Galaxy Z Flip vs Galaxy S20 Ultra: Which phone is worth your $1,400?

Galaxy Z Flip vs Galaxy S20 Ultra
(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and Galaxy Z Flip belong to the same mile-high price club at $1,400 and $1,380. But otherwise these Android phones are very, very different. The S20 Ultra Ultra is all about its highly advanced cameras and Space Zoom, while the Galaxy Z Flip is about turning heads with its foldable glass design.

If you have this much money to burn — and even if you don't — our Galaxy Z Flip vs Galaxy S20 Ultra comparison will show you how two of the new best phones on the market stack up. 

Galaxy Z Flip vs Galaxy S20 Ultra specs

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Galaxy S20 UltraGalaxy Z Flip
Starting price$1,399$1,380
Display6.9-inch quad-HD AMOLED; 120Hz refresh rate6.7-inch Super AMOLED (Ultra-thin glass; 2636x1080)
Rear cameras Quad-lens: 108MP primary (f/1.8); 48MP telephoto with 10x lossless zoom (f/3.5); 12MP ultrawide (f/2.2); VGA time-of-flightDual: 12MP main (f/1.8); 12MP ultra-wide (ƒ/2.2)
Front camera40MP (f/2.2)10MP (f/2.0)
Cellular capability5G (mnWave, Sub-6GHz)4G LTE
Video Up to 8K resolution at 24 fps Up to 4K resolution at 60 fps
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 865Snapdragon 855 Plus
Storage128GB, 512GB256GB
microSDYes, up to 1TBNo
Battery5,000 mAh3,300 mAh
Size 6.6 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches6.6 x 2.9 x 0.28 inches (open); 3.4 x 2.9 x 0.61-0.68 inches (closed)
Weight7.7 ounces6.5 ounces

Galaxy Z Flip vs Galaxy S20 Ultra: pricing and availability

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip costs $1,380 and is available now through two carriers in AT&T and Sprint, but you can also buy it through Best Buy and Samsung says that this foldable phone is available in limited quantities and several retailers have been sold out of stock initially.  

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is available for pre-order Feb 21 and has a release date of March 6. The phone starts at $1,399 with 128GB of storage and 12GB of RAM. However, you can go up to 512GB of storage and 16GB of RAM for $200 more, or $1,599.

Galaxy Z Flip vs Galaxy S20 Ultra design and displays

Galaxy Z Flip opening

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is tailor-made for fashionistas with its foldable glass display. This phone unfurls to reveal a 6.7-inch full HD+ OLED display, and you can close the whole thing up into a compact clamshell when you want to slip it in your front pocket. 

The outside of the Galaxy Z Flip has a tiny 1-inch OLED display you can use for notifications or even framing selfies (with difficulty).

Samsung says that the hideaway hinge on the Galaxy Z Flip is rated for 200,000 opens, so we're hoping that it proves durable in everyday use. The Z Flip is available in two colors: Mirror Purple and Mirror Black. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra comes in four hues: Cosmic Black, Cosmic Gray, Baby Blue and Baby Pink. 

Galaxy S20 Ultra display

(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra packs a larger and sharper 6.9-inch quad HD+ display, and the back houses a fairly large camera bump to house the four lenses. The result is a design that's significantly heavier than the Z Flip at 7.7 vs 6.5 ounces, but the Z Flip is about the same size as the S20 Ultra when both phones are open. 

Only the Galaxy S20 Ultra has a 120Hz display, which promises smoother motion and faster performance, especially when paired with Samsung's 240Hz touch sensor for the phone.

Galaxy Z Flip vs Galaxy S20 Ultra cameras

Galaxy Z Flip camera in Flex mode

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

This is the biggest difference between the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy S20 Ultra. The the Z Flip features two 12MP cameras, one a wide-angle lens and the other an ultra-wide lens. And up front you get a 10MP selfie shooter.

The Galaxy S20 Ultra is ready to crash our best camera phone list with four rear cameras, including a 108MP main camera that delivers unparalleled detail (though you can change it to 12MP). The S20 Ultra also packs a 48MP telephoto lens that provides 10x lossless zoom, thanks to a folded optic lens, and up to 100x digital zoom.

Galaxy S20 Ultra space zoom

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Add in a 12MP ultrawide lens, a time-of-flight sensor for portraits and AR applications and a sharper 40MP front camera and the S20 Ultra has all the ingredients to beat the iPhone 11 Pro Max and Google Pixel 4.

When it comes to video, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is more future proof as it can record 8K footage and even let you grab 33MP still photos from what you capture. The Galaxy Z Flip maxes out at 4K video.

Galaxy Z Flip vs Galaxy S20 Ultra performance and 5G

Galaxy Z Flip open

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Galaxy Z Flip should deliver plenty of power for most users with its Snapdragon 855+ processor, which is the fastest phone chip from last year. That CPU gets paired with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage in the Z Flip. You can't upgrade the storage on this phone, as there's no microSD card slot.

Alas, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip does not offer 5G connectivity like the Galaxy S20 Ultra does. You'll have to live with a 4G LTE connection. 

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra has all the specs you would expect from an ultra-premium flagship phone. This includes Quaclomm's latest Snapdragon 865 processor, 12GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. If you want to fork over another $200, you can up the RAM to 16GB and the storage to 512GB, or you can upgrade the storage via microSD up to 1TB. 

Galaxy Z Flip vs Galaxy S20 Ultra battery 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

If you want a phone that lasts all day, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip may not be for you. Samsung's foldable phone makes due with a 3,300 mAh battery, compared to a whopping 5,000 mAh battery for the Galaxy S20 Ultra. 

Granted, the S20 Ultra has a lot more to power, between its 5G connectivity and larger display with 120Hz refresh rate, but we still expect the S20 Ultra to have more endurance than the Flip and it to possible make our best phone battery life list.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra will charge faster, too, as it comes with a 25-watt charger standard. You can also pay extra for a 45-watt charger. The Galaxy Z Flip comes with a mere 15-watt charger.

Bottom line

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy S20 Ultra have different target audiences. The Galaxy Z Flip is made for those who are sick of the same old slab smartphone design and want something truly different to stand out in the crowd. And it is pretty convenient that you can fold the whole thing up into a compact square when you're on the go. 

The trade-off for the Z Flip is that you have to sacrifice speed, battery capacity, 5G and cameras versus the Galaxy S20 Ultra.

For the Ultra, it's all about being on the cutting edge. You'll get the bigger 6.9-inch 120Hz display, faster CPU, more RAM, a 108MP camera with much more powerful zoom and a beefier battery. You just have to be willing to carry around a heftier phone.

Is all of that worth the extra $20 for the S20 Ultra versus the Galaxy Z Flip? I think so, but it really comes down to what you're looking for in your next phone.

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.