Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy S21 Ultra displays and S Pen support
Ersatz Galaxy Note replacements
Speaking of dimensions, the size of the Z Fold 3 when unfurled is, as expected, much larger even than the gargantuan S21 Ultra. When you close the Fold 3, however, its tall and narrow 6.2″ external display makes it actually smaller and easier for one-handed operation with your thumb only. If you discard the abominable thickness and weight, that is, and those really feel uncomfortable in the palm.
On the plus side, the 7.6″ 120Hz display of the Z Fold 3 is more of a joy to look at than the 6.8″ panel of the S21 Ultra, with less pronounced crease in the middle, new cover material and layers that make it much more durable.
The sheer size of it when unfurled is emphasized even more by the fact that there is no ugly front camera punch hole or notch of any kind, as the selfie snapper is hidden under the display. Now with an S Pen support, the display of the Z Fold 3 really dethrones the S21 Ultra screen from the perch of the best Samsung phone panel so far.
Sketch, doodle, and annotate with ease, there will always be a canvas space to do it with inertia instead of scooching your handwriting towards the end of a panel that is just 0.35 inches across. No comparison with the 5 inches of main display width that the Z Fold 3 has to offer here.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy S21 Ultra specs and performance
The mighty Snapdragon 888 that is powering both the Z Fold 3 and Galaxy S21 Ultra leaves no stone unturned when it comes to performance with eight cores some of which can peak at 2GHz+ clock speeds when needed.
As you can see, the performance scores are rather comparable which is important as the S Pen support would warrant much greater multitasking abilities that the phones can support with aplomb.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy S21 Ultra camera
Samsung’s first hidden camera is cool, but not enough to nudge you away from the Ultra’s top-shelf kit
If there is one area where the “rigid” Galaxy S21 Ultra definitely outshines its flexible Z Fold 3 brethren, it’s the record-setting camera kit. The 108MP main camera that is able to capture amazing amounts of detail, the 40MP selfie shooter, and the 10x periscope zoom camera can’t be matched by the Z Fold 3’s puny triple 12MP set.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 had a camera kit that’s nothing to write home about, and given that the Z Fold 3 inherits it almost literally, there is no contest with the camera prowess of the S21 Ultra. Still, the photos from the Fold 3 are not half bad, as you can see in our camera samples below.
Samsung has a trick up its sleeve when it comes to the selfie camera, though, as the Fold features its first under-panel (UPC) camera unit. Tucked beneath the display layers, it is the reason for the amazing screen-to-body ratio of the phone when unfurled – no ugly notches, punch holes, or pop-ups.
On top of that, Samsung was smart to go with a 4MP unit with gigantic 2 micron pixels to compensate for any light restriction that results from the layers above the sensor. Still, the “uncovered” 40MP unit on the S21 Ultra is likely to produce better selfies, yet the UPC shooter on the Fold is on the main display, so you are more likely to use it for video chats, and fire up the 10MP snapper of the main display for selfies, so it all evens out.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy S21 Ultra battery life and charging speeds
The Ultra wins, fatality!
Another area where the Galaxy S21 Ultra outshines the Z Fold 3, after its camera prowess, is the battery department. Not only does it offer a huge 5000mAh battery pack, compared to the two Fold batteries with cumulative 4380mAh capacity, but it also has to power a much smaller, tall 6.8″ display, against the nearly square 7.6″ panel of the Z Fold 3.
On top of that, it is charged very quickly, for an hour and change, even though it has “just” a 25W charger. The same brick comes with the Z Fold 3, though, so it’d charge slightly faster considering the smaller battery.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy S21 Ultra price, or which one to buy
Pricey and worth it
- $1799 (256GB) vs $1379 (512GB)
At first brush, the wins that the S21 Ultra notched in the camera and battery sections should warrant an overall comparison trophy given the price difference. After all, while the base Z Fold 3 comes a Benjamin or so cheaper than the Z Fold 2 at launch, it is still far from the top S21 Ultra version with 512GB storage.
Open the giant 7.6″ display which can fit two Ultra panels and still have place to doodle with the S Pen on the margins, and all pricing considerations may go out of the window, moreso when Samsung gives you those sweet Z Fold 3 preorder and trade-in bonuses to offset the price difference: