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Samsung’s next folding phone could be cheaper than we thought

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, Galaxy Z Fold 4, and Galaxy Z Flip 5 resting on a table.
the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 (from left) Galaxy Z Fold 5, and Galaxy Z Flip 5 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

It increasingly seems likely that Samsung’s foldable phone strategy is aiming for a lower price bracket. Right now, a taste of Galaxy foldables will cost you a minimum of $1,000. However, an upcoming entry-level foldable phone might bring that barrier down to just $800.

According to a report from Korea’s Sisa Journal, Samsung is in talks with supply chain partners to sort out the logistics for making an affordable foldable phone. Notably, the camera specs for the device are said to rival those of Samsung’s pricier mainstream foldables.

That’s a particularly attractive possibility from a buyer’s perspective, but challenging for a brand as it further shrinks the scope for cutting costs elsewhere. And this isn’t the first time we’ve heard rumors of a Samsung “Lite” or “Fan Edition (FE)” foldable phone.

And Samsung won’t be the first to do it despite having a huge lead in the segment. Over the past year, multiple brands have offered foldable phones that cost significantly less than Samsung’s portfolio, even compared to what Samsung is aiming for its yet-to-be-launched “budget” foldable phone.

Take Tecno, for example. The company currently sells a rather alluring clamshell-style foldable phone called the Phantom V Flip, which costs around $650. The Phantom V Fold, which goes against the $1,799 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 (or at least dreams of), is currently listed for roughly $850 on Amazon in India.

The folded Tecno Phantom V Fold and Tecno Phantom V Flip.
the Tecno Phantom V Flip (left) and Tecno Phantom V Fold Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

In the U.S. market, Motorola is currently selling the flip-style Razr (2023) at $499, while the more premium Razr Plus model with a massive secondary screen is going for just $700. At that asking price, the latter is a terrific value.

As to why it’s taken Samsung so long to break into budget foldable phone territory remains a confounding mystery. Maybe it was supply chain conundrums, or the company was waiting for component costs to come down over time so that it wouldn’t sacrifice the quality aspect. Regardless, the prospect of an $800 Samsung foldable is a tempting offer.

Quality control is of prime importance, more so for foldable phones than an average slab-style device. A recent Digital Trends investigation uncovered a swath of complaints related to the longevity of flexible screens on Galaxy foldable phones, something even authorized Samsung service outlets across multiple cities confirmed to us. My colleague Mark Jansen beautifully highlighted the apprehensions of a buyer as he paid a lot of cash to own his first foldable phone.

Unfortunately, we don’t know when exactly Samsung’s budget foldable phone will arrive. In an email to Digital Trends, DSCC analyst Ross Young said: “Last I heard, a final decision hadn’t been made about a low-end foldable for 2024.” It’s possible we’ll see something about this cheap foldable at the next Unpacked event in the coming months, where Samsung’s sixth-generation Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6 phones will make an appearance.