Samsung outlined the marketplace for foldable telephones with the unique Galaxy Fold in 2019. It provided folks the utility of a pill in a tool that matches into your pocket because of the technically superior folding show. The Fold was fragile, nonetheless, and unaffordable for many. Samsung addressed the fragility with the Z Fold 2, however not the associated fee. This 12 months the Galaxy Z Fold 3 sees Samsung making strides in each areas because of an much more strong folding display and a cheaper price of entry.

These updates assist the Galaxy Z Fold 3 stay the usual for what a folding telephone can and will do, leaving many rivals far behind. Huawei is, for the time being, the one actual challenger, although its folding telephones are strictly restricted in availability. With so few folding telephones obtainable, Samsung kind of has the market on lock. Will any telephone maker ever step up or catch up?

Discover out what units the Fold aside within the Android Authority Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 evaluate.

About this Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 evaluate: I examined the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 over a interval of six days. It was operating Android 11 with Samsung One UI 3.1.1 on the July 2021 safety patch. The unit was supplied by Samsung for this evaluate.

What it’s good to know concerning the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 angled screen open couch

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 (256GB): $1,799 / €1,799 / £1,599
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 (512GB): $1,899 / €1,899 / £1,699

Samsung is again with its third-generation Galaxy Z Fold, a tool that opens like a e book to disclose a big inside display. The system boasts two shows, and apps that may seamlessly transition from one to the opposite that can assist you maximize your productiveness and enjoyable. This 12 months’s telephone sees tasteful however necessary updates to the {hardware} that make it a stronger, extra helpful system that’s simpler than ever to advocate. However the telephone comes at a price — and I’m not speaking concerning the price ticket. Samsung made the Z Fold 3 appropriate with its S Pen stylus whereas on the identical time it nixed its beloved, stylus-toting Word sequence. Can the Z Fold 3 pull double responsibility, serving as Samsung’s high foldable and Word substitute multi function? It’s a tall order.

What’s the distinction? Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy Z Fold 2

If Samsung has tempted you with its Galaxy Z Fold 3 smartphone, your greatest wager is to preorder the telephone immediately from Samsung earlier than it reaches normal retail. The corporate is providing beneficiant trade-in values in your previous telephones, a number of financing choices, and free credit score towards equipment. Pre-orders are open now and run via August 26. The telephone goes on sale on August 27. Within the US, you can too rating some offers through carriers AT&T, T-Cell, and Verizon, although none are fairly so interesting as these on provide from Samsung itself.

You’re going to want these offers. At $1,799 for the 256GB mannequin and $1,899 for the 512GB mannequin, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 may cost a little 10% lower than the previous fashions did, however that doesn’t imply it’s inexpensive but. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 stays some of the costly smartphones available in the market and that relegates it to absolutely the high of the premium tier. No different system has fairly the cachet as a folding telephone and also you’ll pay for the expertise.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 stays some of the costly smartphones available in the market.

This 12 months, Samsung is transport the telephone with absolutely the minimal in the way in which of in-box goodies. There’s no charger, no headphones, and no case, only a USB-C cable, and a SIM ejector software. It is available in Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, and Phantom Inexperienced. The S Pen is bought individually. There are two choices, the S Pen Fold ($49), which is barely appropriate with the Z Fold 3, or the S Pen Professional ($99), which is way greater and provides Bluetooth and compatibility with many older Samsung telephones and tablets.

Design: A step up

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 closed front screen on a bench.

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

  • Armor Aluminum, Gorilla Glass Victus
  • 158.2 x 67.1 x 16mm (folded), 158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4mm (unfolded)
  • 271g
  • Facet-mounted fingerprint reader
  • IPX8
  • Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, Phantom Inexperienced

Samsung nipped and tucked the design right here and there in simply the appropriate methods to spice up the Z Fold 3’s attraction when in comparison with its predecessors.

Let’s begin with the supplies. Samsung upgraded the chassis to what it calls Armor Aluminum, one thing that’s presupposed to be stronger than 7,000 sequence aluminum. As earlier than, every half of the telephone has a full steel body that attaches to the hinge mechanism within the center. The 2 outer glass panels have been upgraded to Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, the corporate’s most shatter-proof materials but. I like that the glass is curved alongside the perimeters the place it tucks into the steel body. This helps easy out the profile of the telephone to a small diploma. The 4 corners of the telephone have been rounded off only a hair, too.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 camera rear on a bench.

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

These adjustments make for a extra strong piece of {hardware} that’s additionally extra comfy within the hand. The telephone merely feels stronger. It doesn’t harm that the system can be fractionally thinner and lighter. The squarish form continues to be awkward to make use of when open as a result of it’s arduous to grip one-handed, however that’s one thing I believe homeowners will get used to over time.

The versatile display is a number of the most superior tech obtainable to customers.

The hinge continues to be a marvel. It’s lined by a thick aluminum backbone that runs your entire size of the telephone. All of the mechanics are hidden inside, leaving the end-user with a seamless expertise when opening and shutting the system. The motion of the hinge is easy and fluid, and it holds the Z Fold 3 at any angle so you possibly can place the telephone in myriad alternative ways. I significantly like the way in which the backbone disappears as you open the telephone.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 open showing the display, against a brick wall.

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Then there’s the interior panel. The versatile display is a number of the most superior tech obtainable to customers and Samsung managed to actually step it up in comparison with final 12 months’s mannequin. It has a brand new outer protecting layer that Samsung claims is 80% stronger than that of the Z Fold 2. This improved display protector (which you completely shouldn’t take away) is clear as you work together with the telephone; it comes throughout as much less flimsy. Samsung did this to assist prepared the display for S Pen stylus assist. Samsung additionally minimized the gaps on the high and backside of the show the place it covers the hinge. The match and end of the panel because it strikes throughout the chassis are second to none.

If there’s one easy design aspect that’s plainly up to date, it’s the digicam array. The place the Z Fold 2 had a big, rectangular digicam module that was in line with the design of the Word 20 sequence, the Z Fold 3 smooths issues over right into a smaller, rounder three-lens strip.

The controls and practical components which are constructed into the perimeters across the body are kind of similar to final 12 months’s telephone. The display lock button, which doubles as a fingerprint reader, is positioned nearly in the midst of the chassis on the appropriate edge. As a button, some may say it’s too flush with the floor of the body round it, which makes it tougher to search out in a rush. The motion is nice, although. As a fingerprint reader, it’s fast and correct as soon as educated. It’s good to have devoted biometrics that work so effectively. The amount toggle is somewhat on the quick facet, however journey and suggestions are good. The USB-C port is constructed into the underside edge, the place you’ll additionally observe a speaker grille and microphone. An identical speaker grille and extra microphones are drilled into the highest fringe of the telephone.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 top right corner closed on a couch.

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The stereo audio system present Dolby Atmos sound. I used to be pleasantly shocked by the readability and steadiness. Highs, mids, and lows had been all current within the combine, which was punchy with out being overly vibrant. What’s extra, you possibly can crank the amount excessive sufficient to fill an ordinary room with loads of sound with out worrying about distortion. Bluetooth codec assist is superb.

The SIM state of affairs is a bit disappointing. The worldwide model of the telephone helps two SIM playing cards along with an eSIM. The US mannequin, nonetheless, helps solely a single bodily SIM card and the digital SIM is disabled. That is certainly a transfer meant to appease US carriers. It’s anti-consumer and a bummer as well. The telephone doesn’t assist expandable reminiscence playing cards in any mannequin.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3’s final, most important enchancment is an IPX8 ranking for defense towards water.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 open rear view showing camera module, against a brick wall.

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Z Fold 3’s final, and maybe most important, enchancment is an IPX8 ranking for defense towards water. It is a big step up even when it has limitations. Samsung stated it sealed off the 2 separate halves of the telephone within the regular trend with tape and glue. It then used a particular course of that features some type of goo to guard the cabling that runs between the 2 halves so water can’t get in. The hinge itself will expel water that will get inside via its motion. The Z Fold 3 shouldn’t be, nonetheless, protected against mud. Keep in mind, an IP ranking is twofold: The primary quantity represents safety from mud/grime and the second quantity represents safety from liquids. The IPX8 ranking means the Z Fold 3 can sit in as much as 1.5m of contemporary water for as much as half-hour with no downside. Samsung doesn’t advocate you are taking the telephone to the seashore, the place sand may trigger issues. I (very reluctantly) positioned the Z Fold 3 in a shallow pan of water and let it sit for a couple of minutes. It nonetheless works effective.

For people who need the complete Z Fold 3 expertise, you’ll need to pair it with Samsung’s signature stylus, the S Pen. The S Pen is an optionally available (and costly) accent that doesn’t include the Z Fold 3. Your previous S Pen stylus won’t work with the Z Fold 3. Critically, Samsung says older S Pens may harm the display of the Z Fold 3, so maintain them away. The brand new S Pens have a particular retracting level that’s meant to guard the Z Fold 3’s folding show from harm. Backside line: Sure, you’ll need to fork over $50 to $100 to get a brand new S Pen in order for you one for the Z Fold 3.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 open with S Pen stylus.

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The smaller of the 2 S Pens, which we sampled, is an effective measurement and feels comfy within the hand. Utilizing the stylus comes throughout as pure on the display, although you possibly can really feel the seam as you drag the stylus backwards and forwards. It’s as responsive as you count on an excellent stylus to be.

If there’s one main criticism to levy towards the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s {hardware} it’s that the telephone doesn’t have a cupboard space to storage the S Pen. The Galaxy Word, which the Z Fold 3 replaces this 12 months, all the time featured an inside slot for the S Pen. Granted, the area wanted for the S Pen comes at a premium in a tool such because the Z Fold 3, the place each sq. millimeter is required for important parts, however nonetheless. A part of the attraction of the Galaxy Word is that the S Pen is all the time there. With the Galaxy Z Fold 3, you’ll need to both carry the S Pen round individually in a bag or purchase a case that features a slot for the S Pen. Samsung sells the latter on-line for $80.

Take a look at: The perfect Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 circumstances you will get

In all, Samsung gave the Galaxy Z Fold 3 significant design updates that is probably not totally apparent to the bare eye however that add as much as a completely improved telephone and expertise.

Show: Two for the value of two

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 open showing inner screen on a couch.

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Outer

  • 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED
  • 2,268 x 832 decision
  • 387ppi
  • 25:9 facet ratio, 120Hz refresh price

Inside

  • 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED Infinity X Show
  • 2,208 x 1,768 decision
  • 374ppi
  • 22.5:18 facet ratio, 120Hz refresh price

The Z Fold 3 largely carries over the screens from final 12 months’s telephone with a few small adjustments to every panel. Let’s discuss every individually.

Outer

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 display on bench.

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The smaller exterior show shares its dimensions and form with the Z Fold 2, however it tosses in just a few extra pixels and boosts the refresh price from 60Hz to 120Hz. The change isn’t overly dramatic however is appreciated nonetheless.

The Z Fold 3’s outer display is an AMOLED affair in usually saturated Samsung model that gives greater than sufficient actual property for many smartphone duties. It’s vibrant, colourful, and simple to make use of outside below the solar. Critically, I used to be constantly capable of depend on the outer display to behave as a digicam viewfinder even below the brightest situations.

The boosted 120Hz refresh price does make a distinction. Because of the outer display’s slender form, it’s a pure place to maintain your inbox or scroll via Twitter or different social feeds. The 120Hz ranking, which dynamically adjusts relying on the duty at hand, improves the smoothness of scrolling in an enormous manner.

Samsung made simply the appropriate touches to spice up the expertise of utilizing the outer display.

Inside

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 open showing the screen with a brick wall behind.

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The interior 7.6-inch dynamic AMOLED display is why you purchase the Galaxy Z Fold 3. It’s a effective panel that gives loads of area for multitasking and media consumption.

Samsung saved the identical decision as final 12 months’s telephone, which suggests a better-than-full-HD expertise that’s wonderful however not mindboggling. There are many pixels right here, however the 374ppi is under the 525ppi quantity we’ve seen on some normal flagships.

Distinction, coloration, and brightness are all top-notch, particularly contemplating that this display bends in half. Full HD content material from Netflix and different video purveyors seems to be wonderful, although the odd facet ratio of the panel means you have got thicker black bars above and under your content material. The display additionally boasts a variable 120Hz refresh price. I spent hours scrolling via Twitter and Instagram one night time and relished the plush expertise of pushing the display up and down.

The uninterrupted look of the massive Z Fold 3 display is one thing you possibly can’t get from many different telephones.

Because of the nature of the protecting cowl and the supplies used, you’ll discover a loopy quantity of glare on this display as you progress round mild sources. It’s significantly an issue outside, the place the brightness can’t all the time steadiness out the glare from the solar. It’s not egregious, however it’s noticeable.

The place the Z Fold 2’s show featured a punch gap digicam, the Z Fold 3 adopts an under-display digicam (UDC) design, which suggests pixels from the show cowl and principally obscure the interior panel selfie digicam lens. You possibly can completely nonetheless see the digicam with the bare eye, however the pixels do assist contribute to a extra edge-to-edge seamless display expertise. I don’t thoughts punch gap cameras, so this isn’t an replace that I used to be angling for, significantly because it impacts imaging high quality for the interior selfie digicam (extra on that later.) That stated, I’m positive there are some people who find themselves longing to purchase a telephone that contains a UDC design. The uninterrupted look of the massive Z Fold 3 display is one thing you possibly can’t get from many different telephones.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 UDC closeup.

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The very last thing I’ll say is that the crease in the midst of the display continues to be there. It’s not as apparent to the attention or the finger because it was on earlier Fold units, however you possibly can’t miss it both. It does disappear every now and then relying on what you’ve obtained on the show however by and enormous, you’ll all the time realize it’s there. And bear in mind, the display protector is significant and shouldn’t be eliminated!

Extra studying: Refresh price defined — What does 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz imply?

The ultimate phrase right here is that the display is extra concerning the massive measurement and form, which supplies the telephone its multitasking powers than it’s concerning the uncooked pixel density.

Efficiency: High tier

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor
  • Adreno 660 GPU
  • 12GB
  • 256GB/512GB storage

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 has the near-finest chip from Qualcomm along with an inexpensive allotment of RAM and quick UFS 3.1 storage. It runs within the high circle of cellular units on the market, although a few of our benchmark take a look at outcomes fell behind different high Snapdragon 888 telephones from Oppo, Xiaomi, and others.

Every day efficiency of the Z Fold 3 is completely effective. The common expertise of utilizing the telephone for regular smartphone stuff demonstrates no points with respect to hurry or the rest. The massive package deal of RAM permits the telephone to run a number of apps at a time with no downside, no hesitation, no difficulty. Dragging content material from window to window was all the time easy and clear and I didn’t see any stuttering or hanging. Demanding video games ran completely.

The day-to-day expertise of utilizing the telephone proved to be wonderful.

The telephone did effectively on most benchmarks, although just a few scores had been somewhat wanting the competitors. For instance, the telephone beat solely 88% of different telephones within the 3DMark database. Many different Snapdragon 888 units posted higher scores. The telephone’s Geekbench scores, which measure uncooked computing energy, did evaluate favorably to different Snapdragon 888 telephones such because the OnePlus 9 Professional.

In our homegrown Velocity Take a look at G efficiency take a look at, which measures computing and graphics capabilities collectively, the Z Fold 3 put up a time of 1 minute and 21 seconds. That’s in the appropriate ballpark for a flagship and near Samsung’s personal Galaxy S21 Extremely.

See additionally: Listed here are the perfect Snapdragon 888 telephones you should buy

I wouldn’t fear concerning the barely less-than-perfect benchmark scores, nonetheless, because the day-to-day expertise of utilizing the telephone proved to be wonderful — and that’s what counts.

The telephone packs 5G, as effectively, and helps each sub-6GHz and mmWave to be used in markets the place mmWave exists. Samsung lent us the telephone with a T-Cell SIM inside and the Z Fold 3 handily linked to T-Cell’s 5G spectrum within the better New York Metropolis space. In my expertise with the telephone, wi-fi efficiency was fairly good even with out the pace enhance obtainable from mmWave, which isn’t obtainable the place I stay. The telephone is appropriate with AT&T and Verizon’s 5G networks too. It’s additionally future-proofed with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 assist.

Battery: A little bit quick

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 bottom edge on a couch.

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

  • 4,400mAh battery
  • 25W USB PD PPS wired charging
  • 10W wi-fi charging
  • 4.5W reverse charging

Samsung truly lowered the scale of the Z Fold 3’s battery when in comparison with the Z Fold 2, which is shocking contemplating the premium customers placed on battery life. It’s solely smaller by 100mAh, however that’s sufficient to matter on the finish of an extended day.

In my time with the telephone, it lasted a day with blended use of each screens, although it was pushing the 20% mark come bedtime. On days that I relied extra on the outer show, it fared barely higher, and on days that I relied extra on the interior show, it fared barely worse. Complete screen-on time when utilizing principally the interior show measured solely 5 hours, which isn’t nice. We prefer to see a minimal of six hours, if not longer. Granted, the Z Fold 3 has a bigger show than most telephones available in the market, however 5 hours is somewhat disappointing.

Associated: The perfect telephone charging equipment

There are many instruments on board to tweak the way in which the telephone consumes energy. Before everything, we did all our testing with the display set to the 120Hz adaptive mode, which is how it’s configured out of the field. You possibly can cut back each screens’ refresh price to the usual 60Hz, which may assist preserve some battery life. You possibly can modify the brightness, futz with background apps, and extra to fine-tune the Z Fold 3 to your energy wants. Personally, I believe I’d maintain a charger helpful.

I hoped for barely higher battery life efficiency.

Samsung saved charging speeds in test. Wired charging maxes out at 25W, which is effectively under the 30W-65W+ speeds obtainable from some rivals. The 4,400mAh battery took about 90 minutes to cost with a 25W USB PD PPS charger. Keep in mind, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 doesn’t embody a charger within the field, so that you’ll have to produce your personal energy brick and in order for you the very high speeds, you’ll want one which’s USB PD PPS appropriate, like a number of of these bought by Samsung.

Wi-fi charging is restricted to 10W, which is slower than the 18W or greater obtainable to some units available in the market. I’ve an 18W wi-fi charger helpful and replenishing the battery from zero to full took about one hour 50 minutes. That’s not horrible, although it’s not overly swift both. The Z Fold 3 additionally helps wi-fi energy share. The speed is admittedly sluggish at 4.5W. This implies powering up your equipment or one other telephone may take some time.

I didn’t count on the Z Fold 3 to set any battery benchmarks, however I hoped for barely higher numbers than it delivered.

Digicam: May very well be higher

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 angled camera profile.

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

  • 12MP, OIS, Twin Pixel PDAF, (f/1.8, 1.8μm)
  • 12MP ultra-wide, 123-degree discipline of view, (f/2.2, 1.12μm)
  • 12MP telephoto, OIS, 2x optical zoom, Twin Pixel PDAF, (f/2.4, 1.0μm)
  • Underneath-display digicam: 4MP, (f/1.8, 2.0μm)
  • Cowl digicam: 10MP, (f/2.2, 1.22μm)
  • 4K video at as much as 60fps

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 has 5 cameras. It packs an ordinary association on the rear with major, ultra-wide, and telephoto lenses, along with a user-facing digicam on the entrance of the telephone in addition to the under-display digicam that’s constructed into the display. These offer you loads of choices for capturing pictures.

Samsung seems to have carried over the primary three cameras from final 12 months’s telephone, which means you’ve obtained three 12MP sensors operating in a vertical strip on the rear of the system. The selfie digicam charges 10MP and the UDC charges 4MP. If you happen to’re disillusioned by the digicam specs, it’s necessary to level out that the Fold sequence hasn’t historically served as Samsung’s high imaging system. On the identical time, nonetheless, the Word sequence all the time stood for top-class imaging. With the Galaxy Z Fold 3 successfully standing in for the Word sequence this 12 months, its carry-over digicam configuration is a bit disappointing.

There are many methods to take photos. The best is to maintain the telephone closed and depend on the outer show as your viewfinder. You’ve full entry to all of the telephone’s pictures instruments when the telephone is closed. The additional benefit right here is that the Z Fold 3 is extra manageable within the hand this manner versus taking pictures snaps when opened up. Nevertheless, if you wish to use the complete display because the viewfinder go proper forward.

See additionally: The perfect digicam telephones you will get

Samsung’s digicam software program is highly effective. There’s a multitude of taking pictures modes obtainable, with photograph, video, portrait, and Samsung’s “Single Take” prioritized within the mode picker. The app offers quick access to the flash, settings, facet ratio, and different primary settings instruments, and naturally utilizing the shutter button is a stroll within the park.

Pictures captured with the primary digicam are excellent, however wanting wonderful. Photographs taken outside on a sunny day regarded predictably good. With loads of mild, the sensor does effectively and captures good coloration and publicity with sharp focus. Some photographs had been a contact noisy however nothing too horrible. You possibly can see how the digicam dealt with greens, blues, reds, and yellows within the coloration samples under.

Issues weren’t pretty much as good as soon as the solar went down. Within the post-sunset pictures under, you possibly can see the lack of element in the dead of night areas of the pictures. Although the HDR software was in impact, there’s a scarcity of vary in a few of these pictures. The colours turned out a bit muted within the twilight pictures, as effectively, and the quantity of noise is ramped up. The pictures are nonetheless usable, however they may very well be higher.

Photographs taken at night time had been effective. The road scene under is pretty correct when in comparison with what my eyes noticed, although there’s much more noise within the photograph. Within the samples under, the primary two pictures had been taken with the digicam in normal mode whereas the final shot was taken in night time mode. It was capable of seize this scene regardless of the near-total darkness by which it was taken.

The three lenses imply you have got a strong zoom vary for a smartphone. The ultra-wide broadens issues out to 0.5x, with the primary lens providing you with 1x, and the telephoto offering 2x optical magnification. You possibly can zoom as a lot as 10x, although every little thing above 2x is achieved through digital crop. The ultra-wide does a strong job, although I observed some odd distortion and noise close to the corners of some photographs. Not less than colours and publicity regarded good. The zoom digicam does a decent job as effectively, significantly at 2x. Zooming past about 4x results in noisy outcomes and zooming all the way in which out to 10x generates even noisier pictures which are hardly price taking. Furthermore, zoomed pictures lose a variety of dynamic vary, which leaves a variety of underexposed pockets in your pictures.

Portaits work out okay. You possibly can see on this sequence an everyday photograph, a gaggle portrait, and a single portrait. The digicam does effectively sufficient with edge detection and the quantity of background blur is slightly skimpy within the group portrait however is on track for the close-up portrait.

There are two methods to take selfies with the Z Fold 3. The best is to maintain the telephone closed and use the front-facing outer digicam. This ensures which you can simply maintain the telephone, compose your shot, and seize a solid-looking selfie. This outer digicam is respectable however may very well be higher. Whereas the topic (you) is usually in good focus, the outer digicam struggles a bit with balancing the publicity of the background. Furthermore, selfie pictures with this digicam tended to be noisy and slightly flat by way of coloration.

You can even use the UDC that’s constructed into the primary display. This provides you the complete show to make use of to compose your shot and actually allows you to see what’s within the background as you progress the digicam round. Nevertheless, the UDC produces photographs that aren’t nice. Photographs are noisy, tender, and exhibit odd coloration and white steadiness. Most significantly, your face doesn’t look that good. Samsung suggests utilizing the UDC for video calls solely and it’s clear why: It doesn’t take excellent photos.

Video seize is restricted to a max of 4K at 60fps with a variety of various body charges obtainable, so you possibly can take slow-motion and time-lapse video if you want. The Z Fold 3 doesn’t seize 8K video. Samsung is betting that Z Fold 3 consumers don’t care as a lot about top-tier video as consumers of the Galaxy S sequence. The 4K footage I shot was sharp, colourful, and correctly uncovered. Most individuals must be proud of what the Z Fold 3 produces, however video addicts will discover higher choices elsewhere.

Ultimately, the Z Fold 3 outperforms the Z Fold 2 within the imaging division by a decent margin. The pictures are typically cleaner and sharper with higher coloration. Nevertheless, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 doesn’t evaluate favorably to the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely, which has higher-resolution sensors and much superior zoom capabilities. Different flagships, such because the Apple iPhone 12 Max Professional and Google Pixel 5 are higher at primary pictures, too. Maybe most disappointingly, the Z Fold 3 is definitely not so good as a standalone Galaxy Word 21 would have been.

Software program: Refined S Pen energy

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 open showing apps on home screen with a brick wall behind.

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

  • Android 11
  • One UI 3.1.1
  • Three years of promised software program updates

Android 11 is the core platform and the telephone runs Samsung’s One UI 3.1 on high. This is identical normal software program obtainable to Samsung’s present crop of telephones, such because the Galaxy S21 household. Samsung has dedicated to a few years of software program updates for the Z Fold 3, which suggests it ought to obtain Android 12, 13, and 14 over time. Samsung’s class-leading replace coverage additionally ensures 4 years’ price of safety updates.

There are a good variety of apps preinstalled on the telephone, with most coming from Google, Samsung, and Microsoft. There was no actual bloatware on our evaluate unit, however you possibly can count on carrier-branded units to have carrier-branded apps on board.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3’s software program is exclusive amongst smartphones. The truth that it has two screens mandated Samsung to take steps to make sure a seamless expertise as customers transition between the 2 shows. Thus, we’ve app continuity, which permits apps open on the outer display to correctly reconfigure themselves when switching to the interior display. In order for you apps to transition from the interior show to the outer show upon closing, nonetheless, you’ll need to allow this characteristic on an app-by-app foundation within the Settings menu. This may be useful for apps such because the calendar or messaging. If you happen to don’t allow it, closing the bigger display turns off each shows.

Samsung says about half of the worldwide high 100 apps have particularly tailored to the Z Fold 3’s major display, permitting for particular options reminiscent of devoted management panels. The remaining will default to the pill view, the effectiveness of which varies by software. You possibly can pressure apps that don’t behave to adapt the facet ratio of the Z Fold 3 through Settings if it bugs you by hook or by crook.

One of many particular options of the Z Fold 3 is Flex Mode, which is enabled if you’ve set the system up as a tiny makeshift laptop computer. On this orientation, the app you’re utilizing will seem on the highest of the display and a panel will seem on the backside of the display with further controls that can assist you use the app. Some apps — reminiscent of these from Samsung, together with the digicam — assist this natively, however you possibly can pressure it on for different apps via the Labs software within the settings. Flex Mode could be useful at instances if you’re in search of a less complicated strategy to handle an app’s controls whereas the system is semi-folded.

I actually like how customizable these superior options are, however it may very well be simpler to activate a few of them. There’s a little bit of a studying curve with a few of these instruments, although as soon as mastered they make the Z Fold 3 all of the extra highly effective.

Then there’s multitasking, which is the Z Fold 3’s specialty. Managing a number of apps at a time on the primary display is so simple as dragging them over from the Edge Panel and dropping them the place you need them. The display helps as much as three apps at a time, permitting you to handle your inbox, watch YouTube, and surf the online all of sudden. You possibly can combine and match which apps seem within the panels, and dragging content material from one to the opposite is a bit of cake. It’s the telephone’s superpower.

Multitasking is the Galazy Z Fold 3’s specialty.

What does the S Pen do? Bringing the brand new S Pen close to the Z Fold 3 will mechanically launch the floating Air Command software, which you’ll reposition to wherever on the display. There’s no pairing obligatory, which I admire. Air Command offers you fast entry to the S Pen’s options, that are carried over from the Word sequence of the previous and haven’t modified a lot in the previous couple of years. Create observe is what you count on and is the core energy of the S Pen. The note-taking app is strong and provides you loads of methods to jot down notes, convert your scribbles to precise textual content, share your musings, and so forth. If you happen to’re an S Pen energy person, the Z Fold 3 gives all you might need relating to stylus-enabled performance. The most important lacking part right here is, after all, a strategy to carry the S Pen with you that doesn’t require an costly case on high of your already costly telephone and stylus.

See additionally: 10 greatest stylus apps and S Pen apps for Android

In all, you’ll discover no scarcity of superior instruments, settings, and options to futz with. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 gives a number of the most sensible and potent software program of any smartphone. I simply want a few of it had been simpler to make use of and uncover.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 specs

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Shows Exterior:
– 6.2-inch AMOLED
– 120Hz refresh price
– 2,268 x 832 decision at 387ppi
– Gorilla Glass Victus
Inside:
– 7.6-inch AMOLED
– 120Hz refresh price
– 2,208 x 1,768 decision at 374ppi
– Foldable show protecting
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
RAM 12GB
Storage 256GB or 512GB
UFS 3.1
No expandable storage
Energy 4,400mAh dual-battery
25W wired charging
10W wi-fi charging
4.5W reverse charging
No charger in field
Cameras Exterior rear:
– 12MP vast, 1.8μm, OIS, Twin Pixel AF, ƒ/1.8
– 12MP ultra-wide, 1.12μm, ƒ/2.2
– 12MP telephoto, 1.0μm, OIS, 2x zoom, ƒ/2.4
Exterior entrance:
– 10MP ƒ/2.2
Inside UDC:
– 4MP, 2.0μm, ƒ/1.8
Audio Stereo audio system
Dolby Atmos assist
No 3.5mm headphone port
SIM Twin nano-SIM tray
eSIM assist
Biometrics Facet-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor
Software program Android 11
One UI
Dimensions and weight Folded dimensions:
– 158.2 x 67.1 x 16mm (measured at hinge)
Unfolded dimensions:
– 158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4mm
Weight:
– 271g
Colours Phantom Inexperienced, Phantom Black, Phantom Silver

Worth and competitors

Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 laying down screen on

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

The primary foldable with an IP ranking for water resistance.

Samsung’s newest foldable flagship seems to be rather a lot just like the 2020 mannequin however boasts some new design components and a few higher specs. It additionally has an IPX8 ranking and helps using an S Pen, all at a decrease entry worth than earlier years.

The Z Fold 3’s worth equation relies upon wholly on how a lot you pay for it. The sticker worth is $200 decrease than its predecessors, however at $1,799.99, the Z Fold 3 is way from low cost or inexpensive. Toss in an S Pen and a case and also you’re $2,000 once more. Can such a dear telephone ship a return on the funding? It can rely rather a lot on how you propose to make use of it. Energy customers who make the most of the multitude of options stand extra of an opportunity to get their cash’s price from this premium piece of {hardware}.

The Z Fold 3 begins to make extra sense when you’re capable of rating a trade-in deal or different low cost from Samsung. To offer a fast instance: I may commerce in my Samsung Galaxy Word 10 Plus and obtain $475 off the value of the Z Fold 3, knocking it all the way down to $1,325. That’s an excellent begin, however through the pre-order window, Samsung is permitting you to commerce in as much as 4 telephones in the direction of the Z Fold 3, which means you might knock the value down even additional. There are some limitations, although. Samsung is barely accepting Apple, Google, LG, Motorola, and Samsung units for commerce, no less than within the US.

Even at a lowered worth reminiscent of $1,325, the Z Fold 3 is dearer than almost each different telephone available in the market.

Even at a lowered worth reminiscent of $1,325, the Z Fold 3 continues to be dearer than almost each different telephone available in the market. However at that worth, I believe it’s nearer to being price it.

Then there’s the competitors. Wait. What competitors?!? There aren’t any different folding telephones on this class. True, there’s the wonderful Huawei Mate X2, however it doesn’t have entry to Google Play Providers, neither is it broadly obtainable exterior of China. That makes it a non-starter for many.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 doesn’t have any actual rivals however there are options. To begin, when you’re in search of the folding telephone expertise however you’re on a finances, the Z Flip 3 is an effective place to look. It prices $999 as normal, which is a way more palatable worth level. The clamshell kind issue doesn’t provide as many distinctive use circumstances, nor the multitasking and S Pen powers, however this 12 months’s redesigned mannequin is a legit sizzling commodity that lastly makes foldable telephones inexpensive.

Then there’s a whole vary of $1,000+ premium flagships that supply a extra conventional expertise — usually with higher battery and digicam efficiency — which will merely be extra sensible for normal consumers that don’t crave an revolutionary kind issue.

For instance, you might goal the Galaxy Word 20 ($949) itself (regardless of its age) or rivals to the Word sequence from the likes of Xiaomi or Oppo to no less than get the big-screened, multitasking expertise. Not all of those include or assist styli, nonetheless. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely ($1,199) is one other, newer contender and is appropriate with the S Pen in the identical manner because the Z Fold 3 (i.e. bought individually, no storage). Look additional afield and you’ve got the OnePlus 9 Professional ($1,069) and the Sony Xperia 1 III ($1,299), each of that are strong flagships in their very own proper that supply a extra well-rounded expertise than the Galaxy Z Fold 3 with out the folding perks.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 evaluate: The decision

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 angled display closed.

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

There’s no query the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a greater telephone than both of its predecessors. Samsung did a commendable job updating the {hardware} in simply the appropriate methods to ship a superior expertise. Critically, Samsung overhauled the folding show tech to provide it a extra strong really feel that’s not solely stronger however helps the S Pen stylus for expanded performance. Each shows boast enhancements, as do all the overall specs, and the chassis is now no less than waterproof (although not dustproof).

Regardless of Samsung’s efforts, the corporate did stumble right here and there with the telephone. For starters, battery life is considerably restricted and will not get energy customers via a full day. Furthermore, the digicam is merely good and never nice. My guess is most individuals count on a $1,799.99 telephone to incorporate a terrific digicam, not an excellent one.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a stellar system that capitalizes effectively on the dearth of competitors. No different telephone gives the polished foldable expertise that is obtainable from the Z Fold 3

Samsung nixed its Word sequence for the 12 months and as an alternative ported the Word’s S Pen options to the Z Fold 3. Whereas the Z Fold 3 does assist the highly effective stylus instruments we all know and love, the S Pen is an optionally available accent that has no residence within the Z Fold 3 itself. I’d be extra comfy about calling the Z Fold 3 a Word substitute if the stylus had been by some means built-in into the {hardware}. Alas, it isn’t. This makes the Z Fold 3 a double up-sell for these searching for a Word substitute. Not solely is the telephone itself dramatically dearer than the outgoing Word sequence, the S Pen solely provides additional to the associated fee.

All that stated, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a stellar system that capitalizes effectively on the dearth of competitors. No different telephone available in the market gives the polished foldable expertise that’s obtainable from the Z Fold 3. In order for you a pocketable telephone that converts right into a pill, the Z Fold 3 is the one one to get. You will get higher battery life, higher cameras, and decrease costs from different telephones, however nowhere are you able to get every little thing in a single, high-end, tablet-sized package deal that impresses a lot.