Yes, you can still damage the Z Fold 3 screen with an S Pen or fingernail

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 S Pen Notes
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 S Pen Notes (Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Samsung's new PET screen protector is rated to be 80% stronger than the previous-generation foldable screen protector.
  • Too much pressure from a rigid object can still damage the screen, including the Fold-compatible S Pen or even a fingernail.
  • The screen protector seems to iron out these indentations over time, but there's no guarantee it will go back to the way it was.

With the announcement of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Z Flip 3, Samsung unveiled a new pre-installed polyethylene terephthalate (PET) screen protector that's rated to be 80% stronger than the one included on its previous-generation foldable phones. Furthermore, Samsung even included the ability to use two special S Pen models on the Fold 3's larger screen. That larger screen has proven to be significantly more durable than the one on the Fold 2 but, as you can see above, it's not impervious to damage from the S Pen or a fingernail.

Galaxy Z Fold 3 Screen S Pen Damage

(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

The circular scribbles you see engraved into the screen protector in the image above were caused by trying to clean some stuck particles off of a portion of the screen with a fingernail. We've also noticed that pressing too hard with the S Pen can cause slight indentations in the screen if held for too long. Even though the special Fold-compatible S Pen models are designed to retract the tip when too much pressure is applied, it doesn't mean you should go out of your way to try it.

Interestingly, the grooves made in the screen protector seem to have lessened over time. We've reached out to Samsung to find out if this is the result of any self-healing properties that the new PET screen protector may have.

While it may seem initially alarming, it's worth noting that it took a specific kind of pressure to create these indentations rather than regular use. In comparison, the screen protector that came pre-installed on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and the Galaxy Z Flip 5G was a much softer plastic that was easily scratched with a fingernail during regular use; something many Fold 2 owners recognized and dared to replace with something better.

To make a long story short, normal use of the Galaxy Z Fold 3's larger screen shouldn't cause any issues, but you should still do your best to baby it. After all, getting the screen repaired isn't a cheap venture.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu