With smartphone designs evolving at a rapid pace, it’s just a matter of time where every smartphone manufacturer will start producing foldable models. And since Samsung has already released its third iteration of the Galaxy Z Fold series smartphones, we share our thoughts about the new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G.
Over the past many years, we have seen consumers rely on multiple devices such as a smartphone and a tablet. And while smartphone displays have considerably increased with thinner bezels, it doesn’t quite replace the need for a tablet. Foldable screen technology, on the other hand, brings the advantage of having a mid-sized tablet form-factor and the ability to convert to a pocketable smartphone.
As the third generation of the Z Fold family, Samsung claims that the new Fold3 smartphone is thinner than the previous generations. When unfolded, the device has a thickness that ranges between 14.4mm and 16mm. Upon folding the smartphone, the device is 6.4mm thick.
Unlike other Galaxy smartphones, the Fold3 features two different displays for its folded and unfolded mode. The front-facing Infinity Flex Display display features a 6.2-inch Super AMOLED panel with a resolution of 2268 x 832. The front display features a narrow form factor that is not really common and it’s easier to hold the device for some one-handed operations. The internal main display holds a large 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel and the screen resolution is 2208 x 1786. Both the displays feature a brightness of 387 PPI and 374 PPI, respectively. The high brightness allows users to easily view content in sunny outdoor situations. And while both the displays produce amazing colors, the screens also share the same 120Hz refresh rate for smooth graphical effects.
The large screen estate of the Fold3 brings a lot of different possibilities with respect to productivity and usage. One of the best selling points is its native support for the S-Pen, which makes it a futuristic Galaxy Note series replacement. However, Samsung does not include the S-Pen with the Galaxy Z Fold3 package. The large foldable display also can be used as a portable palmtop. Just folding the display halfway through enhances the usability of some applications. For instance, when using YouTube in a palmtop-like form-factor, the top display showcases the video, and the second half of the display shows the comments and other controls. Similarly, when typing a word or a sentence on a browser, the second half of the display converts to a full-size keyboard, which reminds us of the good old days of the Nokia Communicator.
The smartphone has a side-mounted power button that also serves as the fingerprint scanner and is located on the right side of the device, along with a volume rocker. The SIM tray is placed on the left side, and when folded, the SIM tray then faces on the right side. The USB-C port and the speaker grill are placed on the bottom of the device. The speakers are tuned by AKG audio enhancements.
Samsung does claim that the Armor Aluminum frame of the smartphone protects the internal parts of the hinge with its durable characteristics, and yet, it’s also very lightweight. Samsung also ensured that the displays are also protected with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, which is designed to survive drops up to 2 meters and also offers four times better scratch resistance than other aluminosilicates used by the competition.
While the body of the Fold3 is quite durable, we did notice that the main display catches dust very easily on the sides of the screen. While the edges of most smartphones now have curved glass and seamlessly connects to the frame without any bumps, the edges of the display on the Fold3 do slightly protrude upwards, as if there is a slim hardcover case around the smartphone. So whenever you happen to wipe clean your screen, dust easily builds up on the edges of the display. The device weighs only 271g and features IPX8-rated water resistance.
Samsung’s Z Fold3 isn’t just about the fancy new foldable and durable display, it has the internal chipsets to offer high-speed performance. Under its hood is the Snapdragon 888 SoC, currently the fastest chip from Qualcomm’s stable at the time of writing. The chipset is based on an 8-core CPU design and made under the 5nm fabrication process. The highest clock speed is 2.84 GHz. The smartphone runs on Android 11 OS and is baked with One UI 3.1.1. The device also has support for 5G connectivity.
Backing the SD888 SoC is 12GB of RAM. The smartphone comes in both 256GB and 512GB storage variants. While the smartphone does not have a MicroSD card slot, the internal memory is based on the UFS 3.1 flash memory for high-speed performance. The SoC also packs the powerful Adreno 660 GPU for the best gaming performances in the mobile category. And we got to play some graphic-demanding games such as Call of Duty: Mobile. It was fun to play and was definitely a different experience while playing the FPS shooter on the unfolded mode of the device.
Apart from gaming, the Fold3 performed extremely well most of the time. Lags or any sort of slowdowns were rarely noticed since we are dealing with a device that has the fastest mobile hardware. We also ran some benchmarks such as PC Mark Work Performance 3.0, PC Mark Storage 2.0, 3D Mark WildLife Extreme, and Geekbench 5. Check out the scores below.
Along with its high-end specifications, the Fold3 smartphone also impresses with regard to the camera department. The rear camera setup on the Fold3 features array of three different lenses, each featuring 12MP sensors. And while the megapixels are the same, the image sensor sizes and the focal lengths are different.
The primary shooter of the camera features a wide-angle lens with f/1.8 aperture and a large sensor size of 1/1.76″ with 1.8µm as the pixel pitch. The secondary camera packs a telephoto lens and features a sensor size of 1/3.6″ with 1.0µm as the pixel pitch. The third camera holds an ultra-wide lens with a 1/2.3-inch sensor and 1.12µm as its pixel pitch.
The main camera also has support for Dual Pixel phase-detection AF and optical stabilization. The Fold3 also is capable of recording videos up to 4K at 60fps. The front-facing camera under the cover display features a 10MP sensor. The camera mounted on the main display holds a 4MP sensor with f/1.8 as its aperture. The front camera can shoot a maximum of 4K videos at 30fps.
We took the Galaxy Z Fold3 for a spin to test out the main cameras during day and night time. Check out the images below.
With all those fancy features and capabilities, the device also houses a large 4400 mAh battery under its hood. The smartphone also brings support for 25W fast charging capability and also fast wireless charging capability at 11W. Users will also be able to do reverse charge for other wireless charging capable devices but at a slower charging speed of 4W. We ran the PC Mark Work 3.0 battery life test that simulated different processes ranging from browsing, video playback, editing, and more. The benchmark ran from 100% charge, up until the battery went below 10 percent, and the score was 8 hours and 51 minutes.
With years of development, Samsung has certainly improved the foldable display technology with the new Z Fold3 smartphone, and so far, we are impressed. The smartphone’s durable aluminum frame is stronger than previous generations and also keeps the device light. The folding mechanism is smooth and easy, thanks to its advanced hinge technology. While the cover display is quite narrow in design, it’s actually easier to do one-handed usage. The main display, when unfolded, opens opportunities for different sorts of productivity. The large screen estate does offer more room to view more content. The support for certain S-Pen models also gives users the option to draw or write down notes and do other S-Pen-related operations.
The performance of the smartphone is top-notch, thanks to the fast Snapdragon 888 chipset and 12GB of RAM. The main cameras of the device also offer impressive and stellar-quality images with support for 4K video recording at 60fps. The battery life of the device also helps to get through the day, and the fast charge on both wired and wireless methods assists to do a quick fill-up of the battery. As Samsung releases newer Fold models every year, we hope that the form-factor starts to become mainstream and prices be lower so everyone will be able to afford it. We won’t be even surprised if Samsung will even release mid-range foldable smartphones in the coming years.