Samsung has been the undisputed champion of the foldable phones world for a while now, but one problem neither it nor its rivals have managed to solve is the price – these things are expensive, which is arguably the main reason why foldables aren't selling in big numbers. That might soon change though.
Right now the number one best foldable phone – the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 – starts at $1,799.99 / £1,749 / AU$2,599. The Google Pixel Fold is similarly pricey, and even more ‘budget’ options like the Motorola Razr Plus 2023 will still set you back $999.99 / £1,049.99 / AU$1,499 – and those phones tend to boast disappointing hardware and poor water resistance ratings, making them feel overpriced for what you get.
Perhaps seeing this gap in the market, it’s rumored that Samsung will release a cheaper version of the Galaxy Z Fold 6 later this year – a sort-of Galaxy Z Fold FE, though no name is official yet. The cheaper model would likely launch at the same time as the other Galaxy foldables – the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6 – that are expected to be announced in July or August, per Samsung’s usual schedule.
The leak goes on to explain that the Fold is more likely to get an FE variant than the Flip, because the Flip is selling better. Despite being two places behind the first-place Z Fold 5 in our bets foldables rankings, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 and its predecessors with a clamshell hinge are apparently more popular.
Nothing set in stone, yet
This report comes via The Elec, a Korean outlet with a decent track record when it comes to reporting leaks from Korean industry insiders. That said, it’s worth taking the details with a pinch of salt; until Samsung says anything official there’s no guarantee we’ll see any folding phones from it in 2024, let alone a new cheaper model.
What’s more, the report itself notes that Samsung’s plans aren’t set in stone. It’s supposedly concerned about the health of the smartphone industry as a whole, and is worried that launching a third foldable phone model in 2024 could hurt its profits rather than help them.
A cheaper folding smartphone would certainly make the tech more accessible, but we’ll have to wait and see if and how the Galaxy Z Fold FE materializes.
Even if we do see it launch later this year, it might still run into the same issues as other ‘budget’ foldables by cutting corners in terms of its specs and design, making it feel like poor value for money.
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Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.