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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy Z Fold 4: Should you upgrade?

Can little differences add up to big improvements?
By
August 10, 2022
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 open in hand showing home screen
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

It’s taken four years, but Samsung’s foldable smartphones have gone from a novel idea to the mainstream, taking the place of the vaunted Galaxy Note series in its fall release lineup. This year’s announcement includes the Galaxy Z Fold 4, along with the Z Flip 4 and new wearable products. Samsung’s goal with its latest flagship foldable is to take what’s good and make it better. In this case, the “good” is its predecessor, the Galaxy Z Fold 3. But are the improvements enough to justify an upgrade? Here’s a look at the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy Z Fold 4.


Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy Z Fold 4


Design and display

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 laying face down on table
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

If I were a betting man, I’d wager that no one would be able to tell the two phones apart at first glance. Eagle-eyed readers will eventually notice that the external screen of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is about 3mm wider, while the phone is also 3mm shorter. The Armor Aluminum frame returns in a stronger but lighter iteration that reduces the phone’s weight by 8g, and there’s Gorilla Glass Victus Plus on the front and back for better drop protection.

The Z Fold 4 might look the same from the outside, but it has a few new surprises tucked away.

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is still chunky but slightly less unwieldy than the Z Fold 3. It’s a matter of a few shaved millimeters and grams, but that’s just enough to make a small difference in the user experience. The wider front screen feels closer to the classic one-handed phone experience, and the interior screen is a little more tablet-like. Even then, unless you’re really looking closely, you’ll be hard-pressed to tell the two apart (hint, the new model is on the left).

The similarities continue once you drill down into the deeper display specs. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 features a 6.2-inch screen outside and a 7.6-inch foldable display inside, both AMOLED with 120Hz refresh rates. The display resolutions are marginally different due to the tweaked dimensions, but the pixel densities are virtually identical. Samsung hasn’t figured out a way to hide the crease when you unfold the phone yet, but it’s a little less prominent on the Z Fold 4. At least from what we’ve seen from models fresh out of the box.

Our early verdict: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 hands-on

Hardware and cameras

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 in beige standing upright
Ryan McLeod / Android Authority
Samsung Z Fold 4 comes in three brilliant colours. Media were invited to check out the Samsung Unpacked event on August 4, 2022. Ryan-Alexander McLeod/ Android Authority

There are a few key differences on the internal hardware side of things, or this article would be much shorter. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 comes with the customary upgrade to the processing package, sporting the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1. It’s a solid upgrade over the Snapdragon 888 that powers the Z Fold 3, and without the overheating issues plaguing the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. Both handsets perform solidly for core tasks, but you’ll get a little extra longevity out of the newer chip.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Fold 4 come with 12GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of storage. Power users will be happy with the addition of a 1TB storage option with the latter.

It’s more of the same with the battery. Both phones come with 4,400mAh batteries, which is a touch concerning since we weren’t very impressed with the battery performance of the Z Fold 3. You’ll have to wait for our full Z Fold 4 review to see if it’s any better, but we wouldn’t bet on it. Both phones come with 25W fast charging, while Samsung bumps the Z Fold 4’s wireless charging to 15W from the 10W charging supported by the Fold 3.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 in hand showing cameras
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

Turning to the cameras reveals one of the more significant upgrades. Samsung’s Fold cameras haven’t kept pace with its other flagships, but it’s a different story with the Z Fold 4. The triple rear camera setup is now headlined by a larger 50MP camera, the same one you get with the Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus, along with improved OIS and better video stabilization. It might not be the best camera phone that Samsung offers (that title goes to the Galaxy S22 Ultra), but it is a marked improvement over the Galaxy Z Fold 3.

If you've been longing for a better camera, the Z Fold 4 finally delivers.

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 keeps the same 12MP ultrawide shooter as the Z Fold 3, and while the megapixel count drops from 12MP (on the Z Fold 3) to 10MP for the telephoto lens, you get 3x optical zoom (compared to 2x) with the new phone. That bodes well for better long-range snaps we well.

Both phones come with a 4MP under-display camera on the inside. Samsung says that the UDC design of the Z Fold 4 (pictured above on the left) features a higher density pixel layout than the Z Fold 3 UDC to better disguise it. That being the case, it’s probably not going to match the quality of a regular selfie shooter. You’re better off using the exterior 10MP front-facing cameras on both phones for selfies and video calls.

Price and colors

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 colors
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • Galaxy Z Fold 4 (256GB): $1,799 / £1,649
  • Galaxy Z Fold 4 (512GB): $1,919/ £1,769
  • Galaxy Z Fold 4 (1TB): $2,159 / £2,019
  • Galaxy Z Fold 3 (256GB): $1,799 / €1,799 / £1,599
  • Galaxy Z Fold 3 (512GB): $1,899 / €1,899 / £1,699

Samsung hasn’t changed the starting price of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 compared to its predecessor, so at least you won’t have to pay more for the new phone. However, its base $1,799 price tag, which goes much higher if you want more storage, will still put the large foldable out of reach for many.

The different color options are your best bet to tell the two phones apart. Both are available in Phantom Black. You’ll also find the Z Fold 3 in Phantom Silver and Phantom Green, while the Z Fold 4’s new colorways include Beige, Graygreen, and the Samsung Store exclusive Burgundy.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
44%off
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Large, appealing internal display
Multitasking master
Water-resistant chassis
S Pen support
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Great performance
Impressive build quality
Large internal display

Specs

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Displays
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Exterior:
- 6.2-inch AMOLED
- 120Hz refresh rate
- 2,268 x 832 resolution at 387ppi
- Gorilla Glass Victus

Interior:
- 7.6-inch AMOLED
- 120Hz refresh rate
- 2,208 x 1,768 resolution at 374ppi
- Foldable display covering
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Exterior:
- 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED
- 120Hz refresh rate
- 2,316 x 904 resolution
- Gorilla Glass Victus Plus

Interior:
- 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED
- 120Hz refresh rate
- 2,176 x 1,812 resolution
- Foldable display covering
Processor
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1
RAM
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
12GB
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
12GB
Storage
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
256GB or 512GB
UFS 3.1
No expandable storage
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
256, 512GB, or 1TB
UFS 3.1
No expandable storage
Power
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
4,400mAh dual-battery
25W wired charging
10W wireless charging
4.5W reverse charging
No charger in box
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
4,400mAh dual-battery
25W wired charging
Fast Wireless Charging 2.0
Wireless PowerShare
No charger in box
Cameras
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
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

Exterior front:
- 10MP ƒ/2.2

Internal UDC:
- 4MP, 2.0μm, ƒ/1.8
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Exterior 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, ƒ/2.4

Exterior front:
- 10MP ƒ/2.2, 1.22μm

Internal UDC:
- 4MP, 2.0μm, ƒ/1.8
Audio
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Stereo speakers
Dolby Atmos support
No 3.5mm headphone port
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Stereo speakers
Dolby Atmos support
No 3.5mm headphone port
SIM
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Dual nano-SIM tray
eSIM support
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Dual nano-SIM tray
eSIM support
Biometrics
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Side-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Side-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor
Software
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Android 11
One UI
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Android 12
One UI 4.1
Dimensions and weight
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Folded dimensions:
- 158.2 x 67.1 x 16mm (measured at hinge)

Unfolded dimensions:
- 158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4mm

Weight:
- 271g
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Folded dimensions:
- 155.1 x 67.1 x 15.8mm (measured at hinge)

Unfolded dimensions:
- 155.1 x 130.1 x 6.3mm

Weight:
- 263g
Colors
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Phantom Green, Phantom Black, Phantom Silver
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Global: Graygreen, Phantom Black, Beige

Samsung Exclusive: Burgundy

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy Z Fold 4: Should you upgrade?

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 standing on table
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

If you spent close to two thousand dollars on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 last year, you almost certainly don’t need to upgrade to the Z Fold 4 this year, unless you can get a fantastic trade-in deal.

There are a handful of differences between the two, but nothing fundamental. You’re still set with flagship performance with the Z Fold 3, but the Fold 4 is a bit faster. Both come with Samsung’s excellent software support of four Android versions and five years of security updates. That means you’ll get one newer version of Android with the latest Fold. The nip and tuck changes to the design aren’t significant, but any refinement is an improvement. You also have the option for more storage and will get slightly faster wireless charging with the Fold 4.

New cameras might be the most noteworthy upgrade for the Galaxy Z Fold 4, but there are other small improvements too that will tempt foldable fans.

The most significant changes are in the camera department, though, a better primary shooter is a much sought-after upgrade. The camera isn’t the selling point of a phone that can become a tablet, but it’s great to finally see an improved camera setup, at least on paper. Especially with a price tag as high as the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s.

The small differences add up to a better handset overall, but their unexceptional nature makes the Z Fold 4 hard to justify as an upgrade. Foldable enthusiasts, by definition, love to be on the cutting edge of smartphone technology, so existing Z Fold 3 owners might be able to talk themselves into a new purchase. However, the phone makes a lot more sense for first-time foldable buyers, but even then, the expensive price tag should give them pause for thought.

Will you upgrade from the Galaxy Z Fold 3 to the Galaxy Z Fold 4?

589 votes