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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Fold 2 — biggest differences to expect

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
(Image credit: Samsung/ Tom's Guide)

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is expected to launch in just a couple of months, but how will it compare to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 that arrived last year? Even without all the specs leaked yet, the two foldables make for an interesting comparison.

From what has been rumored and leaked so far, it sounds like there will be some major exterior changes to the Z Fold 3's design, display and possibly its software. However some things, like the cameras, are not thought to be changing. While some details like an under-display camera and S Pen support sound interesting, it doesn't seem as large a generational leap as the Galaxy Z Fold 2 was from the Samsung Galaxy Fold.

Read on for a feature-by-feature breakdown of what the Galaxy Z Fold 2 has, what the Z Fold 3 is rumored or expected to get, and how they compare to one another.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Fold 2 price

Samsung's foldables are its most expensive mobile devices, with the Z Fold 2 starting at $1,999 when it launched. It's since been discounted, but only to $1,799.

We're not expecting a massive change to the Z Fold 3's pricetag. There have been rumors of a price drop to the smaller Galaxy Z Flip 3, and also that Samsung's planning on launching a cheaper "FE" Z Fold. For now though, it's safe to assume the Z Fold 3 will cost close to two grand once again.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Fold 2 design and display

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 review rear camera selfie

(Image credit: Future)

There were big upgrades to the Galaxy Z Fold 2's looks and durability compared to the smart but flawed Galaxy Fold. Its hinges are sturdier, its exterior display larger and the internal display having a higher refresh rate, and its Mystic Bronze color gives the phone a very classy finish.

It's seeming like another notable overhaul is on the cards for the Z Fold 3. It's rumored to be getting an IP rating, which would be a guarantee that its delicate hinge mechanism won't be damaged by water or dust. More exciting is the claim its internal display will have an under-display camera, a feature we've only seen on select phones so far, and certainly no foldables. Another rumor says there will be no physical buttons on the phone, only capacitive sensors.

The only colors mentioned so far are black and green. If there's no equivalent to the bronze of the Z Fold 2, it'll be a minor disappointment.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Fold 2 cameras

The Galaxy Z Fold 2's cameras were OK, but sub-par considering the phone's price. The main rear block features a 12MP main camera, a 12MP ultrawide camera and a 12MP telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom. These were joined by two 10MP selfie cameras, one for the internal display and the other for the exterior display. These all performed fine in our review, but you can get better shots from Samsung's standard top-tier phones like the Galaxy S21 Ultra or Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 review cameras

(Image credit: Future)

Aside from the under-display camera rumor we've mentioned, it sounds like none of the other sensors are changing from the Z Fold 2 to the Z Fold 3.

We'll have to instead hope that the rumors of Samsung teaming up with camera maker Olympus are true. If the hardware isn't going to change significantly, it could still be improved with the help of some outside photography experts.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Fold 2 performance

Samsung fitted the Z Fold 2 with the best available silicon when it launched, that being the Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset, with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage. While it didn't break any benchmark records with this set-up, it's plenty of power for anyone.

We'd expect a similar, albeit modernized, offering in the Galaxy Z Fold 3. That would assumedly mean Samsung using a Snapdragon 888 chip, possibly with 12GB RAM again or the same 16GB module found in the most expensive version of the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Fold 2 battery and charging

Featuring a two-cell set-up, the Galaxy Z Fold 2's total battery capacity is 4,500 mAh, which feels a little small for a device with two displays to drive. It offers 25W wired charging like Samsung's other flagship phones, as well as wireless and reverse wireless charging for powering up the phone or your accessories without cables.

There aren't any specific rumors about the Z Fold 3's battery or charging abilities just yet. For now we'll have to assume it'll have the same capacity and charging speeds as the Z Fold 2, though a larger battery and a faster charging standard would be welcome if Samsung can make it work.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Fold 2 software

The Galaxy Z Fold 2 runs Android via Samsung's One UI launcher. It's the same software that powers Samsung's other phones, albeit tweaked to offer foldable-specific features like optimized views for certain apps, and up to three active apps at once in different windows, with the option to move content between them.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 review Gmail app

(Image credit: Future)

These features could be refined on the Z Fold 3. The leaked Split UI interface shows a much more adaptable version of Android that seems perfect for foldable phones. We'll have to wait and see if it's ready in time for the Z Fold's launch however.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Split UI

(Image credit: Ice Universe)

The other big news when it comes to the Z Fold 3's user experience is the rumored introduction of S Pen compatibility. Given the internal display is basically the size of a small tablet, having a stylus to write and draw with makes a lot of sense. Especially since the Galaxy Note 21 doesn't appear to be materializing this year.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Fold 2 outlook

There look to be several exciting upgrades on the way for the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Whether it's an under-display camera, the stylus compatibility or simply the newer hardware, the rumors paint a rosy picture of the upcoming foldable.

It's not with us yet though, so for now the Galaxy Z Fold 2 remains Samsung's star player. What's more, if the leaks turn out to be accurate, you won't gain any better photography hardware by going for the Z Fold 3 over the 2. Also, it can be assumed the Z Fold 2 will see some discounts once the Z Fold 3 goes on sale, meaning the older model can become a more affordable way to acquire a foldable phone.