Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 vs. Z Flip 3: Which one should you buy?

Samsung showed off in 2021 that it could deliver foldables that are just as resilient as its Galaxy S flagships, and it is building on that momentum with this year's launches. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 delivers a svelte design that looks striking, and it is available in exciting new colors. It features the latest hardware currently available, picks up major camera upgrades, has a larger battery, and faster charging tech. In short, there's a lot to like here, so let's find out how the Z Flip 3 holds up against the latest Z Flip 4, and which foldable you should purchase.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 vs. Z Flip 3: Design and screen

All four Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 colorways

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

The Z Flip 3 stood out last year for its stylish design and attractive color variants, and Samsung hasn't changed the fundamentals too much this year. The Z Flip 4 continues the same design-focused ethos, and kicks things up a gear: it comes with flatter sides and bold new colorways, making it stand out a little more.

Both phones have standout designs, but Samsung outdid itself with the Z Flip 4.

Another unique addition with the Z Flip 4 is the fact that you can customize the colors to your liking — Samsung says there are 75 possible configurations. That ties into the overall messaging that Samsung has hammered home with its Z Flip foldables, where they're positioned more as fashion-forward accessories than regular phones. And the Z Flip 4 does a magnificent job fulfilling the brief.

Although the Z Flip 4 is clearly the star of the show, the Z Flip 3 looks just as elegant, and while it misses out on the extensive color options, you can pick it up in five different colors, and they look great in their own right. As for in-hand use, the Z Flip 4 is slightly narrower and smaller than the Flip 3, and that makes a slight difference.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 colors

(Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

Both devices are quite tall unfolded — even more so than the S22 Ultra — but because of the narrow width, they don't feel cumbersome. The fact that you can fold the phones in half and tuck them into your pocket is undeniably cool, and that particular novelty doesn't fade away. If nothing else, using either device is a lot of fun.

Durability is a key issue for foldables, and Samsung showed that it can deliver in this area last year, building the Z Flip 3 out of an aluminum alloy that's lightweight but also resilient to daily use. The hinge is pivotal to this, and Samsung made further tweaks to the design this time, making the Z Flip 4 among the most durable foldables today.

The flexible display on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Coming to the screen, both phones feature the same 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED panel with 120Hz refresh and FHD+ (2640 x 1080) resolution. The outer cover screen is a 1.9-inch AMOLED panel with a resolution of 512 x 260, and that's also unchanged. The outer panel has more widgets and gets a few additional features on the Z Flip 4, but outside of that, Samsung didn't make many changes here.

Both phones have the ability to dynamically alter the refresh based on content playing on the screen, and you get the same set of customization options within One UI 4. Considering just how good the Z Flip 3 was in this regard, it makes sense for Samsung to not change things with the Z Flip 4.

But what is different this time is the foldable glass layer. Samsung made a lot of changes to the material in the intervening 12 months, and the result is that the glass layer is 45% stronger than what we've seen on the Z Flip 3. That's a huge deal as it makes the Z Flip 4 that much more resilient to tumbles.

On the whole, you're getting a sublime 120Hz AMOLED panel on both phones here, with the Z Flip 4 notching up a win thanks to its stronger glass layer.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 vs. Z Flip 3: Hardware and cameras

The flexible display on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

There isn't anything missing on the hardware side of things here. The Z Flip 3 features the Snapdragon 888, with the Z Flip 4 among the first Samsung phone to pick up the latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. 

The Z Flip 4 delivers in all the areas you care about: it is much more powerful, has better battery life, and faster charging.

Having used a few devices powered by the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 in recent months, I can confidently say that it is one of the best mobile SoCs you'll find today. It delivers effortless performance in demanding situations, but what's interesting is its energy efficiency — it manages to deliver the same level of performance as the Snapdragon 888 while consuming 40% less power.

This is particularly noteworthy here due to the fact that the Z Flip 4 has a smaller battery than regular flagships. Samsung increased the battery this year to 3700mAh, and the inherent gains that Qualcomm is offering combined with the larger battery means the Z Flip 4 has a considerable advantage over the Z Flip 3.

The 3300mAh battery on the Z Flip 3 doesn't quite manage to last all day, and when you do need to plug it in, there's just 15W wired charging and 10W wireless charging — not up to the mark for a flagship. Thankfully, the Z Flip 4 addresses this issue, with the phone offering 25W wired charging. While the wireless charging is still at 10W, Samsung says the foldable will take just 30 minutes to hit a 50% charge thanks to the switch to 25W wired charging. 

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CategoryGalaxy Z Flip 4Galaxy Z Flip 3
Display6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x, LTPO (1-120Hz), 2640x10806.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x, LTPO (20-120Hz), 2640x1080
Cover display1.9-inch Super AMOLED, 260x5121.9-inch Super AMOLED, 260x512
ChipsetSnapdragon 8+ Gen 1Snapdragon 888
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Rear Camera 112MP, ƒ/1.8, 1.8μm, 83-degree FOV (main camera)12MP, ƒ/1.8, 1.4μm, 83-degree FOV (main camera)
Rear Camera 212MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.12μm, 123-degree FOV (ultra-wide)12MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.12μm, 123-degree FOV (ultra-wide)
Inside Camera10MP, ƒ/2.4, 1.22μm, 80-degree FOV10MP, ƒ/2.4, 1.22μm, 80-degree FOV
Battery3,700mAh (dual 1,850mAh batteries), 25W fast charging, 10W wireless charging, 4.5W reverse wireless charging3,300mAh, 15W fast charging, 10W wireless charging, 4.5W reverse wireless charging
Weight187 grams183 grams
Dimensions (folded)84.9 x 71.9 x 17.1mm86.4 x 72.2 x 17.1mm
Dimensions (unfolded)165.2 x 71.9 x 6.9mm 166 x 72.2 x 6.9 mm

And as for storage, both phones come in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB variants, with all three models offering 8GB of RAM as standard. And as an added bonus, both devices get IPX8 water resistance.

One of the main issues with the Z Flip 3 last year was that it had strictly average cameras. It wasn't that the foldable took bad photos, but that it wasn't able to measure up to its Galaxy S21 siblings in this area. Samsung is fixing that with the Z Flip 4, outfitting the phone with a 12MP f/1.8 camera with larger 1.8um pixels that should take better photos in any given situation.

I haven't gotten a chance to test the cameras on the Z Flip 4 just yet, but the larger sensor combined with the might of the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 should make for a good combination. There's a new Flex Cam mode that sounds intriguing; it lets you take photos and videos using the rear cameras while using the inner screen as a viewfinder. Another new feature lets you take portrait shots when the device is folded. 

As for auxiliary lenses, the Z Flip 4 has a 12MP wide-angle lens with 123-degree field of view, identical to its predecessor. There's no zoom lens this time as well, and that's understandable given the size constraints here. But other than that, the Z Flip 4 has a lot of the right hardware to deliver standout shots. I'll update this post with photos once I use the Z Flip 4 for any meaningful amount of time, so stay tuned.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 vs. Z Flip 3: Software

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

Samsung has overhauled One UI in recent years, delivering an interface that feels modern and heavily customizable. The Z Flip 3 launched with Android 11 out of the box, but got the One UI 4.1 build based on Android 12 at the end of last year. The Z Flip 4 has One UI 4.1 out of the box, and both devices have feature parity on the software front. 

One UI 4.1 should be immediately familiar if you're already using a Samsung phone, and there are a lot of useful features within the interface that make it stand out. For one thing, Samsung is the only brand to still use its own phone dialer, with other manufacturers switching to Google's default dialer with Android 11. 

Samsung also includes a ton of Microsoft utilities out of the box, but if you're not a fan of these, you can easily uninstall or disable them. There is some bloatware on the device — not as much as what you get on Galaxy A series phones — but still more than what I'd like to see on a flagship. 

Other than that, Samsung nailed the brief when it comes to updates; both the Z Flip 4 and Z Flip 3 will get four guaranteed Android OS updates, more than any other Android phone. With the Flip 4 launching with Android 12, that means it will pick up the Android 16 build once it rolls out in four years. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 vs. Z Flip 3: Which should you buy?

With the Z Flip 4, Samsung has shown that it can deliver a foldable that holds up against its traditional flagships in all areas. This wasn't the case last year as the Galaxy Z series missed out on the camera front, and it's good to see Samsung fixing that shortcoming. The Z Flip 4 has a standout camera and a great wide-angle lens, and it benefits from a larger battery, faster wired and wireless charging, and a more durable hinge.

The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is the obvious choice if you want a sleek foldable in 2022 — it has enticing upgrades in most areas, and is a great all-round option.

Best of all, the foldable glass layer has been strengthened by a significant amount this year, and that should make the Z Flip 4 just as resilient as the Galaxy S22 when it comes to daily wear and tear. In short, the Z Flip 4 is basically a Galaxy S22+ that can be folded in half. 

If you need a phone that stands out, nothing else comes close. It doesn't only hold its own against other foldables, but also measures favorably against the best Android phones

And as for the Z Flip 3, it is still a good enough alternative, but it is lacking on the battery side of things, and the phone takes a long time to charge. 

Given that Samsung is heavily incentivizing the Flip 4, you're better off picking up the latest foldable — unless you're getting an unmissable deal on the Flip 3.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is Android Central's Senior Editor of Asia. In his current role, he oversees the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, networking products, and AV gear. He has been testing phones for over a decade, and has extensive experience in mobile hardware and the global semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.