Rumors of an affordable Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 could kill off Ultra hopes

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 hands on
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 (Image credit: Future)

A cheaper Samsung foldable phone could be just around the corner, with Samsung rumored to be developing an affordable ‘Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE’. This FE's existence does, however, jeopardize the potential of previously rumored premium Galaxy Z Fold 6 Ultra.

Respected leaker Revegnus highlighted an article from South Korean tech website ETnews that reported “Samsung Electronics is developing two Galaxy Z Fold 6 models, a new Z Fold with a pen input function and a model without pen input. This is a strategy to expand demand by reducing the price burden on foldable smartphones.” 

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ETnews added that Samsung is working on this new affordable model due to competition in the folding phone market from Chinese devices from the likes of Huawei, Xiaomi, and OnePlus. They cite research from Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) that predicts Huawei will overtake Samsung in foldable sales for the first and second quarters of this year.

According to the report, Samsung’s solution is to make a more affordable version of its next-generation foldable to compete with cheaper rivals, and as a result, be better positioned ahead of Apple’s rumored folding phone, which could arrive as soon as 2026.

No more Ultra?

If this rumor turns out to be accurate and Samsung is working on two foldables – a standard Galaxy Z Fold 6 and an affordable ‘FE’ option – then it may mean we won’t see the supposed premium Z Fold 6 Ultra that there's been talk of in recent months.

The Galaxy Z Fold 6 Ultra rumors were based on suspected prototype leaked images and video, as well as detailed renders pointing to an ultra-premium foldable, incorporating the angular design and premium build of the Galaxy S24 Ultra.

This news could disappoint fans looking forward to an Ultra amidst Samsung's foldable line; including TechRadar’s Philip Berne, who was excited about possible durability improvements, and an enhanced camera system.

There’s always the potential that we could still see both, with Samsung producing a more affordable Fold as well as a premium model, in addition to the ‘standard’ Galaxy Z Fold 6. However, if Samsung is instead focusing on creating more affordable foldable phones, a Galaxy Z Fold 6 Ultra may never see the light of day, leaving the standard Galaxy Z Fold 6 to be as premium as Samsung’s folding phones get.

How much could a budget Galaxy Z Fold cost? 

The folding phones we’ve seen so far have been expensive compared to regular flagships, with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 costing $1,799.99 / £1,749 / AU$2,599 on release. The cheapest foldable on the market right now is The Motorola Razr 2023, at $999.99 / £1,049.99 / AU$1,499 – so Samsung would need to be as close to the $1,000 / £1,000 mark as possible to compete.

The Galaxy Z Fold 6 is expected to be announced at a second Galaxy Unpacked event this year, likely around July/August, so if Samsung is indeed working on a Fold FE, a Fold Ultra or even both, we should find out then.

In the meantime, if you want to get a foldable phone and see what apparently has Samsung so nervous, check out our list of the best foldable phones.

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Staff Writer, Mobile Computing

James Ide is a writer for TechRadar specializing in phones and tablets, having previously worked at The Daily Mirror since 2016, covering news and reviews.  

James loves messing with the latest tech, especially phones due to their incredibly rapid pace of development.

When not surrounded by various devices and/or tinkering with gadgets while putting them through their paces, James has a love of handheld consoles.

He is almost the textbook definition of a geek, who loves sci-fi, comics, games and of course, all things tech. If you think you have a story for him or just want to challenge him at Smash Bros, get in touch.