Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 open faced
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the culmination of all the lessons the company learned from the first Galaxy Fold and the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Not only does it come with the latest hardware, but it also sports a refined design, a far more robust build, and a cheaper price point. However, if you already have its predecessor, is it worth the upgrade? Let’s compare the two to figure out which one comes out on top in the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy Z Fold 2 battle.

See also: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 first impressions


Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy Z Fold 2


Specs

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
Displays
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3:
Exterior:
6.2-inch AMOLED
120Hz refresh rate
2,268 x 832 resolution
387ppi
Gorilla Glass Victus

Interior:
7.6-inch AMOLED
120Hz refresh rate
2,208 x 1,768
374ppi
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2:
Exterior:
6.2-inch AMOLED
60Hz refresh rate
2,260 x 816 resolution
386ppi

Interior:
7.6-inch AMOLED
120Hz refresh rate
2,208 x 1,768
373ppi
Processor
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus
RAM
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3:
12GB
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2:
12GB
Storage
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3:
256GB or 512GB
UFS 3.1
No expandable storage
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2:
256GB
UFS 3.1
No expandable storage
Power
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3:
4,400mAh dual-battery
25W wired charging
Wireless charging
Reverse wireless charging
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2:
4,500mAh dual-battery
25W wired charging
Wireless charging
Reverse wireless charging
Cameras
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3:
Exterior front:
- 10MP sensor, ƒ/2.2

Internal UDC:
- 4MP sensor, 2.0μm, ƒ/1.8

Exterior rear:
- 12MP wide, 1.8μm, OIS, Dual Pixel AF, ƒ/1.8
- 12MP ultra-wide, 1.12μm, ƒ/2.2
- 12MP telephoto, 1.0μm, OIS, 2x zoom, ƒ/2.4

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2:
Exterior front:
- 10MP sensor, ƒ2.2

Internal:
- 10MP sensor, ƒ2.2, 1.22μm,

Exterior rear:
- 12MP wide, 1.8μm, OIS, Dual Pixel AF, ƒ/1.8
- 12MP ultra-wide, 1.12μm, ƒ/2.2
- 12MP telephoto, 1.0μm, OIS, 2x zoom, ƒ/2.4
Audio
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3:
Stereo speakers
Dolby Atmos support
No headphone jack
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2:
Stereo speakers
Dolby Atmos-certified
No headphone jack
Biometrics
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3:
Side-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2:
Side-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor
Software
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3:
Android 11
One UI
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2:
Android 10 (upgradable to Android 11)
One UI
Dimensions and weight
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3:
Folded dimensions:
- 67.1 x 158.2 x 16mm (measured at hinge)

Unfolded dimensions:
- 128.1 x 158.2 x 6.4mm (at frame)

Weight:
- 271g
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2:
Folded:
- 68.0 x 159.2 x 16.8mm (measured at hinge)

Unfolded:
- 128.2 x 159.2 x 6.9mm (at frame)

Weight
- 282g
Colors
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3:
Phantom Green, Phantom Black, Phantom Silver
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2:
Mystic Black, Mystic Bronze

Design and display

Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 slightly folded
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Galaxy Z Fold 3’s design is familiar at first glance and doesn’t deviate much from the established formula. However, its more refined elements begin to stand out compared to the solid but still prototype-ish Z Fold 2. The size of the interior and exterior displays remain the same, but Samsung managed to shave a millimeter or two on all sides. It’s not a particularly noticeable difference, but it does give the Z Fold 3 a better edge-to-edge look.

Durability is always a concern with a foldable, and Samsung takes things up a notch with the Z Fold 3. The metal frame and Corning Victus glass make for a sturdier phone, and Samsung claims that the interior display is 80% stronger. It’s a touch lighter than the Z Fold 2, but it still feels like a solid phone when holding it. Speaking of durability, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the first of the series to come with an IPX8 rating for water resistance.

Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 unfolded screen off
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

You also see a significant improvement with the hinge. It’s more fluid, and the action to open and close it feels cleaner, smoother, and, more importantly, robust. It’s still a foldable, so you should be careful, but that’s certainly less of a concern with the Z Fold 3 than it was with its predecessor.

The exterior display of the Z Fold 3 comes in at 6.2-inches, making it the same size as that of its predecessor. However, it does have a 120Hz refresh rate (up from 60Hz) for a smoother browsing experience.

The Z Fold 3's under-display selfie camera allows for a seamless viewing experience with no notch or punch-hole.

The interior display stays the same, though. Both phones come with a 7.6-inch AMOLED display with a Full HD+ resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. However, Samsung managed to tuck the interior camera under the screen. The under-display selfie camera allows for a seamless viewing experience with no notch to deal with. However, we’ll have to wait for our complete review to see how the camera performs.

Another difference between the two phones is that the Z Fold 3’s display now supports the use of Samsung’s S Pen stylus. However, it doesn’t come in the box, so you’ll have to buy it separately.


Hardware and cameras

Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 rear in green
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Both Z Fold devices come with the best processing package of their time. The Snapdragon 888 powers the Z Fold 3, while the Snapdragon 865 Plus keeps everything running smoothly on the Z Fold 2. Both come with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, while you can also pick up a 512GB storage version of the Z Fold 3. The Z Fold 2 comes in a 512GB variant as well, but that’s exclusive to a handful of Asian markets.

With all that power, performance isn’t an issue with either phone. Both devices are blazing fast, and screen transitions are smooth and look great.

Snapdragon SoC guide: All of Qualcomm’s smartphone processors explained

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 has a slightly smaller battery than its predecessor — 4,400mah vs 4,500mAh. We’ll have to wait for the full review to see if it makes a huge difference. The good news is that the Z Fold 2 offered impressive battery life with six to seven hours of screen-on time. It wouldn’t be much of a reach to expect something similar with the Z Fold 3.

Both come with fast wired charging, wireless charging, and reverse wireless charging. Samsung is certainly not jumping into any races for ultra-fast charging with these devices, though. Hopefully, you already have a charger or wireless charger handy because the Z Fold 3 doesn’t come with one in the box.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 laptop mode 2
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Samsung carries over most of the camera setup from the Z Fold 2 to its successor. You get a 12MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, and 12MP telephoto lens on the back, with a 10MP selfie shooter on the front. We were quite impressed with the camera performance of the Z Fold 2 in our review, so we’ll see something similar with the newer foldable.

However, there’s an exciting change here: there’s an under-display camera with the interior screen. Samsung has already warned that this camera isn’t going to be particularly good, as it comes in at just 4MP. But I’m glad that they’re experimenting, and this is a feature that will hopefully make its way to the mainstream soon. Between this and the Mi Mix 4, could we finally be done with notches?


Price and colors

  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 (256GB): $1,799 / €1,799 / £1,599
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 (512GB): $1,899 / €1,899 / £1,699
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 (256 GB): $1,999 / €1,799 / £1,599

Two versions of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 are available, with 256GB or 512GB of storage. There’s a $100 difference between the two models, with the phone starting at $1,799. While that’s the same price you can pick up the Z Fold 2 for now, it’s actually cheaper than the Fold 2’s $1,999 price tag at launch.

You can pre-order the Galaxy Z Fold 3 now and take advantage of excellent trade-in rates and other special offers. The phone will be available from August 27.

Check out: The best foldable phones you can get

Speaking of availability, Samsung seems to have discontinued the Z Fold 2 in the US. It’s no longer available on the Samsung website, but you can pick it up on Amazon. Of course, if you’re going to drop that kind of money on a phone, you might as well get the newer model for the same price.

As far as colorways are concerned, the Z Fold 2 comes in Mystic Black and Mystic Bronze. The Z Fold 3 is available in Phantom Silver, Phantom Black, and Phantom Green.

Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 laying down screen on
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
The first foldable with an IP rating for water resistance.
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 Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy Z Fold 2: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 laying down screen on
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

There’s no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the better device of the two. The phone is sturdier, looks and feels more polished, and comes with a better processing package. It also has an improved display.

If you're looking to buy a foldable for the first time, the Z Fold 3 is a no-brainer.

Then there’s the IPX8 rating, S Pen support, and an under-display camera. The only advantage the Z Fold 2 has over its successor is the battery size, which is 100mAh larger.

If you’re looking to buy a foldable for the first time, the Z Fold 3 is a no-brainer. Particularly because both phones are priced the same right now. But if you already have the Z Fold 2, you’re probably better of sticking with it for a while, since the differences between the two phones aren’t that big to justify the upgrade cost. Samsung is offering a trade-in value of up to $800 for the Z Fold 2 for a limited time, but that’s still an extra $1,000 you’ll have to come up with.