After what seemed like an endless string of rumors and leaks, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is finally a reality.
Samsung announced the third-generation folding phone along with the Galaxy Z Flip 3 at a virtual Unpacked event on Wednesday. Both phones prove that Samsung hasn't given up on foldables. In fact, the Z Fold 3 angles to be the best foldable phone you can buy.
Last year's Galaxy Z Fold 2 addressed many of the issues people had with the original Fold. Yet, despite a much-needed infusion of premium features and specs, the Z Fold 2 still needed to earn our trust.
The second Fold left a lot of us wanting a foldable that felt more like a phone and less like an experiment.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G specs at a glance:
Body: Folded: 67.1x158.2x16mm-14.4mm; Unfolded: 128.1x158.2x6.4mm, 271g; Glass front (folded), plastic front (unfolded), glass back, aluminum frame, IPx8 water resistant.
Display: 7.60" Foldable Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1768x2208px resolution, 18:22.5 aspect ratio, 374ppi; Cover display:, Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, 6.2 inches, 832 x 2268 pixels, 24.5:9 ratio.
Chipset: Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 5G (5 nm): Octa-core (1x2.84 GHz Kryo 680 & 3x2.42 GHz Kryo 680 & 4x1.80 GHz Kryo 680); Adreno 660.
Memory: 256GB 12GB RAM, 512GB 12GB RAM; UFS 3.1.
OS/Software: Android 11, One UI 3.5.
Rear camera: Wide (main): 12 MP, f/1.8, 26mm, 1/1.76", 1.8µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS; Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, f/2.2, 123˚, 12mm, 1.12µm; Telephoto: 12 MP, f/2.4, 52mm, 1/3.6", 1.0µm, PDAF, OIS, 2x optical zoom.
Front camera: Under display camera: 16 MP, 1.0µm, 4MP binned photos, under display; Cover camera: 10 MP, f/2.2, 26mm, 1/3", 1.22µm.
Video capture: Rear camera: 4K@60fps, 1080p@60/240fps (gyro-EIS), 720p@960fps (gyro-EIS), HDR10+; Front camera: 4K@30fps, 1080p@30fps, gyro-EIS.
Battery: 4400mAh; Fast charging 25W, Fast wireless charging 11W, Reverse wireless charging 4.5W.
Misc: Fingerprint reader (side-mounted); NFC; Bixby natural language commands and dictation, Samsung DeX (desktop experience support), Samsung Pay (Visa, MasterCard certified), Ultra Wideband (UWB) support.
On paper, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 seems like an improvement in every way. Samsung gave the Fold a Fitter Happier upgrade: It's slimmer, lighter, more productive, more durable and more affordable. In addition to packing 120Hz Displays, the creators of the Z Fold 3 took heed of the Galaxy Note’s potential and incorporated its same S Pen stylus support.
The model was also given an attractive makeover to strengthen its durability, as well as lengthen its lifespan.
S Pen support makes perfect sense on a screen of this size, and it was something that people were clamoring for with the first two Folds. There’s more writing and drawing real estate here than any Galaxy Note smartphone, yet it’s more convenient than a full-sized traditional tablet due to the fact that the Z Fold 3 can be closed to half its open size and stuck in a pocket.
For example, notes can be taken on one side of the device while doing a video call on the other side, or a to-do list can be checked off while reading emails. The Z Fold3 is available in black, green and silver.
You can tell Samsung feels confident about the durability improvements to the Z Fold 3 because the company is encouraging you to take a small pointy thing and use it on the folding screen. All these nips, tucks and additions give the hardware and software a more streamlined and approachable vibe.
Samsung has put out a few Folds before — but the device won’t suffer from the risks of cracked screens as its predecessors. The screen’s protective film is 80 percent stronger and layered with a Gorilla Glass Victus cover for maximum protection against drops and cracks.
And if a user just so happens to accidentally submerge their device underwater for 30 minutes, the Z Fold 3 is rated IPX8 for water resistance protection.
With 12GB of RAM, the model comes in versions of either 256GB or 512GB storage. It’s also equipped with three rear cameras — f/1.8 wide, f/2.0 ultra-wide and f/2.4 — and an under-display front-facing camera, updated from its former hole-punch style.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 runs Android 11 and comes with a slew of software updates that move the Fold past the limits of a traditional phone.
There are big improvements to multitasking, the addition of new UX elements and more ways to use Flex Mode. The edge panel can now be pinned like a Windows taskbar for quick shortcuts to apps.
Samsung worked with companies like Google, Microsoft and Disney to optimize their apps for a foldable screen. Optimized apps include Spotify, YouTube, TikTok, Zoom and more.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 (Click here to Preorder) starts at $1,800 (Approx. ₹134,000, £1,599, AU$2,499), which is $200 less than the original price of the Z Fold 2. I wouldn't call it cheap, but the price is going in the right direction. By the way, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 starts at $1,000 (Approx. ₹75,000, £949, AU$1,499).
Preorders are now open and both phones launch on Aug. 27.
In the US, Samsung is offering some tempting trade-in deals – up to $800 off if you turn in an older device, be it a phone, tablet or wearable, or any combination of the three, and you can add up to four devices to reach that maximum value. You could, then, get this phone for $1,000, and that’s a much more compelling price tag.
Our Verdict -
All in all the Samsung Galaxy Fold3 feels like an incremental update over the Fold2, but it's extra durability and lower pre-order price might be just what it takes to make the next step towards mainstream adoption.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 lays the bait for people who normally consider themselves early adopters but held out on last year’s Fold 2. It has awaited upgrades like S Pen support, greater durability and water-resistance. You need a case to store the stylus and the cameras are not upgraded, but overall the Z Fold 3 looks very promising for power users. No doubt It’s still expensive, but starts at a slightly lower price than its predecessors.
Although, It won’t convince average consumers to ditch their reasonably priced candybar-style smartphones – that’s the intended job of Samsung’s foldable phone seemingly gateway device, the Z Flip 3 – but more demanding customers with sufficiently deep pockets may finally be hooked.