The Galaxy Z Fold3 5G smartphone is the third installment of Samsung’s foldable poster child, and it comes with significant design and hardware upgrades. The most important features are a more durable design with an official water resistance rating and a pair of smooth AMOLED displays, one of which is compatible with the iconic S Pen stylus.
5G Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
It is, however, significantly more expensive than standard top-of-the-line smartphones with only one display. The Galaxy Z Fold3 5G is $200 less expensive than its predecessor.
• Built-in stereo speakers, IPX8 water-resistant• 4,400mAh battery, fast wired and wireless charging, reverse wireless charging • 12-megapixel main camera, 12-megapixel telephoto camera, 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, 10-megapixel selfie camera, 4-megapixel under-display camera• 12 GB RAM, 256/512 GB storage• 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor• 7.6-inch foldable QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with 120-Hz maximum refresh rate, and 6.2-inch HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X secondary screen with 120-Hz maximum refresh rate
I couldn’t help but marvel at the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G’s versatility after a week of using it as my primary smartphone. Here’s how its design, hardware, and overall performance stack up. The high-priced, do-it-all Android powerhouse may be worth the splurge for luxury smartphone buyers, as it can easily replace a premium smartphone and a high-end tablet.
The most significant design changes in the latest Galaxy Z Fold include a more durable construction with a tougher aluminum alloy, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, and an official IPX8 water resistance rating. The device’s main screen, on the other hand, is nearly twice as tough as its predecessor’s, thanks to a stretchable protective film and additional layers.
The Galaxy Fold3 is expectedly heavier than a traditional smartphone, weighing nearly ten ounces. When I first held the first Z Fold in 2019, I was struck by how delicate it was, and I’m happy to report that this version is unquestionably higher-quality.
Thankfully, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G comes with added peace of mind thanks to its ability to withstand 30 minutes of complete immersion in up to five feet of water. Water resistance was notably absent from previous iterations of the product, which is a must-have feature for a top-tier smartphone at this price point.
However, unlike other Samsung Galaxy phones that have full IP certification and can withstand water and dust, the Z Fold3 is only rated for water resistance. Is it possible to translate? Even so, you should be cautious when using this phone at the beach because sand and saltwater can damage it—which is unsurprising given its shape-shifting design and intricate hinge.
Aside from durability, the product has the same design as the previous generation. This is the main reason why you should consider switching to a foldable phone once more. It can change from a slightly taller smartphone to a small tablet with a squarish shape and screen in an instant.
Both screens have a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz and are sharp, bright, and capable of displaying dramatic colors and contrast thanks to millions of individually powered pixels. The appeal of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G is its multiple screens, which do not disappoint. For more than a decade, Samsung Galaxy phones have featured AMOLED displays, and the Z Fold3 has two of them. As you’d expect from a high-end Android phone, the functionality makes onscreen interactions more fluid.
The device’s foldable main screen is compatible with the Samsung S Pen, a first for the Galaxy Z Fold. In addition, because Samsung hasn’t released a new Galaxy Note since 2011, the Z Fold3 is today’s most productive Galaxy smartphone. The Fold3’s optional accessory makes it ideal for tasks like taking notes and fine-tuning high-resolution images, as well as relaxing with a digital coloring book.
The larger screen also has a minor crease that has no effect on its overall functionality. I applaud Samsung for neatly integrating one of the Galaxy Z Fold3’s selfie cameras beneath the main display. Instead of a distracting punch hole, the camera will turn into a barely distinguishable, slightly pixelated dot when not in use.
The Fold3’s 6.2-inch secondary display is just as bright and ideal for one-handed use. I liked being able to respond to emails, Slack messages, and texts while on the go, but with displays like these, it’s difficult not to marvel at the small details.
The app’s interface is simple and easy to use, making it suitable for both new and experienced mobile photographers. The Galaxy Z Fold3 is equipped with a triple main camera that is versatile and capable of capturing excellent photos and crisp 4K video.
Despite being the most expensive Samsung Galaxy, the latest Fold is not the best camera phone Samsung has ever made. However, I believe that a camera bump, similar to the S21 Ultra, would have made the Fold3 more cumbersome and expensive. This honor remains with the Galaxy S21 Ultra, whose 108-megapixel main sensor and head-spinning zoom capabilities are unrivaled.
When it comes to selfie cameras, keep in mind that the one built into the Z Fold3’s smaller screen is more powerful than the “invisible” secondary sensor. To each their own, but if you’re obsessed with selfies, you can also use the main camera with the phone unfolded and its secondary screen doubling as a handy viewfinder—a unique feature thanks to the foldable design. Because of its lower resolution and poor optics, the latter snapper is only suitable for video calls and teleconferencing.
The device easily conquered my workflow thanks to Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line chipset, more RAM than many laptops, and super-fast flash storage. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 is a fast and powerful smartphone. It instantly opened apps and switched between a double-digit number of them with ease.
On my phone, I enjoyed Xbox Game Pass cloud gaming. All I needed was a wireless controller and a case with a built-in kickstand to turn it into a mini gaming rig. Because of the device’s powerful hardware, fast display with good stereo speakers, and up-to-date Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, gaming on the Z Fold3 is also a great experience.
The smartphone survived a full day of use in my tests, which included a careful balance of screen time on both displays. The battery percentage indicator began a much faster countdown the moment I focused my attention on the larger panel. The Fold3 has a sophisticated dual battery, but its performance, like that of any other smartphone, is dependent on your usage habits.
Nonetheless, given the product’s unique form factor and capabilities, it’s a reasonable trade-off to make. The Z Fold3’s battery life pales in comparison to high-end conventional smartphones like Samsung’s own Galaxy S21 Ultra and the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
You should also be aware that turning off the silky refresh rate on its screens will significantly improve battery life. Thankfully, the Fold3 supports both wired and wireless charging, so you won’t have to wait long to recharge its batteries.
EXPERIENCE OF THE USER
Samsung’s custom Android interface, One UI, is jam-packed with useful features that help you make the most of the Fold3’s unique form factor. There are a plethora of useful features available, ranging from split-screen multitasking to using the partially folded phone for video calls or as a dual-screen camera rig.
Android apps that work well on the device’s large screen are also available. I found Microsoft Outlook’s desktop-like, split-screen view to be especially useful while testing the phone.
Its improved build quality, multitasking abilities, and legitimate ability to replace two devices while still fitting in a pants pocket are undeniably appealing. There’s plenty to like about the Fold3 if you’re looking for the ultimate Android and don’t mind the high price tag. While imperfect, the Samsung Galaxy Fold3 is not only the tech giant’s most refined foldable smartphone, but also the best offering in the new product category.
A Fold3 with 256 GB of non-expandable storage will set you back $1,800. It’s only $100 more to double the latter to 512 GB, so I strongly advise you to do so. The phone is available in three colors: black, green, and silver, each with its own phantom moniker.
The Samsung Galaxy S Pen Fold Edition retails for $49.99 and includes a handy storage pouch. The stylus holder is detachable from the accessory. A Z Fold3 case with a bundled S Pen is available for $50 more.
SAMSUNG GALAXY Z FOLD3 5G ON SALE
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