The best thing about Samsung’s new Galaxy Z Fold 6? It’s actually starting to look more like a regular, bar-shaped smartphone. Announced at its Unpacked event on July 10, the company’s new book-shaped foldable phone features a larger front screen and a lighter build — two seemingly small changes that could make the Z Fold feel less cumbersome and more natural to hold.

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But these changes, along with an upgraded processor, some new software tricks, and a better ultra-wide camera, will cost you money. The Galaxy Z Fold 6 starts at $1,900, making it $100 more expensive than last year’s Galaxy Z Fold 5. Both the Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6 are available for pre-order on July 10, and will be generally available on July 24.

With the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6, Samsung is trying to achieve two specific goals: prove that there are fewer compromises between phones that can fold in half and those that don’t, and demonstrate how generative AI can make our phones more intuitive. Both ambitions are important because foldable phones make up a tiny fraction of total phone shipments, and rival Huawei recently overtook Samsung as the largest maker of foldable phones. The tech world has been fixated on generative AI ever since ChatGPT captured the public’s imagination in late 2022, prompting Samsung and other tech giants to pivot their products toward the technology.

It’s impossible to say whether Samsung has succeeded on either front without spending significant time with the Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6, but based on what I’ve seen so far, Samsung’s design changes indicate the Z Fold line is headed in a promising direction. At the same time, I’m still holding out hope for more dramatic software changes that would truly distinguish foldable phones from traditional bar-frame phones.

Read more: Apple and Samsung have different visions for AI for our phones

Look at this: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6: my first impressions

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 gets a design upgrade

The Galaxy Z Fold 6 closed The Galaxy Z Fold 6 closed

The Galaxy Z Fold 6 has a larger cover screen.

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The first thing I noticed about the Galaxy Z Fold 6 is how light it is. It weighs 239 grams compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 5’s 253 grams, making Samsung’s new foldable phone only slightly heavier than the Galaxy S24 Ultra. Samsung also gave the Galaxy Z Fold 6 sharper, more angular edges that resemble those of the Galaxy S24 Ultra, a fitting similarity for Samsung’s two most expensive phones.

More importantly, Samsung also increased the size of the Galaxy Z Fold’s cover display, from 6.2 inches on the Galaxy Z Fold 5 to 6.3 inches on the Z Fold 6. That may sound like a small difference, but it’s a big difference on such a small screen.

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Other physical changes include a sturdier hinge and improved inner display layers to reduce the crease — though that horizontal line is unfortunately still noticeable. But the lighter build, more angular design, and slightly larger cover screen make this the sleekest Z Fold yet. Those updates may seem superficial, but they’re a big deal for a phone like the Z Fold, which in its early generations felt more like two phones squashed together. The new, more compact feel could have a bigger impact on the Z Fold’s usability, potentially making it more appealing to those who have dismissed foldable phones in the past.

Galaxy AI on the Z Fold 6

The Galaxy Z Fold 6's language translation feature The Galaxy Z Fold 6's language translation feature

The Galaxy Z Fold 6 features Galaxy AI, which includes a number of translation features.

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Samsung has been vocal about its AI ambitions since earlier this year, when it introduced Galaxy AI alongside the Galaxy S24 series. That’s carried over to its new foldable models too.

Photo editing, productivity and language translation remain three of the biggest areas of focus for Samsung when it comes to AI features. One of the notable new features is Portrait Studio, which creates versions of photos in different styles, such as watercolor, cartoon or comic book. Samsung’s creations didn’t do a great job of creating stylized portraits that looked like them to me when I tried it with a quick selfie, but I only had a few minutes to play around with it.

You can also sketch on an image and have Samsung’s AI naturally incorporate it into the photo. When I scribbled a balloon in the background of a photo taken outdoors on one of Samsung’s demo units, a white balloon was added to the image. The announcement comes after Apple last month announced a number of new image-generating tools as part of its Apple Intelligence features.

Samsung is also looking to put the Galaxy Z Fold’s dual displays to better use when it comes to language translation. A new conversation mode in the Interpreter app allows you to use the front and inner screens simultaneously, allowing the person you’re talking to to see what you’re saying in their native language and vice versa. If this sounds familiar, it’s because Google previously launched a very similar feature for the Pixel Fold. It appeared to work well in a demo between two Samsung employees, though I’m curious to see how awkward it will be when putting this into practice in the real world.

With Samsung positioning the Z Fold as a productivity device thanks to its large 7.6-inch interior display, there are also a handful of new features focused on literacy and writing. When translating a PDF file, Samsung says the translation should match the original text perfectly. Samsung’s keyboard will also suggest words when writing emails, texts and social media posts, building on the AI ​​writing tools it introduced earlier this year.

Going forward, I hope to see more AI features that feel unique to the Galaxy Z Fold. As I’ve written in the past, the most exciting aspect of a foldable phone isn’t the fact that it folds in half, but that you have two screens that can serve different purposes. That opens up the opportunity for Samsung to do some really interesting things with Galaxy AI, and so far it doesn’t appear that’s being explored in any depth beyond language translation. Instead, the focus is more on using the internal screen as a larger canvas for tasks like transcribing recordings, editing photos, and using Google’s Gemini assistant in multiwindow mode.

Other general hardware changes

The cameras of the Galaxy Z Fold 6 The cameras of the Galaxy Z Fold 6

The cameras of the Galaxy Z Fold 6.

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The Galaxy Z Fold 6 also includes a handful of routine upgrades you might expect from a new phone, particularly when it comes to the processor and camera. The Z Fold 6 gets:

  • Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor for Galaxy, just like the Galaxy S24 series
  • A larger vapor chamber to keep the phone cool while playing games
  • A brighter 2,600-nit display
  • A new 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera sensor with better low-light photography
  • Seven years of software upgrades for both the Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6

With the Galaxy Z Fold 6, it seems like Samsung is getting closer to achieving that balance of offering a phone that can also function as a tablet without sacrificing any of the things that make a great phone. The downside is that you have to pay an even more pretty penny to get that experience. Either way, now that the hardware has evolved, I hope to see even more focus on the software in the future.