Samsung has two foldables available for everyone to buy right now — the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Galaxy Z Fold 3. And unlike previous generations, these are more durable, less buggy and more ready for primetime than ever before.
So let’s break down who should get the Z Flip 3 and who the Z Fold 3 is for.
You care about portability
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is essentially a flip phone for the year 2021. When it’s closed, it’s a chunky little square with rounded corners that can fit in a shirt pocket, a pants pocket, a purse or a fanny pack. It’s downright cute and folds open vertically into a full-sized 6.7-inch smartphone. In comparison, the Z Fold 3 is a pretty hefty device and quite a bit thicker. It also doesn’t fold down, but rather opens up into something larger.
After a few weeks of use, the Z Flip 3 still feels as sturdy as a normal smartphone — iPhone 13 or Galaxy S21 — and weighs in at a slim 138 grams as well. The Z Flip 3, though, is the most portable flagship, since it can fold itself down.
You care about colors
If you care about design that matches your personality, the Z Flip 3 is the way to go. It’s available in gray, white, pink, cream, green, lavender and Phantom Black. Which, we’ll be honest, aren’t the most eye-popping options, but the two-tone nature of a few of them is pretty eye-catching. And if you’re willing to pay a bit more, you can get the Bespoke Edition for $1,099, in which you can customize the color of the Z Flip 3. We just hope Samsung will eventually reintroduce a glossy purple style like we saw on the original Z Flip.
The Z Fold 3 only comes in Phantom Black, Phantom Green or Phantom Silver and cannot be customized.
You want flagship features for a normal flagship price
The Z Flip 3 at $999 is not only the most affordable foldable, but it’s also priced in line with other flagship devices. It has a 6.7-inch main display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, a wide and ultrawide camera, all-day battery life and Android 11 with a Samsung user interface. You also get a cover screen on the front that can do more than help you take better selfies, as it’s an easy way to view notifications. The point being, aside from a missing telephoto lens, the Z Flip 3 is pretty much on par with a Galaxy S21 or iPhone 13 Pro. It just has the added bonus of being able to fold open or closed.
You want a phone and a tablet in one
The trick of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is you have a tall screen on the front and can open it like a book for a mini-tablet of sorts. It’s a two-in-one and aims to be the best of both worlds. Applications can seamlessly move from the front to the inside and both displays look incredibly sharp. And since the Z Fold 3 has 12GB of RAM with a zippy processor, it can handle any possible task easily, whether that be multitasking with more than six apps or streaming a game through Xbox GamePass. When necessary, it can be the ultimate productivity device, but can also flex its muscles for play and entertainment.
While the Z Fold 3 can really flex into another device, the Z Flip 3 is really just a smartphone that folds and its cover screen, while cool, isn’t all that useful for everyday tasks.
The S Pen is a requirement for you
The future of the Galaxy Note line is up in the air, but Samsung is spreading the S Pen wealth around its many devices. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 supports a special edition of the S Pen that can safely write on the main display — it has a unique tip that can retract when a large amount of pressure is being used. But it’s the whole S Pen experience devoted Samsung users have come to expect. It’s also a real treat for note-taking in the pre-installed Samsung Notes App or many third-party apps. And while we’re no artists, you can also sketch, paint and do more digitally with it.
The major downside of the S Pen on Z Fold 3 is that there’s no spot to insert it and no way to have it magnetically attached. It’s also not included in the $1,799 price of the Z Fold 3. And no, the S Pen doesn’t work on the Z Flip 3 and we don’t recommend trying it, since it could puncture the display.
You want a slew of cameras
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 has five cameras in total: two selfie cameras and a three-camera setup on the back. The latter is where we’ll focus our attention and it’s a flagship-level setup. You get wide, ultrawide and telephoto lenses, which add up to a versatile arsenal for capturing content. Quality was good across the three lenses, with accurate colors and a good amount of details being saved. You won’t find Samsung’s Space Zoom on this device, which is odd considering the price. These three lenses do outpace the Z Flip 3’s, though.
And the obvious deciding factor is the price — $1,000 for the Z Flip 3 and $1,799 for the Z Fold 3. Both of those are the starting prices as well.
Ultimately the Z Flip 3 is on par with a typical smartphone. It just has the unique form factor of being able to fold into a smaller size. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a taste of the future by combining two devices in one. You’ll just pay a hefty sum for the right to have that in your pocket.