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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 hands-on: The foldable most people should buy gets one key upgrade

Meaningful changes under the hood and clever display capabilities make the latest Galaxy flip phone one of the best on the market.
Written by Kerry Wan, Senior Reviews Editor
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

I've never felt more like an influencer than when I held and used the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 this week. From the makeshift tripod design for selfies and chasing viral TikTok dreams to the personalizable outer screen wallpapers, there's just so much character with Samsung's latest foldable phone, and I don't hate it.

Also: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 vs. Motorola Razr+ (2024): I've tested both, and the winner is not so obvious

We're now in year six of the Galaxy Z Flip, and Samsung clearly has embraced its purpose as a compact, creativity-inspiring device with a clamshell design that pays homage to the decades-old flip phones before it. It's not hard to appreciate all the technicalities Samsung crammed into a phone that, when folded, measures roughly three inches from corner to corner.

The $1,099 Z Flip 6 is also much cheaper than its foldable sibling, the $1,899 Z Fold 6, though it's still in a price range that requires much consideration. In fact, it's $100 more than last year's model, so what gives? Here's the lowdown.

The new Galaxy Z Flip 6 is thinner and lighter than ever, with flattened edges that give the phone an industrial feel in the hand. Samsung is selling the Z Flip this year in a multitude of pastel colors: Blue, Mint, Yellow, Silver Shadow, White, Peach, and Crafted Black. For a little more personality, the camera rings are accented with the color you choose.

Also: Save up to $1,500 on new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6 phones - here's how

If that doesn't sell you on a $1,099 flip phone, I get it. On top of the design changes, the Z Flip 6 brings a battery upgrade, from last year's 3,700mAh to 4,000mAh. There's also now a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset and the first vapor cooling chamber ever on a Z Flip device, both of which should make the phone run more efficiently, reducing battery drainage.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 Online Colors
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

The camera system has gotten perhaps the biggest boost from last year's model, with an improved 50MP main sensor and a 12MP ultra-wide. Samsung tells me it decided to stick with an ultra-wide camera instead of switching to a telephoto lens like competing phone maker Motorola because it allows users to take better group photos, and I agree. The ultra-wide sensor should serve users better when taking photos of taller and wider landscapes, such as the Eiffel Tower.

Also: The best Samsung phones to buy in 2024

The most fascinating camera improvement is the new AI-powered Auto Zoom feature, which automatically detects how many people are in a frame, as well as potential background objects you may want to keep in the shot (think Eiffel Tower, the name of a storefront, etc.) and repositions accordingly.

I was able to test the feature only in a lounge setting, so I can't attest to how well it works when taking pictures with taller and wider landscapes, but the idea of my smartphone doing the framing work for me feels game-changing.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Now, the funner part: the outer display, or, as Samsung calls it, Flex Window. It's the same 3.4-inch screen as last year's model, but the company's baked in some whimsical elements:

  • Interactive Wallpapers have animations that you tap, drag, and shake the phone to interact with. One of my favorites had various emojis that would tumble around as you rotated the device.
  • Photo Ambient applies a weather and/or color temperature filter, depending on your time and location.
  • Generative Wallpaper lets you create new wallpapers by selecting key theme words.
  • You can quickly respond to text messages with Suggested Replies, which pull context from previous conversations and formulate replies based on your texting style.
  • Like the larger Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6, you can use dual-screen Interpreter Mode for live translations between two languages.
  • New Flex Window widgets include Samsung Health, SmartThings, Reminder, and News.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Ultimately, the outer display, where Samsung has the most room to innovate, feels more functional than before, and users who were already drawn to the customizability of the Z Flip are likely to appreciate the new changes. There's even an improved Flipsuit case that, when clipped onto the back of the phone, automatically changes the wallpaper to match its design via NFC. Plus, with wireless charging, the case's LED should light up whenever you fold and unfold the device.

Stay tuned to ZDNET for a deeper dive into the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6. For now, you can preorder yours for a starting price of $1,099, with several promotions and offers already active.

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