Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 3 isn’t perfect – the camera and battery could both be improved but it’s a great foldable that’s now ready for the mainstream.
Let’s take this off the table the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is not an ideal handset (because it’s not a thing). However, it is absolutely perfect in what it aims to provide: a luxurious-feeling folding phone that looks amazing and is a joy to hold, and doesn’t cost the earth.
The ideal handset could come with slightly better cameras, but it’d cost around a hundred bucks more. Perhaps it could have more battery life – however, it wouldn’t even be half as tiny.
Samsung has made the right choices The result isn’t just an e-foldable phone that can go toe-to-toe with its slab phone competitors however it is the most interesting phone this year.
Design and construction
- New and enhanced design
- IPX8 water-resistance
- The improved durability is great, but the hinge remains vulnerable
- Colors bespoke can be arranged – at a cost
The previous season’s Galaxy Z Flip and Z Flip 5G appeared to be pretty amazing It was therefore an unsurprising development that Samsung returned to the drawing board to design the third phone in the series. I’m glad to say that my doubts were unfounded since the company was able to find an opportunity to improve several of its flagship features.
The overall design and dimensions of the phone haven’t altered much but its design has changed. There’s no mirror metallic finish of the first generation and replaced by more muted two-tone styles. I’ve been using this phone with a cream color but you can also get this phone in black, violet and dark-green.
If none of these appeals to you, then Samsung has provided the possibility to make a Bespoke edition of its phone just for you – but it will cost an extra charge of PS50/$50/EUR60 and is only available through Samsung’s website.
You can choose among five colors – black, yellow blue, black, white and pink. You are able to put them on the back and front panels on their own, along with selecting between a black or silver frame. Samsung can even let you return the phone to change the colors of the panels after purchase but will charge an extra cost for this.
The colors are all gorgeous However, the most significant difference is the black bar that covers nearly half of the front. It covers not just the two cameras on the outer side as well as the bigger cover display. The design of this display is clever enough to conceal the display when not being used, and even when it’s on, the black background makes it appear as an integral part of the body instead of an unintentional screen.
It’s a good thing that the Z Flip 3 isn’t just superior to its predecessors, it’s also more durable. The most notable feature is the fact that the phone has an IPX8 rating. This means that the phone has the same degree of water resistance as other flagship phones, but there’s no rating for dust protection – meaning you’ll still need to take extra care at the beach.
The new “Armour Aluminium” frame is said to be 10% more durable than the old it, and Gorilla Glass Victus – the most durable of all – covers the body while Gorilla Glass DX is placed on top of the lenses.
There’s a confession this week: during my time using my Flip 3 I have managed to lose it. A quick mishap while removing the phone from my pocket resulted in the phone falling a meter on a cobbled street. A couple of scratches and a tiny dent away it’s still working flawlessly, even though the scratch that is in question is on the hinge which is probably the phone’s weakest part.
I’m not able to guarantee it will be. Z Flip 3 is as robust as the standard’slab flagships, and it certainly has some new weaknesses. It can withstand the impact of a fall and does not feel like a phone that requires a lot of care.
- 6.7in, 120Hz foldable display
- There’s a crease But it’s not a problem.
- Improved 1.9in the outer screen
There are two options to take into consideration when you Flip 3. Let’s begin with the primary display.
This 6.7in folded screen and Full HD+ AMOLED panel is similar to the one before but this year it has the added benefit of 120Hz of refresh rate which means better and smoother motion.
If you’ve never tried folding phones before, you may be amazed by how sturdy the Flip 3’s screen is, and how little you look at the central fold.
But it’s there. It’s not as obvious when you look at it from a distance however, in angles or on bright backgrounds you can notice the crease quickly. You’ll feel it every time you scroll across the middle line. It’s likely the most annoying of both.
When you get your first phone, you feel like it’s important. After a couple of hours of using it, you will realize that it doesn’t. Don’t get too excited about it.
For the cover’s outer display, I’ve previously stated that it’s bigger than it was before at 1.9 It’s capable of fitting in widgets and controls rather than just notification icons.
You can create widgets for weather controls, music control alerts alarms, your step count, and many more that are accessible by tapping towards the other side. When you swipe the opposite way, it opens notifications that you can read on the tiny screen. Likewise, sliding downwards from the top of the screen gives you volume and brightness controls. You can also customize the default clock using several fun animated options, or set up an easy, always-on display.
In essence, there’s enough to make the screen functional but not too large that it gets behind the overall design. I’d love to have a bit more customization of the widgets and perhaps some quick message response options without having to open the phone, but overall it’s a well-designed part on the device.
Specifications and connectivity
- The most powerful, top specifications
- 5G support
- No dual-SIM
The first-generation Galaxy Z Flip used what was, at the time, an older chip probably as an attempt to cut costs. It’s impressive that despite reducing prices this time around, Samsung hasn’t attempted to use the same strategy again. Instead, the flagship model of this year’s Galaxy Z Flip is Snapdragon 808 inside, which is the same processor that was used on Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3 and S21 phones.
With 8GB of RAM, the phone gives speedy gaming performance capable of competing with almost anything else, not just high-end gaming phones.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 benchmarks
Storage is also a good thing and you can choose between 128GB or 256GB of speedy UFS 3.1 storage. However, there is no MicroSD slot which means you’ll be unable to increase this capacity in the event that you run out.
It’s also 5G compatible. Snapdragon 888 also comes with 5G connectivity. Unfortunately, there is only room to fit only one physical SIM card, however, it can also accommodate the physical SIM as well as an eSIM at the same time.
In addition to that, you’ll receive Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, and NFC. The face unlock feature is driven by a single selfie camera, as well as a fingerprint unlock that uses an on-side mounted scanner, not an option for an under-display display.
Battery and charging
- It’s only a little bit longer than a whole day
- Wired 15W, wireless 10W
- Charger sold separately
So far, but is time to look at the phone’s weaknesses but I would not think of them as crippling.
The Z Flip 3 packs a tiny 3300mAh battery that is much smaller than the majority of popular Android phones of today. For light to average usage, it should last for a whole day and heavier users might have a tough time.
When I took it on holiday along with me on holiday, I realized that a full day full of Google Maps and taking photos was too much as the battery would typically die at around 7 pm. This is with 120Hz and the cover screen’s constantly-on display activated and it’s possible to squeeze a bit more battery life from the phone if you’re willing to compromise one or the other of these – but take note that traveling does require particular heavy use.
As with all phones however this is the best battery it will ever have for at least a year or two into the life of the phone and even with moderate usage, it’s unlikely to last for long.
They are big and heavy. I’m of the opinion that Samsung has made the right decision by putting the phone’s thin, light design over its durability. However, it also means that the phone isn’t suited to all users, and definitely will not please the most demanding users.
The battery’s poor quality would be more palatable in the event that Samsung had included rapid charging speeds, however, the 15W charge here is slow even by Android standards. The tiny battery here was topped off by just 46% within 30 minutes using an external charger. In that regard, keep in mind that Samsung does not come with a charger, which means you’ll have to connect an existing USB-C charging device to fill it up or purchase a brand fresh one.
There’s wireless charging of 10W but it’s slow. 4.5W reverse wireless charging on other phones, however using either type of wireless will make your phone sweat a little.
I don’t believe that the phone’s battery or charging limitations are major issues for me, however, I can understand why they might be for some. Take a look at the weight of a smartphone user you are, and also the willingness you have to carry around a power source every occasionally.
- Dual rear cameras
- Competitive in good lighting
- Slab phones still outperform rivals in lowlight and versatility
If the battery’s lifespan is not as good as it should be the camera’s performance in Z Flip 3 is a more subjective issue.
Samsung has decided to use the camera specs from last year which means you’ll have a main lens that is 12Mp and 12Mp ultrawide with a punch-hole 10Mp selfie lens.
These cameras were not the best this year and, to be honest, this is the same today. Simple images for social media can be taken out nicely, particularly in bright lighting conditions, but the performance may be less than ideal in dim conditions, and many users will be missing the other options that come with a zoom lens.
The 12Mp f/1.8 main lens is sufficient for most people. Colors are vivid and vibrant and 12Mp is adequate for sharp detail. It’s actually decent in low-light conditions, helped by the addition of the optical stabilization however, it is definitely louder and less clear than the top performers at this. It is particularly troubled by HDR as it tends to over-expose bright backgrounds, leading to blow-out skies.
Wide-angle and selfie lenses tell the same, however, due to their smaller f/2.2 as well as f/2.4 apertures and the lack of OIS these issues get worse. The low-light performance here is more pronounced with less clear, fuzzy results, as well as the potential to blast out bright light sources, is overemphasized.
There are some advantages to cameras provided by the foldable aspect, however. The design of the camera can be set up at the desired angle, ideal for video calls or to set the phone up to take timed selfies. You can also show a cropped view of your viewfinder on the display on the cover which means that if you’re taking an image of someone, they’ll see a glimpse of the way they appear before taking the photo.
A majority of the images from any of these lenses can be compared against the best phones, particularly to an untrained eye. The latest advances in smartphone photography have focussed on edge cases, shooting at night, with challenging lighting and extreme zooms and it’s this when you’ll find that the Flip 3 can’t compete.
What does that mean? Most likely not of us, but I’m betting that Flip 3 will find a large audience that is willing to compromise to get the distinctive design. If that’s not your thing and you’re looking for something else, Samsung offers its S21 Series available and waiting.
- The ship comes with Android 11
- Three years of Android updates for 3 years
Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 3 launched with Android 11 and Samsung’s OneUI 3.1 on top.
Samsung has pledged to provide 3 years’ worth of Android update versions for the phone and will include the forthcoming Android 12 version and 13 versions, as well as Versions 13 and 14 and a further year of security updates. This is among the top Android updates you can find that is only beaten by Google itself.
OneUI is among the best Android versions available these days. It’s weighed down by excessive clutter and sometimes it can seem more rigid and rigid than its competitors however it’s also fast and attractive. It’s also easy to use which is one of the most important aspects.
Samsung is also doing an excellent job of supporting its unique foldable features. I’ve mentioned some of the camera options and other clever features.
Click on a notification or widget that appears on the cover screen to open the app. It will be up and running when you start the phone. You can also customize the settings for calls so that closing and opening the phone will allow you to answer and then end calls.
It can even detect that you have the display partially open. If you set the phone on tables or tables, you can use the Samsung gallery application will drag pictures to the top of the display for you to browse through. It will do the same thing with video with a handful of compatible applications.
Prices and availability
Galaxy Z Flip 3 Galaxy Z Flip 3 is available in all countries today and comes with two pricing options depending on the amount of storage space you’re looking for:
- 128GB: PS949/$999/EUR1,049/Rs84,999
- 256GB: PS999/$1,049/EUR1,099/Rs88,999
As we mentioned earlier there is also the possibility of paying an additional PS50/$50/EUR60 to get any of the Bespoke Edition models available only available with the storage option of 256GB, and as of this writing, they will only be available to the US, UK, Canada, South Korea, France, Germany, and Australia.
I’m not going to pretend that the price of PS949/$999 is a bargain for a phone but when you compare it to the starting price of PS1,399/$1,449 of the Z Flip 5G, it’s a steal.
With this price, you’ll likely be looking to weigh the Flip 3 against top flagships, including Samsung’s Galaxy S21, the new iPhone 13 series, or Chinese competitors like Xiaomi Mi 11 or the Xiaomi Mi 11, or Oppo Find X3 Pro.
To be honest, all of these phones can beat the Flip in terms of photography capabilities as well as battery life and longevity. They’re not all foldable in half. Personally, I’d be willing to make this trade at any time However, it’s entirely understandable if you didn’t.
I am a huge fan of this Galaxy Z Flip 3. It’s not surprising that I liked the original Z Flip too, and this is a much-improved version at a more affordable price.
There are some drawbacks, camera, and battery in particular but durability is also a factor and you’ll know when those issues aren’t for you.
However, for the vast majority of users, I believe they shouldn’t be. Also, Samsung has absolutely perfected the look and feel of this particular form factor enough that it is as if it’s an upgrade for the regular phone, and doesn’t have the look of the first generation.
If you’re not convinced by the appeal of a folding flip phone, this will not convince you, however, if you’re interested, there’s no reason to hold off more. This is the real deal.