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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 5G

The new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is a sleek package with its cool folding design, a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, and Armor Aluminum and Corning Gorilla Glass Victus to take on whatever life throws at it. But if you’re not quite sure whether to take it on or opt for the Galaxy Z Flip 5G with its Snapdragon 865 Plus chip and sleek Mystic Bronze or Mystic Gray colorways, we’ve compared the two across six key categories to help you decide which is the one for you.

You can also check out our full Galaxy Z Flip 3 review to find out more about Samsung’s latest foldable phone.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G
Size Unfolded: 166 x 72.2 x 6.9mm (6.5 x 2.8. x 0.27 inches)

Folded: 86.4 x 72.2 x 17.1mm (3.4 x 2.8 x 0.67 inches)

Unfolded: 167.3 x 73.6 x 7.2mm (6.6 x 2.9 x 0.28 inches)

Folded: 87.4 x 73.6 x 17.3mm (3.4 x 2.9 x 0.61-0.68 inches)

Weight 183 grams (6.5 ounces) 183 grams (6.5 ounces)
Screen size Main: 6.7-inch Super AMOLED

Cover screen: 1.9-inch Super AMOLED

Main: 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED

Cover screen: 1.1-inch Super AMOLED

Screen resolution Main: 2640 x  1080 pixels (425 ppi), 120Hz adaptive refresh rate

Cover Screen: 512 x 260 pixels (302 ppi)

Main: 2636 × 1080 pixels (425 ppi)

Cover Screen: 300 x 112 pixels (303 ppi)

 

Operating system Android 11 with One UI 3.1 Android 10 with One UI 3.0
Storage 128GB, 256GB 256GB
MicroSD card slot No No
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus
RAM 8GB 8GB
Camera Dual lens 12MP wide and ultrawide 10MP front Dual lens 12MP wide and ultrawide 10MP front
Video 4K at up to 60 fps 4K at up to 30 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.1 Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB-C USB-C
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Water resistance IPX8 None
Battery  3,300mAh

15W fast charging

10W fast wireless charging

4.5W reverse wireless charging (Wireless PowerShare)

3,300mAh

15W fast charging

9W wireless charging

Reverse wireless charging (Wireless PowerShare)

App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support All carriers T-Mobile, AT&T
Colors Cream, green, lavender, Phantom Black

Samsung exclusive colors: White, pink, and gray

Mystic Bronze, Mystic Gray
Price $1,000 $1,025
Buy from Samsung Samsung, BestBuy
Review score 4 out of 5 News

Design, display, and durability

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G and Z Flip 3 are both eye-catching foldables with a similar clamshell design and horizontal fold. The Z Flip 3 boasts a more seamless design, though, and beats the Z Flip 5G in the durability stakes with a body forged from Armor Aluminum, the strongest aluminum used in a Galaxy phone to date, and Corning Gorilla Glass Victus for drop and scratch protection. The Z Flip 3 also boasts a new protective stretchable PET film and optimized main screen panel layers — in fact, Samsung claims the screen is 80% more durable than its previous foldables. The Z Flip 3’s smooth glass back is quite slippery though, so you’ll want to invest in a protective case if this is the phone you go for.

Let’s talk about that hideaway hinge. It’s almost the same on both phones and keeps the device in place at any angle, though the hinge on the Z Flip 3 is sleeker and thinner. Speaking of the Z Flip 3’s hinge, it also features enhanced Sweeper tech, with shorter bristles that keep dust and other particles out of the hinge — and Samsung claims the improved hinge can withstand up to 200,000 folds. Its smooth motion is almost silent, and while it feels stiff at first, it loosens up with use, although opening the Z Flip 3 will always be a two-handed operation due to the hinge being designed to hold the phone open at an angle of your choosing.

But it’s the cover screen on the Z Flip 3 that takes center stage. While both phones have a 6.7-inch full HD+ main screen, the Z Flip 3 boasts a 1.9-inch cover screen with 512 x 260 resolution, making it easier to view messages and notifications without opening your phone, compared to the 1.1-inch cover screen with 300 x 112 resolution of the Z Flip 5G. On the downside, the Z Flip 3’s Cover Screen doesn’t have the option to show icons for notifications, so if you miss them coming in, you’ll need to wake the phone and swipe right. The Cover Screen on the Z Flip 3 also suffers from being unresponsive at times. You’ll need to hit the Power key to wake it, and often it takes a bit longer to react to a swipe than it should. The camera can’t be activated from the Cover Screen either.

The new Z Flip 3 is rocking that 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, too, great if you’re a multitasker or play the latest games on your phone — and Samsung Pay is built into the cover screen, so you can quickly pay for your morning coffee on the go. Both phones weigh 183 grams, but while the Z Flip 5G doesn’t have any water resistance, the Z Flip 3 is IPX8 rated, ensuring it’s safe to submerge in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.

All things considered, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 takes the prize here for that larger cover screen, more durable body, IPX8 rating, improved hideaway hinge, and a wider choice of colors.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

Performance, battery life, and charging

Flip 3 showing Digital Trends.
Ajay Kumar/Digital Trends

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is powered by the impressive Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, the same chip found in the Galaxy S21 series phones and the OnePlus 9 — and you’ll get the same processor no matter where in the world you are, as there’s no Exynos-powered model this time around. With 8GB of RAM, it should handle multitasking and all the latest apps easily — and don’t forget that 120Hz refresh rate, which is adaptive to help save battery life. Performance is excellent and this is also a great phone for gaming, but it does get fairly warm to touch, particularly around the rear camera module.

In contrast, the Galaxy Z Flip 5G is powered by the Snapdragon 865 Plus (an overclocked version of the Snapdragon 865 chip), used in phones like the ASUS ROG Phone 3 and the Galaxy Note 20 lineup. Again, you’re getting 8GB of RAM, so any difference in performance when multitasking or gaming shouldn’t be that apparent — though benchmark scores are higher for the Snapdragon 888, and reports suggest performance is three times better than the 865 Plus. The Z Flip 5G comes with 256GB of storage, while the Z Flip 3 gives you a choice of 128GB or 256GB, although neither phone has a microSD card slot to expand the storage — so the storage you go for is all you’ll ever have.

Battery life is similar across both phones, too. Both have a 3,300mAh battery and offer 15W fast charging, with the Z Flip 5G offering 9W wireless charging compared to the 10W wireless charging on offer with the Z Flip 3. If you’re picking up the Z Flip 3 you might find that battery life disappointing, particularly given the 120Hz refresh rate, as the phone struggles to make it through a full day during normal usage when using 4G/5G connectivity. When it comes to charging, both the Z Flip 5G and the Z Flip 3 boasts reverse wireless charging (Wireless PowerShare) to allow you to charge your Galaxy Buds 2 or other accessories on the back of your phone — pretty handy when you’re traveling without access to a charger.

This round is a close one. With both phones boasting the same RAM, storage, and battery, the Z Flip 3 ultimately takes the top spot here, thanks to its more powerful Snapdragon 888 processor and 120Hz refresh rate.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

Cameras

There’s not much to write home about when it comes to comparing the camera hardware on these two phones — it remains constant across both foldables. Both the Z Flip 5G and the Z Flip 3 have a dual-camera offering on the outside: A 12-megapixel main wide sensor with an f/1.8 aperture and a 12MP ultrawide sensor with an f/2.4 aperture. Both also have a 10MP selfie camera with an aperture of f/2.4.

With that said, the Z Flip 3 also supports up to 4K resolution video recording at 60fps, whereas on the Z Flip 5G it’s 30fps. Both phones cameras are good enough for everyday use but prone to overprocessing.

The Z Flip 3, however, boasts some enhancements to the camera, with Flex Mode making it easier to take hands-free selfies. With the Z Flip 3, you can even snap quick photos  — and videos — from the cover screen using enhanced Quick Shot simply by double-clicking the Power key. But you don’t even need to tap a button to take a photo, as Samsung’s gesture control system lets you show your open hand to the camera to snap the perfect shot. When you’re using the rear camera, you can also set the Cover Screen to show a preview.

Despite the identical hardware, the Z Flip 3 just pips its rival to the post here thanks to the video recording at 60fps.

Winner: Z Flip 3

Software and updates

Galaxy Z Flip 3 open.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Galaxy Z Flip 3  is bang up to date, shipping with Android 11 and Samsung’s One UI 3.1. Get your hands on the Z Flip 5G, and you’ll get Android 10 with Samsung’s One UI 3.0 out of the box, upgradeable to Android 11. If you’ve owned a Galaxy phone before, you’ll feel right at home, with Samsung generally promising three generations of OS updates and four years of security updates.

The Z Flip 3 wins here on the longevity front, especially if future-proofing your phone is a priority.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

Special features

Flip 3 and Buds 2.
Ajay Kumar/Digital Trends

Both phones have 5G, making them excellent future-proof choices, but the Z Flip 5G doesn’t work with Verizon’s mmWave-based network and only supports Sub-6 5G on AT&T and T-Mobile. The Z Flip 3, in contrast, supports both Sub-6 and mmWave standards.

You’ll also find both devices have Flex mode, which lets users customize how they view and control content — for example, you can watch a YouTube video on the top of the display while you read comments on the display’s bottom half and easily reverse which half of the display handles a particular task. But the Z Flip 3 takes things one step further with a new Flex Mode Panel feature that’s designed to make apps look better — as well as enhancing their usability. When the Z Flip 3 is partially folded, the Flex Mode Panel makes viewing more convenient — for example, it moves your Netflix or YouTube video to the top half of the screen while keeping the brightness and volume controls on the bottom half. It sounds like a little thing, but in practice, it’s a pretty helpful new feature.

Samsung has introduced a new Labs feature for the Z Flip 3, too, which allows you to optimize even more apps to the foldable screen than ever before. We love that Samsung Pay is built into the cover screen of the Z Flip 3, too, so you can quickly pay for your coffee or groceries on the go without opening up your phone.

The Z Flip 3 takes the prize here, though this was really close to call. Ultimately, though, its support for mmWave 5G and new features just bring it out ahead.

Winner: Samsung Z Flip 3

Price and availability

You can buy the Galaxy Z Flip 3 directly from Samsung right now. The phone comes with 128GB of storage for $1,000 or 256GB of storage for $1,050 and is available in cream, lavender, green, or Phantom Black — or you can opt for white, pink, or gray, all Samsung Exclusives. You can also trade in up to four devices to save up to $700 — and right now you get a free pair of Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 when you purchase the Z Flip 3 from Samsung. You also get a free year of Samsung Care+ which gives you accidental damage cover and access to cracked screen repair for $250.

The Galaxy Z Flip 5G is available unlocked in Mystic Bronze from Amazon starting at $760, and you’ll also find it at Best Buy for $900.

Overall winner

Overall, it’s a very close match, with the Z Flip 3 coming out ahead thanks to its larger cover screen, that IPX8 water resistance, support for mmWave 5G, and an improved, sleeker hinge — not to mention its more powerful Snapdragon 888 processor and 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. Since both phones have the same battery, screen size, RAM, and storage, the differences between the Z Flip 3 and the Z Flip 5G may mean choosing the one for you probably comes down to personal preference.

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