We are reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Z Fold 2 (2021): Are The Upgrades Worth It?

The Galaxy Z Fold 2 came as a shock to everyone when it was first launched because it’s not everyday that you see a smartphone that can fold right down the middle. While its novelty deserved praise, it unfortunately came with some durability issues. The good news is that Samsung has just launched the new Galaxy Z Fold 3 which is supposedly the answer to these problems. If you want to know what improvements you can expect with the Z Fold 3, here’s an in-depth comparison of the old and new models, covering their design, display, hardware, and features.

Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Z Fold 2 Comparison Chart

ModelGalaxy Z Fold 3Galaxy Z Fold 2
 SAMSUNG Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G Factory Unlocked Android Cell Phone US Version Smartphone Tablet 2-in-1...Samsung Electronics Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G | Factory Unlocked Android Cell Phone | 256GB Storage | US...
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Water-ResistanceIPX8 ratingNone
Screen SizeOuter display – 6.2 inches
Inner display – 7.6 inches
Outer display – 6.2 inches
Inner display – 7.6 inches
Refresh Rate120Hz60Hz
CamerasMain camera – 12MP
Ultra-wide camera – 12MP
Telephoto camera – 12MP
Selfie camera – 4MP
Main camera – 12MP
Ultra-wide camera – 12MP
Telephoto camera – 12MP
Selfie camera – 10MP
RAM12GB12GB
Storage256GB or 512GB256GB only
ProcessorSnapdragon 888Snapdragon 865+
Battery Capacity4,400mAh4,500mAh
User InterfaceSamsung OneSamsung One
Operating SystemAndroid 11Android 10

Design and Display

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is more durable than the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and also has improved inner and outer displays.

Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Z Fold 2 design
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 (left) has a higher refresh rate than the Galaxy Z Fold 2 (right).

While the new and old models look very similar at first glance, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 actually comes with a lot of unseen improvements. For starters, it boasts of an IPX8 rating, something that’s missing on the Galaxy Z Fold 2. This means that the Z Fold 3 can survive being submerged in up to 3 meters of water. The Z Fold 3’s exterior is also much tougher as it’s made with an Armor Aluminum body. Its screens have better protection as well, the main screen equipped with a PET layer and the cover display with Gorilla Glass Victus. But even if the Z Fold 3 is a lot more durable than its predecessor, it manages to be slimmer and sleeker.

As for displays, they’re the same dimensions on both models, the outer display measuring in at 6.2 inches and the inner display at 7.6 inches. However, the Z Fold 3’s outer display has an improved pixel count of 2268 x 832 versus the Z Fold 2’s 2260 x 816 pixels. Also, its refresh rate is much more impressive at 120Hz while the Z Fold 2’s is stuck at the basic 60Hz. When it comes to their inner displays, the Z Fold 3’s manages to be brighter thanks to its Eco display technology.

Hardware and Specs

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 has a more advanced processor than the Galaxy Z Fold 2 but has a downgraded selfie cam and battery capacity.

Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Z Fold 2 hardware
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 (left) runs on the SD888 while the Galaxy Z Fold 2 (right) has the SD865+.

In terms of camera hardware, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy Z Fold 2 are almost identical. They both have a 12MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide camera, and a 12MP telephoto camera, all of which are found at the back. As for their front cameras, they both have a 10MP image resolution. Things start to get interesting though once you open them up and check out their inner cameras. On the Z Fold 2, you’ll find a camera punch-hole while on the Z Fold 3, you’ll see an under-display camera. What’s odd is that the new Z Fold 3’s selfie camera has a lower resolution of 4MP versus the Z Fold 2’s which is at 10MP.

As for specs, both models run on 12GB of RAM although you have the option to get the Z Fold 3 with 512GB of storage while the Z Fold 2 is stuck at 256GB. Another advantage that the Z Fold 3 has over its predecessor is its more advanced processor. It runs on the Snapdragon 888 which is around 15% better than the Z Fold 2’s Snapdragon 865+. It’s quite weird, however, that Samsung decided to downgrade the Z Fold 3’s battery capacity to 4,400mAh considering that the Z Fold 2’s is at 4,500mAh. But this step back aside, both the Z Fold 2 and 3 have fast charging, wireless charging, and reverse wireless charging.

Software and Features

You get to enjoy more features with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 than the Galaxy Z Fold 2.

Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Z Fold 2 features
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 runs on the Android 11 which is optimized for the folding format.

While both Z Fold models have the Samsung One UI, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 comes with the Android 10 while the Galaxy Z Fold 3 already has the Android 11 installed. This version is a much better match for the folding format, providing special versions of apps so that they have added functionality and are able to fill up the entire screen.

Another cool thing that you can enjoy with the Z Fold 3 is the static Taskbar which you can access via the settings. When you have this feature turned on, all of your most-used apps will be docked for you. These differences aside, both models have the the Flex mode which allows you to prop the phone up on its hinge and use it in landscape mode.

As for accessories, you get a totally different S Pen experience with the Z Fold 3. You’re given two different options, namely the S Pen Pro and the S Pen Fold edition, both of which have retractable tips so that you don’t scratch the delicate screen. With the S Pen Pro, you get built-in Bluetooth as well as access to Air Commands. As for the S Pen Fold edition, it’s more affordable, it’s extra lightweight, and there’s no need to charge it thanks to its built-in Bluetooth chip.

Verdict

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is worth getting for its durability, improved displays, and optimized features.

The improvements on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 may not be drastic but they’re definitely meaningful and can greatly improve user experience. For one, you don’t have to worry so much about breaking your phone anymore because of the Z Fold 3’s more durable construction. Also, you get to enjoy a better-performing processor, better screen displays, a faster refresh rate, as well as features that help you get the most out of the Z Fold experience. For these reasons, the Z Fold 3 is a worthwhile purchase.

But for those who’d rather save than splurge, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 isn’t a bad phone at all. In fact, it’s better than the new version in some aspects. Because it has a bigger battery capacity and has a lower refresh rate, you’re likely to enjoy longer battery life. Also, the selfie camera on the Z Fold 2 boasts of a higher image resolution.

If you liked this Galaxy Z Fold 3 review, you might also want to check out our Galaxy Z Flip 3 vs Z Flip 5G comparison.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ When is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 release date?

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 has been available since August 27, 2021.

๐Ÿ“Œ What is theSamsung Galaxy Z Fold 3’s price?

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 has a starting price of $1,799.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G?

Yes, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is 5G-capable.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 worth it?

The improvements on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 may not be drastic but they’re definitely meaningful and can greatly improve user experience.It’s worth getting for its durability, improved displays, and optimized features.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

RELATED  Galaxy Watch 4 vs Classic (2021): What's The Difference?
Denise Jose

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Researcher and yoga teacher passionate about article writing, photography, wellness, and mindfulness.