Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 vs Apple iPhone 12: Which one should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 vs Apple iPhone 12: Which one should you buy?

You have about a thousand dollars to spend on a new phone, and you’re confused between two good options — the new Galaxy Z Flip 3 and the iPhone 12. Both phones are great and have advantages and disadvantages in different areas. Should you get the latest foldable clamshell and flex in front of your friends or should you go for a more conventional, trusted phone and save a few hundred bucks in the process? We’ll help you out! Here’s the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 vs the iPhone 12 comparison to help you decide.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 and blue iPhone 12 Pro Max

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 vs iPhone 12: Specifications

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3Apple iPhone 12
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 888Apple A14 Bionic
Body
  • Folded: 72.2×86.4×17.1mm
  • Unfolded: 72.2x166x6.9mm
  • Weight: 183g
  • 146.7×71.5×7.4 mm
  • 162 grams (Global)
  • 164 grams (USA)
DisplayMain screen:

  • 6.7-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X Display
  • 120Hz adaptive refresh rate
  • 22:9

Cover screen:

  • 1.9-inch Super AMOLED Display
  • 6.1″ Super Retina XDR OLED Display
  • 2,532 x 1,170 resolution
Camera
  • 12MP Primary, f/1.8 (OIS, Dual Pixel AF)
  • 12MP Secondary f/2.2 ultra-wide
  • 10MP Front-facing, f/2.4
  • 12MP Primary, f/1.6 (OIS)
  • 12MP Secondary f/2.4 Ultra-wide
  • 12MP Front-facing, f/2.2
Memory
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB/256GB UFS 3.1 storage
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB/128GB/256GB storage
Battery
  • 3,300mAh dual battery
  • 15W fast charging
  • Qi wireless charging
  • 2,815mAh
  • 20W fast charging
  • Qi wireless charging
Network
  • LTE: Enhanced 4X4 MIMO, 7CA, LAA, LTE Cat. 20
  • 5G: Non-Standalone (NSA), Standalone (SA), Sub6 / mmWave
  • 5G: Sub 6GHz
    • mmWave for the USA
  • Ultra-Wide Band (UWB)
Water ResistanceIPX8IP68
SensorsCapacitive fingerprint sensor (side), Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyro sensor, Geomagnetic sensor, Hall sensor (analog), Proximity sensor, Light sensorFace ID, Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyro sensor, Geomagnetic sensor, Hall sensor, Proximity sensor, Light sensor
OSAndroid 11iOS 14
ColorsCream, Green, Lavender, Phantom Black, Gray, White, PinkBlack, White, Red, Blue, Green
MaterialArmor AluminumAluminum
PriceStarts at $999.99Starts at $699

Build and Design

Galaxy Z Flip 3 display

Both the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and the iPhone 12 follow very different design languages. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is a foldable phone that literally folds in half when you want to pocket it. When opened, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is just like any other conventional phone with a large 6.7 inch display. But when you’re done using it, you can fold it and make it much more compact.

The iPhone 12, on the other hand, is a conventional candy bar phone you can’t really fold (unless you have Apple Care+, in which case you can only fold it once per phone). Jokes apart (please don’t fold your iPhone), there’s nothing really unique about the form factor of the iPhone 12. Yes, it has flat sides reminiscent of the iPhone 5 but it doesn’t have the same “wow” factor you get with a foldable. Of course, there are advantages to this sort of form factor as well. It’s arguably more durable than a foldable despite the fact the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is now IPX8 water-resistant.

Galaxy Z Flip 3 half folded

The screen is made up of actual glass so you don’t have to worry about scratching it with your fingernails. Since there’s no moving part like a hinge, the iPhone 12 might even last you longer. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 gives you bragging rights and is a looker when you’re out and about. If you want a phone that looks cool and adds to your style statement, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 should be the obvious choice.

Display

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 in four colors with screens on

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 has two displays — the 6.7-inch Full HD+ 120Hz folding panel on the inside, and a tiny cover display on the outside to check the time, notifications, etc. The iPhone 12 has a single 6.1-inch Full HD+ OLED display with a refresh rate of 60Hz. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 has a bigger display with a faster refresh rate which makes it the better choice. 60Hz feels dated on the iPhone and so does the huge notch. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 has a hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera which looks way more modern.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 and iPhone 12 Pro Max with displays on

You will enjoy consuming content on both displays. The aspect ratio of the display on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is slightly unconventional so you may see black bars when watching videos or playing games. The display on the Flip is made of ultra-thin glass but feels more like plastic and is hence, quite fragile. The iPhone 12 has a ceramic shield display which is much stronger and more durable.

Performance

Z Flip 3

This is an area where both phones excel. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 has the top-of-the-line Snapdragon 888 SoC with 8GB of RAM and runs on Samsung’s OneUI. No matter what apps or games you throw at it, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 can handle everything with ease. If you like your phone fast and snappy, that’s what you’re going to get with the Galaxy Z Flip 3.

The iPhone 12 also has Apple’s best SoC to date, the A14 Bionic. You get half the RAM on the iPhone 12 but numbers don’t really matter when speaking about an iPhone. The iPhone 12 also runs everything smoothly thanks to Apple’s optimization and the way their hardware and software work together. A few apps on iOS are slightly more optimized than on Android and may run smoother. Both phones will give you flagship performance, but the iPhone 12 might just edge out the Galaxy Z Flip in this department.

Cameras and Battery

Both phones have a dual-camera setup on the rear with the same resolution as well — 12MP primary cameras and 12MP ultra-wide shooters. In terms of cameras, the iPhone 12 takes the upper hand but that’s not to say the Galaxy Z Flip 3 doesn’t have capable cameras. Both phones click good pictures but the iPhone is much better at videos and can shoot up to 4K 60fps using all cameras, including the front-facing 12MP sensor.

When it comes to battery life, the numbers on paper may suggest the Galaxy Z Flip 3 fares better but that’s not the case. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 uses a power-hungry chip with a large, 120Hz display which means the small 3,300mAh battery might struggle to keep up with heavy usage throughout the day. The iPhone 12, on the other hand, has great battery life despite the small capacity thanks to the way iOS is optimized. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 also has slower charging at 15W compared to the 20W supported by the iPhone 12.

Which one should you buy?

Z Flip 3 in flex mode

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 starts at $999 for the base variant while the iPhone 12 starts at $699. For the extra $300 you spend, you’re going to get a bigger, better display that folds, and of course, the ability to flex with your new foldable phone that just closes in half and is ultra-portable. If you like to stay updated with the latest technology and want to try a new form factor, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the one you should go for.

    Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G
    The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is Samsung's latest clamshell foldable with an improved cover display and flagship internals.

If you want a safer option that might be more practical in some cases, the iPhone is for you. Although, it’s wise to wait for about a month since the iPhone 13 is right around the corner and it might bring some notable improvements.

    iPhone 12
    The iPhone 12 has been around for almost a year and the best performance with a reliable set of cameras.

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is not just a phone but also a cool, stylish accessory that adds to your style statement. You can read more about the Galaxy Z Flip 3 in our ongoing review and decide whether or not you want to buy the phone.

If you’re planning to pick up the Galaxy Z Flip 3, you might want to check out the best deals to save a few extra bucks and if you’ve already got your hands on one, it’s time to protect it with some of the best cases!

About author

Sumukh Rao
Sumukh Rao

A tech fanatic with a hunger for knowledge in the ever-growing field of science and technology. An avid quizzer and a gadget critic who loves simplifying tech for the masses has a keen interest in modding Android devices.