Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 vs Z Fold 5: how different is Samsung's new folding phone?

Samsung's folding phone champion gets a much-requested redesign, here's how the Z Fold 6 differs from the Z Fold 5

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 review
(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

Ahead of Samsung's summer Unpacked event – where the company revealed its Galaxy Ring, Galaxy Watch Ultra and more – I was fortunate enough to handle the company's latest and best folding phones at a behind-closed-doors preview event.

There's the clamshell Galaxy Z Flip 6, which I've previewed in a separate feature, and this, the big daddy of the line-up: Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 6. Here I'll explore what's new with this latest foldable and how it differs from the earlier Z Fold 5

I suspect it will be music to many people's ears that the Galaxy Z Flip 6 has actioned one of the most user-requested design changes: it's got a new aspect ratio, so is wider and less tall. However, the minor dimension change might not be enough to satisfy everyone. 

Here's my initial take on how the Galaxy Z Fold 6 stacks up against the Z Fold 5 and whether it's enough of a change year on year – especially with stiff competition from the likes of the OnePlus Open and other foldables.

Galaxy Z Fold 6 v Z Fold 5: Design

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 review

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 Z Fold 6Z Fold 5
Size153.5 x 132.6 x 5.6mm154.9 x 129.9 x 6.1mm
Weight239g253g
S Pen included?Yes, new slimmer designYes
IP ratingIP48IPX8
BuildArmor Aluminum frame, Gorilla Glass Victus 2Armor Aluminum frame, Gorilla Glass Victus 2
ColoursSilver Shadow, Pink, Navy, Crafted Black, WhiteIcy Blue, Phantom Black, Cream, Grey, Blue

I've often heard people say that the Z Fold 5 is too tall and narrow. In its folded position its cover display isn't an echo of the best Android phones at the flagship end of the scale. Well, the Z Fold 6 is here to try and set the record straight. 

With a less tall and wider cover display, I can see how the Z Fold 6 is taking a step in the right direction. That said, this is a really minor adjustment: we're talking a 1.4mm height reduction and 2.7mm width expansion (in its unfolded position; the cover display is only 1mm wider in the closed position). 

Just how much difference does that make in use? I found it marginal, really, as it's not a total overhaul of aspect ratio really. But, as Samsung has also trimmed the Z Fold 6 down (it's just 5.6mm thick/thin) the latest device is really lightweight as foldables go – indeed, it's almost the same weight as the flagship Galaxy S24 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

Elsewhere the Armor Aluminum frame is said to be 10% stronger than before, with greater scratch resistance, while the use of Gorilla Glass Victus 2 remains the same between the two devices. Still, this is a tough cookie of a foldable. 

As is the case year on year, Samsung has introduced some new colours for the 2024 model: Silver Shadow is the calling card, a sort of silvery-black, while Pink and Navy firm up the other two options. Samsung.com exclusives will also offer Crafted Black and White, if you're looking for a more classic look. 

Galaxy Z Fold 6 v Z Fold 5: Displays

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 review

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)
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Row 0 - Cell 0 Z Fold 6Z Fold 5
Cover display6.3in AMOLED, 968 x 2376 pixels, 1-120Hz adaptive6.2in AMOLED, 904 x 2316 pixels, 120Hz
Main display7.6in AMOLED (20.9:18 ratio), 2160 x 1856 pixels, 1-120Hz adaptive7.6in AMOLED (21.6:18 ratio), 2176 x 1812 pixels, 120Hz

Inevitably the displays of the Z Fold 6 and earlier Z Fold 5 are different, owed to the aspect ratio change. Don't expect other additions, though, as there's no mention of peak brightness boost, sharpness increase, nor refresh rate enhancement. 

A photo of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

That's no bad thing though: the Z Fold has long offered a great display experience (so long as you don't try and peel off the protective layer, which breaks the device), both cover display and internal. It's just with the Z Fold 6 you get a slightly less 'square' experience.

Galaxy Z Fold 6 v Z Fold 5: Cameras

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 review

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 cameras

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)
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Row 0 - Cell 0 Z Fold 6Z Fold 5
Main: 23mm50MP, f/1.8, OIS50MP, f/1.8, OIS
Tele: 72mm (3x)10MP, f/2.4, OIS10MP, f/2.4, OIS
Wide-angle: 12mm (0.5x)12MP, f/2.2 12MP, f/2.2
Selfie4MP (under display) & 10MP 4MP (under display) & 10MP

Here's one area where the differences crawl to a stop though: the Z Fold 6's cameras are identical to the Z Fold 5's. That means the very same triple-lens arrangement on the rear (albeit with a different design aesthetic), with an under-display selfie camera within the unfolded display and a cover display selfie camera as the secondary. 

While I wouldn't have expected major changes here, as cameras can really challenge the physical space requirements in a phone's design, it's a shame that the optical zoom doesn't see a boost – look at the S24 Ultra, for example, and that offers higher-resolution main and telephoto cameras, so Samsung's foldable is a step behind in that regard. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 cameras

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

I suspect the 'Galaxy Z Fold 7' will be the device iteration that will bring new camera upgrades, because with the Z Fold 6 it's simply an echo of its predecessor – which isn't necessarily a bad thing, given how good those already are, it's just one area where more was expected. 

Galaxy Z Fold 6 v Z Fold 5: Key spec

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 review

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)
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Row 0 - Cell 0 Z Fold 6Z Fold 5
ProcessorQualcommm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3Qualcommm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Vapour chamberYes (1.6x larger)Yes
RAM12GB12GB
Battery4,400mAh4,400mAh
Charging25W wired, 15W wireless25W wired, 15W wireless
Storage256GB/512GB/1TB256GB/512GB/1TB

The physical aspect ratio adjustment has meant other internal design tweaks for the Z Fold 6 too: there's a vapour chamber, which is 1.6x larger than its predecessor for improved cooling. 

That's paired with a generational upgrade in processor terms: the 'made for Samsung' version of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 flagship is inside the Z Fold 6 – here in Gen 3 compared to the Z Flip 5's Gen 2. 

There's a greater focus on artificial intelligence capabilities, which is all part of Samsung's Galaxy AI prerogative. Examples include Note Assist offering summaries and transcriptions, and Interpreter delivering real-time translation and transcription in both audio and written forms. 

A photo of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

Battery capacities are one and the same for both devices, the assumption being that life in the newer Z Fold 6 ought to be improved thanks to the vapour chamber and newer processor. Charging speeds remain the same for both, so no speed boost there.

More battery would equal more weight though – and I think it's great that Samsung has managed to produce a foldable that's akin to any given flagship in terms of size and scale. It makes it a more enticing proposition overall. 

Galaxy Z Flip 6 v Z Flip 5: Conclusion

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Z Fold 6Z Fold 5
Price (at launch)£1,799 / $1,899 / AU$2,749£1,749 / $1,799 / AU$2,599

So there you have it: the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 brings a less 'square' shape to its internal display, answering one of the biggest requests from many users. However, it's not a major aspect ratio change – meaning, for me, one of the biggest benefits of the new foldable is actually the lighter weight overall. 

At the time of writing I only have UK pricing to hand, which sees the Z Fold 6 marginally increase its day-one asking price by £50. There's no skipping the fact that foldables are still very expensive: and with a £1,799 ($1,899 / AU$2,749) asking price being the lowest (for 256GB storage), it's worth noting that the OnePlus Open was a couple of hundred less even at launch.

It's clear that the Galaxy Z Fold 6 is an improvement over its predecessor – but it's a slight improvement rather than a total reimagination. Not one for the upgraders, then, but those wanting a flagship foldable may find this new version's nips and tucks strike the right balance of screen size and aspect ratio. 

Mike Lowe
Tech Editor

Mike is the Tech Editor at T3.com. He's been writing about consumer technology for 15 years and, as a phones expert, has seen hundreds of handsets over the years – swathes of Android devices, a smattering of iPhones, and a batch of Windows Phone too (remember those?). But that's not all, as a tech and audio aficionado his beat at T3 also covers tablets, laptops, gaming, home cinema, TVs, speakers and more – there's barely a tech stone unturned he's not had a hand on. Previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for 10 years, he's also provided work for publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more. In addition to his tech knowledge, Mike is also a flights and travel expert, having travelled the globe extensively. You'll likely find him setting up a new mobile phone, critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next getaway... or cycling somewhere.