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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 vs. Galaxy Z Fold 3: The biggest upgrades

A split image with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 on the left and the Galaxy Z Fold 4 on the right
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 vs. Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a battle of old vs. new. And while the new Fold is definitely better, just how much better it is than the outgoing model is another matter.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is already the best foldable around thanks to its dual displays, S Pen compatibility and special software optimizations. However, it's far from a perfect device due to its high price, chunky design and weak battery. While it's hard to see the upgrades at first glance, Samsung has made some handy changes to the Galaxy Z Fold 4 like a more powerful and efficient chipset, a wider shape and better cameras that help round out the device into something much easier to use, and closer to non-folding phones in terms of abilities.

There were lots of interesting announcements at Galaxy Unpacked today, including the Galaxy Z Flip 4, Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. But here we're going to take a thorough look at how the Galaxy Z Fold 4 compares to its predecessor. Read on to see how much of a difference one year can make to a foldable.

Galaxy Z Fold 4 vs Galaxy Z Fold 3: Specs

Galaxy Z Fold 4Galaxy Z Fold 3
Price $1,799/£1,649$1,799/£1,599
Main display7.6 inches AMOLED (120Hz, 2176 x 1812)7.6 inches (120Hz, 2208 x 1768)
Cover display6.2 inches AMOLED (120Hz, 2316 x 904)6.2 inches (120Hz, 2268 x 832)
CPUSnapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1Snapdragon 888
RAM12GB12GB
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB256GB, 512GB
Wide camera50MP (f/1.8)12MP wide (f/1.8)
Ultra-wide camera12MP (f/2.2)12MP ultrawide (f.2.2)
Telephoto camera10MP (f/2.4)12MP telephoto (f/2.4)
Cover camera10MP (f/2.2)10MP (f/2.2)
Under-display camera4MP (f/1.8)4MP (f/1.8)
Battery4,400 mAh4,400 mAh
Charging25W25W
Size closed6.1 x 2.6 x 0.55-0.62 inches 6.2 x 2.6 x 0.56 to 0.62 inches
Size open6.1 x 5.1 x 0.21 inches6.2 x 5 x 0.25 inches
Weight9.28 ounces9.55 ounces
ColorsGraygreen, Phantom Black, Beige, Burgundy (Samsung.com only)Phantom Black, Phantom Green, Phantom Silver

Galaxy Z Fold 4 vs Galaxy Z Fold 3: Price

In the U.S., the Galaxy Z Fold 4 costs the same at launch as the Galaxy Z Fold 3 did: $1,800. Unfortunately for U.K. readers, the Galaxy Z Fold 4's start price is £1,649, up from the £1,599 of the Galaxy Z Fold 3. It's only a small increase given the overall cost of the phone, but it's still an increase.

You can buy the Galaxy Z Fold 3 right now if you wish, but the Z Fold 4 isn't quite on sale yet. It's open for pre-orders now, and buying through Samsung will get you a free memory upgrade and Standing Case with S Pen, but will only hit store shelves on August 26.

Galaxy Z Fold 4 vs Galaxy Z Fold 3: Design

You won't be able to tell the Z Fold 4 and Z Fold 3 apart from a distance, but there are some welcome changes here.

Starting with the phone closed, the Z Fold 4's a little more compact than the Z Fold 3, making it easier to fit in your pocket or bag. It's also lighter, although only by 0.6 ounces/17 grams.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

(Image credit: Future)

Despite this, the Z Fold 4 should in theory be tougher. It uses Gorilla Glass Victus Plus like the Galaxy S22 series, an update to the Gorilla Glass Victus used on the Z Fold 3. However, initial durability testing for the Z Fold 4 shows that it is awfully similar to the Z Fold 3

Both the foldables offer IPX8 water resistance, which hopefully means either phone would survive a dive into a pool, pond or sink if it had to. 

The outer cover display has smaller bezels on the Z Fold 4, making it much easier to use the Z Fold 4 without opening it. The Z Fold 3's cover display was usable, but too narrow for comfortable use.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung's also shaken up the colors a little from year to year. Both foldables are available in Phantom Black, but the Z Fold 3 also comes in Phantom Silver and Phantom Green, while the Z Fold 4 offers Graygreen and Beige.

Galaxy Z Fold 4 vs Galaxy Z Fold 3: Display

Both displays on both phones are technically the same size - 6.2 inches outside and 7.6 inches inside. The difference comes in the aspect ratio however. The Z Fold 4 is a little shorter and a little wider than the Z Fold 3, making it easier to get the most out of the phone whether it's open or shut.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

(Image credit: Future)

The patch of screen covering the Z Fold 4's under-display camera is now more densely packed with pixels, which makes it harder to spot than the Z Fold 3's hidden camera. Combined with the less visible crease down the middle, the display on the Z Fold 4 does a better job of simulating a regular non-folding display.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

(Image credit: Future)

The other big update for the Z Fold 4's screens is brightness. Samsung claims it's now capable of 1,000 nits max brightness, which is substantially higher than the 422 nits we measured for the Z Fold 3.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 hands-on review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Both phones utilize 120Hz refresh rates for both their screens for a smooth scrolling experience. There's a slight difference in precise screen resolutions, but both phones still share the basic WQGA inner/ HD+ outer display quality.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 hands-on review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Galaxy Z Fold 4 vs Galaxy Z Fold 3: Cameras

The changes to the camera loadout on the Z Fold 4 mean it's now in line with the Galaxy S22 or Galaxy S22 Plus. The main sensor is now 50MP (up from 12MP), and the telephoto camera is now a 10MP sensor capable of 3x optical zoom, a boost from the 12MP, 2x optical zoom on the Z Fold 3. Both phones have a 12MP ultrawide camera to round out the rear camera block, but the Z Fold 4 should offer superior snaps to the Z Fold 3.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

(Image credit: Future)

Both the Z Fold 3 and 4 use identical front-facing cameras though. Those are a 10MP sensor on the cover display, and a 4MP under-display camera on the inside. Whether Samsung's made any software changes to these cameras to make them better on the Z Fold 4 compared to the Z Fold 3 remains to be seen.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 hands-on review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Galaxy Z Fold 4 vs Galaxy Z Fold 3: Performance

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 comes with a Snapdragon 888 chipset, which is still a powerful chip. However the Z Fold 4 uses a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, the enhanced version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 that succeeded the 888. This should give the Z Fold 4 a nice power boost over its predecessor.

The Z Fold 4 also has the option for extra storage compared to the Z Fold 3. The Z Fold 4 offers 512GB and 1TB storage options, the latter being a first for a Z Fold model. The most you can get on the Z Fold 3 is 512GB.

Galaxy Z Fold 4 vs Galaxy Z Fold 3: Battery and charging

Samsung's left the Galaxy Z Fold 4's battery and charging abilities untouched from the Z Fold 3. Both phones have a 4,400 mAh total battery capacity, and can charge at up to 25W when plugged in.

One of the worst parts of the Z Fold 3 was its battery life, which was quite low due to the number and size of displays it had to run. We are currently putting the Z Fold 4 through its paces, so we'll tell you soon if Samsung's been able to upgrade this without changing the battery capacity.

Galaxy Z Fold 4 vs Galaxy Z Fold 3: Outlook 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

(Image credit: Future)

We won't know for sure until we've finished reviewing the Galaxy Z Fold 4, but on its face it's definitely the superior model to the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Additional power, a more user-friendly shape and true flagship-grade cameras are big reasons to go for the Z Fold 4 if you can afford it.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 battery life

(Image credit: Future)

It's a shame the Z Fold 4 didn't upgrade some elements, like the battery size, but we're also glad the price is staying (almost) the same as last year. While the Z Fold 3's likely to start seeing deeper discounts now it's no longer Samsung's latest and greatest foldable, you won't feel like you've missed out on getting a brand-new foldable for a good price.

Be sure to come back to this face-off when our Z Fold 4 review's done to see what the final result of this comparison is. In the meantime, take a look at our thoughts on the Galaxy Z Flip 4, Galaxy Watch 5, and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and see what else Samsung had to show off at its most recent product launch.

Read next: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4's upgrades are a big letdown — here’s why and if you're considering to buy a Galaxy Fold 4, you might want to check out our guide to the best Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 cases as well.

Richard Priday
Staff Writer

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.