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I went hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6 to find out what's actually new

A refreshed look and improved hardware, but is it enough?
By

Published onJuly 10, 2024

Samsung’s Summer Unpacked event didn’t bring us many surprises, having been preceded by months of extensive leaks, not to mention the fact the company had already shown off the long-awaited Galaxy Ring earlier this year at MWC.

Regardless, Samsung’s new smart jewelry is finally officially here, joined by two new pairs of Galaxy Buds (the Galaxy Buds 3 and Galaxy Buds 3 Pro), two new Galaxy Watches — including the uncannily Apple-like Galaxy Watch Ultra — and the two worst-kept secrets of the bunch, the Galaxy Z Flip 6 and Z Fold 6.

Even without the element of surprise, getting hands-on with both of Samsung’s new folding smartphones does offer more insight into where the company has placed its focus this generation; the question is, is it in the right place? And with a $100 price hike for both foldables over their predecessors, is there enough here to warrant the higher price tag?

See price at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6
15%off
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6
Compact design
Foldable display
Improved battery
See price at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6
13%off
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6
Large display
Multitasking
High performance

Galaxy Z Flip 6: Same style, smarter screen

samsung galaxy z flip 6 hands on flexwindow all colors
Alex Walker-Todd / Android Authority

Let’s start with the Flip 6, which, design-wise, isn’t pushing boundaries beyond a new accented camera surround, a sharper look, and near-identical dimensions to its predecessor (it enjoys a 0.2mm reduction in thickness when folded closed). Aesthetically, the camera surround update is a great way to quickly identify the Flip 6 from its predecessor, but it does feel like a case of redesign for redesign’s sake.

Samsung says the super-thin glass, the folding edge, and the Armor Aluminum are all tougher across this foldable generation. The IP48 certification also means this generation, in addition to the usual water resistance, has been certified for dust protection (albeit not the very best one), with the Galaxy Z Flip 5 previously only offering an IPX8 rating.

The main thing I wanted to check out was the crease. Maybe it is reduced, as the company claims, but without a side-by-side comparison, to my eye the difference seems negligible, in both look and feel.

That doesn’t stop the 6.7-inch main LTPO OLED from being any less attractive to look at, while the 3.4-inch FlexWindow on the outside looks familiar too. Unlike the Motorola Razr Plus (2024), Samsung didn’t decide to go bigger with the latter (as some rumors suggested it might). Instead, the company has just concentrated on bringing more experiences to that outer display, natively, which I’m all for. The likes of Samsung Health, Samsung News, SmartThings, and Reminders now all have new indicators or widgets on the FlexWindow, while a new multi-widget screen is now part of the experience, too, making it even more glanceable and useful.

Even with the reduced thickness and the same weight as the Z Flip 5, Samsung has managed to cram in a 4,000mAh battery this time — the largest ever in a Flip. This should take the Flip 6 from its predecessor’s acceptable day-long usage to a more confident day’s use per charge, but we’ll need to test it further to find out. Charging speed, sadly, has not been bolstered, so 25W wired charging remains the quickest you’ll be able to refill the Flip 6.

Galaxy Z Fold 6: More business, more pleasure

samsung galaxy z fold 6 hands on back open v
Alex Walker-Todd / Android Authority

It’s the Galaxy Z Fold 6 that’s really had a glow-up this generation. While the main 7.6-inch display hasn’t changed size since the Z Fold 5, the dimensions around it have — just a little bit — with wider, squatter displays, set into a far more squared body that brings this latest Fold’s aesthetic more in line with the Galaxy S24 Ultra. This makes the size and form factor more manageable overall, not to mention it’s lighter too.

The Fold 6 also serves up the more exciting visual upgrades of these two foldables, not least because of the great new finishes. This includes a new pink colorway that’s decidedly unlike anything we saw from the buttoned-up, business-like presentation of the Z Fold 5, as well as previous entries in the series.

Like the latest Flip, the Z Fold 6 boasts a tougher construction and an improved IP48 rating for water and dust resistance, all while maintaining S Pen support. And yes, Samsung is also selling a revised slim S Pen case, so you can keep the stylus with you if that’s one of your main reasons for using a Fold.

What else is new?

samsung galaxy z fold 6 z flip 6 hands on
Alex Walker-Todd / Android Authority

Beyond what I’ve already covered, the upgrades run pretty consistently across both phones. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy is running the show, with a larger vapor chamber on the Fold, while the Galaxy Z Flip 6 gets a vapor chamber of its own for the very first time to hopefully improve sustained performance by keeping things cooler.

Speaking of which, Samsung’s clamshell has finally been boosted to match the Fold with 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM. The 50MP sensor from the Galaxy S24 Plus also now leads both phones’ cameras and allows for an awesome auto-zoom feature that, paired with the form factor, makes both – but especially the Flip when used in an L shape on a surface – great for solo vloggers and content creators, with its Apple Center Stage-like subject tracking.

The upgrades are pretty consistent across the Galaxy Z Flip 6 and Fold 6.

That bigger sensor and reworked HDR processing promise greater image quality that should be closer to Samsung’s Galaxy S phones. In addition, I was told the ultrawide camera has undergone some tweaks to allow 4K 60fps video capture (it previously topped out at 4K/30fps) and better HDR too. Again, we’ll be testing these more in the coming weeks.

Don’t forget about Galaxy AI

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 with Drawing Assist.
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Galaxy AI is, of course, part of the package here, too. Fresh additions include suggested replies that account for recent conversation topics you’ve had with a specific contact. There’s also Composer, which can generate a whole message from a single-sentence prompt, and Sketch to Image, which turns your doodles into AI-based imagery.

The most interesting of the bunch is Conversation Mode in Interpreter, which lets you have a real-time conversation with someone who speaks another language. The handy trick to this is it uses the phones’ outer displays to show the other person a translation of what you’re saying, while you can see the equivalent on the main display. In my brief time testing it, the hum of conversation generated by the floor of press at the launch event was enough to knock the translation sideways here and there, but the results improved with more intentional usage.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 and Z Fold 6 hands-on impressions: Early verdict, price, and availability

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 and Z Fold 6 on a table.
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

All in all, the Galaxy Z Flip 6 and Fold 6 don’t represent an earth-shattering generational upgrade over their predecessors (or the prior generation, frankly), making the $100 price hike for both devices  a little harder to stomach. But with such hardware polish and a guaranteed software update period of seven years, they are still set to be some of the best-looking, most robust, and well-supported foldable experiences on the market.

Are the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Flip 6 HOT or NOT?

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Both phones are available for pre-order now (July 10th) and go on sale on July 24th at Samsung and other major global retailer. The Galaxy Z Flip 6 starts at $1,099 in the US and £1,049 in the UK. Meanwhile, the Z Fold 6 starts at $1,899 (or £1,799 in the UK).

See price at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6
15%off
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6
Compact design
Foldable display
Improved battery
See price at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6
13%off
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6
Large display
Multitasking
High performance
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