The newest Galaxy Z Fold is here, meaning there’s new hardware for you to know about, and last year’s model will now be available for a lower cost. If you’ve wanted to buy yourself this folding device for a while now, you probably want to know whether or not the new device is worth the extra money or how it’s different. If so, here’s our comparison of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 against the Z Fold 2.
For interested buyers, the third generation Z Fold can now be preordered on Samsung’s website and will be available for sale from August 27th at a starting price of $1,799.99.
Design and Display
The design Samsung introduced with the Galaxy Z Fold 2 made significant strides compared to the first generation. It was thinner and much better looking, with a large cover display and an Infinity-O panel for both screens. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 continues on a similar wavelength by further reducing almost every dimension. It’s now 6.4mm thick at the hinge when unfolded versus the 6.9mm of Z Fold 2. These changes effectively mean the Z Fold 3 is more compact and easier to hold, but Samsung has kept the display sizes from last year — a huge plus!
But keep your focus on the displays because that’s also the second differentiating factor between the two devices. It’s not one based on dimensions but rather a hardware advancement. While the cover displays have nearly identical resolutions at (2268×832) on the Z Fold 3 and (2260×816) on the Z Fold 2, the new model’s screen now refreshes at 120Hz compared to 60Hz. And for the inner panel, Samsung is using an under-display camera, allowing them to provide users with a full-screen experience.
The Z Fold 3 uses a new ECO2 panel for a 7.6-inch 120Hz AMOLED display. It also features a new protective film, which Samsung claims is 80 percent more durable than the last version they shipped. We believe this new panel is also more responsive and plays a significant role in making the new phone S-Pen compatible. In terms of size and refresh rate, the Z Fold 2 had a similar 7.6-inch 120Hz panel.
Focusing on other physical aspects, the Z Fold 3 and Z Fold 2 feature Gorilla Glass Victus for the cover display and an aluminum frame. The one used on the Z Fold 3 is now called Armor Aluminum which Samsung claims is ten percent stronger than before. But a welcome addition is that Samsung now rates the Fold 3 to have IPX8 water resistance, a standard unavailable until now on foldable devices from the Korean OEM.
To ensure these devices never give up when required, driving them are flagship chipsets from Qualcomm. The Z Fold 2 featured the 7nm Snapdragon 865 Plus, whereas the Z Fold 3 features this year’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 888 5G. According to Qualcomm, the new chipset brings 25 percent better CPU performance and a 35 percent improvement in GPU results. So while the Z Fold 2 is no slouch, the Z Fold 3 does have a significant generational advantage.
Supporting the SoC, you’ll find 12GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage on both phones.
If you’re an avid smartphone photographer, last year’s Z Fold 2 was said by many to feature a set of sensors that were not the best, but delivered great shots, deeming it better than acceptable. According to the rumors we reported upon earlier, Samsung includes a familiar camera setup on the Z Fold 3.
Both the Z Fold 2 and Z Fold 3 feature a rear setup consisting of a 12MP ultra-wide, a 12MP wide with OIS and Dual Pixel Auto Focus, and a 12MP telephoto with OIS and 2x Zoom. The front camera on the cover display has the same 10MP unit. The shooter on the internal display is 10MP on the Z Fold 2, while the Z Fold 3 has a 4MP under-display camera.
As mentioned earlier, the Z Fold 3 features reduced dimensions, resulting in Samsung packing a marginally smaller 4400mAh cell in the foldable compared to the 4500mAh one found in the Z Fold 2. Nevertheless, both phones support wireless charging (even reverse) and 25W wired charging to ready up for a day of use.
That’s how the Z Fold 3 compares to the last generation. While the changes may not seem significant enough, this new iteration’s compact, water-resistant design and lower starting price are welcome. The added S-Pen support also makes it more of an option for those who like Samsung’s Note lineup.
Before we end, Samsung also announced the sporty Galaxy Watch 4 and traditional timepiece-like Galaxy Watch 4 Classic at the event, so make sure to read our report on those. If you’re interested in making a purchase, read our guide on the best bands available for these products and see how it compares to Apple’s Series 6.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the latest large foldable from Samsung. With a more compact design and water resistance finally available, this phone is closer than ever to a traditional smartphone. The addition of S-Pen support also makes it worth considering if you have liked Samsung's Note lineup.