It’s becoming clear that foldable smartphones are Samsung’s answer to the larger “phablets” of days gone by. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra was arguably superseded by Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra, and when the Galaxy S22 Ultra arrived earlier this year looking even more like a Galaxy Note, the message was clear.
However, it’s the Galaxy Z Fold 4 that’s filling the void for folks looking for an even more expansive screen on their smartphone. Thanks to foldable technology, it’s finally possible to carry a tablet-sized device in your pocket, meaning it could be the go-to phone for those looking to maximize what they can do with their phone.
Regardless of apparent similarities, the Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy Z Fold 4 fill two very different spots at the top-end of Samsung’s smartphone lineup, and while the design of the Galaxy S22 Ultra may seem rather pedestrian compared to the Z Fold 4, it still has a lot going for it. Read on as we look at Samsung’s two flagship smartphones in a head-to-head comparison.
|Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4||Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra|
|Size||Unfolded: 155.1 x 130.1 x 6.3mm (6.11 x 5.12 x 0.25 inches)
Folded: 155.1 x 67.1 x 15.8mm (6.11 x 2.64 x 0.62 inches)
|163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9mm (6.43 x 3.07 x 0.35 inches)|
|Weight||263 grams (9.28 ounces)||229 grams (8.04 ounces)|
|Screen size||Main: 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X
Cover screen: 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X
|6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X|
|Screen resolution||Main: 2176 x 1812 pixels (372 pixels per inch)
Cover screen: 2268 x 832 pixels (387 ppi)
|3088 x 1440 pixels (500-ppi density)|
|Operating system||Android 12L with One UI 4.1||Android 12 with One UI 4.1|
|Storage||256GB, 512GB, 1TB||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB|
|MicroSD card slot||No||No|
|Tap-to-pay services||Google Pay, Samsung Pay||Google Pay, Samsung Pay|
|Processor||Qualcomm 8 Plus Gen 1||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 / Exynos 2200 (depending on the market)|
|Camera||Rear main: 50-megapixel (MP) primary, 12MP ultrawide, and 10MP telephoto
Front main screen: 4MP under-display
Cover screen: 10MP
|Rear: 108-megapixel (MP) primary, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP periscope, 10MP telephoto
|Video||8K at 24 frames per second
4K UHD at 30/60 fps
1080p FHD at 30/60 fps
720p HD at 30 fps
Super Slow-mo 720p at 960 fps
Slow motion 1080p at 240 fps
|8K at 24 frames per second
4K UHD at 60 fps
1080p FHD at 60 fps
720p HD at 30 fps
Super Slow-mo 720p at 960 fps
Slow motion 1080p at 240 fps
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 5.2 with Dual Audio and Samsung Seamless Codec (SSC)||Bluetooth 5.2 with Dual Audio and Scalable Codec|
|Fingerprint sensor||Yes (side-mounted)||Yes (in-display ultrasonic)|
25W wired charging
10W wireless charging
4.5W reverse wireless charging
45W wired charging (no charger
included in the box)
15W wireless charging
Reverse wireless charging
|App marketplace||Google Play Store||Google Play Store|
|Network support||All major carriers||All major carriers|
|Colors||Graygreen, Phantom Black, beige, burgundy (Samsung Exclusive)||Phantom Black, Phantom White,
|Price||Starting at $1,800||Starting at $1,199|
|Available from||Samsung||Samsung, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart|
|Review||4.5 out of 5 stars||4.5 out of 5 stars|
Design and display
There’s little doubt the Galaxy Z Fold 4 feels cool and innovative, but there’s also something to be said for the tried-and-true classic design of the Galaxy S22 Ultra. After all, smartphone makers have been using variations on the standard rectangular all-glass design for over a decade, so clearly, it’s a style that works.
It’s also worth noting that foldable screens come with a tradeoff in thickness. The Z Fold 4 may be sophisticated, but it’s anything but svelte. The Z Fold 4 is nearly twice thick as the Galaxy S22 Ultra, so this isn’t a smartphone you’ll be able to slip into a shirt pocket or a pair of slim-fit jeans. When unfolded, it’s slightly thinner than the S22 Ultra, but you’re not going to carry it around that way.
There’s also a tradeoff in screen sizes. Sure, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 gives you an expansive 7.6-inch main display when it’s unfolded, but the cover screen is a smaller 6.2 inches. Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra has a single 6.8-inch display. The 3088-by-1440-pixel display on the Galaxy S22 Ultra also offers a higher pixel density, with 500 ppi versus 387 ppi on the Z Fold 4 cover screen or 372 ppi on the 2176-by-1812-pixel main screen.
Let’s also not forget that the Galaxy Z Fold 4 has more moving parts to contend with. While we’re thankfully past the design flaws of the original Galaxy Fold, there’s still a hinge that can break, a problem that some Z Fold 4 users have already run into.
It’s hard to declare a clear winner here, as each design has its pros and cons. Which you prefer will come down mostly to how you plan to use your device. However, for most folks, the Samsung S22 Ultra is the better choice; the Z Fold 4 is worth considering if you’re specifically looking for a larger-screened foldable smartphone — and willing to live with the compromises that are still inherent in that design.
Performance and battery
Samsung doesn’t skimp when it comes to putting the latest and greatest processors in its flagship smartphones, so it’s no surprise the Galaxy Z Fold 4 has a leg up in performance on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, thanks to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor. The Galaxy S22 Ultra uses the earlier Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, at least on the North American models; those in other markets get a version with the Exynos 2200 instead.
Although you probably won’t notice much of a performance increase in normal daily use, the newer Qualcomm chip is designed to provide a nice boost in graphics performance for demanding games, along with a new image signal processor (ISP) that should translate to some nice photography improvements.
However, it’s also clear the more powerful Snapdragon chip is key to powering the more robust multitasking features of the unfolded Galaxy Z Fold 4. As we noted in our review, the newer smartphone doesn’t skip a beat even when multitasking across four demanding apps — even a multiperson Teams call.
This point probably speaks the most about the differences between the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Galaxy Z Fold 4. Owners of Samsung’s more traditional smartphone aren’t likely to be putting the same demands on their device, as it simply doesn’t offer the screen real estate or multitasking capabilities to make this kind of thing practical.
Unfortunately, despite the greater power efficiency of the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 struggles to live up to its potential for power users. The 4,400mAh cell will have a hard time getting you through a full day if you’re heavily using it for things like video calls and gaming. By contrast, the larger 5,000mAh battery in the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra can easily get you through a day of heavy use or even two full days of moderate use.
Samsung has given the Galaxy Z Fold 4 one nice camera upgrade over the rather anemic shooters found on its predecessor: the primary rear camera increases to a 50-megapixel (MP) sensor.
That’s a nice boost from last year’s 12MP version, but the other cameras remain essentially unchanged. The telephoto lens drops to 10MP, although Samsung has increased the zoom range to 3X, while the ultrawide remains at 12MP. Likewise, the cover screen and under-display camera on the main screen come in at the same 10MP and 4MP resolutions, respectively.
Nevertheless, the Galaxy S22 Ultra cameras still leave the Z Fold 4 in the dust, with a 108MP primary shooter and a 40MP front camera. These are joined on the rear by a 12MP ultrawide camera and not one but two 10MP telephoto cameras, one of which uses a periscope lens to achieve a 10x optical zoom.
That’s not to say the cameras on the Z Fold 4 aren’t extremely capable — they’re very good — but it’s clear Samsung is reserving its best cameras for the flagship Galaxy S22 Ultra. For most mobile photographers, the Z Fold 4 will more than satisfy, but there’s no doubt the S22 Ultra pulls out all the stops.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Software and updates
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra launched with Android 12 and Samsung’s OneUI 4.1, while the Galaxy Z Fold 4 arrives with the more big-screen-friendly Android 12L and the latest OneUI 4.1.1 release, which has also come to the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Since both smartphones were released in 2022, it’s fair to say that they’ll remain in lockstep when it comes to software updates. Samsung has promised four years of major Android and OneUI updates and five years of security patches for its current crop of smartphones. While the Galaxy Z Fold 4 has a few extra bells and whistles optimized for its foldable design and advanced multitasking capabilities, it offers the same core Android experience as the Galaxy S22 Ultra and will likely continue to do so in Android 13 and beyond.
Although the Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy Z Fold 4 both support Samsung’s S Pen, the S22 Ultra gets a slight edge in that it offers a built-in slot to hold the pen when you’re not using it. With the Galaxy Z Fold 4, you’re going to have to spring for a case if you want a convenient way to keep your stylus close at hand.
Of course, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 pulls ahead for offering two screens, including the spacious 7.6-inch AMOLED display — and it does an impressive job of putting that space to good use. Some slick multitasking features set the Z Fold 4 apart from any other Samsung smartphone, including a new Taskbar that offers a quick way to switch apps and keep an eye on notifications from those you regularly use.
The folding screen has a few other tricks up its sleeve, too. Turn it sideways and fold it at an angle, and it effectively becomes its own stand for watching videos, with plenty of room on the opposing screen for playback controls and other information. Or jump into a Microsoft Teams call on the top half of the screen while surfing the web or reviewing a document on the bottom half.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Price and availability
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is available from Samsung and other major retailers, with prices starting at $1,800 for the base model. Standard color options include Graphite, white, and Bora Purple.
By comparison, you can get your hands on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra for as little as $1,200. As the flagship among Samsung’s traditional smartphones, you’re also much more likely to find it available from your carrier or other major retailers.
Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
While the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is easily the most powerful and futuristic smartphone on the market today, it still feels very much like a niche device for power users — with a price tag to match. The Z Fold 4 continues to broaden Samsung’s smartphone lineup in some interesting new ways, but it doesn’t push the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra aside.
If you’re a fan of folding smartphones or want the largest screen possible with multitasking features for serious work, then the Z Fold 4 is the smartphone you’ve been waiting for. There’s no doubt it’s a fantastic device that demonstrates that foldable smartphones are ready for prime time, but it’s still for those with specific tastes or requirements.
We think most smartphone users will be better served by the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with its more traditional design, thinner profile, lighter weight, and better camera system. The Galaxy S22 Ultra also offers longer battery life and faster charging, a larger and crisper display than the cover screen on the folded Z Fold 4, and a place to keep your S Pen.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 6: the 6 things that would make it amazing
- You aren’t ready for this Galaxy S23 vs. iPhone 14 Pro camera test
- The Google Pixel Fold may not be as expensive as you thought
- Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 true wireless earbuds are $40 off
- I love the Galaxy S23 — here are 5 things the iPhone still does better