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Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Flip 4: Which should you buy?

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is a powerhouse, but the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is quite enticing.
By
July 7, 2023
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
MSRP: $1,199.00
Check price
Positives
Powerful, flexible camera setup
Great battery life with solid charging
Convenient S Pen
Excellent software update promise
Premium materials and display
Great performance
Negatives
Will be too large for some
Limited base RAM for the price
Expensive, especially for extra storage
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
MSRP: $999.00
Check price
Positives
Improved battery life and faster charging
Efficient performance
Solid primary camera
Negatives
Crease is still visible
No telephoto camera
Still not a battery champ

Samsung’s 2023 flagship smartphones are here and available to buy. While every device in the series brings some upgrades, all eyes are on the Galaxy S23 Ultra and its brand-new 200MP camera. But despite the new features and hardware on offer, it’s not particularly flashy or unique in a world with foldable smartphones. Luckily, you can buy a Samsung foldable that’s not only unique but also cheaper than the company’s latest flagship. How do the two compare? Here’s a look at the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Flip 4!

Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Flip 4: At a glance

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is a power user's dream, especially since it bundles an integrated stylus. And while the Z Flip 4 may not win the fight on the spec sheet, it sports an eye-catching design that's sure to turn more heads. Here's a quick breakdown of some of the significant differences between the two smartphones.

  • The Galaxy S23 Ultra is more expensive than the Z Flip 4.
  • The S23 Ultra offers improved scratch resistance with Gorilla Glass Victus 2. It's also better protected against dust vs the Z Flip 4.
  • When unfolded, the Z Flip 4 is slightly taller but not as wide as the S23 Ultra. It is also not as heavy.
  • The S23 Ultra has a quad-camera system with a new 200MP primary shooter. Its zoom lenses also offer better versatility than the Z Flip 4's dual cameras.
  • The base model of the S23 Ultra has more storage that the base version of the Flip 4. The Ultra also comes with a 1TB storage option that isn't available on Samsung's foldable device.
  • Higher-end variants of the S23 Ultra have more RAM than the Z Flip 4.
  • The S23 Ultra's Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chip is more powerful than the Z Flip 4's processing package.
  • The S23 Ultra's battery lasts longer than the Z Flip 4 and features faster wired charging.

Keep reading to know more about the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Flip 4 and which phone you should buy.

Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Flip 4: Specs

Galaxy S23 UltraGalaxy Z Flip 4
Display(s)
Galaxy S23 Ultra
6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED
Edge display (curved)
19.3:9 aspect ratio
QHD+ resolution (3,088 x 1,440)
120Hz adaptive refresh rate (1Hz to 120Hz)
Galaxy Z Flip 4
Exterior:
- 1.9-inch Super AMOLED
- 512 x 260
- Gorilla Glass Victus Plus

Interior:
- 6.7-inch Super AMOLED
- 120Hz refresh rate
- 2,640 x 1,080
Processor
Galaxy S23 Ultra
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Galaxy Z Flip 4
Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1
RAM
Galaxy S23 Ultra
8GB or 12GB
Galaxy Z Flip 4
8GB
Storage
Galaxy S23 Ultra
256GB, 512GB, or 1TB
No microSD card support
Galaxy Z Flip 4
128GB, 256GB, or 512GB
No microSD card support
Power
Galaxy S23 Ultra
5,000mAh battery
45W wired charging
15W wireless charging
No charger in box
Galaxy Z Flip 4
3,700mAh battery
25W wired charging
15W wireless charging
No charger in box
Cameras
Galaxy S23 Ultra
REAR:
- 200MP wide
- 12MP ultrawide
- 10MP 3x telephoto
- 10MP 10x telephoto

FRONT:
- 12MP wide
Galaxy Z Flip 4
REAR:
- 12MP wide
- 12MP ultrawide

INTERNAL:
- 10MP wide
Security
Galaxy S23 Ultra
Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor
Galaxy Z Flip 4
Side-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor
Software
Galaxy S23 Ultra
Android 13
One UI 5.1
Galaxy Z Flip 4
Android 12
Upgradable to Android 13
S Pen support
Galaxy S23 Ultra
Yes, embedded with storage slot
Galaxy Z Flip 4
No
IP rating
Galaxy S23 Ultra
IP68 certified
Galaxy Z Flip 4
IPX8 certified
Dimensions
Galaxy S23 Ultra
163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9mm
Galaxy Z Flip 4
FOLDED:
- 84.9 x 71.9 x 17.1mm (measured at hinge)

UNFOLDED:
- 165.2 x 71.9 x 6.9mm
Weight
Galaxy S23 Ultra
229g
Galaxy Z Flip 4
187g
Colors
Galaxy S23 Ultra
Phantom Black
Cream
Lavender
Green
Galaxy Z Flip 4
Bora Purple, Graphite, Pink Gold, Blue

Bespoke Edition:
- Front/back: Yellow, White, Navy, Khaki, Red
- Frame: Silver, Black, Gold

The Galaxy Z Flip 4’s unique form factor doesn’t lend itself to a direct comparison. When folded, it has a low-resolution 1.9-inch AMOLED display on the outside, which takes up around half the space of the folded front and is just about usable for notifications and quick device controls. Things are much closer when the Z Flip 4 is unfolded, though. Both come with AMOLED screens and 120Hz refresh rates, but the S23 Ultra has a leg up on the resolution. The Ultra’s 6.8-inch display has a Quad HD+ resolution, while the Z Flip 4’s 6.7-inch screen is limited to Full HD+.

Under the hood of the Galaxy S23 Ultra is the latest flagship processor from Qualcomm, one that’s specifically designed for Samsung. We tested the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy and found that it manages to deliver better performance than most other Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-toting smartphones. Of course, the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor is no slouch either and you’re unlikely to find a huge difference in everyday performance. But the best is understandably available with Samsung’s latest and greatest.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra homescreen in hand
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The Galaxy S23 Ultra maintains its advantage in other hardware areas. While the base model of the Ultra comes with 8GB of RAM, you can get higher-tier variants with 12GB of RAM. Samsung has also doubled the storage available with the S23 Ultra, with options starting at 256GB and going up to 1TB. On the other hand, all versions of the Z Flip 4 come with 8GB of RAM paired with 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage. Again, this won’t matter to most people, aside from those carrying around a big video library.

The Z Flip 4’s form factor also introduces a few other differences. For instance, the foldable comes with an IPX8 rating for water resistance. However, the S23 Ultra is also sealed and protected from dust, warranting an IP68 rating. The Flip 4 has a side-mounted capacitive fingerprint scanner, while the Ultra sticks to an under-display fingerprint sensor. And, of course, the S23 Ultra’s most significant advantage over the Z Flip 4 and all its competitors remains the S Pen, which fits entirely inside the device. Samsung’s upgraded stylus also offers software features to make the phone a productivity powerhouse.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 13
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
Z Flip 4

What stays essentially the same is the software experience. Both phones run Samsung’s One UI 5 based on Android 13 and will get similar software support. Granted, the S23 Ultra has the advantage of being newer and will get an extra year of OS and security updates. But Samsung’s commitment to four years of major OS upgrades and five years of security updates holds for both smartphones. It’s also among the best software commitments you’ll find across the whole industry.

Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Flip 4: Size comparison

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is a big phone, larger than the Galaxy S23 Plus in the series. That said, it’s not too different from the Z Flip 4 when unfolded. With unfolded dimensions of 165.2 x 71.9 x 6.9mm, the Flip 4 is slightly taller, less wide, and thinner than the Galaxy S23 Ultra (163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9mm). It’s also considerably lighter than the S23 Ultra at 187 grams vs 229 grams, respectively.

The Z Flip 4 is tiny when folded and around half the length of the S23 Ultra, with dimensions of just 84.1 x 71.9mm. Of course, it’s much thicker since it’s essentially the same as stacking two phones on top of each when folded. Even then, its thickness of 17.1mm shouldn’t cause any problems with putting the phone in your pocket, courtesy of its small footprint overall.

Not much has changed in the design of the Galaxy S23 Ultra compared to its predecessor. It retains an industrial look with a flat top and bottom and a slightly curved display. The rear cameras remain housed in individual islands on the otherwise plain back. It’s not a particularly exciting look, with function the preference over form. The phone will survive accidental bumps, drops, and scratches better, though, with Gorilla Glass Victus 2 panels on the front and back.

If unique is what you want, get the Galaxy Z Flip 4.

If unique is what you’re after, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is the way to go. A flip phone isn’t a new concept, but the modern take with a foldable screen is as different as it comes in a sea of standard, candy bar-style smartphones. The Z Flip 4 may not be as powerful or feature-packed as its 2023 flagship counterpart, but where you can’t go wrong is with its distinctive look. Not to mention many don’t need all those extra bells and whistles.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Flip 4: Camera

The Ultra variant of the Galaxy S-series has stuck with a 108MP primary shooter since 2019, with the S20 Ultra. So moving to a 200MP unit is a significant upgrade with the S23 Ultra. The other cameras in its quad-camera setup carry over from last year, though, with a 12MP ultrawide camera and two 10MP telephoto lenses with 3x and 10x optical zoom, respectively.

The jump in the megapixel count isn’t the only upgrade. There is also plenty of software features and improvements to back up the new camera. The Galaxy S23 Ultra can now record video in 8K/30fps, along with 4K/60fps and 1080p/120fps. Samsung says there are significant improvements to low-light photography, or Nightography as it calls it, and 30x and 100x zoom photos. We tested the Galaxy S23 Ultra extensively in our review and found that it delivered some of the best images we’ve seen from any smartphone to date.

On the other hand, the Galaxy Z Flip 4’s dual 12MP rear cameras seem decidedly mid-range in comparison. That’s not to say that these are bad cameras by any means. In our Galaxy Z Flip 4 review, we found that the cameras delivered impressive photos, with excellent detail, highlights, and shadows, and solid portrait and low-light photos. However, you don’t get a zoom lens. Even the smallest Galaxy S23 comes with a zoom lens.

Moving on, one standout feature of the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is the ability to prop it up in a semi-folded state. This can come in handy as a tripod or if you’re looking to take a picture of yourself without anyone around to help out.

The Z Flip 4 comes with a 10MP selfie camera. It’s a solid camera with exciting software tricks, a portrait mode, and the ability to make quick edits. The 12MP front-facing shooter of the Galaxy S23 Ultra also delivers impressive results, even if it seems like a significant downgrade on paper from the 40MP selfie camera of its predecessor. We feel it is a better selfie camera, proving that megapixels aren’t everything in smartphone photography. It also has a few tricks up its sleeve, including the ability to shoot video at 4K/60fps, while the Z Flip 4’s selfie camera is limited to 4K/30fps.

No, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 does not have better cameras than the S23 Ultra. It also lacks a telephoto lens that’s available in all S23-series phones.

Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Flip 4: Battery and charging

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra charger
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The Galaxy S23 Ultra doesn’t get a battery capacity upgrade compared to its predecessor. But its 5,000mAh unit is still much bigger than the 3,700mAh battery you get on the Galaxy Z Flip 4. The 2023 flagship also offers faster 45W wired charging (vs 25W on the Flip 4). Both come with 15W wireless charging with a compatible charger. You can also use 4.5W reverse wireless charging to charge accessories like wireless earbuds and smartwatches. It’s far from the fastest charging speeds we’ve seen on current smartphones, but any extra speed will be appreciated.

Luckily, we’ve found that the Galaxy S23 Ultra delivers excellent battery life, even though the capacity hasn’t changed from last year’s Galaxy S22 Ultra. In our review of the latest Ultra model, we managed around 6 to 8 hours of screen-on time over two days. The older phone would not make it through the second day. In other words, Samsung has improved upon one of its longest-lasting phones. And to top it off, it can fully charge within just 57 minutes using a 45W USB-C Power Delivery PPS plug. We have a guide with the best Samsung Galaxy S23 chargers if you need some help finding the right now to reach these speeds.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 11
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

That said, even the Z Flip 4’s small battery performs very well. In our review, we found that the device offers around four to five hours of screen-on time with average use. Charging speeds aren’t as impressive, though. The Z Flip 4 requires about 75 minutes to fully charge when plugged in. That goes up to 100 minutes when using a compatible wireless charger.

If you regularly push your smartphone to its limits, you’ll definitely be better served by the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Even if its battery capacity doesn’t look all that impressive in the context of previous generations, it’s still a sizable upgrade. Our review found that it delivers upwards of eight hours of screen-on time or two days of use. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 will still provide enough juice for most users, but it clearly prioritizes form over function with its sleek design and smaller battery. In fact, even the smaller Galaxy S23 Plus will offer better battery life than the foldable.

Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Flip 4: Price

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 in case
Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra price:

  • 8GB RAM/256GB storage: $1,199
  • 12GB RAM/512GB storage: $1,299
  • 12GB RAM/1TB storage: $1,399

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 price:

  • 128GB storage: $999
  • 256GB storage: $1,059
  • 512GB storage: $1,179

The good news is that Samsung hasn’t changed the US prices of the Galaxy S23 series this year either, so it keeps the prices of the last two S-series generations. The bad news is that starting at $1,199, the S23 Ultra remains one of the most expensive Android smartphones around.

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is cheaper, but not by much. It starts at $999, but with the equivalent storage as the S23 Ultra’s base, it will set you back $1,059. It’s not cheap, but it is reasonably priced for a flip foldable phone. Still, you are paying for the design and form factor rather than cutting-edge internals. On the other hand, the S23 Ultra is packed to the brim with high-end hardware features to justify its price tag.

Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Flip 4: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra camera module
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is arguably the better phone in almost every way. It has a faster processor, more RAM and storage if you want it, a larger battery with faster charging, much better cameras, and better protection. Samsung offers the same software commitment with both phones. But the S23 Ultra has the advantage of being newer. So its four years of major updates and five years of security updates offer slightly more longevity. The latest high-end flagship is the way to go if you want the best of the best.

The S23 Ultra is the obvious choice, but the Z Flip 4 just looks so good!

But the Z Flip 4 is a flip phone with a folding display! If you want to turn heads, pull out a flip phone in 2023. The design might admittedly be the only reason to recommend the Flip 4, but that might be all you need. Especially when compared to the rather dull look of the S23 Ultra. Not to mention there is a lot of value in having a phone that can take up much less space. Many prefer a device that’s easier to handle and carry.

Which of the two phones would you rather get?

350 votes

It’s also not that far behind when it comes to everything else. You’ll get impressive performance, solid battery life, and good cameras. It is a little cheaper, but that’s not the selling point. My practical side knows that the S23 Ultra is the better phone. And you should get it if you want a powerhouse that can do it all. But my tech geek side can’t help appreciating how unique the Flip 4 is.

See price at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
Efficient performance
Solid primary camera
Compact design
See price at Samsung
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
New 200MP main camera
Beautiful display
S Pen functionality

FAQs

The Galaxy S23 Ultra offers the best camera, battery, and display hardware of any Samsung smartphone. However, the Z Flip 4’s folding design sets it apart as a lifestyle pick.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra offers better internal hardware than the Z Flip 4, apart from the unique folding form factor.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is generally larger than the Galaxy Z Flip 4. It measures 163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9mm, while the Galaxy Z Flip 4 measures 165.2 x 71.9 x 6.9mm when unfolded. And if you care for pocketability, the Z Fold 4 measures only 84.1 x 71.9mm when folded shut.

Yes. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra weighs 234 grams, while the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is lighter at 187 grams.