Can’t wait any longer for Samsung Unpacked? There’s no need to! Today’s the day that the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 will be unveiled — alongside the Z Fold 3 — and this is the perfect time to snap up one of these new foldable phones.
The Z Flip 3 is a sleek package with a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate and Armor Aluminum and Corning Gorilla Glass Victus to take on whatever life throws at it. But if you’re not quite sure whether to take it on or opt for the Galaxy Z Flip 5G with its Snapdragon 865 Plus chip and sleek Mystic Bronze or Mystic Gray colorways, we’ve compared the two across six key categories to help you decide which is the one for you.
|Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3||Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G|
|Size||Unfolded: 166 x 72.2 x 6.9mm (6.5 x 2.8. x 0.27 inches)
Folded: 86.4 x 72.2 x 17.1mm (3.4 x 2.8 x 0.67 inches)
|Unfolded: 167.3 x 73.6 x 7.2mm (6.6 x 2.9 x 0.28 inches)
Folded: 87.4 x 73.6 x 17.3mm (3.4 x 2.9 x 0.61-0.68 inches)
|Weight||183 grams (6.5 ounces)||183 grams (6.5 ounces)|
|Screen size||Main: 6.7-inch Super AMOLED
Cover screen: 1.9-inch Super AMOLED
|Main: 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED
Cover screen: 1.1-inch Super AMOLED
|Screen resolution||Main: 2640 x 1080 pixels (425 ppi), 120Hz adaptive refresh rate
Cover Screen: 512 x 260 pixels (302 ppi)
|Main: 2,636 × 1,080 pixels (425 ppi)
Cover Screen: 300 x 112 pixels (303 ppi)
|Operating system||Android 11 with One UI 3.1||Android 10 with One UI 3.0|
|MicroSD card slot||No||No|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus|
|Camera||Dual lens 12MP wide and ultrawide 10MP front||Dual lens 12MP wide and ultrawide 10MP front|
|Video||TBC||4K at up to 30 fps|
|Bluetooth version||Bluetooth 5.1||Bluetooth 5.0|
15W fast charging
10W fast wireless charging
4.5W reverse wireless charging (Wireless PowerShare)
15W fast charging
9W wireless charging
Reverse wireless charging (Wireless PowerShare)
|App marketplace||Google Play Store||Google Play Store|
|Network support||TBC||T-Mobile, AT&T|
|Colors||Cream, green, lavender, Phantom Black
Samsung exclusive colors: White, pink, and gray
|Mystic Bronze, Mystic Gray|
|Buy from||Samsung||Samsung, BestBuy|
|Review score||Hands-on review||News|
Design, display, and durability
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G and Z Flip 3 are both eye-catching foldables with a similar clamshell design featuring a horizontal fold. The Z Flip 3 boasts a more seamless design, though, and beats the Z Flip 5G in the durability stakes with a body forged from Armor Aluminum, the strongest aluminum used in a Galaxy phone to date, and Corning Gorilla Glass Victus for drop and scratch protection. The Z Flip 3 also boasts a new protective stretchable PET film and optimized main screen panel layers — in fact, Samsung claims the screen is 80% more durable than its previous foldables.
Let’s talk about that hideaway hinge. It’s almost the same on both phones and keeps the device in place at any angle, though the hinge on the Z Flip 3 is sleeker and thinner. Speaking of the Z Flip 3’s hinge, it also features enhanced Sweeper tech, with shorter bristles that keep dust and other particles out of the hinge — and Samsung claims the improved hinge can withstand up to 200,000 folds.
But it’s the cover screen on the Z Flip 3 that takes center stage. While both phones have a 6.7-inch full HD+ main screen, the Z Flip 3 boasts a 1.9-inch cover screen with 512 x 260 resolution, making it easier to view messages and notifications without opening your phone, compared to the 1.1-inch cover screen with 300 x 112 resolution of the Z Flip 5G. The new Z Flip 3 is rocking that 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, too, great if you’re a multitasker or play the latest games on your phone — and Samsung Pay is built into the cover screen, so you can quickly pay for your morning coffee on the go.
The Z Flip 3 comes in a wider array of color choices, too: Cream, green, lavender, and Phantom Black, with three Samsung exclusive colors: White, gray, and pink. Pick up the Z Flip 5G, and you’ll have a choice of just Mystic Bronze or Mystic Gray.
Both phones weigh in at 183 grams, but while the Z Flip 5G doesn’t have any water resistance, the Z Flip 3 is IPX8 rated, ensuring it’s safe to submerge in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.
All things considered, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 takes the prize here for that larger cover screen, more durable body, IPX8 rating, improved hideaway hinge, and a wider choice of colors.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
Performance, battery life, and charging
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is powered by the impressive Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, the same chip found in the Galaxy S21 series phones and the OnePlus 9. With 8GB of RAM, it should handle multitasking and all the latest apps easily — and don’t forget that 120Hz refresh rate, which is adaptive to help save battery life.
In contrast, the Galaxy Z Flip 5G is powered by the Snapdragon 865 Plus (an overclocked version of the Snapdragon 865 chip), used in phones like the ASUS ROG Phone 3 and the Galaxy Note 20 lineup. Again, you’re getting 8GB of RAM, so any difference in performance when multitasking or gaming shouldn’t be that apparent — though benchmark scores are higher for the Snapdragon 888, and reports suggest performance is three times better than the 865 Plus. The Z Flip 5G comes with 256GB of storage, while the Z Flip 3 gives you a choice of 128GB or 256GB, although neither phone has a microSD card slot to expand the storage — so the storage you go for is all you’ll ever have.
Battery life is similar across both phones, too. Both have a 3,300mAh battery and offer 15W fast charging, with the Z Flip 5G offering 9W wireless charging compared to the 10W wireless charging on offer with the Z Flip 3. Both phones also support 4.5W reverse wireless charging — also known as Wireless PowerShare — which lets you place accessories like your Galaxy Buds Pro on the back of the phone to charge.
Neither phone comes bundled with a charger, although both include a data cable in the box.
This round is a close one. With both phones boasting the same RAM, storage, and battery, the Z Flip 3 ultimately takes the top spot here, thanks to its more powerful Snapdragon 888 processor and 120Hz refresh rate.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
There’s not much to write home about when it comes to comparing the camera hardware on these two phones — it remains constant across both foldables. Both the Z Flip 5G and the Z Flip 3 have a dual-camera offering on the outside: A 12-megapixel main wide sensor with an f/1.8 aperture and a 12MP ultrawide sensor with an f/2.4 aperture. Both also have a 10MP selfie camera with an aperture of f/2.4.
The Z Flip 3, however, boasts some enhancements to the camera, with Flex Mode making it easier to take hands-free selfies. With the Z Flip 3, you can even snap quick photos — and videos — from the cover screen using enhanced Quick Shot simply by double-clicking the Power key.
Even with the Z Flip 3’s enhancements, this round is too close to call, thanks to the identical camera hardware across both phones.
Software and updates
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 ships with Android 11 and Samsung’s One UI 3.1. Get your hands on the Z Flip 5G, and you’ll get Android 10 with Samsung’s One UI 3.0 out of the box, upgradeable to Android 11. If you’ve owned a Galaxy phone before, you’ll feel right at home, with Samsung generally promising three generations of OS updates.
The Z Flip 3 wins here on the longevity front, especially if future-proofing your phone is a priority.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
Both phones have 5G, making them excellent future-proof choices, but the Z Flip 5G doesn’t work with Verizon’s mmWave-based network and only supports Sub-6 5G on AT&T and T-Mobile. The Z Flip 3, in contrast, supports both Sub-6 and mmWave standards.
You’ll also find both devices have Flex mode, which lets users customize how they view and control content — for example, you can watch a YouTube video on the top of the display while you read comments on the display’s bottom half and easily reverse which half of the display handles a particular task. But the Z Flip 3 takes things one step further with a new Flex Mode Panel feature that’s designed to make apps look better — as well as enhancing their usability. When the Z Flip 3 is partially folded, the Flex Mode Panel makes viewing more convenient — for example, it moves your Netflix or YouTube video to the top half of the screen while keeping the brightness and volume controls on the bottom half. It sounds like a little thing, but in practice, it’s a pretty helpful new feature.
Samsung has introduced a new Labs feature for the Z Flip 3, too, which allows you to optimize even more apps to the foldable screen than ever before. We love that Samsung Pay is built into the cover screen of the Z Flip 3, too, so you can quickly pay for your coffee or groceries on the go without opening up your phone.
When it comes to charging, both the Z Flip 5G and the Z Flip 3 boasts reverse wireless charging (Wireless PowerShare) to allow you to charge your Galaxy Buds 2 or other accessories on the back of your phone — pretty handy when you’re traveling without access to a charger.
The Z Flip 3 takes the prize here, though this was really close to call. Ultimately, though, its support for mmWave 5G and new features just bring it out ahead.
Winner: Samsung Z Flip 3
Price and availability
You can pre-order the Galaxy Z Flip 3 directly from Samsung from August 11. Place your pre-order from August 11 to 26, and you’ll get $150 worth of Samsung credit to spend on a Galaxy Tab S7 FE, Galaxy Watch4, Samsung TV, or other accessories. Until August 26, you can also trade in up to four devices and get up to $500 credit toward a new Galaxy Z Flip 3. The phone comes with 256GB of storage for $1,000 and is available in Cream, lavender, green, or Phantom Black — or you can opt for white, pink, or gray, all Samsung Exclusives.
The Galaxy Z Flip 5G is available directly from Samsung in Mystic Bronze or Mystic Gray. You can pick it up unlocked to any carrier with 256GB storage right now for $1,025 or trade-in and get up to $700 Instant Credit, taking the price down to $325.
You can also pick up the Z Flip 5G unlocked from Best Buy starting at $1,200, and from Amazon and other retailers.
Overall, it’s a very close match, with the Z Flip 3 coming out ahead thanks to its larger cover screen, that IPX8 water resistance, support for mmWave 5G, and an improved, sleeker hinge — not to mention its more powerful Snapdragon 888 processor and 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. Since both phones have the same battery, screen size, RAM, and storage, the differences between the Z Flip 3 and the Z Flip 5G may mean choosing the one for you probably comes down to personal preference.
Keep in mind that this verdict comes before our full review of the Z Flip 3, and this could change once we’ve spent some more time with Samsung’s latest foldable. But for now, the Z Flip 3 is our favorite of the two phones.
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