Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 vs Galaxy Z Fold 5: what’s going to change?

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Intro

Samsung’s foldable series is a whole new class of flagship — not only do they pack the special chipset and lightning fast storage of the Galaxy S series, they also have cutting-edge tech for the foldable screens, and new software solutions to make sure you use that screen real estate to its potential.

The jump between the first Galaxy Fold and the Galaxy Z Fold 2 was massive, as the tech was improving rapidly from the first gen semi-conceptual device to the more polished products. From then on, we’ve had incremental upgrades each year, with the gaps between the Z Fold 3, 4, and 5 being pretty minimal. So, we are looking forward to the Galaxy Z Fold 6 now and wondering — will it shock us with an amazing new development?

From what we know so far — from leaks and reports — how will the Galaxy Z Fold 6 compare to the Galaxy Z Fold 5?

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 vs Galaxy Z Fold 5 differences:

Table of Contents:

Design and Size

Time to change or be replaced
The foldable market has evolved quite a bit since the original Galaxy Fold hit. Samsung has been comfortable with the form factor and aspect ratios of its screens so far, but it seems that the market is pulling in a different direction — a wider external screen, mimicking the ratios of a “normal” smartphone, and a boxier internal display (that’s just the result of widening the shell). You can spot that on the Google Pixel Fold, on the OnePlus Open, Honor Magic V2, Xiaomi Mix Fold 3, and so on and so forth.

It seems that Samsung is about to crack under the pressure, as leaksters are saying that the Galaxy Z Fold 6 will come with a 20:9 external display — much more like a regular smartphone, instead of the tall, thin 23:9 aspect ratio of the Galaxy Z Fold 5. It is also reported that the Z Fold 6 will be thinner and lighter, responding to competition from the Pixel Fold and Honor Magic V.

But wait, there’s more! Reportedly — and prepare a huge grain of salt to consume this one with — the Z Fold 6 will have an external slot for an S Pen. Kind of like how the S Pen case for the Z Fold 5 has a minimalistic slot for its fairly thin S Pen, bold leaks are claiming that the same slot will be found directly in the chassis of the Z Fold 6. We are… hardly convinced. However, it seems Samsung has been toying with the idea of an integrated S Pen for a while, so we wouldn’t be surprised if something like this was thrown around in brainstorm sessions.

OK, what do we know for sure, for sure? Well, at least a water-resistance rating of IPX8 should be in the cards. The Z Fold 5 already has that, and we doubt Samsung would be keen on walking back ingress protection on a premium phone. More likely — we may see an added dust and particle protection as well.

The colors of the Z Fold 6 have also been leaked — supposedly, the official trinity will be Dark Blue, Light Pink, Silver, but it’s almost certain that Samsung will have a couple extra colors as exclusive options at Samsung.com. The Galaxy Z Fold 5 came in Cream, Phantom Black, and Light Blue, but had two extra colors at the official store — Blue and Gray.

In the Galaxy Z Fold 6 box, we expect you’d only be able to find a USB C data cable and the phone itself, plus the general information leaflets. No charger, and very probably — no case to go with the premium phone, unless you order one yourself. The same can be said about the Galaxy Z Fold 5’s box contents.

Display Differences

There’s little reason to believe that Samsung will be upgrading — or otherwise majorly changing — the display tech that powers the screens of the new foldable. The AMOLED panels are at their apex right now — we may get a few more nits of extra peak brightness, but we generally expect the same quality of image, color, sharpness from the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Z Fold 5.

Now, as mentioned in the design section, the aspect ratios may change. The external screen of the Z Fold 6 could adopt a more “normal smartphone” aspect ratio of 20:9, thus making the internal dispay closer to a square (1.08:1, leaksters say).
One of the major complaints towards the Z Fold 5 and previous Fold models before it was that external screen. Way too narrow for dual-thumb-typing, way too tall to use with one hand. Some users learned to use it, others stayed away from the Fold because of it. Samsung was adamant on keeping it this way, because the company believed that the external screen should be easy to tap around on with a single thumb, and that any time you are two-handing the Z Fold, you should be using the main display.

Well, the competition came in and was warmly received by those who were too afraid to try out foldables. Expect Samsung to make moves towards the aspect ratio and screen sizes that customers show an appreciation for!

For unlocking the phones, we still expect it to be done via a fingerprint scanner embedded in the power button — same as it has been since the first Z Fold.

Performance and Software

Even more Snap, even hotter Dragon
Samsung has tightened its partnership with Qualcomm over the past couple of years, and the flagship Snapdragon chipsets now come in a “Made for Galaxy” flavor. Basically, this means that they are slightly overclocked than the regular Snapdragons that other Android phones get. And, supposedly, the insight that Samsung gets from this partnership allows it to better design the thermals around those powerful chips.Coming back from that tangent, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is powered by last year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Made for Galaxy. Still a very good, efficient, powerful mobile chip. The Galaxy Z Fold 6 is expected to come with the Snapdraogn 8 Gen 3 Made for Galaxy. We already have experience with that chip — it’s inside the Galaxy S24 phones! It’s definitely a slight improvement over the Gen 2 model, but rest assured that the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is still a very, very capable device and nobody will be running laps around it just yet.

As for software — the Z Fold 6 is sure to come with some extra optimizations in its UI, but these typically trickle back to the older models pretty fast. The Z Fold 6 may also come with a 7-year software update commitment — something that Samsung promised for the Galaxy S24 series. The Z Fold 5 came out with a promise of 4 Android updates and 5 years of software support, so it will reach its end-of-service time about 3 years earlier than the upcoming Z Fold 6.

Camera

Time to get serious
Samsung has been pretty comfortable separating its flagship phones in two categories — the Galaxy S Ultra devices are generally the “camera smartphones”, the Z Fold series are the “productivity smartphones”. However, competitors are attaching their best cameras to their foldables, and the Galaxy Z Fold series is slowly drawing criticism for not doing the same. Don’t get us wrong — the Galaxy Z Fold 5 camera is not bad at all, but it was definitely not as advanced as the S23 Ultra’s, nor the S24 Ultra’s.

Now, leaksters claim that the Galaxy Z Fold 6will be getting the excellent 200 MP main camera from the Galaxy S24 Ultra. This will definitely put it a small step above the Galaxy Z Fold 5 — depending on how much you care about smartphone photography, at least.

Of course, we will also have an ultra-wide lens and a telephoto lens on the back — the zoom should be something in the ballpark of 3x, like the Z Fold 5.

Z Fold phones typically have not one but two selfie cameras — one on the external display, and one hidden under active pixels of the main internal screen. We are not huge fans of the quality of the internal one — it’s ok for video calls at best, but it can benefit from a small boost in quality. We’ll see if the Z Fold 6 delivers!

Audio Quality and Haptics

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 has excellent speakers — a duo of drivers in stereo, capable of pushing a wide soundstage — much wider than the S24 Ultra’s speakers. It has a nice depth to it, a sparkle in the highs, and a good enough volume to enjoy music on. Like a tiny Bluetooth speaker, which happens to sound quite good.We fully epxect the Galaxy Z Fold 6 would continue this tradition, maybe add small improvements to the volume.

As for haptics — these click pretty well already. Any small improvements in the field would be welcome, but not vital.

Battery Life and Charging

Tiny improvement?

According to leaksters, the Galaxy Z Fold 6 will only have a slightly bigger battery than last time — up to 4,600 mAh from 4,400 mAh. It’s quite early to tell if this will in any way impact battery life — after all, the way the new Snapdragon is tuned, and the brightness of the screens also matters.

If we were to guess — we’d expect the Z Fold 6’s battery endurance to be about the same as the Z Fold 5 — about 9 hours of web browsing should be the norm.

Samsung isn’t eager to participate in the fast charging race and it seems the Z Fold 6 will, again, accept up to 25 W of power for a pretty steady juice-up. Of course, wireless and reverse wireless charging are pretty much guaranteed. We wonder if we will see Qi2, though?

Specs Comparison

Quick overview of the specs in a table

Link to full 1v1 specs comparison on our website

*Speculation

OK, so this is what we know so far about the specs — either leaked, or deducted. Right now, it seems that the Galaxy Z Fold 6 will be another incremental upgrade. Kind of safe, not crazy enough to entice Z Fold 5 owners, but good enough to pull in users looking to upgrade from an older phone. Or ones that are just now jumping in the foldable space.

Summary

Will the Galaxy Z Fold 6 be better than the Z Fold 5? Of course — it’s all an extra year of develompent and tech improvements. Will the difference be huge? We can’t see it right now. The biggest change would be that screen aspect ratio — assuming the rumors are all correct, of course. The change in processor? Not such a big deal, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is still an excellent chip! The upgraded camera? That’d be nice, sure, but most people that are buying a Z Fold don’t do so for the camera.

All in all, it’s still a bit too early to say. We are excited to see what Samsung has been brewing, that’s for sure, but we won’t be calling the Z Fold 6 a Fold 5 killer before it reaches our hands (and testing labs)!


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