Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Samsung tightens its foldables in Z Flip 6, Z Fold 6

New foldable and flipping phones are on the way from Samsung, as the Galaxy Z 6 range tightens the feature set and strengthens the design.

It’s the middle of the year, and if you’re a regular reader of Pickr, you probably know what that means: a new crop of phones is on the way, though even this year, it’s a bit early.

Samsung normally shows off foldable phones in the back half of a year, and while August to September is the normal time, we’re all seeing the release that little bit earlier, it seems. Google won’t be too far away, either.

For Samsung, the focus is on exactly what we expected: foldables. Namely those made to offer a big phone in a compact clamshell size — the Z Flip — and a phone that can unfold to become a tablet — the Z Fold. Over the past few years, these devices have helped define what a foldable phone is, and have led to competitors give the new category of foldable phones their all, creating compact and creative concepts aplenty.

This year Samsung is back at it, as the Z 6 range of Flip and Fold aim to tighten and strengthen, while also bringing a touch of AI to the package, something that made the Galaxy S24 range so interesting, particularly in the S24 Ultra.

The big one: the Z Fold 6

The big one to consider looks different enough on first glance, with those differences also going beneath the surface.

Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 6 offers a few more pixels in its new 7.6 inch screen compared with the Fold 5, while its rear cover screen is a slightly bigger 6.3 inch compared to the 6.2 inches of the Fold 5.

Bigger screens are great, but there’s more to the Fold 5 package, and you can tell by looking at it. The style is more angular and the design slightly sharper. The Fold6 looks schmick and polished, and it even manages to be thinner and lighter while retaining the IPX8 water resistance rating.

Folded, the phone is 12.1mm compared to the 13.4 of the Fold 5, while unfolded, the Galaxy Z Fold6 flattens to an impressive 5.6mm, not far from the 5.1mm of this year’s 13 inch iPad Pro. Super thin.

There’s also a new chip — the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 — armed with some AI capabilities just like the S24 Ultra earlier this year, while the inside screen also supports the S-Pen, handy if you’re keen to write or draw, or even use some of the AI for translating your scribble into another language, something you can do.

The camera isn’t a dramatic shift, offering a 50 megapixel wide, 12 megapixel ultra-wide, and 10 megapixel 3X telephoto — clearly, it’s no match for the S24 Ultra’s camera spec — but it’s still not bad as a foldable.

The small one: the Z Flip 6

The big Fold 6 isn’t alone, either, matched with a more compact foldable phone.

Stylised as Z Flip6, this is technically the smaller of the phones, bringing a 6.7 inch foldable screen to a flip phone style device.

Just like last year, there’s a 3.4 inch cove screen on the outside, while the bigger screen is on the inside. There is also an aluminium frame, glass back, and a similar look to last year’s Flip 5, albeit with a more brushed look.

The Flip 6 is a little less shiny, but a cosmetic difference isn’t all that’s changed. There’s also that same new chip, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, supporting some of the AI functionality of the other new phones, while the battery goes up 300mAh compared to the old model, from 3700mAh to 4000mAh.

The camera is the other major change: armed with a new 50 megapixel wide F1.8 wide camera, the Z Flip 5 is now sporting something more like what’s in the other S24 models. It’s still no 200 megapixel sensor, but it’s a whole lot more formidable than a 12 megapixel camera.

Hands-on with the Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6

While Pickr isn’t at the official launch in Paris (the closest we can get is the Bastille Day activities in Sydney at Circular Quay), we did spend time with the phones locally, as Samsung gave journos a hands-on.

We’ll start with the Z Fold 6, what is arguably the more expensive of the duo and one of the more interesting just simply because of the changes Samsung has made.

The thinnest and lightest Galaxy Fold model, the Z Fold 6 manages to be 14 grams lighter than the Fold 5, and yet packs in larger screens on both the inside and outside.

On the outside, you’ll find a display that’s 1mm wider, while the inside gets an increase in width of 2.7mm. That’s a bigger set of screens all around.

The design is tighter, too, as Samsung squares off the edges and makes the whole thing just work better, giving it a delightful symmetrical look that lacks the curved edges seen in previous models.

Strangely, you still won’t find a spot to hold the S-Pen stylus in the frame, something Samsung has provided in the S24 Ultra. You can get an optional case that holds it, or you can hold the S-Pen yourself in a pocket somewhere.

It’s pretty clear upon looking at the Z Fold 6, the whole phone comes together that much better, with a slightly tighter take of the best of both worlds, phone and tablet.

In the Z Flip 6, that best of both worlds disappears, but your big phone can feel smaller, too. The tweaks aren’t as noticeable in this generation as they were last time, with Samsung keeping what worked last time, complete with the cover screen, and display on the inside.

The main change here is the camera, which jumps from a 12 megapixel wide and ultra-wide combo on the Flip 5 to a 50 megapixel wide and 12 megapixel ultra-wide combo on the new model. That’s a sizeable difference, which alongside the new chip, makes the Flip 6 that little bit more interesting.

Not that you’d ever realise it looking at it. The look between the two is spot on, even if the Z Flip 6 is worlds apart from the Z Flip 5G launched all those years ago.

But that yellow is mighty pretty…

Perhaps the most interesting aspect is how the Z Flip 6 stacks up against its most obvious rival: the Moto Razr 50 Ultra. Both are on the way to Australians very shortly, and both offer similar designs, much like the Flip 5 did against last year’s Razr 40 Ultra.

We’ve not spent enough time with the Flip 6 to comment, but our Razr 50 Ultra review is almost finished, so we can say there are some interesting edges Motorola might have in its take on the category, such as support for a telephoto camera and the larger external screen, which is clearly bigger.

Australian pricing and availability

The good news is that yellow model is coming to Australia, launching alongside a few colours in each.

As such, the Galaxy Z Flip 6 will start at $1799 for a 256GB model and $1999 for the 512GB variant, with pre-orders kicking in now and landing in stores from July 31.

Meanwhile, the larger of the two, the Z Fold 6, finds its way to stores on the same date, priced from $2749 for a 256GB model, $2949 for 512GB, and $3299 for 1TB. Both will be ranged by all three major telcos, with deals expected at each, as well.

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