The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the foldable phone that’s designed to convince you that the third time’s a charm when it comes to buying into the future of smartphones, and without a Galaxy Note 21, there’s a lot of pressure on Samsung to make good on that adage.
On paper, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 seems like an improvement in every way. Samsung gave the Fold an upgrade: It’s slimmer, lighter, more productive, more durable, and more affordable. Add on a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate to the cover screen, an under-display selfie camera, S Pen support, and a lower price, and you have a solid all-around phone.
You can tell Samsung feels confident about the durability improvements to the Z Fold 3 because the company is encouraging you to take a small pointy thing and use it on the folding screen. All these nips, tucks, and additions give the hardware and software a more streamlined and approachable vibe.
Think foldable phones cost too much? Well, we can’t help you much there. This sequel is still pricey at $1,799, but at least it’s $200 cheaper than its predecessor at launch. If you’re looking for a truly affordable foldable, the new $999 Galaxy Z Flip 3 is a better bet. Preorders are now open and both phones launch on Aug. 27.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Specifications
Price: $1,799 (256 GB), $1,899 (512 GB)
CPU: Snapdragon 888
RAM: 12 GB
Storage: 256 GB, 512 GB
External display: 6.2 inches (2268 x 832) 120Hz Adaptive
Internal display 7.6 inches (2208 x 1768) 120Hz Adaptive
Rear cameras: 12MP wide (f/1.8); 12MP ultra-side (f.2.2, 123-degree FOV); 12MP telephoto (f/2.4, 2x optical zoom, 10x digital zoom)
Front camera: 10MP (f/2.2)
Under-display camera: 4MP (f/1.8)
Battery: 4,400 mAh
Charging: 25W (charger not included)
Size: 6.2 x 2.6 x 0.56 to 0.62 inches (closed); 6.2 x 5 x 0.25 inches (open)
Weight: 9.55 ounces
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 release date and price
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 release date is Friday, August 27 in the US and UK, while in Australia it’s September 10. Pre-orders are open now in all regions through Samsung website , and the phone is gently becoming available from other retailers and carriers in the coming weeks.
The Z Fold 3 price is cheaper than the launch price of the Galaxy Z Fold 2, but be warned: foldable phones are still notably more expensive than conventional top-end smartphones.
It starts at $1,799 / £1,599 / AU$2,499 for a model with 256GB of storage, while if you want extra capacity you can get a 512GB Z Fold 3 for $1,899 / £1,699 / AU$2,649. The Z Fold 2 started at $1,999 / £1,799 / AU$2,999 when it was released last year.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 pros and cons till now
- The under-display camera on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 impresses with its ability to disappear when you’re viewing content. However, the 4MP resolution is not great for selfies.
- The main 7.6-inch display is easier to view outdoors, as the panel gets up to 30% brighter. I also appreciate the 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, which enables smoother scrolling.
- I really like the Taskbar feature, which lets you pin your favorite apps to the side of the display and follow you to any app. It’s just like Windows. However, you have to dig in the Labs setting to turn this on.
- There’s no getting around the fact that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a thick phone when closed. You will definitely notice this phone-tablet combo when it’s in your pocket.
- It’s good to see that more apps have been optimized for the Fold 3, including Spotify, Gmail, Chrome and TikTok.
- S Pen support is a great addition but we wish Samsung didn’t charge extra for this accessory.
- The overall camera quality is very good from the Galaxy Z Fold 3, with it taking sharp and colorful images for the most part. But the iPhone 12 Pro is better.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 design and display
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 retains the book-like design and functionality of its predecessors, with a limited but usable 6.2-inch Cover Display on the outside of the handset that opens up to reveal a massive 7.6-inch display on the inside.
It’s remarkable, even if it doesn’t always seem practical to be carrying such a thick and long device when today’s thin-and-light smartphones are significantly cheaper – although some will believe it’s a price worth paying to get the inner 7.6-inch screen in their pocket and stay ahead of the technology curve.
That inner display uses the same AMOLED tech as on the last-gen smartphone, with a resolution of 2208 x 1768. This isn’t the crispest smartphone screen we’ve seen, but it’s bright, and offers a great picture when you’re watching video or just scrolling the display.
Running down the center of that screen you’ll see the fold where the handset pushes together. The on-screen image is still visible in this fold, but the crease is noticeable when you unfold the device and view the full-size display.
Samsung has made some improvements to the hinge here, and the materials being used are more durable than those employed in all previous foldable attempts. There’s a noticeable difference here when you unfold the phone, and it feels sturdier than the Galaxy Z Fold 2, although durability issues are likely to remain a concern for some.
It’s a touch lighter than the Z Fold 2 at 271g compared to 282g, but it’s still a hefty handset.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 multitasking and app support
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 Is a multitasking powerhouse. Thanks to the Multi-Active Window feature, you can run two apps side by side (dragging and dropping content between them) or run up to three apps at once. And now the enhanced App Pair feature lets you create shortcuts for two apps later in the same way you had them open.
Don’t feel like constantly swiping in from the right side to open the Edge Panel to see these and other apps? Samsung added a new Taskbar feature that lets you switch between apps on the fly; it just sits there on the right side of the display, similar to the Windows taskbar. To get the Taskbar to work, I had to dig into the Settings menu and activate Samsung Labs, which most people won’t know how to do.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 S Pen
2021 is the year of the S Pen. The Z Fold 3 now supports the stylus, with two new S Pens available to buy. There’s the $50 S Pen Fold edition and $100 S Pen Pro. The S Pen Fold Edition doesn’t have Bluetooth but lets you take a screen capture or jot down a note by clicking your S Pen. Samsung is also selling a specially designed $80 Fold 3 cover case that comes with an S Pen Fold edition.
The S Pen Pro has Bluetooth and works as a remote and supports gesture controls. You can even copy and paste between S Pen devices with an onboard memory feature. It’s thicker and feels more like a traditional pen.
Both S Pens have a new auto retractable tip to protect your Fold 3’s display. You can’t use other S Pens with the Fold which has less to do with the screen and more to do with the new S Pens using a different frequency.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 could be the breakthrough device for those who’ve been on the fence about switching to a foldable phone over the last two years.
It won’t convince average consumers to ditch their reasonably priced candybar-style smartphones – that’s the intended job of Samsung’s foldable phone seemingly gateway device, the Z Flip 3 – but more demanding customers with sufficiently deep pockets may finally be hooked.
S Pen support, which everyone was clamoring for a year ago when the Z Fold 2 premiered, finally debuts on a foldable, with Samsung transferring stylus functionality to its foldable flagship as it looks set to discontinue the Note line.
You don’t get Samsung’s best cameras, but the slightly lower price compared to last year’s Fold (and, in some regions, excellent trade-in offers), make this foldable phone an accessible option for early adopters who previously hit snooze button on the 2-in-1 phone idea but now want some much-needed wow factor in 2021.