The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 bring much-needed refinement and lower price tags
What you need to know
- Samsung launches its latest foldable smartphones.
- The Galaxy Z Fold 3 features S Pen support and a new Under Display Camera for more immersive viewing.
- The Galaxy Z Flip 3 has a larger outer display for notifications, music control, selfies, and more.
- Both the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 are available for purchase at $1800 and $1000, respectively.
Samsung has officially announced what it calls "the next chapter in foldable innovation," with the successors to the best foldable phones on the market. The new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 offer notable upgrades over their predecessors, from the latest chipset to more durable builds, while launching at lower price points as Samsung aims to bring its foldables into the mainstream.
And while there's no Galaxy Note this year, the legacy still lives on as Samsung is bringing its most popular feature to its foldable lineup for the first time.
Galaxy Z Fold 3
At first glance, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 doesn't look like much of an upgrade over the already impressive Galaxy Z Fold 2. However, the latest foldable offers some of the best that Samsung has to bring to its smartphone lineup. For starters, the device is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, found in many of the best Android phones this year. Thanks to its incredible performance, Samsung has upgraded its Multi-Active Window to let you do more on the large 7.6-inch dynamic 120Hz AMOLED display.
The main display also has more tricks up its sleeve in the form of the company's first Under Display Camera on a smartphone.
While the camera resolution is downgraded to a 4MP sensor, it features larger pixels and a larger aperture to let in more light. The camera should also blend in more seamlessly with the display, and Samsung says that it provides an "increased viewable area so users get an unbroken canvas for their favorite apps." It remains fairly inconspicuous, although it is fairly noticeable with white or brighter backgrounds.
We'll have to see just how the camera performs in real-life scenarios, as previous attempts at Under Display Cameras from other companies haven't exactly impressed.
As far as design goes, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 looks a lot like its predecessor, perhaps with a more polished look. That said, Samsung has made some notable refinements to the design to make it more durable. The biggest is perhaps the addition of water resistance with an IPX8 rating. The Z Fold 3 is also covered in Gorilla Glass Victus, while Gorilla Glass DX covers the 12MP triple camera lens on the rear for clearer images. Lastly, Samsung has reinforced the main inner display with polyethylene terephthalate (PET), making it 80% more durable than its predecessor.
One of the benefits of a more durable display is support for the S Pen. Instead of a Galaxy Note 20 successor for 2021, Samsung is sticking to its commitment to bring the S Pen to other devices and is launching two new S Pens to celebrate the occasion. The S Pen Foldable Edition is more akin to the version that launched alongside the Galaxy S21 Ultra in that it only works with one device and doesn't come with Bluetooth features.
That's where the S Pen Pro comes in. Samsung technically announced it earlier in the year, but we've waited until now to get it in our hands. The S Pen Pro is a more versatile stylus that's also compatible with any Galaxy smartphone that supports S Pen. That means you don't need a Galaxy Z Fold 3 to purchase and use one.
Both pens feature retractable tips to help protect the display and should offer improved latency for true-to-life composition. One might say the Galaxy Z Fold made for the pen, not the other way around, so it's nice to see Samsung finally include support for the S Pen.
Galaxy Z Flip 3
The new Galaxy Z Flip 3 offers many of the same design refinements as the Z Fold 3 for added durability, including Gorilla Glass and PET protection, as well as IPX8 water resistance. The inner AMOLED display is largely the same as its predecessor at 6.7-inches, but this time around, Samsung doubles the refresh rate to 120Hz. Paired with the new Dolby Atmos stereo speakers, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 becomes more of a powerhouse for entertainment.
The Cover Display also gets a dramatic change, as it's now larger at 1.9-inches. Samsung says this makes it ideal for checking messages or notifications, controlling music, coordinating wallpapers with the new Galaxy Watch 4, and much more thanks to the new widgets. It can also be used for taking selfies with the enhanced Quick Shot feature.
Price and availability
Samsung is on a mission to make foldable phones more mainstream. That's why it's launching its new foldables at cheaper price points than their predecessors.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is available starting at $1800 for 12GB/256GB. Available colorways include Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, and Phantom Green.
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 starts at $1000 for the 8GB/128GB variant. Colorways include cream, lavender, green, and Phantom Black. Samsung is also selling exclusive colors on its site, including gray, white, and pink.
For more on these phones, you can check out our Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 hands-on.
Foldable gone mainstream
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 represents among the best that Samsung has to offer, with a more durable, refined design, a new Under Display Camera for uninterrupted viewing, and S Pen support for better productivity.
Nostalgia at its best
The flip gets even better
The new Galaxy Z Flip 3 is perfect for anyone who misses the good old days when hanging up was as dramatic as slamming your phone shut. And with the larger outer display, it's perfect for controlling music, checking messages, or taking selfies with the dual-camera setup.
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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.