The third generation of Samsung Galaxy Fold focuses on durability, enhanced productivity, better software experience while flaunting some bold features. When the smartphone industry is largely figuring out their approach towards making foldable phones, Samsung has introduced innovations like an under display camera and supporting stylus on a flexible display that is not made of glass. Not to forget, the Z Fold 3 is also IPX8 water resistant. The Z fold 3 is, of course, expensive but it assures you that you are using the most advanced smartphone of 2021 and there’s no other device right now that can match it. After using the Galaxy Z Fold 3 for a couple of days, here’s our initial impressions.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 design
Samsung hasn’t made any drastic change in the new Z Fold 3 when it comes to the design or display of the phone. Things are pretty much similar to the 2020 Galaxy Z Fold 2. But the entire experience has definitely improved. The device no longer looks bulky as the main camera module at the back has been trimmed. The matte finish on the rear panel, which is now made of Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, looks premium. The hinge has become sturdier and you will feel confident while folding or unfolding the device. When the device is folded, it fits well in the hands, looks stylish and the build quality exudes confidence.
Once you unfold the device, you will notice that the selfie camera cut out in the display is gone. You are getting the entire screen estate. Samsung is using an under display selfie camera which is subtly visible when you use a light colour wallpaper or any app that has a white background. The camera is integrated well underneath the display and while watching movies or gaming you will not even recognise that it’s there.
Another aspect is that the edges around the flexible display are slightly raised so that it’s protected from accidental falls. Samsung has managed the hinge area of the display well and the crease along the fold is less visible now. Having said that, that crease is going to remain until Samsung replaces the flexible plastic display with real glass. Now, bending glass to make it flexible will take some time to happen. But in the new Z Fold 3, you will learn to live with the crease as it doesn’t create a problem while consuming content.
The body of the device is quite similar to the Z Fold 3 with USB Type-C port at the bottom, volume rockers and wake button (with integrated fingerprint scanner) on the right side.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 display
It goes without saying that the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 comes with two displays: the external cover display and the main display that is foldable. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 comes with a 6.2-inch HD+ Dynamic AMOLED cover display with 120Hz refresh rate. Note that the cover display is what you will see when the device is folded. You can perform all tasks on this display and it is made of glass. When you unfold the device, you will get a 7.6-inch QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED main display with 120Hz refresh rate.
The dimensions of the display hasn’t changed but now you get 120Hz refresh rate making things appear smoother. These are the best displays you get in a foldable phone right now but you will have to get used to the aspect ratios. The foldable display is squarish while the cover display has an aspect ratio of 25:9. You can run all apps in full screen mode to cover the entire display area but this may lead to content getting cropped. At the same time, if you run anything on the original aspect ratio, you will notice black bands around the content. This is why the Z Fold 3 is not meant for gaming. But the squarish aspect ratio helps during multitasking, as you can manage to squeeze up to four apps and run them simultaneously.
The transition from the cover screen to the main screen is seamless and overall, you will love the quality.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 camera
The device comes with a total of five cameras– three at the back, one underneath the main display and one on the cover display. The triple rear camera module includes a 12MP ultrawide sensor with F2.2 aperture, 12MP dual pixel autofocus primary sensor with F1.8 aperture, OIS and another 12MP telephoto sensor with F2.4 aperture and OIS. There’s 2X optical zoom and 10X digital zoom along with HDR10+ video recording. When you fold the device, you will get a selfie camera on the cover display with 10MP sensor and F2.2 aperture.
This is Samsung’s first phone to come with an under display camera. The under display camera has a 4MP sensor and an aperture of F1.8.
Talking about the quality, there aren’t a lot of changes and it still clicks good photos like the Z Fold 2. But you will be disappointed with the quality of the under display camera. More about the camera quality in our full review.
Samsung Galaxy Z 3 Fold specs
The device is powered by a 5nm 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G chipset with a maximum clock speed of 2.84GHz. It is the fastest Android processor. The phone supports 5G connectivity. It comes along with 12GB of RAM and internal storage options of 128GB or 256GB. There’s no slot for a microSD card and runs on Android 11 operating system out-of-the-box.
The phone is backed by a 4,400mAh battery. For security, the device supports biometric locks like Face or fingerprint and it’s a 5G-enabled smartphone. In India, the phone will come in Phantom Black and Green colour options.
Samsung Galaxy Z 3 Fold first impressions
The Galaxy Z 3 Fold is all about refinement and letting users do more with the hardware. It has got all the style along with the substance. Also, with support for the S-Pen stylus, you can get the experience of the Galaxy Note series as well if you decide to purchase the stylus separately. There are a few things that you may not like about the device; inside the box you will not get any charger or earbuds or any other accessory. You just get a charging cable.
The device doesn’t support the older S-Pen stylus, so you will have to buy a new one in case you wish to scribble something on the device. Though the device is sturdy and water resistant, you will need to be careful with dust as there’s no IP rating for dust particles. You need to use the Z Fold 3 with soft hands and not the way you generally use your phones.
Once you are used to the Z Fold 3, the experience you get is quite unmatched and it will be difficult to get back regular phones.