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The Galaxy Z Flip 6 is Samsung’s laziest folding phone ever

Someone holding the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6, showing the cover screen turned on.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6
MSRP $1,100.00
“The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 is a very good foldable held back by a higher price and tough competition.”
Pros
  • Top-notch hardware
  • IP48 dust and water resistance
  • Very good inner display
  • Fast, snappy performance
  • New 50MP camera is great
  • Seven years of updates
Cons
  • Bad cover screen
  • Slow charge speeds
  • Frustrating price increase
  • Extremely similar to the Flip 5

Well, folks — you know what we’re here for. It’s time to review the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6. It’s the same phone as the Galaxy Z Flip 5, except there are colors around the cameras, and it’s more expensive. Bye!

I jest, but that’s not a totally inaccurate description of the Z Flip 6. This year’s Flip is a very solid phone that’s objectively good at everything it does, but it’s also an incredibly lazy one that I struggle to wholeheartedly recommend.

Confused by that juxtaposition? Let me explain.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6: design and hardware

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 laying face-down outside.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Let’s start on a positive note. As far as flip phone foldable build quality is concerned, I’m not sure it gets much better than the Flip 6. Samsung has been churning out folding phones for five years now, and it shows. The Z Flip 6 is sturdy, well-made, and almost perfect in its design — save for one thing.

I love that the Flip 6’s aluminum frame is now matte instead of glossy like it was on the Flip 5, but the flatter sides and sharper edges don’t feel nearly as comfortable. I don’t like the glossy frame on the Motorola Razr Plus 2024, for example, but I also find its rounded edges and frame much nicer to hold. The Flip 6 isn’t annoying to hold, though I do hope the more rounded design comes back next year.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6, partway open, looking at it from the side.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The Z Flip 6 also has an exceptional hinge. It moves fluidly with no resistance or creakiness, it can be propped up at almost any angle, and it easily snaps open and closes shut with one hand.

The hinge is also more durable than ever, featuring Samsung’s new “dual rail hinge” design. The company says it has better shock distribution than past models, while the new folding edge mechanism offers better resistance to pressure and sharp objects. Combined with an IP48 rating that offers dust and water resistance, this is one of the most durable folding phones you’ll find.

The bottom of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

But it’s not just the hinge that Samsung does so well; it also expertly executes the smaller details. All of the buttons are firm and clicky. The speaker is loud and sounds surprisingly full. The fingerprint sensor is lightning-fast. These are smaller details that other flip phones sometimes have to sacrifice, but not here.

As for colors, there are a lot. The “normal” colors this year include yellow, mint, blue, and gray. Yellow is my personal favorite, though I’ve grown quite fond of the blue color on my review unit. If you buy the Flip 6 from Samsung’s website, you get three more options: peach, white, and “Crafted Black.” Crafted Black has a Kevlar-like texture on the back that looks cool in photos, though it feels a bit cheap in person. Also, even though I joked about it at the beginning of the review, I do kind of love the matching colors around the cameras. It’s a fun touch.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6: screens

Someone holding the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6, showing its main display.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

We have two screens to discuss here, and we’ll start with the inner one. It’s great! It’s a 6.7-inch AMOLED panel with a 2640 x 1080 resolution, up to a 120Hz refresh rate, and up to 2600 nits of peak brightness. The increased brightness is a very nice touch (up from 1750 nits on the Flip 5), but otherwise, this is the same display as last year.

This is one area where I’m fine with Samsung keeping things the same. The Flip 6’s display is bright, colorful, and sharp, and it looks excellent whether I’m watching YouTube or scrolling Reddit. Samsung has long been an expert in the display field, and it shows once again on the Flip 6.

I also have to mention that the crease is far less prominent on the Flip 6 than it was on the Flip 5. It’s still there and more noticeable than the almost nonexistent crease on Motorola’s new Razr phones, but it’s a big step in the right direction. Where the Flip 5’s crease felt like a canyon, the Flip 6’s feels like a very small divet.

The cover screen on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

That’s the inner screen — what about the cover one? This is where I start complaining.

Last year, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 took the teeny-tiny 1.9-inch cover display on the Flip 4 and expanded it to a much larger 3.4-inch one. It was a big deal, enabling helpful widgets, an on-screen keyboard, and full application support. It was a commendable step forward, but even in 2023, it already fell behind what Motorola offered with that year’s version of the Razr Plus.

So, how did Samsung improve the cover screen on the Galaxy Z Flip 6? It … didn’t. Not at all. Just like last year, it’s a 3.4-inch AMOLED panel with a 720 x 748 resolution and a 60Hz refresh rate. It’s serviceable, but that’s about it. The low resolution makes icons and text look fuzzy, the 60Hz refresh rate feels sluggish, and the 3.4-inch size feels cramped by 2024 standards. You also still can’t run apps on the cover screen without jumping through a half dozen hoops.

The Motorola Razr Plus 2024 and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 next to each other.
Razr Plus 2024 (left) and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Meanwhile, the Z Flip 6’s biggest competitor — the Motorola Razr Plus 2024 — kicks the living daylights out of it. For context, the Razr’s cover screen is a 4-inch AMOLED panel with a 1080 x 2640 resolution and up to a 165Hz refresh rate. Yes, those are the cover screen specs. The Razr Plus makes the Galaxy Z Flip 6 look antiquated by comparison.

This is one of the areas where Samsung needed to improve the most. Instead, it took the Flip 5’s cover screen, slapped it on the Flip 6, and called it a day. It’s incredibly disappointing and one of the phone’s biggest sins.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6: cameras

Using the camera app on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

On a better note, the Galaxy Z Flip 6’s cameras are good. They aren’t amazing, but the two main sensors are capable and reliable. If you want a phone that can consistently capture great (if not phenomenal) images, you’ll be happy here.

The star of the show is a 50-megapixel primary camera — the same one you get on the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus. It’s joined by a 12MP ultrawide camera with a 123-degree field of view, plus a 10MP selfie camera at the top of the inner display.

Overall, photos captured by the Z Flip 6 look nice. Images are sharp and detailed and often return bright, pleasing colors. The jump to a 50MP primary camera over the 12MP camera on the Z Flip 5 is particularly handy. Not only do standard 1x photos look sharper, but digital zoom on the Flip 6 is also very usable.

Samsung says 2x photos are “optical quality zoom,” and I tend to agree. Even jumping to 4x and 10x, I don’t hate the results. It certainly doesn’t make up for the lack of a dedicated telephoto camera, but it makes the camera system more versatile than last year.

The 12MP ultrawide camera is good, too. There’s some slight distortion at the edges, but the 123-degree field of view allows you to capture a lot more in the frame. Photos also have a decent amount of detail despite the lower 12MP resolution, and colors are very similar to photos taken with the main camera.

Like previous Samsung phones, the Galaxy Z Flip 6 still struggles a bit with moving subjects. It can also be a little much with vibrant colors at times, particularly with bright blue skies. Similar to the Flip 5, the Flip 6 has a good camera system, if not a spectacular one.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6: performance and battery

Someone holding the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6, showing the inner display.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Take a look inside the Galaxy Z Flip 6, and you’ll find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset — the exact same one you get in the Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24 Ultra. It also comes equipped with 12GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of storage — a welcome increase from the 8GB of RAM on the Flip 5. As expected, the Galaxy Z Flip 6 performs exceptionally.

The Galaxy Z Flip 6 performs exceptionally.

It is worth mentioning that the Z Flip 6 is the first Z Flip smartphone with a vapor chamber — specifically, one that’s 50% larger than the vapor chamber used in the Galaxy S23 Ultra. This is supposed to keep the Z Flip 6 much cooler when under pressure compared to past models, and it seems to work well. I’ve noticed the top part of the phone warm up once, and that was only after almost an hour of streaming a 2160p YouTube video while also running other apps on the phone. Throughout “normal” use, the Flip 6 stays as cool as a cucumber.

Battery life settings page on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

What about battery life? The 4,000 mAh battery inside the Flip 6 is the largest one Samsung has ever put in a Z Flip, and while it’s still a one-day smartphone like its predecessor, it’s a more comfortable one-day phone. With over three-and-a-half hours of screentime (including YouTube, X, Telegram, etc.), I can easily start a day at 6 or 7 a.m. and get to well past 11 p.m. with 25% (or more) battery remaining. Samsung certainly still has room to improve, but this is a step up compared to the Z Flip 5.

Unfortunately, charging speeds haven’t improved at all. Once again, you’re stuck with 25-watt wired charging, 15W wireless charging, and 4.5W reverse wireless charging. For a phone in 2024 — let alone one that costs $1,100 — Samsung should have done much better here.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6: software and updates

Multiple widgets on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 cover screen.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The Galaxy Z Flip 6 comes with Android 14 and is paired with Samsung’s One UI 6.1.1 interface. If you’ve used a Samsung phone in the last couple of years, you’ll be right at home. While Samsung’s take on Android isn’t my preferred interface, this latest version of One UI is incredibly smooth, polished, and feature-packed.

While I don’t like the cover screen’s hardware, I do appreciate some of the updated software for it this year. In addition to customizing the cover screen with full-size widgets for things like the weather, your calendar, and more, you can now have pages with multiple smaller widgets. For example, I have one page with three different Samsung Health widgets, and tapping each one shows more information about it. It’s a small change, but I really like it.

Speaking of AI, all of the Galaxy AI features introduced with the Galaxy S24 series are on the Galaxy Z Flip 6. This includes Circle to Search, the Interpreter app, Chat Assist, etc. These features all work on the Z Flip 6 just like they do on every other Samsung phone with Galaxy AI, though the Flip has a couple of exclusive additions.

Flip 6 interpreter mode.
Flip 6 interpreter mode Joe Maring / Digital Trends

For one, Interpreter mode can be used with the cover screen — showing your language on the main screen and the other person’s language on the cover screen. If you’re traveling in another country and trying to converse with someone in a different language, it’s a bit easier than both of you huddling around one display. Further, if you’re looking at a message on the cover screen, Chat Assist can analyze your conversation and offer suggested replies based on the context of the messages.

There’s also a new “Sketch to Image” feature. As the name implies, you can sketch/draw on top of a photo you’ve taken, and Galaxy AI will turn it into something much more impressive. It’s fine and technically works, but I can’t personally see myself ever using it after this review. You can see a couple of examples above.

Galaxy AI settings page on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

I don’t think Galaxy AI is the reason to buy a Samsung phone over a competitor, but it is nice to see Samsung finding more use cases for its AI tech — even if ones like Sketch to Image are downright silly.

As for updates, the Galaxy Z Flip 6 is promised seven years of software updates, including major Android OS upgrades and security patches. This is the same level of support you get on the Galaxy S24 series, and it’s great that Samsung has extended it to the Z Flip 6. Well done, Sammy.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6: price and availability

Flip 6 open and closed
Flip 6 open and closed Digital Trends

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 is available for preorder now. It starts at $1,100 in the U.S., which is a $100 increase over the Flip 5. If you need more storage (the base model comes with 256GB), you can upgrade to the 512GB version for $1,220.

Price increases are a natural part of the smartphone industry, but it feels especially bad with the Z Flip 6. By every measure imaginable, this is an extremely iterative update over last year’s Galaxy Z Flip 5. Outside of improved durability, a new chipset, a little extra RAM, and a new camera, it’s essentially the same phone as last year.

The Z Flip 6 can be purchased from Samsung’s website, Amazon, Best Buy, and most major carriers. Regular sales will begin on July 24.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6: verdict

Someone holding the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6, showing the cover screen.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Samsung got so much right with the Galaxy Z Flip 6. The hardware is top-notch and among the best you can find. The inner display is wonderful. Performance is lightning quick. Battery life is reliable. The cameras are strong. The seven-year update guarantee is huge. That’s a lot of praise, and it’s all rightfully earned.

But for everything the Z Flip 6 does well, there’s one nagging issue that can’t be overlooked: how little Samsung actually changed.

The Galaxy Z Flip 6 is a very solid smartphone, but that’s largely because it’s essentially a rehash of the Flip 5. The Flip 6 has a nice design, but it’s almost identical to the Flip 5. It runs well, but the Flip 5 is plenty fast, too. The Flip 6 cameras are great, but they aren’t a massive improvement over the Flip 5.

Keeping what works is fine, but Samsung also kept what didn’t work — namely, the cover screen and the slow charge speeds. Combine all of that with the $100 price increase, and it’s difficult to justify what Samsung’s trying to sell here.

This all puts the Galaxy Z Flip 6 in an awkward position.

This all puts the Galaxy Z Flip 6 in an awkward position. If you have a much older Z Flip and you’re dead set on getting the newest model, you won’t have a bad time with the Flip 6 at all. Hell, I’ve had a great time using it. But I also don’t think it should be at the top of your shopping list.

If you want a good Samsung foldable, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars by buying a Galaxy Z Flip 5 and really not miss out on much at all. Alternatively, if you can escape Team Samsung, this year’s Razr Plus kicks the Flip 6’s butt in more ways than one and costs $100 less.

It’s not that Samsung made a bad phone with the Galaxy Z Flip 6. It just made a lazy one.

Joe Maring
Joe Maring is the Section Editor for Digital Trends' Mobile team, leading the site's coverage for all things smartphones…
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