Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 vs. Galaxy Z Fold 5: Not an easy choice

Samsung has launched its latest foldable, the Galaxy Z Fold 6. This is the successor to last year's Z Fold 5, and it brings with it a bunch of updates. Just like the S24 series, Samsung's focus is squarely on its Galaxy AI features in the new foldable. Software aside, the new phone does come with some notable upgrades, some of which we've been wanting to see for a while. But does it make it a better choice than the Z Fold 5?

The 2023 foldable recently got Galaxy AI features too via an update and its feature set was pretty solid to begin with. If you're unable to decide between these two outstanding foldables, let's take it step by step and see which one has the upper hand.

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

Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Samsung has yet again played it safe with the design of its new Galaxy Z Fold 6. Not that there was anything wrong with the previous one, but the past three generations have looked pretty much the same, with just minor nips and tucks year after year. The flat theme is taken one step further with the Fold 6, which features an even more angular frame with a smaller curvature for the corners. This makes it look almost rectangular when closed or open.

Although it looks similar to the Fold 5 at first glance, the improvements are noticeable when you hold it. The biggest, and most welcomed, change is the lighter weight of 239g, which is 14g less than the Fold 5. This makes it as heavy as the OnePlus Open, but it's still not as light as the Vivo X Fold 3 Pro. The Fold 6 is also 2.7mm wider and 1.4mm shorter than the Galaxy Z Fold 5, which means you won't be able to use the best cases for the Fold 5 on the new model.

Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Samsung claims to have made other improvements too on the Galaxy Z Fold 6 like 10% better scratch resistance on the frame and hinge, new materials for the hinge, and better tolerance to pressure and sharp objects for the folding edge of the display. The Z Fold 6 comes in three shades including Pink, Navy, and Silver, but there are also White and Crafted Black (carbon fibre finish) colors if you buy it directly from

The final big update to the design is the IP48 certification, which seems like a big upgrade but I don't think it is. The Fold 5 was already IPX8 rated, so the waterproofing portion ('8') is the same. The Fold 6 now gets an official '4' rating for solid particle resistance but this is only valid for objects greater than 1mm. A rating of '5' and above guarantees protection against smaller particles like dust, which is what we really wanted.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 in flex mode

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 brought some big changes to the design like a thinner and lighter chassis, and a reworked hinge that allowed the phone to fold flat without leaving any gap. This might not seem very impressive on paper, but it makes a big impact when you actually hold and use it in its folded state. Like the Fold 6, the Fold 5 also uses Gorilla Glass Victus 2 over the outer display and back panel. The frame is Samsung's "Armor Aluminum" which we've never had any issues with in terms of durability.

The Z Fold 5 comes in Icy Blue, Phantom Black, and Cream, but you can get it in Gray and Blue via Samsung's own online store. The phone weighs 252g, which is a bit heavy and something that you will notice initially till you get used to it. It does not get any official protection against dust, although I do believe it should be just as resilient against smaller objects like the Fold 6.

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

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 official cases

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

No prizes for guessing the biggest upgrade in the Z Fold 6's hardware. That's right, it comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy SoC, just like the S24 series. You can expect higher benchmark scores and smoother gaming performance in really demanding titles. The new chip is also more power efficient, so battery life should be slightly better too.

The Galaxy Z Fold 6 costs $100 more than its predecessor (again, no surprise there) starting at $1,899.99. There are three storage variants, like last time, and you get 12GB of RAM in all of them. Battery capacity is also the same at 4,400mAh, and you don't get a charger in the box. Wired charging is still limited to 25W, along with 15W wireless charging.

The bright display and square corners of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Samsung has made a few changes to the displays. The outer screen on the Galaxy Z Fold 6 is a bit larger at 6.3 inches and is slightly wider with a 22.1:9 aspect ratio. This means it should be a little easier to type with both hands. The increase in size has also driven the resolution up slightly to 2,376x986. Other specs are nearly the same as before like the Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel and the 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. The latter can now drop down to 1Hz when needed, compared to 48Hz on the older model.

The inner folding display has the same 7.6-inch diagonal width, but the corners are squared off so it appears a bit larger. The aspect ratio is a bit wider at 20.9:18, and the resolution is now 2,160x1,856. It has gotten brighter, as Samsung is claiming a peak brightness of up to 2,600 nits, up from 1,750 nits on the Fold 5. This should make consuming content under direct sunlight easier to view, with richer colors. The Fold 6 also supports the S Pen Fold Edition and S Pen Pro.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Folding display7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x, LTPO (1-120Hz), 2,176 x 1,812 resolution, 21.6:18 ratio, 1,750 nits peak brightness7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x, LTPO (1-120Hz), 2,160 x 1,856 resolution, 20.9:18 ratio, 2,600 nits peak brightness
Cover display6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x, LTPO (48-120Hz), 2,316 x 904, 23.1:9 ratio, 1,750 nits peak brightness6.3-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x, LTPO (1-120Hz), 2,376 x 968, 22.1:9 ratio
Processor Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for GalaxySnapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy
Storage 256GB, 512GB, 1TB256GB, 512GB, 1TB
SoftwareOne UI 5.1.1 (Android 13)One UI 6.1.1 (Android 14)
Battery & charging 4,400mAh, 25W wired, 15W wireless4,400mAh, 25W wired, 15W wireless
Rear cameras 50MP wide + 12MP ultrawide + 10MP telephoto50MP wide + 12MP ultrawide + 10MP telephoto
Selfie cameras 10MP (cover screen) + 4MP (under-display camera)10MP (cover screen) + 4MP (under-display camera)
Dimensions Unfolded: 153.5 x 132.6 x 5.6 mm; Folded: 153.5 x 68.1 x 12.1 mmUnfolded: 154.9 x 129.9 x 6.1 mm; Folded: 154.9 x 67.1 x 13.4 mm
Weight 239g253g
Colors Icy Blue, Phantom Black, CreamSilver Shadow, Pink, Navy exclusive colorsGray, BlueCrafted Black, White
Price Starts at $1,899.99Starts at $1,799.99

The hardware in the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 has aged well and is still very relevant a year down the line. It's powered by the excellent Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy SoC, which we found to deliver very good system and gaming performance when we reviewed it. This phone also has 12GB of RAM and comes in three storage variants. Prices start at $1,799.99, although with the Z Fold 6 now in the picture, you should expect a permanent price cut or at least be able to find a good deal on Amazon Prime Day.

The Z Fold 5 has the same battery capacity and charging tech as the Fold 6, although the latter's latest software and more efficient chip could help it get slightly better battery life. The Fold 5's inner and outer displays produce excellent colors and brightness, making it great for content consumption. We did face a few issues though like the prominent crease in the middle of the folding display, annoying flicker at all brightness levels due to PWM dimming (if your eyes are sensitive to it), and the reflective PET screen protector on the inner display.

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

Using the AI doodle feature on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 ships with Android 14 out of the box, with its One UI 6.1.1 skin. Just like the S24 series, the Fold 6 will also get seven years of OS upgrades and security patches, which is longer than most people would probably own this phone for. Galaxy AI is baked in, which now has some new features for the Fold 6.

Note Assist on Samsung Notes lets you do translation, summaries, and auto-formatting.  The PDF overlay translation feature lets you translate text directly into the PDF itself. The new 'Sketch to image' feature offers image options based on rough sketches or drawings done with the S Pen. Meanwhile, Photo Assist lets you create professional-looking images based on different types of artwork and visual styles. All of the features we've already seen in the Galaxy S24 phones like Interpreter and Live Translate are also available on the Fold 6.

Using the large inner display on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

(Image credit: Android Central)

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 shipped with One UI 5.1.1 based on Android 13 when it launched last year, but it has begun receiving the One UI 6.1 update recently. This means you will be able to most of the Galaxy AI features on the Fold 5 as well. Some of the newer features in the Fold 6 should also eventually make their way to the Fold 5 in future updates. In terms of software updates, the Z Fold 5 is set to get five years of OS and security updates.

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

Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Samsung hasn't messed around with the cameras all that much on the new Galaxy Z Fold 6. The hardware has stayed pretty much the same, although Samsung says that the ultrawide camera is using a new 12MP sensor. While it's not the most exciting set of cameras on a foldable, it's not bad news either. The Fold 5 already had a pretty good set of cameras, with improved image quality compared to the Fold 4. Plus, the new ISP in the Fold 6, along with better software tuning, could result in slightly improved image quality. We'll know for certain once we've had a chance to test the phone.

The Fold 6 has a 50MP main camera with optical stabilization (OIS), a 10MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom and OIS, and a 12MP ultrawide camera. On the outer display, it's the same 10MP selfie camera, while the folding display uses the 4MP under-display camera.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 vs. Galaxy Z Fold 5: Which should you buy?

Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Looking it at it purely from a productivity point of view, which is the main reason you'd consider buying this over an S24 Ultra, the Galaxy Z Fold 6's brighter display and slightly wider aspect ratio give it an advantage over the Fold 5. Even though it's more expensive, I feel it's worth the little extra if you are going to be paying full price for the Fold 5 anyway. As a bonus, you get an extra year of software support, the latest processor, and for what it's worth, an official IP48 rating. Plus, the new colors look pretty cool. It's no doubt one of the best foldable phones in the market right now.

If you're buying a foldable purely for the novelty of it or to watch videos on a much larger screen, I'd recommend waiting for a good deal on the Z Fold 5. It's nearly every bit as good as the newer model and should be getting a decent price cut soon. Keep in mind that its display might not suit you if your eyes are sensitive to flicker, in which case, the OnePlus Open might be a better option.

Roydon Cerejo

Roydon has been writing about consumer tech for over a decade, and has reviewed a wide variety of products, from TVs and headphones, to cameras and PC components. Smartphones and laptops have been his main focus areas for the past couple of years, where he has extensively covered both spaces in terms of reviews, features, interviews, and live events. When not helping someone pick out their next phone, you’ll find him hunting for new TV shows to binge watch, and struggling to complete his backlog of PS4 games.

  • Mike Dee
    AC News said:
    The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 comes with a decent spec bump, but also bumps up the price. Does the Fold 5 offer better value a year later or is newer always better?

    Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 vs. Galaxy Z Fold 5: Not an easy choice : Read more
    For the money I would go with the newer device.