Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Z Fold 4: the company's 2022 flagships face-off

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra in blue next to the Galaxy Z Fold 4 on a colored background, split into two tones diagonally down the center
(Image credit: Future / Samsung)

Samsung is such a massive force in the phone world that it can split its attention between two flagships. In the early part of the year, it launched the Galaxy S22 Ultra, a flat phone with amazing cameras and a built in stylus. In the latter half of 2022, it launched the Galaxy Z Fold 4, a folding tablet that can disguise as a smartphone. 

The Galaxy Fold is much more expensive, but you get a phone on the outside and a mini tablet on the inside, making it twice the device. On the other hand, the Galaxy S22 Ultra has a big, beautiful screen, but is it the best phone Samsung sells?

Both of these are counted among the best Samsung phones. We break down the differences to help you choose. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Z Fold 4 price and availability

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra arrived in shops on February 25, 2022. It’s priced from $1,199.99 / £1,149 / AU$1,849 for the 8GB RAM / 128GB storage model, with the 12GB / 256GB model costing $1,299.99 / £1,249 / AU$1,999, the 12GB / 512GB build costing $1,249.99 / £1,329 / AU$2,149, and the range-topping 12GB / 1TB model costing $1,599.99 / £1,499 / AU$2,449.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 was announced on August 10, 2022. Pricing starts from $1,499.99 / £1,649 / AU$2,499 for 256GB, moving up to $1,619.99 / £1,769 / AU$2,699 for 512GB, then $1,859.99 / £2,019 / AU$2,999 for 1TB model.

Samsung’s new foldable is clearly far more expensive than its flat sibling, but the price is closer than you might expect, considering the Galaxy Z Fold 4 gives you an entire extra screen to play with. 

Samsung frequently offers trade in premiums and special offers, so the actual price you pay should be much lower if you already have a nice smartphone. Mobile network deals are good, but we haven't seen any carrier offer these phones for free with a contract agreement, like you'll get the Galaxy Z Fold 4 or Galaxy S22 Plus. 

 Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Z Fold 4 design

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

(Image credit: TechRadar / Stephen Lambrechts)

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy S22 Ultra sit at opposing ends of the Samsung design pendulum. The Ultra is the culmination of Galaxy S design, with curving edges, an uninterrupted back panel, and even a hidden S Pen silo. Ever since the Galaxy S6, Samsung phones have been creeping this design direction. 

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is a wild design made possible by bleeding edge technology. That's the other face of the Samsung coin. From the barely-workable Galaxy Fold, Samsung has persisted in making subtle improvements until we have the refined, durable, very usable Galaxy Z Fold 4. 

The front display on the Z Fold cannot compare to the massive screen on the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The Fold display is far too narrow to use regularly. We use it in a pinch, then open the phone when we need to get real work done. If that doesn't sound like the way you want to use a phone, stick with the S22 Ultra. 

The Galaxy S22 Ultra is taller than the Z Fold 4, and when the Fold is open, it is a thinner tablet than the Ultra. It is certainly a tablet, however, and is not easy to use one-handed. The S22 Ultra is big, but you can at least manage it singlehanded if necessary. 

One way in which the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is more subtle than its brother is with its selfie notch. Samsung has gone with an improved under-display option, so you can’t really see it in general use. The Galaxy S22 Ultra goes with a more traditional hole-punch notch.

In terms of toughness, the Galaxy S22 Ultra wins points for its IP68 water and dust resistance rating, while the Galaxy Z Fold 4 can only manage IPX8. That "X" stands in for dust protection, so Samsung did not even bother to have the Fold rated against particles. It is still a durable device, and it should have no problem bending and unfolding throughout its lifespan, according to Samsung. 

Both devices support versions of Samsung’s S Pen stylus, but only the Galaxy S22 Ultra houses one within its body. Given its larger dimensions, this feels like a bit of a missed opportunity for the Galaxy Z Fold 4. If you want to use a pen with the Fold 4, you need to buy a special version with a softer tip. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Z Fold 4 display

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 main screen

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has one of the very best displays on the market. It’s a 6.8-inch AMOLED of real beauty, with a 120Hz refresh rate and a 3200 x 1440 (QHD+) resolution.

In the opposite corner, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 gives you a pair of AMOLEDs – one huge fold-out 7.6-inch 2176 x 1812 example, and one 6.2-inch Cover Display with a 2316 x 904 resolution. The latter allows you to use the phone without opening it up.

Samsung has actually made the internal display a little wider than before. Apps such as Outlook, Office, Teams, Facebook, and Google Meet have been tweaked to make the most of this extra horizontal space, some giving you additional UI elements.

It’s going to take some doing to beat the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s screen for sheer quality, but similarly, there’s no beating the sheer size of that internal Galaxy S22 Ultra screen. It makes the device more of a tablet than a phone.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Z Fold 4 camera

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has one of the best camera phones on the market, led by a huge 108MP wide sensor that aced more or less every shot we took with it, even with Samsung’s trademark over-saturation.

It’s backed by two 10MP telephoto camera, one with a 10x zoom length, and one with the 3x. There’s also a 12MP ultra-wide, and Samsung balances each out superbly in terms of color tone.

Quite frankly, we’d be surprised if the Galaxy Z Fold 4 could match its older brother in the photographic stakes. All Fold devices to date have disappointed in this area.

Samsung does appear to have taken steps to improve things this time around, though. First up there’s a 50MP wide sensor that lets in 23% more light than the Fold 3. This seems likely to be more of a match for the plain Galaxy S22 than the Ultra model, however.

Samsung has given the Galaxy Z Fold 4 a 10MP 3x telephoto camera, which appears to match the one from the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The latter also has a separate 10x zoom camera, of course, so it wins in the up-close-and-personal stakes.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 appears to match its brother with a 12MP ultra-wide.

We’ve mentioned the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s 4MP under-display camera, but there’s also a 10MP camera on the Cover Display. The Galaxy S22 Ultra would appear to top both with its 40MP selfie camera.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Z Fold 4 specs and performance

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 partail fold on desk

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 offers a clear performance jump over the Galaxy S22 Ultra. While the older phone is split between the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 or Samsung’s own Exynos 2200, depending on the region, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 goes all in with the step-up Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1.

There isn’t an awful lot in it, in our experience, but the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 offers a clear benchmark boost in both CPU and GPU terms over the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, and an even bigger boost over the Exynos 2200.

Samsung’s new foldable also gives you 12GB of RAM as standard, while the Galaxy S22 Ultra gives you either 8 or 12GB. In terms of storage, both phones come in 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB variants, but the Galaxy S22 Ultra also offers a 128GB entry-level model.

Both phones naturally make use of Samsung’s One UI layered on top of Android 13. It’s a love-it-or-tolerate-it interface that impresses with its customisation potential about as much as it frustrates with its bloat and clutter.

The two UIs aren’t identical, however, as Samsung has optimized its interface for the larger screen of the Galaxy Z Fold 4. This includes a new taskbar, so you can quickly switch with between apps. It’s also much more suited to split-screen multitasking than its smaller brother.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Z Fold 4 battery

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra screen

(Image credit: Future)

Given its larger size, you might expect the Galaxy Z Fold 4 to pack in a larger battery than the Galaxy S22 Ultra. You’d be wrong.

While the Galaxy S22 Ultra gives you a nicely sized 5,000mAh cell, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 gives you a mere 4,400mAh equivalent. Evidently that big foldable screen takes up a lot of space.

Not that the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s battery proved massively impressive in our testing. It’s good for a full day of varied activity, and little more. It should be better.

We’re not entirely hopeful that the Galaxy Z Fold 4 will be an improvement, based on our experience with the Galaxy Z Fold 3. We found that it would rarely get through a full day if we hit its 5G and camera hard – which of course we did, and often.

Hopefully Samsung has improved the efficiency for its successor, but we’re not expecting miracles.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra wins in the charging stakes too, with support for 45W charging to the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s 25W. Samsung claims a 0 to 50% charge time of 30 minutes for its new foldable, while the Galaxy S22 Ultra hits that point in 20 minutes. Both phones support 15W wireless charging.


Samsung’s two 2022 flagships are big, bold, and powerful, with an extra smattering of S Pen stylus goodness for good measure.

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 will inevitably have the edge on performance, and serious power users will doubtless thrive on its UI tweaks aimed at maximising that huge 7.6-inch display.

However, the Galaxy S22 Ultra will probably be more manageable day to day, and its camera system will likely be better and more flexible. There’s a lot to be said for having the S Pen stashed away within the body of the phone too, which the Galaxy Z Fold 4 still hasn’t managed.

In the end, if you want a tablet that can fold up into a phone, go for the Galaxy Z Fold 4, because that is the right way to categorize it. If you want the biggest, baddest phone you can buy, pick up a Galaxy S22 Ultra instead. 

Philip Berne
US Mobiles Editor

Phil Berne is a preeminent voice in consumer electronics reviews, starting more than 20 years ago at Phil has written for Engadget, The Verge, PC Mag, Digital Trends, Slashgear, TechRadar, AndroidCentral, and was Editor-in-Chief of the sadly-defunct infoSync. Phil holds an entirely useful M.A. in Cultural Theory from Carnegie Mellon University. He sang in numerous college a cappella groups.

Phil did a stint at Samsung Mobile, leading reviews for the PR team and writing crisis communications until he left in 2017. He worked at an Apple Store near Boston, MA, at the height of iPod popularity. Phil is certified in Google AI Essentials. He has a High School English teaching license (and years of teaching experience) and is a Red Cross certified Lifeguard. His passion is the democratizing power of mobile technology. Before AI came along he was totally sure the next big thing would be something we wear on our faces.

With contributions from