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Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 or wait for the Z Fold 6?

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 (left) and Galaxy Z Fold 5 rear panels.
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 (left) and Galaxy Z Fold 5 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

If you’re in the market for a foldable phone, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is one of the best you can get. Hands down. This is especially true considering that Samsung has five years of experience in the foldable market.

But the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 came out last August, which means we’re just several months away from the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 — especially if it’s rumored to be announced in July this year.

Is it still worth it to buy a Galaxy Z Fold 5 right now, or are you better off waiting for the Z Fold 6? Here’s what you need to know.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 vs. Z Fold 5: design

A person holding the open Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

One issue with the Galaxy Z Fold 4 design was the wedge-shaped gap between the two halves when closed. Thankfully, Samsung fixed that with the Galaxy Z Fold 5, as its Flex Hinge design eliminated the gap. The new hinge design also makes the Galaxy Z Fold 5 more ergonomic, more comfortable to hold, and makes the phone feel less bulky. The hinge is also silent but stiff enough to stay open at various angles.

However, one of the issues with the overall design of the Galaxy Z Fold series has always been the size of the cover display. It’s tall and narrow, which didn’t change with the Z Fold 5. Since this isn’t the typical size of a slab phone, some people have had issues with the tall height and cramped keyboard on the narrow cover display. Thankfully, it looks like Samsung might be changing that with the Galaxy Z Fold 6.

Rumors of the Galaxy Z Fold 6 so far have hinted at a change in the aspect ratio of the external display, which could also be larger at 6.4 inches. The current display of the Z Fold 5 is 23:1:9, but with the Z Fold 6, that might change to 20:9, which would be less awkward to use. Making the external display larger will also have an impact on the internal display, which may end up being a bit more square-like at 1.08:1.

Renders of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6, showing the front and back of the phone.
OnLeaks / SmartPrix

There are also some contradictory rumors, with a recent design render showing what looks like the same 6.2-inch cover display and 7.6-inch inner display (seen above). The 153.5 x 132.5 x 6.1mm (unfolded) product dimensions also hint that it may be a tad shorter and wider than the current generation.

Basically, if you don’t like the tall and narrow cover display of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 right now, it’s recommended that you wait for the Galaxy Z Fold 6. While it’s uncertain what the actual screen sizes will be, it definitely sounds like changes are coming, so we recommend waiting to see what happens here.

Another big change in the design is that it looks like the Galaxy Z Fold 6 will have flat edges and sharper corners. This would mean that Samsung is following the design of the recently released Galaxy S24 Ultra. It’s also possible that the Z Fold 6 is moving to a titanium body and will come in three colors.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 vs. Z Fold 5: specs

A person holding the open Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, showing the screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Since the Galaxy Z Fold 5 came out in 2023, it’s powered by last year’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chip. It also has 12GB RAM and your choice of 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB storage options.

Even though it’s the previous generation, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is still a very powerful and capable chip in terms of performance. For most people, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will be able to handle pretty much anything you throw at it without breaking a sweat. The Z Fold 5 won’t get too hot or experience abnormal battery drain since Samsung designed a new vapor chamber cooling system for it. So, if you like to play mobile games, the Z Fold 5 is more than capable of doing so.

But if you prefer having the latest and greatest, there’s no harm in waiting for the Galaxy Z Fold 6. Since the S24 lineup comes equipped with the newer Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy chip, we can expect that same processor in the Z Fold 6. In our time with the S24, S24 Plus, and S24 Ultra, these phones all showcased great performance and phenomenal battery life with the new chip. The Z Fold 5 is already a performance champ, but the Z Fold 6 should be even better in this department.

There haven’t been any rumors about RAM and storage. That said, we should continue to see at least 12GB RAM and similar storage options.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 vs. Z Fold 5: cameras

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 (left) and Galaxy Z Fold 5 camera modules.
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 (left) and Galaxy Z Fold 5 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 currently has a 50-megapixel main camera, a 12MP ultrawide lens, and a 10MP telephoto lens capable of 3x optical zoom. Since it’s a foldable phone, it can’t quite pack in larger sensors and lenses like the Galaxy S24 Ultra. However, that might change with the Galaxy Z Fold 6.

One rumor claims the Z Fold 6 will have the same image sensor as the Z Fold 5. However, the leaker who claimed this later said that the Z Fold 6 might use the same camera sensor as the S24 Ultra. If this is true, that means the Galaxy Z Fold 6’s main camera could be upgraded to a 200MP sensor.

Keep in mind that Samsung devices tend to produce overly vibrant and saturated photos in certain lighting conditions. But since the S24 series, Samsung has made some tweaks to the image processing so that it is a bit toned down and natural-looking. This color tuning should also make its way to the Z Fold 6, so if you don’t like photos that look artificially bright, it may be worth waiting for the Z Fold 6 for this change alone.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 vs. Z Fold 5: software and updates

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 display.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 was originally launched with Android 13 and One UI 5.1.1 installed. Samsung has a roadmap of four years of Android OS updates and five years of security patches. With this in mind, the Z Fold 5 should last through at least Android 17.

As important as hardware is for folding phones, software is equally important. Software is often geared for multitasking, and the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is no different. It can run three apps and a floating window simultaneously, and the taskbar shows up to four recent apps.

The Galaxy Z Fold 6 should ship with Android 14 and One UI 6.1. The multitasking features should work the same as before, but Samsung will likely improve the software for a more seamless experience.

One improvement that’s all but guaranteed is a longer software update promise. Samsung switched to a seven-year guarantee of software updates beginning with the S24, S24 Plus, and S24 Ultra. It’s very likely that this will also apply to the Galaxy Z Fold 6, so it should last through Android 21, assuming that the hardware also holds up that long.

Multiple apps running on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5's open screen.
Three apps and one floating window running at the same time Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Another big software feature, which Samsung turned into a major selling point for the S24 lineup, is Galaxy AI. This is a suite of AI-powered tools like Chat Assist, Live Translation, Note Assist, generative photo editing tools, and more. We should expect the Galaxy Z Fold 6 to come with Galaxy AI out-of-the-box as well.

But that doesn’t mean that the Galaxy Z Fold 5 will miss out on the AI fun. Samsung is bringing Galaxy AI to Samsung Galaxy devices that have come out in the past year, which includes the Z Fold 5. Galaxy AI is coming to select older Galaxy devices in late March 2023. You can even try them out yourself if you have an iPhone or any other Android phone.

What about the Galaxy Z Fold 6 Ultra?

Renders of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6, showing the front and back of the phone.
OnLeaks / SmartPrix

As you’ve read this guide so far, there have been a few mentions of contradictory rumors. That’s because this year, Samsung could be shaking things up by introducing a Galaxy Z Fold 6 Ultra, making the regular Z Fold 6 a more “affordable” option.

If Samsung is indeed going with a Z Fold 6 Ultra, that would make sense of the contradictory reports about display sizes and cameras. An Ultra model would likely be slightly bigger and have larger camera sensors. There is also a possibility that a Z Fold 6 Ultra may even have an S Pen slot, which is a feature that many people have requested for the past few Z Fold models.

However, don’t expect a Galaxy Z Fold 6 Ultra to be cheap. This would be the higher-end model, and it would likely start at $1,800 like the current Z Fold 5, or even higher. That would make the regular Z Fold 6 a cheaper “base” model, which could start at $1,600 or less.

When is the Galaxy Z Fold 6 coming out?

The Z Fold 5 being half folded.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

Are you excited about the Galaxy Z Fold 6? If the rumors are correct, you won’t have to wait much longer.

Typically, Samsung releases the Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip series devices in August. However, it looks like this year will be different, with a slightly earlier release in July. Samsung is rumored to hold a Galaxy Unpacked event in early July, possibly as early as July 10, since the events are typically on Wednesdays in the second week of the month.

If you don’t mind the tall and narrow cover display, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is still an excellent foldable phone. But if you are curious about what the next generation could hold, especially if there are two versions coming, then it would be best to wait. Even then, if you don’t like the new Galaxy Z Fold 6, you could try finding the Z Fold 5 for an even lower price once the new model is out.

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Christine Romero-Chan
Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade. She graduated from California…
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