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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 3: All the differences to expect

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Fliip
(Image credit: Evan Blass)

Samsung is about to shake up the world of foldable phones. The company is expected to release the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 in August, giving us new versions of two of the best foldable phones currently available.

They may both be foldable phones built by the same phone maker, but the Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip take different approaches when it comes to foldable devices. And the latest versions figure to make those differences stand out even more.

Our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 3 comparison runs down all the expected changes rumored to be coming to Samsung's newest foldables to help you figure out which one is the best fit for you. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 3 rumored specs

Galaxy Z Fold 3Galaxy Z Flip 3
Starting price$1,599$1,249
Screen size (interior)7.5 - 7.7 inches (120Hz)6.7 inches
Screen size (exterior)5.4 - 6.2 inches (120Hz)3 inches
CPUSnapdragon 888Snapdragon 888
Rear camerasTriple camera array (12MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto)Double camera array (main and ultrawide lenses)
Front cameras10MP cover display, 16MP interior display (under screen)1 front camera on interior display
Battery size4,380 mAh3,300 mAh
S Pen supportYesNo

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 3 price

Once again, the Galaxy Z Flip figures to be the cheaper of Samsung's two foldable phones, with "cheap" being a relative term in this case. You can get the current 5G model of the Galaxy Z Flip for $1,199, which is $600 cheaper than the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Those prices reflect price cuts since Samsung introduced both of its foldables in 2020.

Rumors suggest the price cuts will continue for the latest round of Samsung foldables. Specifically, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is rumored to be getting a 20% price cut, which would bring its price down to $1,599. That's still more than any other Samsung phone on offer, including the Galaxy Z Flip 3 most likely. That phone is forecast to have a price no higher than $1,249, with the possibility of an even lower price.

Samsung could lower the Flip's price by coming out with a Lite version of the phone, which is described as a "mass market model with a more affordable price tag," by the Korea Herald. That could bring the price of a Samsung foldable down to below $1,100.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 3 design and display

The biggest difference between the Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip has been the way the two phones approach their folding displays, and that figures to continue in any Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 3 comparison. The Fold opens up like a book, revealing a tablet-sized interior display. In contrast, the Flip evokes the flip phones of a generation ago, with a compact design when closed and a top that flips open to reveal an elongated screen.

As before, expect the new Fold and Flip to support features that draw on their different designs. The Fold is still going to offer continuity mode when apps you're using on the exterior display are waiting for you when you open up the phone. The Flip is likely to continue offering a Flex mode where partially opening the phone turns half of the interior display into a control panel while the rest serves as a viewing area.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 3

Galaxy Z Fold 3 render (Image credit: Ben Geskin)

Some changes could be coming to display sizes, particularly on the Galaxy Z Fold 3. There are rumors Samsung might shrink the exterior cover display, though the most reliable report we've seen suggests that the phone will have a 6.23-inch outer screen. The internal display could range anywhere from 7 to 7.7 inches. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is likely to keep a 6.7-inch display when fully opened, but the size of the external display could expand from the 1.1-inch strip Samsung included on the original Flip.

Samsung may also look to bolster the durability of its phones, adding some measure of water resistance. On the Galaxy Z Fold 3, in particular, the layer of Ultra Thin Glass used in the internal folding display could be thickened somewhat, which would not only make the phone more durable, but also help it work with the S Pen. We’ve also heard about a possible IP rating being added for water and dust resistance.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 3

Galaxy Z Flip 3 render (Image credit: Jermain Smit/ LetsGoDigital )

Expect a wider variety of colors on the Galaxy Z Flip 3, which is rumored to be coming in beige, gray, dark green and light violet shades, with pink, black and dark blue potential in the mix. Samsung could also mimic the design of Google's Pixel phones with a two-tone approach that houses the rear camera array in a different color.

The only colors we've heard about for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 are black and green, though other options could be available when the phone debuts.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 3 cameras

If you like a lot of cameras, opt for the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Beside the triple array of cameras on the back of the fold — those are the standard main, ultrawide and telephoto lenses based on leaked specs — you'll get a front camera on the outside of the phone, plus a camera on the interior display.

There's something significant about that latter shooter — it's expected to be an under-display camera, the first time Samsung's phones have featured something like that. Under-display cameras are transparent most of the time, only becoming visible when you need to take a photo. (It works similarly to in-display fingerprint sensors, which appear when you need to unlock the phone but otherwise remain hidden.) The result should be a more immersive viewing experience without a punch-hole interrupting the flow of the Galaxy Z Fold 3's main display.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 3

Galaxy Z Fold 3 render (Image credit: @OnLeaks/Digit.in)

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is expected to offer a relatively modest dual rear camera on the outside and an internal selfie camera for when you flip open the phone. Some rumors suggest that the interior camera will also be an under-display shooter, matching the rumored feature on the Galaxy Z Fold 3, but we'd have to get a more definitive report one way or the other before we accept that rumor as gospel.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 3 performance and 5G

We've got a pretty good idea of what chipset will power the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Leaked specs point to Samsung using a Snapdragon 888 in its new foldable. That's the same processor found in the Galaxy S21 family, and while it doesn't have the faster AI Engine that the newer Snapdragon 888 Plus system-on-chip offers, it's still top-of-the-line silicon that powers the fastest Android phones we've tested.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 3

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

You would figure that the Galaxy Z Flip 3 would also turn to the Snapdragon 888. That seems to be the most popular expectation, particularly if Samsung opts for that $1,249 price on its foldable flip phone. However, if Samsung is serious about lowering the price on the Galaxy Z Flip, it could turn to another chipset in Qualcomm's 8 series, such as the Snapdragon 870 5G released earlier this year.

Regardless of the Qualcomm silicon that Samsung uses, both new foldable phones will support 5G. That's a new development for the Galaxy Z Flip, which first arrived as an LTE phone before Samsung subsequently released a 5G version.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 3 battery life and charging

You're likely to get a bigger battery with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 than you would with the Galaxy Z Flip, but that stands to reason — there's a lot more display to keep powered up on the Fold. But Samsung could be making a change from the Galaxy Z Fold 2, and on the surface, it looks like a step backward.

Those leaked Galaxy Z Fold 3 specs suggest the new foldable will have a 4,380 mAh battery split across two cells. That would be smaller than the 4,500 mAh battery the galaxy Z Fold 2 used. One explanation is that Samsung is making some design changes for the S Pen — more about that in a bit — that necessitated a smaller battery in the Z Fold 3.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 3

Galaxy Z Flip 3 render (Image credit: Giuseppe Spinelli/ LetsGoDigital)

As for the Galaxy Z Flip 3, leaks from regulatory agencies suggest that the new phone will retain the old model's 3,300 mAh power pack. We're not sure how fast the Z Flip 3 will charge, but all signs point to the Galaxy Z Fold 3 supporting 25W charging, so we'd expect the flip phone to do likewise.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 3 software and special features

Assuming an August release date for both Samsung foldables, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 will ship with Android 11 pre-installed. Expect an upgrade to Android 12 around the end of the year, when Samsung rolls out the new version of its OneUI interface based on the latest version of Google's software.

Samsung has become more generous with software updates recently, supporting three years of Android updates and four years of security updates. Expect the new foldable phones to receive identical support.

Samsung galaxy z fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 3

Galaxy Z Fold 3 with S Pen (Image credit: Evan Blass)

Where the phones differ will be support for Samsung's S Pen — the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will almost certainly get it, and the Galaxy Z Flip 3 likely will not. That will make the Galaxy Z Fold 3 the second Samsung phone outside of the Galaxy Note lineup to support Samsung's high-powered stylus. If you're a fan of Samsung's flip phone, note that one rumor does dangle the possibility of the Z Flip 3 also supporting the S Pen, though we'd say the proof is pretty tenuous. Besides, the S Pen seems more suited for a device that can fold out into a tablet-sized handheld.

It's still unclear if the S Pen will be an optional accessory for the Galaxy Z Fold as it is for the Galaxy S21 Ultra or whether Samsung will include it with the new foldable. If the latter, Samsung would have to find a way to incorporate the S Pen into the Z Fold 3's design, which may explain why this phone is rumored to be getting a smaller battery than its predecessor.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs.Galaxy Z Flip 3 outlook

Things can change once we see the final specs for these two foldable phones and have a chance to handle both the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 for ourselves. But even at this stage, a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 3 comparison reveals a lot about whom would best be served by either model.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 sounds as if it will be a phone for productivity-minded users — the large screen and the likely addition of S Pen support help drive that point home. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 seems better suited for people who want a compact design that unfolds into a convention phone. That's not to say that Samsung is prioritizing style over substance with the newest Flip, but the rumored tweaks to the phone's exterior look certainly suggest that this model is for people who want to make an impression with their phones.

We'll know more about each phone once Samsung sets a date for its summer Unpacked event, which will give us our first official looks at both the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3. 

Philip Michaels
Philip Michaels is a senior editor at Tom's Guide. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics and old movies. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.