Foldable phones are improving at an incredible rate. The original Galaxy Fold was riddled with enough display issues that Samsung had to recall review units and delay the official launch. Now, just a year later, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 feels as reliable and well-designed as any other phone in the company's lineup, thanks in large part to the hardware developments Samsung was able to make with the Galaxy Z Flip and Z Flip 5G. But the Fold and Flip demonstrate very different ideas for foldable tech, so which of Samsung's options is the best foldable phone for you?
A tablet-like screen or a pocket-friendly clamshell
The good news is that the specs are pretty similar on both devices, which means you won't need to worry about which one has the faster processor or more storage. Both feature the latest Snapdragon 865+, along with 256GB of internal storage. The Z Fold 2 does have a 4GB leg up on the Z Flip 5G in terms of RAM, though, with 12GB and 8GB, respectively.
You'll also find similarly great hardware on both models. The Z Fold 2's improved hinge mechanism is based around Samsung's advancements with the original Z Flip, while the Z Flip 5G borrows the Fold's stunning frosted satin glass backing. Both phones look and feel extremely premium, and offer nice features like wireless charging and Wireless PowerShare. Unfortunately, neither device benefits from any kind of water resistance — the reality of foldables in their current state is that there are just too many moving parts.
What's far more important than comparing specs here is examining which form factor best meets your needs. The Z Fold 2 allows you to jump between a tall, narrow smartphone and a small tablet of sorts, which has plenty of value for multitasking and running extremely large apps. Along with productivity, the latter use has plenty of benefits for things like gaming, where you have plenty of screen space to dedicate to on-screen controls without obscuring the game itself.
On the other hand, the Z Flip feels more like a typical phone, around the same size as the Galaxy S20+, with the ability to fold down to half its vertical size to fit into shallower pockets and bags. Portability is far more of a priority with the Flip than productivity or gaming. At the same time, the Flip doesn't detract from those features over a more typical phone; you certainly don't gain much in those regards.
Of course, one of the Z Flip's biggest benefits is its much lower price. Retailing for around $1300, it's a whopping $700 cheaper than the Z Fold 2 — that's enough to buy a second high-end phone! It isn't without its trade-offs, though; form factors aside, the Z Flip 5G lacks the Fold's 120Hz refresh rate and has a much smaller 3300mAh battery, though endurance on both phones is impressive.
Buy the Fold for productivity or the Flip for convenience and cost savings.
One of the biggest areas where the phones differ is in the cameras, though. The Z Fold 2 has three 12MP cameras on its rear panel, with imaging comparable to that of the Galaxy Note 20. The Z Flip 5G's cameras are the same sensors found on the original Flip, which aren't bad by any means, but certainly aren't quite as impressive either, and the Flip lacks a telephoto lens of any kind.
Both phones allow you to use the cover displays in conjunction with the rear cameras to take high-quality selfies. Still, the Z Fold 2's 6.2-inch cover screen gives it a wild advantage over the tiny 1.1-inch strip on the front of the Flip, which is meant more for scrolling notifications than taking photos.
Ultimately, both of these phones are fantastic, fun, and unique devices, but they're clearly meant for different types of users. Most people shouldn't spend $2,000 on any phone, but the Z Fold 2 is genuinely compelling for power users with a strong need for running multiple apps at once. The Z Flip 5G feels more like a lifestyle device, with portability being its clear priority, but it also touts flagship-tier specs that make it a surprisingly reasonable value.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
A phone so futuristic it feels out of place in our current timeline
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is Samsung's most refined foldable yet. The cover screen is extremely useful for everyday tasks, while the 120Hz inner display is fantastic for larger apps and multitasking.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G
Today's technology miniaturized for convenience and portability
The Galaxy Z Flip 5G looks and feels like a regular phone, but can be folded down to take up half the space in your pocket. It's great for those with small pockets but doesn't add much other functionality.
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