Aug 11th, 2021 publishUpdated   Sep 11th, 2021, 9:19 am

Just as we’ve been expecting, Samsung unveiled its next-generation of foldable phones with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3. There’s an option here for everyone, as Samsung hopes to push foldable smartphones into the mainstream with these two releases.

If you’re trying to determine which foldable phone you should get, this isn’t exactly a like-for-like comparison. Both the Fold and Flip offer something different, as they are largely tailored for different needs. But let’s check them out to determine which one will work for you.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy Z Flip 3: Spec Comparison

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
$1,799 $999
7.6-inches (foldable)
6.2-inches (cover)
6.7-inch (foldable)
1.9-inch (cover)
2208 x 1769 (foldable)
2268 x 832 (cover)
2640 x 1080 (foldable)
260 x 512 (cover)
374 ppi (foldable)
387ppi (cover)
425ppi (foldable)
302 ppi (cover)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
12GB 8GB
256/512GB 128GB/256GB
4400 mAh 3300 mAh
Android 11 Android 11
Triple cameras:
12MP. OIS, f/1.8 (main)
12MP, f/2.2 (ultrawide)
12,MP, OIS, f/2.4(2x telephoto)
Dual-cameras:
12MP, OIS, f/1.8 (main)
12MP, f/2.2, 123˚ (ultrawide)
10MP, f/2.2 (cover)
4MP, f/1.8 (interior, under display)
10MP, f/2.4, 80 ̊ FOV
v5.2 v5.2
Yes Yes
128.1 x 158.2 x 6.4mm (unfolded)
67.1 x 158.2 x 16mm (folded)
72.2 x 166.0 x 6.9mm (unfolded)72.2 x 86.4 x 17.1mm (folded)
271g 183g
IPX8 IPX8
Yes Yes
25W fast charging, 10W wireless charging, 4.5W reverse wireless charging, Side-mounted fingerprint sensor, Face Recognition, stereo speakers, Wi-Fi 6E, no charger in box, 120Hz adaptive refresh rate 15W fast charging, 10W wireless charging, 4.5W reverse wireless charging, Side-mounted fingerprint sensor, Face Recognition, 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, stereo speakers

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy Z Flip 3: The Few Similarities

If Samsung wants to take foldables into the mainstream, it needed to go back to the drawing board following last year’s Z Flip 5G and Z Fold 2. Durability concerns are a big reason why some may look the other way when deciding on what their next smartphone will be. But with the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3, durability has been greatly improved. These are the first two folding phones to offer an official IPX8 water resistance rating.

Samsung also improved the display technology being used on both devices to not only allow for the Z Fold 3 to support the use of an S Pen, but also to offer up to 80% better durability compared to last year’s models. And the best part is that the display technology is the same across the board, just tailored to fit each phone. Both main displays offer Samsung’s 120Hz Adaptive Refresh Rate, which is an improvement for the Galaxy Z Flip 3 after the Flip 5G was limited to 60Hz.

Processing power for both phones is provided by the Snapdragon 888, the same chip used in the Galaxy S21 series, OnePlus 9, and 2021 flagships. This is an obvious upgrade for both the Fold and Flip, as last year’s models sported the Snapdragon 865+, but you likely won’t notice any major differences on a daily basis.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy Z Flip 3: Going big

Just like the Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Z Fold 2, the Z Fold 3 is one of the largest smartphones that we’ve ever seen. It sports a massive 7.6-inch folding display, accompanied by a slim but useful 6.2-inch Cover Screen. Samsung also upgraded the cover screen to include a 120Hz refresh rate, something that was sorely missing from last year’s model. Switching between 60Hz and 120Hz on the two displays was a bit jarring to some, so it’s good to see that has been remedied with the Fold 3.

As we mentioned before, Samsung greatly improved the durability of the display, offering an 80% increase in durability compared to the Z Fold 2. Because of this, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 now offers S Pen support. Samsung has even gone so far to release an S Pen model specifically for the Z Fold 3. But there’s also a new S Pen Pro that works with the Fold 3 and any other S Pen-compatible device, including the Galaxy Book line, Galaxy Tab S7, and S21 Ultra.

There’s also another added benefit to this updated display in the Galaxy Z Fold 3, and that’s the under-display selfie camera. Samsung wants you to experience the Z Fold 3 with an uninterrupted display, and it has embedded a 4MP selfie camera at the top of the inner panel. We’ll have to wait and see how this looks in the real-world, but it definitely looks good in the renders and demonstrations we’ve seen so far. Meanwhile, the Z Flip 3 retains the hole-punch cut out on its main display to house the 10MP selfie camera.

The Fold 3 gets a leg up in the power department, but not by much. With its 12GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage, this gives owners a little bit more wiggle room when it comes to performance. Since the Z Fold 3 is designed with multi-tasking in mind, the additional 4GB of RAM over the Flip 3 could be enough to ensure you don’t run into any bottlenecks.

Where the Galaxy Z Fold 3 may fall a bit flat for many is with the price. Samsung lowered the price of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 compared to the Z Fold 2 by about $200. This brings the starting price for the 12GB / 256GB configuration to “just” $1,799. Seeing a price reduction was an absolute necessity, and we won’t be surprised if there are a few discounts after the Fold 3 launches. It’s also important to note that the $200 savings might quickly vanish if you want an S Pen and/or case, so that’s another consideration to make.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy Z Flip 3: The better value

Looking at the spec sheet for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy Z Flip 3, and you might notice something. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 offers an incredible value, bringing comparable specs to the Galaxy S21+ while getting just under the $1,000 price point. From a power perspective, the Fold 3 and Flip 3 are the same, but while the Flip 3 “only” features 8GB of RAM, that’s still more than enough to handle your daily tasks.

It falls a bit short in the camera department, but not because of the sensor quality. Instead, the Fold 3 adds a telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom. And while some may not think much of having a telescope camera, it can be really useful instead of relying on the phone’s digital zoom capabilities.

But moving past all of that, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is positioned to be the folding phone for the masses. There are a total of seven different colors to choose from, even with three of those being limited to Samsung’s own website. It’s reminiscent of the Galaxy S20 FE with its myriad of colors, plus the cases being offered are also a lot more playful and enjoyable compared to the Z Fold 3.

You get the same great durability, the same great 120Hz Adaptive Refresh Rate, and most of the same great power. But the Flip 3 is the more pocketable device, and has an improved cover screen that aims to actually be useful instead of looking like it was thrown on after-the-fact.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy Z Flip 3: Final decision

It’s really difficult for us to sit here and tell you which is the “best” phone, as these phones aim to fill different needs. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 and its $1,700 price tag is directly aimed at those who either a) want the biggest smartphone screen possible, or b) want to get work done by adding an S Pen. Meanwhile, the Z Flip 3 comes in a variety of fun colors, while including the same IPX8 water resistance and a display that’s 80% more durable compared to last year. Add in the fact that it’s available for under a grand, and the Flip 3 really feels like a winner.

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