Best daily deals

Affiliate links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Fold 5: Which should you buy?

Which one is the better fit?
By
January 17, 2024
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
MSRP: $1,299.99
Check price
Positives
Powerful, flexible cameras
Excellent update commitment
Brilliant flat display
Titanium build and Gorilla Armor durability
Loud, punchy speakers
Negatives
Expensive
Hit-or-miss on some AI features
Cameras struggle with motion
AI features only guaranteed to be free through 2025
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
MSRP: $1,799.99
Check price
Positives
New hinge finally folds flat
Bright, vibrant displays
Powerful multitasking features
Impressive peak performance
S Pen support
Long-term update policy
Negatives
$1,800 price tag is still too high
Mediocre battery life
Thick and heavy
Slows down under sustained load
S Pen not included, no dock

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra might be the most powerful and expensive flagship in the S Series lineup, but it’s far from the company’s most expensive phone. The ultra-expensive Samsung Galaxy Fold 5 offers a unique foldable experience rivaled by few and has many of the same high-end features as the S series. So how do the two handsets compete? We take a closer look in this Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Fold 5 comparison.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Fold 5: At a glance

  • The Galaxy S24 Ultra has a faster processor than the Galaxy Z Fold 5.
  • The Galaxy S24 Ultra has a bigger battery and faster charging options than the Fold 5.
  • The Galaxy S24 Ultra has a powerful camera system.
  • The Galaxy S24 Ultra has a better update policy.
  • The Galaxy Fold 5 has a larger display when unfolded.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Fold 5: Specs

Samsung Galaxy S24 UltraSamsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Display
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
6.8-inch AMOLED, QHD+ resolution
120Hz display refresh rate (1Hz-120Hz)
HDR10+
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Exterior:
- 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED
- 120Hz refresh rate
- 2,316 x 904 resolution
- 23.1:9 aspect ratio
- Gorilla Glass Victus 2

Interior:
- 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED
- 120Hz refresh rate (LTPO)
- 2,176 x 1,812 resolution
- Ultra Thin Glass
Processor
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
RAM
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
12GB LPDDR5X
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
12GB
Storage
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
256, 512GB, or 1TB
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
256GB, 512GB, or 1TB
No expandable storage
Power
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
5,000mAh
45W wired charging
15W wireless charging
5W reverse wireless charging
No charger in box
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
4,400mAh dual-battery
25W wired charging
Fast Wireless Charging 2.0
Wireless PowerShare
No charger in box
Cameras
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Rear:
- 200MP main
f/1.7, OIS

-12MP ultrawide, f/2.4, 120-degree FoV
1/3.52-inch sensor

- 50MP telephoto
5x optical zoom, 1.4 μm, f/3.4, 36-degree FoV
1/2.55-inch sensor
OIS

Front:
- 12MP
f/2.2, 8-degree FoV, AF
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Rear:
- 50MP wide, 1.0μm, OIS, Dual Pixel AF, ƒ/1.8
- 12MP ultra-wide, 1.12μm, ƒ/2.2
- 10MP telephoto, 1.0μm, OIS, 3x zoom (30x digital), ƒ/2.4

Front:
- 10MP ƒ/2.2, 1.22μm

Internal UDC:
- 4MP, 2.0μm, ƒ/1.8
Video
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Rear:
8K at 24/30fps (main lens only)
4K at 30/60fps (all lenses)

Front:
4K at 30/60fps
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Rear:

8K at 30fps (main lens)
4K at 60fps (all lenses)

Front:
4K at 30/60fps
Audio
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Stereo speakers
Triple mics
No 3.5mm port
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Stereo speakers
Dolby Atmos support
No 3.5mm headphone port
Connectivity
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
5G (mmWave + Sub6)
Wi-Fi 7
Bluetooth 5.3
NFC support
USB 3.2 Gen 1
UWB
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
5G (mmWave + Sub6)
Wi-Fi 6E
Bluetooth 5.3
NFC support
USB 3.2 Gen 1
UWB
SIM
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Single nano-SIM tray
eSIM support
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Single nano-SIM tray
eSIM support
Security
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Ultrasonic under-display fingerprint sensor
7 years of security/OS updates
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Ultrasonic under-display fingerprint sensor
7 years of security/OS updates
Durability/Materials
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
IP68
Gorilla Glass Armor on the front and back
Titanium frame
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
IPX8
Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the front and back
Aluminum frame
Software
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Android 14
One UI 6.1
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Android 13
One UI 5.1.1

S Pen support
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Yes
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Yes
Dimensions and weight
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
162.6 x 79 x 8.6mm
233g
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Folded dimensions:
- 154.94 x 67 x 13.4mm

Unfolded dimensions:
- 154.94 x 129.8 x 6mm

Weight:
- 253g
Colors
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Titanium Black, Titanium Yellow, Titanium Violet, Titanium Gray
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Global: Cream, Icy Blue, Phantom Black

Samsung Exclusive: Gray, Blue

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Fold 5: Size comparison

Z Fold 5 and S24 Ultra 2
Damien Wilde / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is a fairly large device, measuring 79 x 162.3 mm with a thickness of 8.3mm. It is only slightly larger than the folded Galaxy Fold 5, which has dimensions of 67 x 154.94 mm. That said, the Fold is quite a bit thicker in this state, at 13.4mm. It also weighs more than the S24 Ultra, tipping the scales at 253g compared to the S24 Ultra’s 232g.

When unfolded, the Galaxy Fold 5 boasts a significantly larger 7.8-inch display and expands to dimensions of 154.94 x 129.8 mm, yet maintains a slim profile with a thickness of just 6mm. In essence, both phones are big-screen behemoths, but the Fold 5 offers the unique ability to compact down to a more modest 6.2-inch display, revealing its expansive size only when in tablet form.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Fold 5: Features  

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra 21
Damien Wilde / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 costs more than your typical flagship, and yet its expensive folding technology means it still has to cut corners to keep costs from skyrocketing. The day-to-day performance of the Z Fold 5 is going to always be pretty close to the Galaxy S Ultra series, you’ll just be missing a few extras. The Galaxy S24 Ultra also has the advantage of featuring the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor. Taking a closer look at the specifications, you’ll notice that storage, RAM, and other core components aren’t significantly different between these phones on paper, except in two key areas: camera and battery.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 uses the same sensors as its predecessor, resulting in a somewhat mediocre camera experience compared to the Galaxy S23 series. Compared to the S24 Ultra, we’d argue that there’s no contest, although we haven’t fully tested out Samsung’s latest phone yet. The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra boasts a powerful 200MP primary wide sensor, coupled with an f/1.7 lens that should be great for low-light shooting. There’s also a revised telephoto system, which drops optical zoom from 10x to 5x in favor of upgrading one of the telephoto sensors from 10MP to 50MP. Samsung claims this will improve zoom quality in the ranges most customers use, though it might be seen as a step back for some. There are also some camera software improvements, which we’ll touch on briefly later.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra and Fold 5 are both great phones, but the Ultra remains the powerful beast with a better camera, new AI features, and more.

It’s too early to say much about the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s battery life. However, considering the Galaxy S23 Ultra could make it through two days before needing a charge, you should expect at least as good an experience. In contrast, the Fold 5 battery life isn’t so hot. While exact battery features will vary depending on which display you are using and many other details, it’s certainly a device you’ll need to charge by the end of the day.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 unfolded on grid
Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority

Now let’s take a closer look at software changes. First and foremost, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra offers the advantage of seven years of updates, compared to Samsung’s previous policy of four years of OS updates and five years of security patches. Second, the Galaxy S24 series introduces Samsung Galaxy AI features. Samsung Galaxy AI offers a lot of the same kind of AI trickery as you’d get from a device like the Pixel 8 Pro, including real-time live translations during calls, transcription assistance, chat assistance, note summarization, and plenty of new AI camera features.

Some of the features are cloud-based like Circle to Search and Samsung’s take on Magic Editor, but quite a few functions will work completely offline as well. While Samsung Galaxy AI features are likely to come to older hardware like the Z Fold 5 eventually, some of the features are dependent on newer SoC technology and will remain exclusive to the S24 series and other newer Galaxy devices.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Fold 5: Price and availability 

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra homescreen standing
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: Starts at $1,299.99

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5: Starts at $1,800

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra was officially announced on January 17th with pre-orders starting the very same day. Customers who pre-order from Samsung.com are also eligible to receive a $100 Samsung credit and a free upgrade to the next highest storage tier at no extra cost. This represents a total savings of about $220. For those who don’t pre-order, the phone will be available starting January 31st.

The base 256GB model of the Galaxy S24 Ultra will have a starting price of $1,299.99, which is a $100 increase compared to its predecessor. There’s also a 512GB model for $1,419.99 and an even more expensive 1TB model at $1,659.99.

On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy Fold 5 has been available since August 2023. It starts at a significantly higher price point, with the 256GB model priced at $1,800. Opting for the 512GB model will raise the price to $1,900, and for the highest configuration, it will cost $2,150.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Fold 5: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs S23 Ultra camera modules
Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority
Left: S23 Ultra, Right; Z Fold 5

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra isn’t targeted at everyone, as it represents a substantial investment designed with power users in mind. However, when it comes to overall value, the S24 Ultra certainly outshines the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5. With the S24 Ultra, you’ll enjoy a superior SoC, camera performance, better battery life, enhanced software support, and the opportunity to be among the first to experience all the new Galaxy AI features. The only trade-off is that you won’t have the large tablet display found in the Fold 5.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra is the better phone overall, though the Z Fold 5's tablet display could be enough to win you over.

If you seek a premium Android experience and aren’t particularly committed to owning a foldable device, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra offers a more attractive proposition. If the price of the S24 Ultra seems a bit steep, you can consider the Galaxy S24 or S24 Plus to save some money. If you’re unsure whether Samsung is the right fit for you, check out our guide covering the best Android phones from other manufacturers like Google, Motorola, and more.

However, if you are determined to get one of the best foldable devices, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is a compelling option worth considering, even with the trade-offs. If the Z Fold 5 doesn’t meet your expectations, there are other excellent foldable phones available, such as the Google Pixel Fold, which could also serve as a viable alternative.

See price at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy S24
Samsung Galaxy S24
Seven-year update commitment
Neat AI features
Robust battery life
See price at Samsung
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
New hinge finally folds flat
Bright, vibrant displays
Powerful multitasking features

FAQ

The Galaxy S24 Ultra is basically the modern-day Note, so yes you get an S Pen in the box. The Fold is compatible, but you’ll have to buy it separately.

Yes, both have the same waterproof resistance but the Fold 5 lacks dust protection, which means it has an IP rating of IPX8, versus IP68 on the S24 Ultra. Learn more about waterproofing and ratings in our guide.

The Fold 5 does include a built-in screen protector designed to keep the foldable display safe, though it’s not something you can remove yourself. The S24 Ultra will offer screen protectors directly for an additional cost or via a third party.

Unfortunately modern flagships tend to cut out the microSD slot, and these two are no exception.

Yes, both phones support 15W wireless charging using PowerShare technology.