Samsung's cheap Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE tipped to launch in September to fight iPhone 16

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 half folded on bench
(Image credit: Future)

Rumor is that the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6 will be launching a little earlier this year, but it seems that the entry-level Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE may not be joining them. According to The Elec (via @Tech_Reve), the long-awaited cheap galaxy foldable may not arrive until September or October.

Interestingly the iPhone 16 is set to launch at some point in September, and it can’t be a coincidence that Samsung might have chosen this particular launch window. 

Apple is one of Samsung’s biggest rivals in the smartphone business, and gets a lot of attention every time a new iPhone model is announced.

The Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE is currently rumored to cost $800, the same as an iPhone 15, and is the first “budget” foldable Samsung has released. So it’s possible this launch window was picked deliberately, to try and distract some users from the next iPhone. 

Whether that would work or not is another matter entirely. But it does make sense that Samsung would launch an entry-level model a few months after the flagship. That’s how things are done with other FE phones, like the Galaxy S23 FE. No doubt because a cheaper model would push people away from the better and more expensive flagship.

What we know about the Z Fold 6 FE

The Elec also claims that the Z Fold 6 FE is expected to be even thinner than the flagship Galaxy Z Fold 6 — which is itself supposedly thinner than the Z Fold 5. However the FE model isn’t expected to come with S Pen support, and the loss of those necessary parts (and potentially others) may have allowed Samsung to shave a few millimeters off the phone.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about the Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE, but one recent report claimed that the phone would have a “similar” camera to the current generation of Samsung foldables — and mentioned a “dual camera” module, suggesting that the phone will skip the telephoto lens present on the flagship Z Fold series.

The report also claimed that the FE foldable may also have a less impressive chipset, display and battery — though specific details weren’t mentioned. But it probably means we can expect to see older or less powerful chips, like the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 or the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3, alongside a lower resolution screen and a smaller battery pack.

Beyond that, we’ll just have to wait for more leaks and rumors that fill in the blanks — ahead of the official launch. In the meantime be sure to keep tabs on the latest news and updates in our official Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE hubs.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.