Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: Room for improvement Review

Victoria D. Doty

Typical viewers know I am a admirer of Samsung’s foldable telephones and have used a couple thousand pounds the past couple of years selecting up the Galaxy Fold and then the Z Fold 2, but in each scenarios, I went again to a conventional smartphone after a couple of months. There were a couple of significant good reasons for my minimal period of ownership, but it seems like the new Galaxy Z Fold 3 addresses my problems, and it may indeed be accurate that the third time is the appeal.

I’ve now experienced the opportunity to test out a Phantom Black 128GB Z Fold 3 for a couple of months, and inspite of the sheer pleasurable I’ve experienced with the Galaxy Z Flip 3, the Z Fold 3 is evidently the unit for me. I have bigger hands, am a significant admirer and person of the S Pen, commute for additional than two hrs a working day on a practice, and devote many hrs a working day with my telephones.

See also: Greatest foldable phone 2021: Samsung leads the pack.

Samsung does not include both of the two S Pen options with your Z Fold 3 acquire. Two S Pen options are available for acquire. The S Pen Fold Edition ($forty nine.ninety nine) is a smaller S Pen that does not assistance Bluetooth and does not have to have to be billed up. Easy Air Actions are supported, and it comes with a sleeve scenario. I acquired the Z Fold 3 Flip Protect with S Pen ($79.ninety nine), like a Foled Edition S Pen with a scenario with a silo for the S Pen on the spine.

You can also acquire the S Pen Pro for $ninety nine.ninety nine that supports Bluetooth. There is actually a smaller change on the stop of this longer S Pen to change involving Z Fold or S Pen mode. In addition to the Z Fold 3, this S Pen functions with all other S Pen enabled products in S Pen mode. The S Pen Pro prices up by means of USB-C with a fifty-minute demand delivering up to 16 hrs of battery existence.


Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 specs

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
  • Major display: seven.6 inches, 2208 x 1768 pixels resolution, Dynamic AMOLED Infinity Flex with adaptive 120Hz refresh fee
  • Protect display: 6.2-inches, 2268 x 832 pixels resolution, Dynamic AMOLED, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
  • Working technique: Android 11
  • RAM: 12GB LPDDR5
  • Storage: 256GB inner storage (512GB out there) UFS3.1
  • Cameras: 12MP rear f/2.four telephoto with 2x optical zoom, 12MP f/1.eight vast-angle camera, and 12MP f/2.2 extremely-vast camera. 10MP f/2.2 protect camera. 4MP below display camera on the key display.
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS/Galileo/GLONASS/Beidou, NFC, UWB
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Corridor Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Mild Sensor
  • H2o resistance: IPX8 ranking
  • Battery: 4400 mAh non-detachable with fast wi-fi charging. Wireless PowerShare is also out there.
  • Proportions (folded): 158.2 x sixty seven.2 x 16mm and 271g
  • Proportions (open): 158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4mm
  • Colours: Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, Phantom Eco-friendly

In the past, we saw different colour phone options at push events, but then when they were out there to acquire, many colour options were restricted to specified nations around the world. Thankfully, you can get any of these a few shades in the US as an unlocked product, with the only limitation being that the 512GB product is only out there in Phantom Black.

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One of the positives of this year’s launch is that it is priced $two hundred significantly less than the prior Fold products. While this is terrific, retain in intellect that the initial Galaxy Fold also came with $one hundred seventy Samsung earbuds in the box. With that 1st Fold, Samsung also presented a amazing shell scenario with the charger and Samsung earbuds. You only get a USB-C cable in the box this yr.

Also: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 assessment: A beautiful foldable


At 1st look, 1 may think that quite tiny has altered on the Z Fold 3. However, there are a number of fairly substantial improvements that we’ll glance at a little bit closer in the assessment:

  • S Pen assistance: The protect display screen does not assistance this features, but as demonstrated at the Unpacked occasion, there were critical efforts from Samsung and Wacom to empower S Pen features on the key display.
  • H2o resistance: I hoped that this would be doable, but I am even now stunned at the amount (IPX8) that Samsung was capable to attain as a result of the use of rust-resistant elements, prolonged-lasting grease, and sealing of a variety of design things. I dipped the assessment device in the fresh, clear water of a local river, but I actually just required to have a unit I could use in mild rain without the need of fret. I advocate you do not ever test to use the phone in water for movie recording or other activity except if it is contained in a safe water-resistant scenario or bag.
  • Underneath display camera (UDC): The UDC is positioned on the proper facet of the key display with the intention to present buyers with an unobstructed view on the big display. In most scenarios, you can scarcely see the UDC, but if you have a white display screen, you can see the pixels over the camera pretty evidently. This UDC is generally for movie conferencing, and for this part need to demonstrate additional than sufficient.
  • one hundred twenty Hz refresh fee on protect display: Samsung enhanced the protect display with a bigger refresh fee so you now can enjoy a easy display practical experience on each the protect and key displays. It’s tough to go again to a sixty Hz display after working with one hundred twenty Hz displays, so I recognize the upgrade right here. The bigger refresh fee is probably contributing to the average battery existence, however.
  • Armor Aluminum physique: Samsung created a new content to use with the hinge and key panels of the phone. I straight away felt the reduction in dimensions and weight of the Z Fold 3 when when compared to the Z Fold 2 and realize the content also presents increased energy.
  • New key display screen protector: The big key display takes advantage of a new display screen protector and current panel design. Samsung promoting that it is eighty% additional long lasting than its prior foldables. You have to glance quite closely to even see that there is a protector over the adaptable panels. While the key display even now has some softness (which is the nature of current foldable display technological innovation), it does not feel as comfortable as the Z Fold 2.

The protect display is the same dimensions as the 1 on the Z Fold 2, but it now has matching one hundred twenty Hz refresh fee overall performance and is constructed of the newest type of Gorilla Glass. Samsung consists of a display screen protector on this display, and it feels perfectly good with a smaller cutout for the front-experiencing camera. I changed this with third get together protectors on my Z Fold 2, but I do not approach to do this except if this 1 gets scratched up over the subsequent couple months. The display is brilliant and seems fantastic with large resolution and terrific colour.

The key display is also the same dimensions as the 1 located on the Z Fold 2 with the same resolution and overall performance. It has a new display screen protector and panel design to make it additional long lasting. I’ve hardly ever experienced an challenge with both the Z Fold or Z Fold 2 displays, but I recognize the work to boost it right here. The shades glance fantastic, and opening up a seven.6-inch display on the phone is a fantastic practical experience. The dip in the middle of the display is even now seen and apparent, but it does not influence the display’s usability. You can run your finger over it to drag-and-fall and other actions. You may recognize it at 1st, but over time it gets practically invisible. Presented the foldable display technological innovation, I am not confident we can ever get absent from possessing some crease the place the display folds.

The main new operate of the key display is the assistance for working with the S Pen. If you test to use an S Pen from a Galaxy Take note or Samsung pill, a pop-up seems to inform you that the S Pen is not developed for the Z Fold 3, and it will not go absent or enable you use the S Pen with the unit. The two S Pen models that are developed for the Fold 3 have retractable and softer S Pen recommendations so that the S Pen will not injury the foldable display.

When you deliver the S Pen near to the display, a smaller white dot will appear, and the S Pen Air Actions button will appear on the display. All of the standard S Pen features are current on the Z Fold 3. I’ve loved working with the S Pen on Take note products due to the fact the Take note 3, and 1 issue that has normally minimal my use was the dimensions of the display. So much, the substantial seven.6-inch key display is proving to be ideal for S Pen producing, and I are unable to wait around to see how it functions after months of use. I appreciate that you can merely push in on the button on the S Pen and then double-tap any place on the display to launch Samsung Take note. With the S Pen to text operate enabled, you can swiftly delete, be a part of, area, and insert text on the display.

The S Pen is not supported on the protect display, and it’s possible we’ll see this capacity in a long term Fold. However, given that it is a prolonged, slender display, I am not confident there is a lot further features 1 would obtain with S Pen assistance, other than fast display screen off memos. When you have a substantial seven.6-inch canvas to work with, then that is the main display to use with the S Pen.

Yet another new factor of the key display is the below-display camera (UDC) that Samsung integrated in get to test to present a substantial display practical experience with no interference. ZTE was 1st to launch a phone with a UDC, see our 1st choose assessment, and the 1st 1 demonstrated the technological innovation, but selfie pictures were evidently compromised. ZTE just a short while ago declared the Axon 30 with its second-generation UDC, we are screening this phone now, and it is evidently a lot greater than the 1st generation. The UDC on the Z Fold 3 has a overall performance comparable to the Axon twenty when it comes to selfie pictures. However, there are other cameras on the protect display and on the again of the Z Fold 3 that you can use for large-high quality selfies. The UDC is developed for movie calling, and in my practical experience working with Google Duo and Groups, it is perfectly able.

Samsung even now has that practically ideal facet button that serves as the electrical power button and capacitive fingerprint sensor. Bixby is even now an alternative for this electrical power button, but you can improve the features in the options. The Dolby stereo speakers audio terrific although listening to audio and watching motion pictures. Presented the Flex Method assistance for movie applications, I’ve been watching exhibits working with the speakers on the Z Fold 3 and not a headset. In Flex Method, the stereo speakers play audio out of each facet, and it is an magnificent practical experience.

The camera array on the again is pretty traditional and does not have the flair we saw on the S21 collection. I am honestly a little bit let down that the rear camera hardware is the same a few 12MP cameras we saw on the Z Fold 2, specifically due to the fact we have found greater cameras on the Take note twenty Ultra and then the S21 Ultra. I realize some trade-offs have to be created for price, area, and additional, but I am hoping to see camera improvements in the Z Fold four.

Computer software

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G launches with Android 11 and Samsung One UI 3.1. The 1 July 2021 regular Android security update is current in our assessment device. Samsung has a good observe document of well timed Android security updates, so I consider the retail units will have the August update.

Samsung continues to present all of the optimized Flex Method, Application Continuity, Multi-Watch/Conventional Watch, Application Pair, Drag & Break up, and other advanced application enhancements we saw on the Z Fold 2. In addition, Samsung now presents Galaxy Labs in the options the place you can drive applications to conduct the way you want them to on the Fold 3 even if builders do not yet have entire assistance for the foldable unit. Labs options include multi-window for all applications (permits all applications to open in Pop-up Watch or Break up Screen Watch), auto-rotate applications, customise app factor ratios, Application Break up view, Flex Method panel, and a toggle to pin your most loved applications.

I use Flex Method rather a little bit due to the fact the hinge supports propping up 1 facet at any angle you drive. I advocate you have the again, with the triple rear cameras, in the up posture mainly because then the front display will lie flat on a table, and the UDC will be to the still left on the upper 50 % of the display. When you open up the Z Fold 3 section of the way and open up an app suitable with Flex Method, then the content will appear on the section of the display propped up with controls on the bottom 50 % of the display. You can also use Application Pair and have two applications open in this Flex Method landscape orientation. Some applications, these kinds of as Microsoft Place of work, will also have a keyboard appear on the bottom 50 % of the display as you enter text in Place of work applications. With the S Pen, you can even choose notes on the bottom 50 % of the display as you look at films showing on the upper 50 % of the display. With Microsoft Groups, you can even use the Whiteboard operate with an S Pen on the Z Fold 3.

Following working with the prior two Folds, I’ve turn out to be rather acquainted with Application Pairs and have a number of applications set up to be used facet-by-facet. One amazing new operate right here is that you can pin the Taskbar to the proper facet of the display, with your selected applications appearing as smaller shortcuts that are normally seen and swiftly available. Some of my most loved app pairs include Garmin Connect/Strava, Google Find out/Telegram, Outlook/Messages, Bible/Evernote, Outlook/Gmail, Instagram/Twitter, and Samsung Web/Samsung Notes.

Also: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 assessment: Foldable perfection practically realized

One issue that bothered me with the Z Fold 2 was some applications, these kinds of as Instagram, are not optimized for the substantial seven.6-inch display, so the app opens up and seems in the middle of the display with vast bars on both facet. In Labs, you can now customise the factor ratio, and by choosing the Complete Screen alternative, Instagram now seems like it was developed for the Z Fold 3. Once more, I persuade you to check out the Labs.

We saw considerable camera modes with the Z Fold 2, and these options are also current on the Z Fold 3. With the Z Flip 3 shut, launching the camera opens up the viewfinder and all controls on the Protect Show. Angle the Protect Show up, I typically go to about seventy five degrees, and then you can choose selfies or seize content from the 10MP protect camera without the need of holding the phone. This is a good way to seize a team of persons with this camera working with this front-experiencing 10MP shooter.

Launch the camera with the Z Fold 3 absolutely open and then initiate a folding motion. Bringing the Protect Show up about 35 degrees switches the camera app into Seize Watch Method. With the 10MP Major Screen gap-punch camera selected, the viewfinder seems on the upper section of the display with all controls positioned on the decrease section of the display. You can tap the smaller double arrow icon to flip to a fullscreen viewfinder practical experience even with the display in Flex Method. In addition to the camera controls on the proper 50 % of the decrease display, thumbnails of up to 5 prior captures can be seen on the still left 50 % of the decrease display. One thumbnail seems at a time, but you can swipe as a result of content. This can enable you seize the ideal shot as you examine prior captures. Video content even performs stay in the thumbnail.

Faucet to flip to the a few rear cameras to recognize the entire electrical power of Flex Method for camera use. The interface seems the same with the viewfinder on best and controls/thumbnails on the bottom, but you can use the a few large-overall performance cameras to seize content. You can even jump all over your phone to the other facet and be a section of the photograph or movie with a timer set or even elevate your hand to begin a timer.

Auto-framing is an alternative if you want to set your Z Fold 3 down on a secure surface and document movie content without the need of transferring your phone all over. With this alternative enabled, the application shifts the view to continue to be centered and in concentrate, heading wider or closing in relying on how many persons are in view. When there is only 1 particular person in the movie, the application can abide by their movement to retain the movie centered.

Take note the smaller break up sq. icon in the upper still left of the viewfinder. Faucet this icon to change on Dual Preview and absolutely open up the Z Fold 3. With this alternative enabled, your Protect Show turns into a secondary viewfinder so that your subject can see themselves and enable you seize the ideal content that pleases you and the subject. This is an ground breaking way to enable you seize perfectly framed content.

Whilst I am not a lot of a selfie photographer, working with large-high quality rear cameras to seize selfies outcomes in a lot greater outcomes than with the default front-experiencing camera. Launch the camera with the Protect Show shut. In the upper proper higher than the viewfinder, tap the Selfie icon. A pop-up seems that directs you to open the Z Fold 3 up all of the way. Following unfolding it, you will see the viewfinder and camera controls appear on the Protect Show with all of the options for the a few rear cameras out there at your fingertips. This mode is a little bit different from Dual Preview mainly because the controls are out there on the Protect Screen and the Major Screen remains off.

Also: Galaxy Z Fold 2 vs LG V60: Dual display screen experiences that strengthen productiveness

Drag and fall involving two applications are even now supported on the Z Fold 3 when two applications are open in Application Break up Watch. This features is minimal to Samsung native applications and Microsoft Place of work applications, and decide on Google applications. Photos, tables, hyperlinks, selected text, and other content can be dragged involving these supported applications. I’ve created a number of Application Pairs for these applications that assistance drag and fall, so I am excited to see how my performance boosts with this new capacity on the phone.

Various instances of the same app can also be opened up in Application Break up view for selected purposes. Applications that assistance a number of instances include Microsoft Place of work, Samsung applications, and even Google Chrome. This kind of advanced features is confident to enable you improve your productiveness with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.

Yet another fascinating operate we see in the Z Fold 3 is termed Drag & Break up. When you have a supported app open in fullscreen view on the Major Show, tapping and holding on selected content and then dragging to the other facet will change you into a Break up Watch mode with that selected content open in the same software on the other display. Samsung Web at this time supports drag & Break up, Samsung Notes, My files, Samsung Messages, Microsoft Place of work, OneNote, OneDrive, WPS Place of work, and Watcha.

Every day use experiences


It’s clear that the Z Fold 3 has some hardware improvements that make it the most refined foldable out there from Samsung. Samsung sent along an S Pen Fold Edition at the commencing of past 7 days, so I’ve used additional than a 7 days with the S Pen in hand and a 7 days ahead of without the need of an S Pen. I ordered the S Pen Fold Edition and also the S Pen Pro working with some launch presents and discounted codes, so will go on to place the S Pen as a result of the wringer in the months in advance.

The protect display presents a little bit of an awkward practical experience mainly because it is a slender, tall display. I use it for fast actions (checking notifications, responding to messages, and checking my calendar) but devote most of my time with the key display. When you are spending lots of revenue and creating trade-offs to have the Z Fold 3, you actually have to have to be working with that big key display to justify the compromises created. Samsung did a fantastic job with optimization of the application for the big display and foldable technological innovation. 

I extremely advocate you devote an hour or two diving into the options, flip some toggles, and test out some of the advanced features and functions. There is a Good deal to unpack right here, and section of the pleasure of the Z Fold 3 is finding new approaches to use your phone every 7 days. Developers may go on to tweak their applications to give native Flex Method assistance, factor ratios that work by default (hey Instagram), and Drag & Break up assistance.

I 1st pre-ordered a Phantom Eco-friendly Z Fold 3 but then located other coupon codes and a further old Samsung pill lying all over, so I canceled it to choose advantage of the Samsung pre-get specials. I then finished up heading with a 512GB Phantom Black edition mainly because it is supposed to ship sooner than the other shades. One issue to be informed of, the Samsung pre-get launch discounts and trade-in presents are pretty awesome, and if you are thinking of this phone, then you need to both get in on the launch specials or wait around a couple months until finally the price drops a couple of hundred pounds.

Samsung introduced every thing I required to see in this edition of the Galaxy Fold, so I experienced to acquire 1 and place my revenue the place my mouth is. I finished up advertising my Iphone 12 Pro Max and 11-inch iPad Pro to spend for the Z Fold 3. I acknowledge that battery existence is not that terrific, and as a lot as I use my phone, specifically with the new S Pen features, I will have to demand it up throughout the working day. That is a trade-off I am eager to make to enjoy the many other positive aspects of the Z Fold 3. Nice work Samsung, now let’s boost the battery existence and also test to get greater camera hardware in the Z Fold four.

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