The unique Galaxy Fold didn’t have one of the best begin in life. Plagued with design failings, it wasn’t precisely the shining instance of a folding future Samsung initially hoped it will be. However the South Korean agency didn’t quit, and since 2019 we’ve been handled to a redesigned model and a fairly profitable sequel simply earlier than the pandemic hit.
With this yr’s Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G, it’s clear that Samsung lastly has a renewed confidence in its high-priced foldable flagship. It’s the primary time Samsung has been courageous sufficient to ship out overview items (within the UK at the very least), so clearly there’s a very good probability that it gained’t simply crumble in my arms. Proper?
Purchase Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G overview: What that you must know
Launching alongside a recent pair of Galaxy Watch 4 wearables, in addition to the brand new and improved Galaxy Buds 2, this yr’s Fold has obtained a recent lick of paint, each by way of total design and almost about the telephone’s bespoke pill/smartphone hybrid UI.
The important thing factor to notice is that the Fold 3 5G is lastly waterproof (with an IPX8 ranking), and it’s way more sturdy as properly. Incorporating a handful of must-have enhancements, resembling a stronger internal display, redesigned hinge and hard-wearing “Armour Aluminium” body, the Fold 3 5G may lastly be the primary clumsy-proof foldable.
Elsewhere, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G is powered by the Snapdragon 888 chipset, together with a wholesome 12GB dollop of RAM and a selection of both 256GB or 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage. Each the duvet display and tablet-like internal show have a most refresh price of 120Hz – with S Pen stylus help – and it’s additionally the first-ever Samsung telephone to include an under-display selfie digital camera.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G overview: Value and competitors
Regardless of all of those enhancements, the Z Fold 3 by some means prices barely lower than its predecessor. There’s an enormous emphasis on the phrase “barely”, on this occasion, because it’s nonetheless the priciest handheld you’ll be able to at the moment purchase. However a saving continues to be a saving, regardless of how small it is likely to be.
The Fold 3 now begins at £1,599, which is £100 cheaper than the earlier model. That is for the 128GB mannequin, in fact, so in the event you’re hoping for extra storage – it doesn’t have a microSD card slot – then be ready to pay an additional £100 (£1,699).
For those who’d quite keep away from paying that amount of cash up entrance, then I’m afraid contract costs aren’t a lot simpler on the pockets, both. As of penning this overview (per week earlier than launch), Carphone Warehouse at the moment lists the Z Fold 3 5G as ranging from round £85 a month. Wowzers.
At the least Samsung is beneficiant sufficient to bundle a yr’s price of Samsung Care+ protection with each buy, so long as you purchase one through Samsung.com. This can be a no-fuss guarantee service that covers unintended injury (together with liquid ingress and display breakages), and also you even have the choice to interchange the battery as properly.
Samsung additionally launched the dinky Flip 3, and this foldable is significantly better worth for cash. With costs beginning at £949 for the 128GB mannequin, and £999 for 256GB, the Flip 3 prices £651 lower than the “most cost-effective” Fold 3. Whereas it’s a barely totally different proposition – with its retro flip-to-open clamshell design – you’ll be able to’t actually argue with the worth.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G overview: Design and key options
Described as Samsung’s “hardest foldable but”, the Z Fold 3 5G lastly has an IPX8 water resistance ranking, which implies it ought to survive a dunk within the moist stuff for as much as half-hour as much as a depth of 1.5m. In an effort to obtain this, Samsung says that it has utilized waterproof coatings to inside parts, in addition to including rubber seals and customising the wiring of the telephone’s “Hideaway Hinge”.
Alongside the Flip 3, because of this the Z Fold 3 is the primary foldable flagship able to preserving liquids at bay. Nevertheless, it’s nonetheless price mentioning that each telephones lack any official ingress safety in opposition to mud and small particles (denoted by the X in IPX8), so that you may wish to hold it away from the seaside.
As for different design adjustments, a brand new, stronger, protecting movie has been utilized to the Fold 3’s important display, in addition to a barely redesigned layer construction that, Samsung says, has improved show sturdiness by 80%. It nonetheless feels worryingly delicate, nonetheless, and I’d advocate preserving the telephone closed as a lot as doable in an effort to cut back the danger of scratching it.
The steel body and hinge are constructed with a brand new materials, too – Samsung calls it “Armour Aluminium” – and it’s apparently 10% harder than final yr’s mannequin. The quilt display and rear glass panel additionally sit behind a protecting layer of Gorilla Glass Victus (changing the Gorilla Glass 5 on final yr’s telephone).
Regardless of the hard-wearing design adjustments, the Z Fold 3 is definitely barely lighter and thinner than the earlier mannequin. Tipping the scales at a diminished 271g, and measuring simply 6.4mm skinny when unfolded, this yr’s Fold is considerably extra moveable than the final. The telephone is available in a selection of three colors: Phantom Black, Phantom Silver and Phantom Inexperienced, and so they all have a barely totally different matte end.
You in all probability haven’t noticed it, however the Z Fold 3’s pill display options an under-display selfie digital camera, too. The 4MP (f/1.8) digital camera is positioned in the identical location – the top-right nook in portrait orientation – besides it now doesn’t hinder your view. The thickness of the highest, backside and facet bezels has additionally been diminished.
Purchase Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G overview: S Pen
As I discussed earlier, the Z Fold 3 helps Samsung’s S Pen stylus for the very first time, which is a little bit of a coincidence since a brand new Galaxy Notice was sorely absent on the unveiling. It appears the rumours have been true, and Samsung has quietly discontinued (or at the very least paused) the Notice line, with the Z Fold 3 taking its place as Samsung’s important work/productiveness handheld.
READ NEXT: The very best smartphones of the yr (up to now)
There are two S Pen choices on supply, too. The primary is the S Pen Fold Version (£44), which is made completely for the Z Fold 3 and helps Samsung’s Air Instructions, in addition to having the ability to take photos remotely with a easy click on of the button on the high. Not like the Notice, nonetheless, this stylus doesn’t merely slot right into a gap within the nook of the handset, and may solely be hooked up through a specifically designed cowl case (additionally offered individually).
The opposite stylus known as the S Pen Professional (£99), and it is a extra general-purpose pointer that can be utilized throughout Samsung’s different gadgets such because the Galaxy E-book Go and Galaxy Tab lineup, switching between them on the fly with a press of a button. The S Pen Professional is far bigger and thicker than the opposite one, nevertheless it helps Bluetooth Low Vitality (BLE) connectivity and will be location-tracked through Samsung SmartThings.
Sadly, I didn’t obtain both stylus with my overview unit, however Samsung tells me that each S Pens include a handful of latest options, together with the power to jot down handwritten phrases within the net browser’s search bar (changing to typed textual content). You may also post-edit textual content within the notes app, both by crossing out particular person letters and phrases, eradicating undesirable areas with hand-drawn becoming a member of strains or including further bits of textual content with easy arrows.
One other instance Samsung demonstrated throughout a video briefing is that whilst you’re watching YouTube in flex mode (with the display partially opened at a 90-degree angle), the video performs on the high, however you’ll be able to take notes within the backside portion. That is accessed with a double faucet on the backside of the display whereas the S Pen button is pressed, and can be used throughout video and convention calls.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G overview: Twin shows
The scale and backbone of the Z Fold 3’s inside show (7.6in, 2,208 x 1,768) hasn’t modified, though it now helps a most refresh price of as much as 120Hz. After all, similar to Samsung’s different flagships, that is merely an adaptive setting quite than a toggle, which signifies that the display refresh will range relying on the app.
High quality-wise, the internal display is fairly darn good. With two color modes to select from, I discovered that the Pure setting was probably the most color correct, with a median Delta E of two.57, an sRGB color gamut protection of 91.7% and a complete quantity of 93.3%.
HDR video and video games seemed completely astonishing. The show’s brightness peaked at a blinding 1,089cd/m² in response to my X-rite show colorimeter; it truly is a deal with for the eyes, though the sq. side ratio does produce black borders on the high and backside of the display when viewing common 16:9 or 21:9 content material.
The Fold 3’s entrance cowl display additionally helps 120Hz, and it’s the identical measurement as earlier than (6.2in). The decision has seen a really slight change, nonetheless: 2,268 x 832 in comparison with final yr’s 2,260 x 816.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G overview: UI and software program
There’s loads to speak about on the software program facet of issues as properly. Samsung has vastly improved the Z Fold’s multitasking talents, with a split-view overhaul (you’ll be able to modify the scale of the home windows inside apps) and the choice to allow a static taskbar that features equally to a Home windows PC or Mac.
Samsung has additionally partnered with Microsoft for a extra fold-friendly Workplace suite of apps. Microsoft Phrase, as an example, can now be utilized in a two-page mode (like studying a e-book), which additionally lets you open and edit two paperwork concurrently.
Different high quality of life enhancements embody an enhanced large-screen-friendly interface, which contains adjustments resembling having the ability to show extra thumbnails when scrolling by means of YouTube subscriptions. It’s additionally a lot simpler to make use of with one hand, with app settings now accessible from the facet of the display, displayed as small icons. You’ll be able to allow floating widgets, too, like beginning a timer within the clock app and putting it on high of a recipe you’re following in an internet browser.
Purchase Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G overview: Efficiency and battery life
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset replaces the ageing Snapdragon 865 of the earlier mannequin, however the Z Fold 3 nonetheless comes with 12GB of RAM and a selection of both 256GB or 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage. There’s additionally house for 2 nano SIM playing cards (with eSIM help as properly), and it makes use of twin 2,200mAh batteries (4,400mAh typical) to maintain issues ticking alongside.
With specs like that, it’s no shock to anybody that the Fold 3 5G’s efficiency is stonkingly good. With speeds sitting among the many greatest, the Fold 3 5G’s Snapdragon 888 reached a single-core processing results of 1,127 within the Geekbench 5 take a look at, with a rating of three,584 in multicore.
Numbers as excessive as these just about assure a faultless expertise for years to return. It boots and unlocks within the blink of a watch, and the buttery clean 120Hz refresh provides an additional layer of fluidity that few telephones can match. Social feeds, net pages and maps – something that pans or scrolls – fly round with the smoothness of a curling stone whizzing throughout ice.
READ NEXT: Finest telephone battery life
One other good thing about a excessive refresh panel is that the Fold 3 5G can deal with larger body charges in video games that help it. Within the GFXBench Manhattan 3 take a look at, the Fold’s internal display reached a median body price of 72fps. I performed quite a lot of video games, together with Asphalt 9, Alto’s Journey and Genshin Influence, and so they all ran flawlessly. You may also set it up in order that the sport (and any app, actually) continues on the duvet display whenever you shut the telephone.
I’m very pleased with the Fold 3 5G’s battery life, too. I ran our typical video rundown take a look at on the telephone’s inside display, and the Fold 3 5G lasted for 18hrs 23mins earlier than kicking the bucket. With stamina like that, it’s best to be capable to binge each seasons of The Mandalorian on a single cost, offered you obtain each episode and switch off information connections.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G overview: Cameras
Digicam-wise, apart from the under-display selfie snapper, you’ll additionally be capable to use a 12MP (f/1.8) rear digital camera, which is partnered with each a 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide digital camera and a 12MP (f/2.4) telephoto unit with 2x optical zoom. The first and zoom cameras profit from optical picture stabilisation (OIS), and the duvet digital camera makes use of a single 10MP (f/2.2) sensor with out OIS.
READ NEXT: Finest telephone digital camera
That’s an terrible lot of cameras at your fingertips, nevertheless it’s only a disgrace that none of them does something significantly particular. Don’t get me unsuitable, the Z Fold 3 5G is able to taking some really beautiful photos (as my digital camera samples under present). It’s simply that the digital camera providing isn’t wherever close to as thrilling as these high-megapixel-count and tremendous zoom sensors generally discovered on different high-priced flagships, such because the Galaxy S21 Extremely.
How do these cameras carry out? Effectively, they’re excellent however not one of the best I’ve come throughout. The iPhone 12 Professional’s photographs ever so barely edged it in nearly each side-by-side shoot-out, for the reason that Z Fold 3’s photos typically seemed a bit too overprocessed for my liking and the iPhone managed to seize a contact extra element.
Photographs captured utilizing the Z Fold 3’s 2x zoom stretch out a little bit of a lead, nonetheless. There’s loads of element, a number of distinction, and zoomed photographs seemed extra vibrant, vivid and true to life. It’s additionally price noting that, just like the Galaxy S21, you’ll be able to zoom digitally as much as 10x magnification.
The under-display selfie digital camera, which sits behind the telephone’s internal display, doesn’t endure fairly as badly from a washed-out-looking picture as a few of the others do, however the total picture high quality isn’t going to blow you away, both.
That being mentioned, Samsung has completed a bang-up job relating to the digital camera software program. For those who partially unfold the telephone – at a 90-degree angle – you’ll be able to select to put the telephone on a desk or one other flat floor to line up your photographs. You additionally get a reside preview on this mode (on the internal and canopy display), in addition to an up to date digital camera roll everytime you press the shutter button.
Lastly, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G can file totally stabilised video at as much as 4K decision at 60fps. My take a look at footage of the Thames seemed crisp and judder-free, and it was fast to focus as properly.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G overview: Verdict
Clearly, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G is a telephone that’s overflowing with positives. Not solely is it one thing to admire, nevertheless it’s instantly apparent that Samsung has taken on suggestions from earlier variations, and it’s been rewarded with one of the crucial well-rounded foldables we’ve seen thus far.
As such, in the event you’re satisfied that the folding kind issue is the best way smartphones are inevitably headed, and also you wish to get in on the motion earlier than anybody else, then there’s little question that that is the telephone to get.
The massive query, nonetheless, is whether or not Samsung has completed sufficient to get extra of those within the pockets of the non-enthusiast, common shopper. Regardless of the slight discount, the beginning worth continues to be properly out of attain for most individuals, so these of us that aren’t blessed with bulging wallets should make do with common, non-foldy smartphones for at the very least a short time longer.
Purchase Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G
|Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G specs|
|Processor||Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 (1×2.84GHz, 3×2.42GHz, 4×1.8GHz)|
|Display screen measurement||6.2in (cowl), 7.6in (internal)|
|Display screen decision||2,268 x 832 (cowl), 2,208 x 1,768 (internal)|
|Pixel density||390 (cowl), 374 (internal)|
|Display screen sort||Dynamic AMOLED 2X|
|Display screen refresh price||120Hz|
|Entrance digital camera||10MP (f/2.2) cowl, 4MP (f/1.8) internal|
|Rear digital camera||12MP (f/1.8). 12MP (f/2.4) 2x telephoto, 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide|
|Mud and water resistance||IPX8|
|3.5mm headphone jack||No|
|Wi-fi charging||Sure (11W)|
|USB connection sort||USB-C|
|Storage choices||256GB; 512GB|
|Reminiscence card slot (equipped)||No|
|Mobile information||5G, 4G|
|Twin SIM||Sure (Nano & eSIM)|
|Dimensions (WDH)||158 x 128 x 6.4mm (unfolded), 158 x 67 x 16mm (folded)|
|Working system||Android 11 (One UI 3.5)|