cramped for typing. And Samsung says they have made the device more durable overall, thanks to new materials for the cover display and an improved dual rail hinge with strengthened folding edge. The main screen is brighter, too, at 2,600 nits, up from 1,750 nits of peak brightness on the Fold 5.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 circle to search feature

(Image credit: Future)

The new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor should provide a performance boost, especially when it comes to AI tasks. And the Z Fold 6 can do a lot, including auto-summaries and transcriptions of your meetings and the ability to create compelling art with the Sketch to Image feature. I was really impressed by this during my hands-on time, even though you need to pay even more for an S Pen to use it.

Add in some fun photo features like AI-generated portraits and help writing emails, plus Google Gemini on board, and the Z Fold 6 is an AI powerhouse. But is it worth $100 more than the Z Fold 5?

"The biggest culprit for the $100 price hike is probably just inflation," says Avi Greengart, lead analyst at Techsponential. "But Samsung has upgraded the processors, made the hinges and displays more durable and updated the cameras."

Galaxy Z Flip 6 price: What do you get for $1,099?

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 hands-on.

(Image credit: Future)

The Galaxy Z Flip 6 seems like the more underwhelming foldable to me, partly because the cover display remains at 3.4 inches, compared to the mammoth 4-inch external screen on the Motorola Razr Plus. Samsung still doesn't let you run full apps on the cover screen without using a separate app. Instead, you're limited to Flex Window widgets.

Is this foldable worth $1,099 when Motorola has a regular Motorola Razr 2024 that sells for just $699?

"In the fold-smaller segment, Motorola's new Razr provides an option for those who want an exciting foldable at $700, and I expect that model to sell well, says Greengart. "However, it is important to remember that smartphones are heavily subsidized in the U.S., so the end consumer often doesn't pay retail prices."

There are some notable upgrades with the Galaxy Z Flip 6. You get increased durability just like the Z Fold 6 and there's a new 50MP main wide camera with 2x optical zoom capability. Thanks to Galaxy AI, you can reply to texts with Suggested replies on the outer display. And there's a new Auto Zoom feature when in FlexCam mode for automatically framing shots of you and your friends.

The Z Flip 6 is clearly an attention-grabbing phone. The AI extends to the wallpaper with a new Photo Ambient mode that can change in real-time based on the time of day and even the weather conditions. 

The biggest upgrade on the Z Flip 6 could be the battery, as it's 4,000 mAh. That's a notable jump from the 3,700 mAh cell on the Z Flip 5. Pair that with the more efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip in the Galaxy Z Flip 6 and this foldable should have serious staying power.

What Samsung says about the price hikes

Galaxy Unpacked 2024

(Image credit: Samsung)

To go a little deeper I asked Drew Blackard, vice president of mobile product marketing at Samsung, for his take on the price increase for the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6. 

"Our top priority is always to deliver an incredible product experience," said Blackard via email. "The Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6 set a new standard of mobile innovation for us and is our best foldable series yet enhanced by new Galaxy AI capabilities."

Blackard also highlights the fact that Samsung hasn't increase the cost for its foldable phones for the past few generations. For the Fold 6, Samsung it touting that this is their "lightest, slimmest, and most powerful Galaxy Fold ever with exciting new Galaxy AI capabilities."

With the Flip 6, Samsung's focus is on creating parity with the Galaxy S24, including the more powerful processor and better camera performance. Though you don't get the triple camera setup on the S24; the Flip 6 has just two rear cameras. 

Bottom line: Look for carrier and trade-in deals 

The Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6 price hikes are a bummer. Our full reviews will determine whether these are justified are not. But in the meantime, should you pre-order these foldables or wait?

The good news is that Samsung and wireless carriers are offering deep discounts on the Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6 to get you to upgrade. For example, Samsung is offering up to $1,500 off with trade-in and a free storage upgrade.

Verizon and AT&T are also offering trade-in deals with a free storage upgrade. So you can get the 512GB option for the same price as the 256GB model. Amazon and Best Buy are offering similar deals. Like Greengart said earlier, these kind of subsidized deals should keep you from paying full price for your new Samsung phone.

But even broken up with monthly payments, chances are you're going to pay more for Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Flip 6 than you would with the Fold 5 and Flip 5. And that doesn't exactly make we want to flip. 

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Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.