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

Samsung Galaxy Fold
Samsung Galaxy Fold (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

Galaxy Z Flip

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

While the Z Flip might not be as eye-catching as the Galaxy Fold, it brings Samsung's folding technology to a much more accessible form factor. It's a regular Android phone that can transform into an ultra-portable square, allowing it to fit in tight pockets and purses other phones usually don't. The price is also lower by hundreds of dollars, and the Ultra Thin Glass is a big improvement.

Galaxy Z Flip

Mainstream foldable

Reasons to buy

Smaller form factor
Ultra Thin Glass feels much nicer
Looks like a normal phone when opened
Costs hundreds of dollars less

Reasons to avoid

Limited cover display
Folding screen is still easy to damage

Galaxy Fold

Samsung Galaxy Fold

The Galaxy Fold is the first folding phone Samsung's ever released, and it's arguably the more interesting compared to the Z Flip. When it's closed, the Fold works like any other Android phone. Open it up, however, and you're treated to what's basically a small tablet. This makes the Fold outstanding for multitasking and working on-the-go, but its hefty price and completely plastic screen make it a harder recommendation for most people.

Galaxy Fold

Tons of functionality

Reasons to buy

Puts a miniature tablet in your pocket
Easily run multiple apps at once
Total of six cameras
Cover display is actually useful

Reasons to avoid

Incredibly expensive
Screen is entirely plastic

Although they're both folding phones from Samsung, the Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Fold set out to achieve two very different things. With the Z Flip, Samsung created a premium foldable that's geared more towards mainstream consumers. Its flip phone form factor answers a real problem some people have with the growing size of smartphones, the glass display feels nicer to touch, and it's available online and in-stores in unlocked, AT&T, and Sprint variants.

The Galaxy Fold is harder to get your hands on and costs substantially more money, but there's no denying how exciting its 2-in-1 design is. You can use the Fold as both an Android phone and tablet, and while this does make it quite bulky and heavy, there's a lot of added functionality here you won't find on the Z Flip.

It's not as exciting, but the Galaxy Z Flip is the more logical purchase

Galaxy Z Flip

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Released in February 2020, the Galaxy Z Flip is the second and latest folding phone from Samsung. It's the first from the company to use a flip phone-like design, and we'd argue that it's the better choice for most people.

There are a few reasons for this, and the first has to do with that form factor. As cool as the Galaxy Fold's 2-in-1 design is, the Z Flip is a bit more practical. It looks like any other Android phone when it's opened up, with the appeal of its folding nature being that you can close it shut and turn it into half the size. In real-world use, this means you can fit the Z Flip in pockets, bags, and purses that would otherwise be too small to accommodate a traditional, non-folding phone. That may not be something that impacts you directly, but for people that have grown tired of phones being too large and cumbersome, the Galaxy Z Flip is a much-needed antidote.

When you're using the Z Flip, you'll also notice that its folding display feels much nicer. That's because it's using Samsung's new "Ultra Thin Glass," which is more premium to the touch compared to the Fold's plastic display. There is a thin plastic covering over that glass, however, meaning it's still much easier to scratch than if you were using a normal glass screen on any other phone. Even so, it's a welcome change and one we're happy to see.

As for the rest of the Z Flip, all of the building blocks are there for a solid day-to-day experience. It's powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ processor and 8GB of RAM, there's 256GB for all of your local files, and two rear cameras (wide and ultra-wide) for capturing your adventures. The battery is on the small side at 3,300 mAh, but it should still be enough to get you though about a day of normal use.

Lastly, the Z Flip has another advantage over the Fold when it comes to price and availability. $1,380 is a lot of money to spend on a phone, but compared to the Fold's $1,980 sticker price, it's substantially cheaper. Samsung's also making the Z Flip easier to buy, with it being sold online and in-store at Best Buy, AT&T, Sprint, and on Samsung's official website.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Galaxy Z FlipGalaxy Fold
Operating SystemAndroid 10One UI 2.0Android 10One UI 2.0
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 855+Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Main Display6.7-inchDynamic AMOLED2636 x 1080425ppi21.9:9 aspect ratio7.3-inchDynamic AMOLED2152 x 1536362ppi4.2:3 aspect ratio
Cover Display1.06-inchSuper AMOLED300 x 116303ppi4.6-inchSuper AMOLED720 x 1680399ppi21:9 aspect ratio
Memory8GB RAM12GB
Rear Camera 112MP widef/1.8 aperture1.4um12MP widef/1.5 and f/2.4 aperture1.4um
Rear Camera 212MP ultra-widef/2.4 aperture1.12um16MP ultra-widef/2.2 aperture1.0um
Rear Camera 312MP telephotof/2.4 aperture1.0um
Front Camera 110MP selfief/2.4 aperture1.22um10MP selfief/2.2 aperture1.22um
Front Camera 28MP RGB depth sensorf/1.9 aperture1.12um
Cover Camera10MP selfief/2.2 aperture1.22um
Battery3,300 mAh4,380 mAh
ChargingQuick Charge 2.0Qi wireless chargingWireless PowerShareQuick Charge 2.0Qi wireless chargingWireless PowerShare

The Galaxy Fold offers an experience unlike anything else — assuming you can afford it

Moving over to the Galaxy Fold, we're met with a vastly different device. Not only does it fold in a different direction, but the Fold is two devices in one package.

On the front, you get an Android phone. Open the Galaxy Fold, and you're met with a huge 7.3-inch canvas. Because of the size and 4:3 aspect ratio, the Fold is a miniature tablet. You can run multiple apps side-by-side without everything feel too cramped, making this a wonderful machine for working on-the-go or live-tweeting the latest episode of The Bachelor while you watch it on the Fold.

This design makes the Galaxy Fold rather large and heavy, but if you can get over the added heft, the Fold gives you an experience unlike anything else the market has to offer. The 100% plastic screen isn't nearly as nice to touch, but it's not something we'd consider to be a deal-breaker.

Specs-wise, the Fold holds up nicely against the Z Flip. The Snapdragon 855 isn't quite as powerful as the 855+ variant in the Z Flip, but the Fold offers more RAM and storage at 12GB and 512GB, respectively. You also have an insane amount of cameras, including three on the back of the phone, two on the inside above the tablet display, and one selfie camera by the phone display.

There's no denying that the Galaxy Fold is a technological marvel, but it's something we'd recommend most people gawk at from a distance as opposed to buying one for themselves. We already mentioned the price above, but we'll go ahead and mention it one more time. The Galaxy Fold costs just shy of $2,000, and that alone is a big enough barrier for most people. Furthermore, if you do want to pick up the Fold, you'll need to head to your local AT&T or Best Buy location that's selling it.

Two very different foldables

Looking at the Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Fold side-by-side, it's clear that Samsung designed these devices for two very different groups of people.

With the Galaxy Z Flip, you have a folding phone that's easier to digest by "normal" consumers. It offers a solution to a problem that a lot of people have, evokes some level of nostalgia from those that remember flip phones, and it actually costs less than the flagship Galaxy S20 Ultra — a phone that looks awfully boring next to the Z Flip. Samsung's Ultra Thin Glass isn't exactly what the company cracked it up to be and we would have liked a larger battery, but for a second-gen folding phone, it's impressive just how complete the Galaxy Z Flip feels.

The Galaxy Fold, on the other hand, is for people that aren't concerned with cost and want a phone that completely changes the game. The Z Flip fundamentally works like every other Android phone, but the Galaxy Fold is very much so a phone and tablet in a single package. You'll pay a pretty penny for the privilege of living on the bleeding edge, but if you want to, that's exactly what the Galaxy Fold delivers.

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.