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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Fold 3: Which should you buy?

Two premium Samsung Galaxy phones go up against each other.
By
November 1, 2022
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra black vs Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 front on table
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Samsung launched its latest premium S series phones like clockwork this year. While the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus further the aesthetic and specs of last year’s Galaxy S21 models, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra sits at the top of the pile with a major redesign and posh specs to match. The phone marks an all-important strategy shift for Samsung by incorporating elements from the now-defunct Galaxy Note line, including an embedded S Pen and a large, boxy display with curved edges.

However, if you’re looking for a premium Samsung phone, the S22 Ultra isn’t the only fish in the pond. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, launched not too long ago, also offers enviable screen real estate, the smoothness of a high refresh rate, S Pen support, and of course, a foldable design. So which is the best premium Galaxy phone for you between the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3? Let’s find out in this in-depth comparison.


Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Design and display

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra black vs Samsung Galazy Z Fold 3 open on table
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Fold 3

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy Z Fold 3 are poles apart when it comes to their design.

With the new Ultra, you get a large 6.8-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s very reminiscent of the screen we saw on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, complete with curved edges and a centrally placed punch hole camera. The phone also has a glass and metal slab-like construction like the last Note standing.

If more screen is what you're after, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is your best bet.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 offers not one but two displays. The outer screen of the foldable phone measures 6.2 inches and carries a high 120Hz refresh rate. The inner display gets the same high refresh rate but stretches 7.6 inches for all the multitasking and media consumption your heart desires.

Needless to say, if more screen is what you’re after, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is your best bet. That in no way means that the Galaxy S22 Ultra has a bad display. It’s quite the contrary. The S22 Ultra offers the same bright, punchy, and colorful screen you’re so used to getting on premium Samsung flagships. It’s also quite large and offers a QHD+ resolution, so your content should look pretty good on it.

See also: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review — The power user’s best friend

Elsewhere, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is bulkier. It weighs 271g, about 40g more than the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The foldable phone is also thicker than the S series flagship, but unfortunately, it doesn’t have a dedicated S Pen slot. So if you’re planning on using the Samsung stylus, you’ll have to store it separately, which is a huge inconvenience. The Galaxy S22 Ultra, on the other hand, comes with a parking space for the S Pen at the bottom of its body.

What can be an issue in long-term use is the folding panel of the Galaxy Z Fold 3.

When it comes to construction, both phones use Armor Aluminum and glass. However, the Galaxy S22 Ultra gets the upgraded Corning Gorilla Glass Victus Plus compared to the regular Gorilla Glass Victus on the Galaxy Z Fold 3. That said, it shouldn’t make much of a difference in durability.

See also: The best Samsung phones you can buy

What can be an issue in long-term use is the folding panel of the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Even though Samsung has made huge improvements to its folding screen since the original Galaxy Fold, repeatedly folding and unfolding it could hamper the experience in the long run. The folding screen is also not scratch-resistant, so you’ll probably see more damage to it in the course of your usage than you would on the display of the S22 Ultra.


Hardware and cameras

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra black vs Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 closed rear on table
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

There are significant differences in the hardware of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Galaxy Z Fold 3. For one, the former comes with the all-new 4nm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. Of course, not all regions will get the Qualcomm chipset. The phones will also be available with Samsung’s own 4nm Exynos 2200 chip in regions outside the US.

Also read: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 vs Exynos 2200 vs Dimensity 9000

Both are fairly recent SoCs that promise a performance boost over the Snapdragon 888 and upgraded specs compared to their respective predecessors. They feature a single Cortex-X2 CPU core, two big Cortex-A710 cores, and four energy-efficient Cortex-A510 cores. Samsung hasn’t disclosed the clock speeds of its new Exynos processor, but it features the exciting new Xclipse 920 GPU with AMD’s hardware-based ray tracing technology and variable rate shading. As per Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 offers 20% performance improvement and 30% more power saving than the Snapdragon 888 that resides within the Galaxy Z Fold 3.

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Clearly, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has more going for it regarding overall performance. However, the Snapdragon 888 is still very powerful, and we’re sure you are not going to be disappointed with the performance of the Galaxy Z Fold 3. In our review of the device, we noted that “the day-to-day experience of using the phone proved to be excellent.” Still, if you want the latest and greatest from Qualcomm (or Samsung), the S22 Ultra is the phone to get. Or if you have a higher budget, you may also consider the newer Galaxy Z Fold 4, but you’ll have to make similar compromises in other areas like fast charging, cameras, battery life, and more.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra black vs Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 black rear open on carpet
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Core hardware aside, photography is yet another area where the Galaxy S22 Ultra could leave the Galaxy Z Fold 3 in the dust.

You get a total of four shooters at the back of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. There’s a 108MP wide-angle camera, a 12MP ultrawide camera, and two 10MP telephoto lenses, one that offers 10x optical zoom and 100x Space Zoom and another that features 3x optical zoom.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 misses out on 8K video recording capabilities.

Samsung is also playing up some new camera tech here. For instance, the phone offers what the company calls “adaptive pixels.” It lets you capture 108MP images and combines them with 12MP pixel binned shots to bring out more detailed photos with better exposures in low-light settings. Samsung claims it’s the best camera system they’ve developed so far.

If video capture matters to you, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra can record 8K videos at 24fps. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 misses out on 8K video recording capabilities. It caps out at 4K 60fps videos.

We tested the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s camera in our review and thought they were punchy and versatile. Daytime images were sharp and had clean exposures, decent HDR (when warranted), and slightly pushed color.

The 3x optical zoom telephoto lens also produces pleasing exposure, rich detail, and solid color. Meanwhile, the 10x optical zoom camera is also great at exposures, colors, and details. However, things are a bit less sharp. You can see some of those camera samples below.

That said, the 10x zoom photo is still decent compared to the 30x and 100x Space Zoom images that are pretty much worthless. The portrait mode is pretty good and so is the selfie camera. Shooting at night is a hit or miss. You can read more about the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s camera in our detailed review.

Also read: The best camera phones you can buy

Meanwhile, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 makes do with three 12MP shooters in a wide + ultrawide + telephoto setting. It’s the same configuration Samsung put out in 2020, so the phone is about two years behind the curve in the camera department. The newer Z Fold 4 upgrades to a 50MP wide + 12MP ultrawide + 10MP telephoto setup, but the S22 Ultra’s photography skills are still more powerful.

The Fold series is also not where Samsung puts its best foot forward when it comes to imaging. So if having the latest and greatest camera tech from Samsung is important to you, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the way to go.

Battery and water-proofing are other hardware areas where the Galaxy S22 Ultra is better. It comes with a 5,000mAh battery and 45W charging compared to the 4,400mAh battery and 25W charging on the Z Fold 3. It’s also IP68 certified instead of the foldable phone’s IPX8 rating.


Price and colors

  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (8GB/128GB): $1,199.99
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (12GB/256GB): $1,299
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (12GB/512GB): $1,399
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (12GB/1TB): $1,599
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 (12GB/256GB): $1,799
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 (12GB/512GB): $1,899

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is available on Samsung.com, as well as third-party retailers and Samsung’s carrier partners. The phone comes in four colors: Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, and Burgundy. There are also four configurations of the phone — 8GB of RAM + 128GB of internal storage priced at $1,199.99, 12GB of RAM + 256GB of storage at $$1,299, 12GB of RAM + 512GB of storage at $1,399, and 12GB of RAM + 1TB of storage at $1,599.

The price of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 remains too high for what it offers, even though Samsung cut it down from $1,799 to $1,199 for the 12GB RAM + 256GB variant and $1,299 for the 512GB version with the same amount of RAM. As far as colorways go, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 comes in Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, and Phantom Green options.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Ultra-premium build quality • Gorgeous screen • Solid performance
Samsung has merged the Note and S series in one device to satisfy demanding users
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra pushes productivity, power, and photography to the utmost to satisfy those seeking the best phone in the market. The Galaxy S22 Ultra is Samsung's top device combining outstanding performance and stunning design. Samsung put together the latest processor, the highest megapixel camera, and the new built-in S Pen in one device to offer a premium experience.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Large, appealing internal display • Multitasking master • Water-resistant chassis • S Pen support
A $200 price cut and added features mean more value for the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Samsung's latest foldable flagship looks a lot like the 2020 model but boasts some new design elements and some better specs. It also has an IPX8 rating and supports the use of an S Pen, all at a lower entry price than previous years.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Specs

Samsung Galaxy S22 UltraSamsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Display
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
6.8-inch Edge Dynamic AMOLED 2X Display
QHD+ resolution
120Hz refresh rate
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Outer
6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED
2,268 x 832 resolution
387ppi
25:9 aspect ratio
120Hz refresh rate

Inner
7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED Infinity X Display
2,208 x 1,768 resolution
374ppi
22.5:18 aspect ratio 120Hz refresh rate
Materials
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Armor Aluminum, Gorilla Glass Victus Plus
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Armor Aluminum, Gorilla Glass Victus
Processor
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
US: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Global: Exynos 2200
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Snapdragon 888
RAM
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
8GB/12GB
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
12GB
Storage
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
128GB
256GB
512GB
1TB
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
256GB
512GB
Battery and power
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
5,000mAh
45W wired charging
15W wireless charging
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
4,400mAh
25W wired charging
10W wireless charging
4.5W reverse charging
Cameras
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Rear
12MP ultra-wide, 1.4µm, 120-degree field of view, 13mm, f/2.2
108MP Wide, 0.8µm, 85-degree field of view, 23mm, f/2.2
10MP Telephoto, 10x Optical Zoom and
100x Space Zoom
10MP Telephoto, 3x Optical Zoom


Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Rear
12MP, OIS, Dual Pixel PDAF, f/1.8, 1.8μm
12MP ultrawide, 123-degree field of view, f/2.2, 1.12μm
12MP telephoto, OIS, 2x optical zoom, Dual Pixel PDAF, f/2.4, 1.0μm

Selfie
Under-display camera: 4MP, f/1.8, 2.0μm
Cover camera: 10MP, f/2.2, 1.22μm

Video
4K 60fps
Security
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
Water-resistance
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
IP68
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
IPX8
Connectivity
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Wi-Fi 6E
Bluetooth 5.2
NFC
USB-C
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Wi-Fi 6E
Bluetooth 5.2
NFC
USB-C
Software
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Android 12
One UI 4.1
Eligible for Android 13, 14, and 15
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Android 11
One UI 3.1
Eligible for Android 12, 13, and 14
Dimensions and weight
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9mm
229g
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
158.2 x 67.1 x 16mm (folded)
158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4mm (unfolded)
271g
Colors
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Phantom Black
Phantom White
Green
Burgundy
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Phantom Black
Phantom Silver
Phantom Green

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus vs Samsung Galazy Z Fold 3 open front on carpet
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is undoubtedly a superior phone. Not only does it offer the fastest processor, the best cameras, and the latest features, but it’s also cheaper than the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Your decision rests on the form factor you want. If you’re looking for a foldable phone, you should be in good hands with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 or Z Fold 4. We would still recommend you go for specs and value over form, and that is where the Galaxy S22 Ultra shines.

The new Ultra will also last you longer in terms of software updates compared to the Z Fold 3 and could prove to be more durable in the long run. Its close resemblance to the Note phones and the addition of an embedded S Pen further solidifies our belief that it’s a better purchase.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Which do you prefer?

1273 votes