Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 vs Galaxy S21 Plus: Which one should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 vs Galaxy S21 Plus: Which one should you buy?

Samsung has two new foldable smartphones — the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy Z Flip 3. If the massive size and the overall bulkiness of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 deters you from jumping on the foldable bandwagon, you may find the Galaxy Z Flip 3 to be a little more palatable. Between Samsung’s two foldable form-factors, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is closest to the traditional phone design. It looks similar to the flip phones of old, and it’s like pretty much every other smartphone on the planet when folded out. Thanks to its top-of-the-line specs, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is ready to take on regular flagships, like the Galaxy S21+. But will it be able to?

Navigate this guide:

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 vs Galaxy S21+: Specifications

SpecificationSamsung Galaxy Z Flip 3Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
Dimensions & Weight
  • Folded: 72.2 x 86.4 x 17.1mm ~ 15.9mm
  • Unfolded: 72.2 x 166.0 x 6.9mm
  • 183g
  • 161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8mm
  • 202 grams
Display
  • Outer display:
    • 1.9-inch Super AMOLED
    • 250 x 512; 302 PPI
  • Inner display:
    • 6.7-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X
    • 2640 x 1080; 425 PPI
    • 120Hz adaptive refresh rate
  • 6.7″ FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display
  • 2400 x 1080; 394PPI
  • 120Hz adaptive refresh rate
SoC
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
    • 1x Kryo 680 (ARM Cortex X1-based) Prime core @ 2.84GHz
    • 3x Kryo 680 (ARM Cortex A78-based) Performance cores @ 2.4GHz
    • 4x Kryo 680 (ARM Cortex A55-based) Efficiency cores @ 1.8GHz
  • Adreno 660 GPU
  • International: Exynos 2100
    • 1x Cortex X1 @ 2.9GHz
    • 3x Cortex A78 @ 2.8GHz
    • 4x Cortex A55 @ 2.2GHz
    • Mali G78MP15 GPU
  • USA and China: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
    • 1x Kryo 680 (ARM Cortex X1-based) Prime core @ 2.84GHz
    • 3x Kryo 680 (ARM Cortex A78-based) Performance cores @ 2.4GHz
    • 4x Kryo 680 (ARM Cortex A55-based) Efficiency cores @ 1.8GHz
    • Adreno 660 GPU
RAM & Storage
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128/256GB UFS 3.1 storage
  • 8GB
  • 128/256 UFS 3.1 storage
Battery & Charging
  • 3,300mAh dual-cell battery
  • 15W wired charging
  • 10W wireless charging
  • 4.5W reverse wireless charging
  • 4,500mAh
  • 25W USB Power Delivery 3.0 fast charging
  • 10W+ wireless charging
  • 4.5 reverse wireless charging
Security
  • Side-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor
  • Ultrasonic In-Display Fingerprint Scanner
Rear Camera(s)
  • Primary: 12MP wide-angle, f/1.8, Dual Pixel AF, OIS
  • Secondary: 12MP ultra-wide-angle, f/2.2, 123° FoV
  • Primary: 12MP, wide-angle lens, f/1.8, 1.8µm, OIS, Dual Pixel AF
  • Secondary: 12MP, ultra-wide-angle lens, f/2.2, 1.4µm
  • Tertiary: 64MP telephoto lens, f/2.0, 0.8µm, OIS, 3x hybrid-optical zoom
Front Camera(s)10MP f/2.410MP, f/2.2, 1.22µm
Port(s)USB Type-CUSB Type-C
Audio
  • Stereo speakers
  • Dolby Atmos
  • Stereo speakers
  • Dolby Atmos
Connectivity
  • 4X4 MIMI, 7CA, LAA, LTE Cat.20
  • SA/NSA 5G (Sub6/mmWave)
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • NFC
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • 4X4 MIMI, 7CA, LAA, LTE Cat.20
  • SA/NSA 5G (Sub6/mmWave)
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • NFC
SoftwareOne UI based on Android 11One UI based on Android 11
Colors
  • Phantom Black
  • Cream
  • Green
  • Lavender
  • Gray
  • White
  • Pink
  • Phantom Black
  • Phantom Silver
  • Phantom Violet

Design and Display

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

The designs of the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Galaxy S21+ are very distinct, given their different form factors. With the Galaxy Z Flip 3, you get a foldable main display, a secondary cover screen, and a side-mounted fingerprint sensor. On the other hand, the Galaxy S21+ comes with a single conventional smartphone screen and an in-display fingerprint sensor. The foldable display also allows the Galaxy Z Flip 3 to become relatively small when folded. That said, the flexible screen of the Flip is less durable than the S21+ display, which uses Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus.

You get a 6.7-inch full-HD+ screen with a 120Hz refresh rate on both smartphones in terms of the display specs. But their resolutions are slightly different. You get 1080 x 2400 pixels on the S21+, whereas the Galaxy Z Flip 3 has 1080 x 2640 pixels. Because of this resolution difference, the Flip 3 screen has more pixels per inch (PPI). Additionally, the secondary cover screen on the Flip 3 has a 1.9-inch size and 512 x 260 pixels resolution.

SoC, RAM, and Storage

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

Both the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Galaxy S21+ are evenly matched on the SoC, RAM, and storage fronts. You get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip on both phones in North America, paired with 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of onboard storage. On the international models of the S21+, Samsung uses the Exynos 2110 chip, in which case, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 performs better with the Snapdragon 888.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 vs Galaxy S21+: Cameras

Things become slightly interesting on the camera front. In terms of raw camera specs, you get three cameras on the back of the S21+ — a 12MP wide-angle auto-focus shooter, a 12MP fixed-focus ultra-wide-angle camera, and a 64MP telephoto shooter with phase-detection auto-focus and 3x hybrid-optical zoom support.

On the other hand, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 rear camera setup houses a 12MP wide-angle camera and a 12MP ultra-wide-angle shooter. There’s no telephoto camera on the Flip 3. Additionally, the two phones carry a 10MP selfie shooter.

The presence of the telephoto shooter gives the Galaxy S21+ an advantage over the Galaxy Z Flip 3. But if telephoto isn’t a big deal for you, the other cameras on both phones won’t be massively different in terms of performance.

Battery and Connectivity

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

The battery is one area where the Galaxy S21+ easily beats the Galaxy Z Flip 3. The clamshell foldable has a total battery capacity of 3,300mAh, whereas, on the S21+, you’ll get a 4,800mAh battery. With the Galaxy Z Flip 3’s small battery and 120Hz display, you would struggle to even get through the day if you’re using the main screen a lot. In contrast, the Galaxy S21+ will easily get through the day and even a significant portion of the second day.

Another disappointing thing about the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the lack of fast wired charging. Samsung has included support for just 15W fast charging on the phone. On the other hand, the Galaxy S21+ comes with 25W fast charging, which isn’t groundbreaking, but still comparatively better. So if battery life is going to be a big concern for you, you’re better off with the Galaxy S21+ than the Galaxy Z Flip 3.

The phones are pretty much on the same level on the connectivity side. There’s 5G, Wi-Fi 6, NFC, and USB Type-C. In terms of Bluetooth, you get Bluetooth 5.0 on the Galaxy S21+ and Bluetooth 5.1 on the Galaxy Z Flip 3.

OS and Android Updates

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus in the hand

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

Android 11 with One UI is present on both the Galaxy S21+ and Galaxy Z Flip 3. While most of the software experience is the same on the two phones, the company has added some tricks to take advantage of the flexible screen on the Galaxy Z Flip 3. All these features are foldable specific, and apart from minor productive improvements, they don’t make a big difference.

Samsung will also offer the same duration of software support on the two phones. So overall, in terms of the software and updates, the Galaxy S21+ and Galaxy Z Flip 3 are level.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 vs Galaxy S21+: Pricing and Color Options

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, folded, in all four colors

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

Samsung is selling two storage variants each for both the Galaxy S21+ and the Galaxy Z Flip 3. The 128GB Flip 3 is priced at $999.99, and the 256GB Flip 3 at $1,049.99. Although the Galaxy S21+ was launched at the same pricing as the Galaxy Z Flip 3, the phone has since been discounted to $799.99 for the 128GB and $849.99 for the 256GB model.

Coming to the color options, the company is offering the Galaxy Z Flip 3 in seven exciting colors, of which three are samsung.com exclusive. The S21+ comes in only three colors.

Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is exciting. It has several things going for it, including enticing pricing. So if you have the budget and the drawbacks of the phone are not deal-breakers for you, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is worth taking a hard look at.

    Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
    The Galaxy Flip 3 is Samsung’s new clamshell-style foldable phone. It features a 6.7 inch 120Hz flexible screen and Snapdragon 888 SoC.

On the other hand, the Galaxy S21+ is a safer choice, and it’s much more affordable now than its launch.

    Samsung Galaxy S21+
    The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is the middle child in the new 2021 flagship series, packing in a flagship SoC and a premium build, along with a decent display and camera setup.

So which of the two Samsung smartphones are you planning to buy? Let us know in the comments section. If you’re planning to buy the Galaxy Z Flip 3, check out our best deals and best cases articles to further help you with your purchase.

About author

Gaurav Shukla
Gaurav Shukla

Gaurav has been covering technology for over a decade now. He has done everything from blogging about Android to reporting the latest from the world of Internet giants. When he is not writing about the tech companies, he can be found binge-watching new TV series on the web.