The Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 are Samsung’s two newest foldables — but which one is the better buy for most shoppers? While it might have seemed crazy to compare two folding phones a few years ago, they’ve quickly gone from a pipe dream to a reality. At the forefront of the foldable niche has been Samsung. Starting with the original Galaxy Fold in 2019 and here in 2021 with its two latest offerings, Samsung’s made incredible progress with its folding phones in hardly any time at all.
With the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3, Samsung’s created its two most sophisticated foldables to date. The former keeps a lot of what worked from the Z Fold 2, but it sprinkles small improvements throughout the hardware to make it much more refined. The same is true of the Galaxy Z Flip 3. It’s not a drastic leap forward compared to the first Z Flip, but everything about the phone is better in one way or another. The Fold 3 and Flip 3 may not have the same excitement as their predecessors, but they make important refinements earlier models lacked.
When comparing the Fold 3 and Flip 3, the main difference is how the phones fold. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 has a 6.2-inch cover display on the outside, and it opens up to reveal a 7.6-inch screen that looks like a small tablet. The Z Flip 3 looks like a ‘normal’ phone when opened and closes to become much more portable — just like an old flip phone. For a lot of people, the Z Fold 3 is seen as the superior folding form factor. It transforms from a phone to a tablet in the blink of an eye, and that dual-functionality can be invaluable for certain workflows.
Whether it be typing out long emails, photo editing, or working with multiple browser tabs, carrying around such a larger screen like that is immensely valuable. The downside, however, is that the Z Fold 3 is a pretty cumbersome device. At 16mm thick when folded and weighing 271g, it’s not a great choice for someone that wants a more pocketable gadget. For them, the Z Flip 3 is a much better fit.
While it’s functionally very similar to a traditional smartphone when opened, being able to fold it in half is a huge perk for people with small hands, tiny pockets, or a combination of both. Combine that with a much more reasonable weight of 183g, and the Z Flip 3 is an ideal smartphone for anyone who values portability above all else.
Galaxy Z Fold 3 Vs. Z Flip 3 Specs & Price
Outside of the design of both phones, there are plenty of spec differences to dig into as well — starting with the cameras. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 has a total of five cameras, including three 12MP cameras on the back (wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto), a 10MP selfie camera above the cover display, and a 4MP camera underneath the inner display. On the Z Flip 3, there’s a 12MP wide camera, 12MP ultra-wide camera, and a 10MP selfie camera.
The Z Fold 3 further benefits from a 4,400 mAh battery capacity, 12GB of RAM, and a choice between 256 or 512GB of storage. On the Z Flip 3, users get a 3,300 mAh capacity, 8GB of RAM, and 128 or 256GB of storage.
Despite being such different gadgets, there are also a few similarities between the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3. Both phones have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, 5G connectivity, IPX8 water resistance, stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, Gorilla Glass Victus, and a new ‘Armor Aluminum’ frame which Samsung says is “the strongest aluminum ever used on a Galaxy smartphone.” Both phones also come with Qi wireless charging and reverse wireless charging.
Then there’s the matter of cost. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 starts at $1,799, and the Z Flip 3 starts at $999. For those keeping track at home, that’s a $700 price difference. There’s no denying the utility provided by the Z Fold 3, but for many shoppers, it’s far too expensive to seriously consider as their next smartphone. The Z Flip 3, however, is now the same price as the Galaxy s21+ and iPhone 12 Pro. It’s not necessarily cheap, but it’s much more approachable than any other foldable that came before it.
This alone will likely be enough to help most people decide which handset to buy. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 stands out as Samsung’s most useful folding phone, but all of that functionality still comes at an exorbitant price. The Z Flip 3 may not be as game-changing, but it gets folks in the folding niche without breaking the bank. Regardless of which route someone goes, they can rest assured they’re getting one of the best folding phones available in 2021.