Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 vs Galaxy Z Fold 3: Which foldable phone should you buy?

A Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Fold 4 next to each other with the same wallpaper

Left: Galaxy Z Fold 3 Right: Galaxy Z Fold 4

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Samsung closes a big week in which the smartphone giant announced two new foldable phones – the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4 — together with the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro and the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. All of these are currently available for pre-order, with shipping and in-store availability starting August 26.

If you’re just getting started with the idea of ​​a foldable phone and have your mind set on a Z Fold, you’re faced with a tough decision: will you go for the shiny new Galaxy Z Fold 4? Or will you pick up the older, but still impressive Galaxy Z Fold 3?

There is no wrong answer as both phones are great. To help you take some of the hard work off your back, I’ll explain below which phone you should get and why.

Specifications:

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Display (main screen)

7.6″ Dynamic AMOLED 2X with LTPO (1-120 Hz refresh rate)

7.6″ Dynamic AMOLED 2X with LTPO (1-120 Hz refresh rate)

Display (cover screen)

6.2-inch dynamic AMOLED 2X with LTPO (1-120 Hz refresh rate)

6.2-inch dynamic AMOLED 2X with LTPO (1-120 Hz refresh rate)

Dimensions (unfolded)

130.1 x 155.1 x 6.3mm

158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4mm

Weight

263g

271g

Cameras

50 MP wide, 12 MP ultra wide angle, 10 MP telephoto, 4 MP front (indoor), 10 MP front (outdoor)

12 MP wide, 12 MP ultra-wide angle, 12 MP telephoto, 10 MP front (outdoor), 4 MP front (indoor)

Processor

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1

Snapdragon 888 5G

Memory and Storage

12GB RAM with 256GB, 512GB, 1TB

12GB RAM with 256GB, 512GB

Battery

4.400mAh

4.400mAh

Sustainability

IPX8

IPX8

Software

One UI 4.1.1 via Android 12L

One user interface 4.1 over Android 12

Colors

Phantom Black, Beige, Gray Green, Burgundy

Phantom Silver, Phantom Green, Phantom Black

Price

From $1,799

$1,499


You should buy the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 if…

1. You want the latest and greatest

Of course, as the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the latest Fold in the lineup, it’s packed with the latest and greatest technology available today, from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor to a completely redesigned hinge that’s smoother and smoother. should be sturdier than what was used in the Z Fold 3. It also appears that Samsung is getting better at making screens foldable and dealing with the subsequent crease it creates.

Also: Does the Z Fold 4 still have a fold? Yes, but we have good news

2. You care about your phone’s camera quality

Arguably one of the biggest updates of the Z Fold 4 over the Z Fold 3 is the rear-facing cameras. The Z Fold 3 has three rear cameras, all of which are 12 megapixels. The cameras are good, but not great. That has been one of the loudest complaints about the Z Fold lineup over the years. This year, however, Samsung has given the Fold 4 an almost identical camera system as in Galaxy S22 Plus. That means it still has three cameras on the back, but now it’s a 50 megapixel wide, a 12 megapixel ultrawide and a 10 megapixel telephoto camera. I haven’t used the Z Fold 4’s cameras yet, but I can say with confidence that I’ve avoided the Z Fold 3’s cameras. They just weren’t good at all.

The Z Fold 3 and Z Fold 4, both folded, lying on a table

Left: Galaxy Z Fold 3 Right: Galaxy Z Fold 4

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

3. You want a slightly bigger screen

The spec sheets for the Z Fold 3 and Z Fold 4 state that the screens are the same size, but there is one slight difference that can ultimately matter when it comes to your purchase decision. The inner display is actually 3mm larger on the Z Fold 4 than its predecessors, while the cover display is 2.7mm larger. Again, I admit that’s not a huge difference. But when we look at the two phones side by side, the difference is noticeable, especially on the front display.

You should buy the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 if…

1. You want to save some money

Foldable phones are pricey. In fact, Samsung is currently listing the Galaxy Z Fold 3 on its own website for the same exact price as the shiny new Galaxy Z Fold 4. But there’s no reason to pay the launch price for a phone unveiled a year ago. If you look around you can find a good if not great deal. For example, Amazon has a black unlocked Galaxy Z Fold 3 with 256GB storage for $1,499. You should definitely also check with your carrier for deals that require you to trade in your current phone. This is often the best way to reduce overall costs. Finally, if you don’t mind a used or even a nearly new Z Fold 3, check out Swappa for good deals. Unlocked used models currently start at $745. Not bad!

Z Fold 3 and Z Fold 4 unfolded, with white screen backgrounds showing the folds

Left: Galaxy Z Fold 3 Right: Galaxy Z Fold 4

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

2. You don’t need the latest technology

Even though the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a year old, it’s no slouch. I’ve had a Z Fold 3 for almost a year now and it continues to receive timely updates that fix bugs and provide security patches, as well as add new features. And Samsung told 9to5Google that Android 12L, which launches the Z Fold 4, complete with an app dock on the bottom, will eventually make its way to the Z Fold 3. Sadly, there’s no word on timing.

3. If you’re not really impressed with the Galaxy Z Fold 4

Personally, I am in doubt if I should upgrade my Galaxy Z Fold 3. The Z Fold 4’s core updates – new processor, better cameras, slightly larger screen – are good, but not… great. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 still does exactly what it’s supposed to, and mine has no signs of age or wear yet. And, as I discussed above, if you’re willing to shop around, you can find a good deal on a Z Fold 3. In the end, you’ll get almost the same exact experience for less money. Hopefully by the time the Z Fold 5 is real, Samsung will have competition that will force the company to do more with future updates.

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