Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE rumors — what we know about Samsung’s cheap foldable

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 in hand half folded
(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE could be the low-cost Galaxy foldable people have been asking for since the launch of the original Samsung Galaxy Fold back in 2019 — if it even exists. Samsung has previously denied that it's working on a such device, but recent rumors and reports suggest a lower-cost version of the Galaxy Z Fold could be in the works. And it could debut alongside the Galaxy Z Fold 6 this summer.

While there are still a lot of unknowns, leaks and rumors have given us an indication of what a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE might have to offer. These rumors include word of an $800 price tag, a similar camera set-up to the Galaxy Z Fold 5, and a bunch of downgrades on components like the battery and display to lower the price. Then again, a dueling rumor contends that Samsung has scrapped its Z Fold FE plans, at least for now.

Here’s everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE, and whether or not this phone is really in Samsung's plans.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE latest news (Updated May 13)

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE price and availability

Galaxy Z Fold 5

(Image credit: Future)

The key appeal of the Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE is that this is a cheaper way to enjoy a foldable Samsung phone. Considering the Galaxy Z Fold 5 costs $1,799, that could make foldable phones more accessible than before — but the question is how much it will be.

The latest rumor, according to a report from Sisa Journal, claims that Samsung is aiming to sell the phone for under $800 — which would make the phone more than half the price of the Galaxy Z Fold 5. Such a price tag would make it cheaper than the $999 Galaxy Z Flip 5 and almost as cheap as the Motorola Razr (2023). Although how pleased we’ll be will depend on whether the phone is a foldable flip phone or if it employs the Z Fold’s bookish design.

But when will it arrive? Word is that the cheaper phone is coming later this year, but it’s not clear when that might be. It would make sense to launch the Z Fold 6 FE alongside the Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6 — which is what The Elec and WinFuture have both reported. But The Elec has previously claimed this cheaper foldable would be aimed at the Chinese market, where foldables are more numerous. 

Samsung does typically wait a little longer to launch its FE models, and it may give the Z Fold 6 some room to breathe first. A rumor from @Tech_Reve from last year claimed that the FE would launch after the two flagships, though no other details were mentioned.

For what it's worth, the rumored Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6 launches could happen earlier than expected this year, as Samsung looks to avoid having its new phone announcement overlap with the Summer Olympics. Under this scenario, the phones would show up in July at Samsung Galaxy Unpacked in the summer. The same publication behind that rumor also claims that the cheaper FE version of the Galaxy Z Fold 6 would launch in either September or October.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE possible cancellation

There's also the possibility that Samsung holds off on a lower-cost version of its foldable. That's what a report in The Elec claims, contending that Samsung is re-evaluating its plans. According to this report, Samsung is having difficulty making the phone thin enough to complete with rival foldables from Chinese phone makers. There's also concerns about differentiating the Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE from the regular Z Fold and other market uncertainties.

While it sounds like the fate of the Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE is still very much up in the air, it's still worth considering other rumors about this device.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE design and display

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 in front of pool

(Image credit: Future)

It’s not entirely clear what sort of foldable design the Z Fold 6 FE would take , but the consensus seems to be that it will mimic the book-like design of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold series. If that’s the case we’re looking at a phone with a regular smartphone screen on the outside, and opens up to reveal a larger tablet-sized screen on the inside. 

That inner display may not support Samsung’s S Pen stylus. According to ETNews the cheaper foldable’s screen may skip out on the digitizer, presumably for cost-related reasons. That layer is needed to track a stylus’s position, and without it the S Pen would be completely useless.

It’s probably a good idea to avoid getting too excited about the display too. Sisa Journal claims that the phone will have "lower application processor, display and battery specifications”. It’s unclear what else that could involve, but we’ll likely have something closer to full HD resolution and a lower refresh rate than the current generation’s 120Hz.

However, some of Samsung’s cost-saving measures may not be so bad. We’ve heard rumors that Samsung may employ a new inkjet printing process to create bezels on the Galaxy Z Fold 6 display. This allows Samsung to use much larger film in the bezel-cutting process, which would create less waste in the process — lowering the overall production cost. 

Creating bezels is a surprisingly expensive part of the foldable phone process and any kind of saving bodes well for the cost of foldables going forward. If Samsung can apply this technique to other foldables, including the Z Fold 6 FE, it means that it can afford to keep prices low without pulling features or using older hardware.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE performance

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 running mobile games.

(Image credit: Future)

We have no word on what kind of performance hardware we’ll see in the Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE, beyond rumors that the phone will feature less impressive hardware and then the rest of the Galaxy Z Fold 6 series, including a lower-specced chipset. 

There are a lot of processors out there, and it’s unclear which one may be added to the Z Fold 6 FE. It isn’t likely to be the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, which will likely power the Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6, but we could see an older model like the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, or the newly announced Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 — which has been specifically designed for mid-range devices.

Samsung leaker Kro_roe on X shares that a cheaper Galaxy Z Fold FE could become more of a reality with the help of a Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 chip. The affordable pricing of the foldable could be achieved because Samsung could leverage an Exynos 2000-series processor in some markets as well to offset the cost.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE cameras

Galaxy Z Fold 5

(Image credit: Future)

While Samsung’s Galaxy S series has had some rather impressive camera upgrades over the years, the same can’t be said about the foldable Galaxy Z series. In fact the Galaxy Z Flip 5 has the exact same camera hardware as the Z Flip 4, which itself was barely an upgrade over the Z Flip 3. Unfortunately it seems as though the Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE may be subject to a similar experience.

A report from Sisa Journal claims that the Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE will have a “similar” camera setup to the “current generation”. The same hardware and design structure, with the report noting that there will be a “dual camera module”. That suggests that we won’t see a third rear camera, which will presumably mean there’s no telephoto lens.

Unfortunately it isn’t clear whether we’ll be seeing the camera hardware from the Z Fold 5 or the Z Flip 5. The Z Fold 5 has a 50MP main lens, while the Z Flip 5’s is limited to jus 12MP — which is a pretty big difference. However since both phones have a 12MP ultrawide lens, the information in the report suggests that the Z Fold 6 FE will as well.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE battery and charging

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 rear cameras

(Image credit: Future)

It’s unclear what sort of battery and charging we’re going to see on the Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE, beyond Sisa Journal’s claim that there will be lower battery specifications than other Samsung foldables. 

Historically Galaxy foldables haven’t had particularly large batteries, which has been reflected in their battery lives. It goes without saying that we shouldn’t expect anything spectacular from the Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE. It’s just unclear how large that battery might be, or how long it’ll last on a single charge. Don’t expect particularly fast charging speeds either, considering the Z Fold 5 and Z Flip 5 are still stuck at 25W wired and 15W wireless charging respectively.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE outlook

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 in hand

(Image credit: Future)

There’s a lot we still don’t know about the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE at this early stage, including whether or not it's actually going to show up this year.

Certainly, it would be tood to have a cheaper book-style foldable at the $800 price range that's been rumored. But at the same time, lowering the price by such a considerable amount means compromises. 

Foldable phones are expensive for a reason, and those reasons won’t magically go away just because Samsung wants to cut costs. So that means sacrifices have to be made in other areas, and means there’s a pretty good chance the Z Fold 6 FE will make its cuts on the camera, performance and battery life. 

We’re just going to have to wait and see what other rumors materialize in the coming weeks and months, including whether the project actually is a go. 

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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.