Samsung has dropped the price of its folding flip phone, the Galaxy Z Flip 5G, by $250. It’s now $1,199.99, which, on its face, looks like a fairly big drop from its original asking price of $1,449.99 in July 2020.
However, there are two things to keep in mind about the price change. First, this phone is about six months old and is the same design as the non-5G version released last February. Samsung phones are famous for seeing early and aggressive deals; now that trend is hitting its folding phones, too. So while a price drop is nice to see, it’s not exactly rare.
Second, $1,200 is still very expensive for a phone that has essentially the same specs and functionality as a Galaxy S20 FE 5G, which can be had for $700 (or less if you can find a deal).
The news of the price drop comes after Samsung’s president of mobile, TM Roh, promised to make folding phones “more accessible to everyone” in 2021. It also comes after Samsung’s latest earnings announcement in which it said it would expand its portfolio of foldable products — specifically citing that it plans an “expansion of the foldable category including the Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip.”
We were already expecting a new version of the Z Fold (which opens up to the size of a small tablet) sometime this year with support for styluses, but it’s unclear when Samsung may release that. As for the Z Flip, it’s unclear what this price drop means for the timing of the next one.
But the biggest question around folding phones isn’t about when new ones will come; it’s about how much they will cost. While it’s definitely true that $1,200 is $250 less than $1,450, there’s still a very big price premium for customers who want their phones to fold down into smaller packages.
The Z Flip is easily the best flip-style folding phone on the market, but it’s a small market. The only other viable competitor is the Motorola Razr 5G, which, as of this writing, has also been discounted to $1,200 from its original $1,400 asking price.
Folding phones are still luxury products, in other words. These flip phones cost nearly 50 percent more than comparable non-folding devices. It’s good to see the Z Flip 5G become “more accessible,” but unless that price difference can get smaller, folding phones will continue to be curiosities instead of mass-market devices.