Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Fold 4

9
We may earn a commission if you make a purchase from the links on this page.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Fold 4: the infighting!
The difference between the price of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the other current flagship in Samsung's roster - the Galaxy S23 Ultra - is still rather startling, even with the best Z Fold 4 deals that seem to be few and far between these days.

Samsung's best foldable phone so far used to be discounted so often on the runup to the holiday shopping spree of Black Friday that we got used to seeing it equal the flat screen flagships of Samsung. That well has now dried up, though, and Samsung phone fans would have to think long and hard which one of the flagships to get, moreso when all the S23 deals and carrier bonuses are stacked up.

Galaxy S23 Ultra: save with a trade-in at Amazon

The Galaxy S23 Ultra with 256GB of storage is available at Amazon. The smartphone isn't discounted right now, but you can trade-in a suitable device to get up to $401 off as an Amazon Gift Card.

Galaxy S23 Ultra (1TB): up to $525 off with a trade-in

You can get up to $525 enhanced trade-in credit for a new Galaxy S23 Ultra at Samsung.com when you trade in your old phone. This is the 1TB configuration.
$1094 99
$1619 99
Expired

Galaxy Z Fold 5 (256GB): now up to $800 off with a trade-in

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 with 256GB of storage is available at up to $800 off with a trade-in at the official Samsung store. Right now, no discounts are available without a trade-in.
$999 99
$1799 99
Buy at Samsung

Galaxy Z Fold 5, 256GB: save $300 at Amazon right now

Right now, Amazon sells the hot new Galaxy Z Fold 5 with 256GB storage at a discounted price. What's more, you can unlock extra savings by trading in an old device in good condition.

That is why we are doing a thorough comparison to try and tell should you go for the eye-catching conversation starter, the Galaxy Z Fold 4, with its huge internal screen that bends like Gumby, but which remains quite a bit more expensive than its "rigid" screen flagship Samsung counterpart, or should you opt for the vastly superior camera abilities of the S23 Ultra, its longer battery life, and its integrated S Pen stylus?



Main Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Fold 4 differences:

  • 200MP vs 50MP main camera sensors
  • 6.8" vs 7.6" displays
  • 10x vs 3x optical zoom
  • Integrated S Pen stylus
  • Overclocked 3.36 GHz Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs 8 Gen 1+ processor

Jump to section:
  • Displays
  • Camera
  • Price
  • Specs
  • Performance
  • Battery life and charging

    Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
    7.5

    Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra


    The Good

    • Battery life is great, big improvement from predecessor
    • New Snapdragon chip is the best one in years
    • Design is improved, feels more ergonomic
    • Screen is less curved and gets very dim (perfect for night time use)
    • Camera improvements are there, but not quite huge
    • Loudspeakers sound much better now
    • You get double the storage (256GB) at base model

    The Bad

    • Base model still only has 8GB RAM
    • Charging speeds have not improved
    • Haptics are still not as good as rivals
    • Camera system hasn't improved as much as hoped for
    • Expensive if you buy at full price
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
9.0

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4


The Good

  • Solid build
  • Empowering multitasking features
  • Beautiful displays
  • Stylus support
  • Smooth performance
  • Good battery life

The Bad

  • Expensive
  • Still has a crease
  • Thick and heavy, harder to carry around than a slab phone

Design and display


Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Dimensions

6.43 x 3.07 x 0.35 inches

163.3 x 78 x 8.9 mm

Weight

8.25 oz (234 g)

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Dimensions

6.11 x 5.12 x 0.25 inches

155.1 x 130.1 x 6.3 mm

Weight

9.28 oz (263 g)

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Dimensions

6.43 x 3.07 x 0.35 inches

163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9 mm

Weight

8.08 oz (229 g)

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
Dimensions

6.33 x 3.05 x 0.31 inches

160.7 x 77.6 x 7.85 mm

Weight

8.47 oz (240 g)

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Dimensions

6.43 x 3.07 x 0.35 inches

163.3 x 78 x 8.9 mm

Weight

8.25 oz (234 g)

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Dimensions

6.11 x 5.12 x 0.25 inches

155.1 x 130.1 x 6.3 mm

Weight

9.28 oz (263 g)

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Dimensions

6.43 x 3.07 x 0.35 inches

163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9 mm

Weight

8.08 oz (229 g)

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
Dimensions

6.33 x 3.05 x 0.31 inches

160.7 x 77.6 x 7.85 mm

Weight

8.47 oz (240 g)

Compare these and other phones using our Size Comparison tool.


In folded state, the Z Fold 4 is shorter and narrower than the S23 Ultra, but way thicker and more cumbersome to carry around or fit in your pocket. Samsung's bezel area gap and crease visibility also leave a lot to be desired compared to some other foldables out there, so the design round would go to the curved screen of the S23 Ultra. 

As far as ergonomics are concerned, the very narrow external display on the Z Fold 4 makes it easier to reach across it when holding the phone with one hand, yet the thick and heavy phone feel is always there.

The biggest advantage of Samsung's best foldable phone before the Galaxy S23 Ultra is that it comes with a huge 7.6-inch internal display to browse, read, game, or watch videos on. Granted, it might not sound much larger than the 6.8-inch panel of the Ultra, but due to the almost square aspect ratio, the Z Fold 4's inner screen is much bigger in surface area still. 

This fact renders one of the biggest bragging rights of the S23 Ultra - the integrated S Pen stylus silo - somewhat moot. The Z Fold 4, after all, also supports Samsung's venerable stylus which can be carried in the respective official case, but offers much larger canvas to doodle or annotate on, so we can call it a draw here and give the overall display advantage to the Z Fold 4.


Granted, surveys show that foldable phone owners are mostly using their external displays - about 80% of the time - but they always know a bigger screen is there when needed, otherwise the 6.2-inch external panel on the Z Fold 4 with a very tall and narrow aspect ration just wouldn't cut it compared to the 6.8-inch panel of the S23 Ultra.

As for the Galaxy S23 Ultra screen quality, Samsung uses its latest 12th-gen OLED panel technology that debuted on the Z Fold 4, but brighter because of what Apple managed with the iPhone 14 Pro Max that uses the same Samsung OLED generation and yet offers up to 2000 nits of peak brightness. 

Given the 1Hz-120Hz dynamic refresh rate and excellent calibration on both phones, a brighter screen leaves the Ultra at a slight advantage before the Z Fold 4 in display characteristics if not in sheer size. 


In addition, the Galaxy S23 Ultra comes with the newest Gorilla Glass Victus 2 as its display and rear covers, one-upping the Z Fold 4 in that respect as well. Still, both displays are bright and sport very good colors, as you can see from our CalMAN charts done with the X-Rite screen calibration checker tool.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro Max price




Currently, the 512GB Galaxy Z Fold 4 can be had at only $150 off without trade-ins, so its price remains high above a Galaxy S23 Ultra with the same storage capacity, making the price tag difference between the two phones an important argument which one to get.

Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy Z Fold 4 specs


There is no denying that being the newer phone, the Galaxy S23 Ultra manages to beat the Z Fold 4's hardware in terms of performance gains, but it particularly excels in the camera and zoom departments.


Camera samples


The biggest Galaxy S23 Ultra hardware upgrade - its 200MP ISOCELL HP2 main camera sensor - runs circles around the modest camera kit of the Galaxy Z Fold 4. Thankfully, Samsung stopped putting the 12MP trifecta on its foldables, but even the 50MP sensor doesn't cut it against the Galaxy S23 Ultra, let alone its unsurpassed zoom kit.

With 10x periscope magnification and 3x telephoto zoom for portraits and closer objects, the Ultra models of Samsung dominate the competition, even its internal one like the Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Main Camera - Good Light




Samsung is seemingly done with the gaudy images with pumped up contrast as the Galaxy S23 Ultra exhibits much more balanced and toned down looks with more detail and better dynamic range than what the Z Fold 4 is able to muster, and the same goes for the ultrawide camera samples further down save for the richer detail part.

Ultra-wide


The zoom photos aren't even a fair fight as the S23 Ultra offers crisp 10X optical zoom, while at 30X the images from the Z Fold 4 become a blurry mess while the S23 Ultra shot allows you to read every letter on the ship's hull above.

Portrait Mode




The camera algorithms of the S23 Ultra emphasize the object in front of the lens with slight softening of the background even with the main camera, while in Portrait mode that trend is taken to the extreme, resulting in an excellent bokeh. The Z Fold 4 also does a nice job at object separation, but the S23 Ultra shots look classier and truer to the scene in front of the lens. 
 
The S23 Ultra camera also has much improved low-light photography and detail capture abilities, because in extreme low-light scenarios, the 200MP sensor's pixel size would go to 2.4 micron binned virtual pixels by combining 16 into one, so that a picture can be snapped at 12.5 MP but with greatly increased light sensitivity.

Selfies




Not only that, but Snapdragon 8 Gen 2's image processing brings new photography abilities to the S23 Ultra, now also applied to the new front-facing camera and its Semantic Segmentation chops. 

The selfies from the new camera with larger pixels are very well defined, with more credible colors than the Z Fold 4 sample, and the Super HDR mode applied to the selfie camera delivers better dynamic range than the foldable phone's front cam.

In addition, the Galaxy S23 Ultra has unique all-axis stabilization in video mode, while the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 allows its camera to record 8K video with smoother 30 FPS.

Video Thumbnail

Performance and software


While Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip is still made on the 4nm process, now in its second generation, it's the extra chipset features that give the S23 Ultra a leg up in performance before the Galaxy Z Fold 4. 

Chief among those is the new X70 5G modem that brings on plenty of new and unsurpassed by other modem makers features like supporting every commercial 5G band from 600 MHz to 41 GHz and enabling sub-6 carrier aggregation to achieve unmatched 5G performance.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra also got a faster, 3.36 GHz Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, clocked higher than the stock 3.2 GHz version that Qualcomm announced. The Geekbench scores in the single- and multi-core benchmark tests put it ahead of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 scores of the Z Fold 4, too, not to mention the superior graphics subsystem abilities.

Geekbench 5 SingleHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra1583
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 41304
Geekbench 5 MultiHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra4937
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 43782
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra3828
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 42105
3DMark Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra1951
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 41524

Not only is Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 supporting the latest 3D graphics rendering trends, but it is the most stable and powerful Qualcomm flagship chipset to date, rivaling the Apple A16 on the iPhone 14 Pro Max even, as you can see from the gaming test below where it keeps cooler under pressure, while delivering similar frames per watt performance.

Both phones are on the latest Android 13 with Samsung One UI interface as an overlay, but the Z Fold 4 will enjoy its exclusive multi-tasking interface features made possible by the giant internal display.

Battery life and charging speeds


With big display comes a big power draw, and, unfortunately, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is no exception, despite the battery-saving Standard Performance mode that Samsung is offering on it. 

Not only does the Z Fold 4 have a smaller, 4400 mAh battery compared to the 5000 mAh unit in the Galaxy S23 Ultra, but is giant screen gulps electrons like there's no tomorrow during intense 3D-rendering sessions like gaming. 

The Galaxy S23 Ultra, on the other hand, uses the more frugal Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 that Samsung says allowed it to boost the battery life 20% compared to its predecessor so it beats the Z Fold 4's battery life comfortably, at least in mixed usage with the inner panel fired up every now and then. We test the battery with unified runs at one and the same screen brightness to even the playing field out.

hoursHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
18h 57 min
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
12h 43 min

The Galaxy S23 Ultra's battery also charges a tad faster than the Z Fold 4's unit - in 66 minutes instead of 73 minutes - despite its larger size, as it supports faster, up to 45W wired charging abilities, and also quicker wireless charging input that still takes 2 hours and 37 minutes to full pack.

 

Summary


It's rather rather easy to decide between the Galaxy S23 Ultra and the Z Fold 4. Whenever Samsung offers significant Z Fold 4 discounts, or cuts its price permanently as happened with its predecessor, its starting tag would be only slightly higher than that of the S23 Ultra in the respective storage tier.

The reasons to go with the Ultra would then boil down to how close of a camera magnification level or low-light performance does one need, as well as how willing you are to gloss over the bulky and heavy Z Fold 4 when closed. That time hasn't yet come, though, and there is still a significant price gap for entry into the foldable phone club.

When unfurled, however, Samsung's head-turning foldable phone presents you with a bigger display than what the Galaxy S23 Ultra carries which is on top of that supportive of the S Pen stylus, but on a much larger canvas. 

If you browse, do work on your phone, or game on a regular basis, you'd really have to weigh whether you need the better camera kit or if you can live with shorter battery life. The Z Fold 4 may feel clunky in hands and pockets, but is a joy to one's infotainment needs when unfurled, so the choice boils down to the coolness factor more than the price difference, as it usually does.

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless