The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 was announced today at the (virtual) stage at Galaxy Unpacked 2021, and while the foldable design is similar to its predecessor, there are a few important changes. The nascent foldable category has a lot to prove, but the Galaxy Z Fold 3 might be enough to reach a much wider audience.

The most significant upgrade has nothing to do with hardware, and it's a $200 price cut, bringing the Z Fold 3 up to $1,799. Even though Samsung is still an astounding amount of money to spend on a phone , early buyers have quite a few incentives that can make it even more attractive.

In terms of hardware, there are two changes that help the Galaxy Z Fold 3 attract more fans. The first is improved durability, including IPX8 water resistance, and the second is trying to grab the attention of Note fans with S Pen support.

The original Galaxy Fold looked like beta hardware that Samsung supplied to customers, while the Galaxy Z Fold 2 was a generational leap forward. Now, with a lower price and well thought out upgrades, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 may be enough to massive success.

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is available for pre-order starting today on Samsung.com and will go on sale on August 27th.

The base model starts at $1,799 with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage and will be available in Phantom Black, Phantom Green, or Phantom Silver. A 512GB storage model and the same 12GB of RAM will also be available.

Pre-orders for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will abound, but Samsung is offering $200 Samsung Credit for those who pre-order between August 11 and 26. Samsung will also allow buyers to sell up to four phones for up to $800 off the Galaxy Z Fold 3.

It's good to see that the price of Samsung's flagship foldable platform has come down from almost $2,000, which is the same as the $200 we've seen on the Galaxy S21 lineup this year. However, I was hoping we'd see it drop some more. Price on the Galaxy Z Flip 3 has plummeted, and it will only cost $999 this year. We may finally see something similar next year with the Galaxy Z Fold 4, but for now we'll have to settle for a $200 price cut.

Hands-on experience Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

We'll have a full review in due course, but we had a chance to get our hands on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 before Galaxy Unpacked, including the new S Pen Fold Edition and S Pen Pro.

Specifications Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Displays 7.6" Dynamic AMOLED 2X (QXGA+, 120Hz); 6.2" Dynamic AMOLED 2X (2268x832, 120Hz)
5G support Yes
CPU Snapdragon 888
RAM 12 GB
Storage 256 or 512 GB
Rear cameras 12MP wide-angle, f/1.8; 12MP ultra-wide, f/2.2; 12MP telephoto, f/2.4
Front cameras 10MP f/2.2 wide (lid); 4MP f/1.8 wide (under display)
Battery capacity 4400 mAh
Water resistance IPX8 (no dustproof)
Colors Phantom Black, Phantom Green or Phantom Silver
The size 6.23 x 2.64 x 0.63 inches (folded); 6.23 x 5.04 x 0.25 inches (unfolded)
Weight 9.56 oz

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 design

The design of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is largely unchanged from the Galaxy Z Fold 2, with the rear camera array being one of the few changes. Gone are last year's large, protruding rectangular arrays, replaced by much narrower and sleeker elongated oval arrays.

Otherwise, you'll be forgiven for not being able to tell them apart.The dimensions are identical: 6.23" x 2.64" x 0.63" folded and 6.23" x 5.04" x 0.25" folded. unfolded. The displays (see below) are also identical in size to last year's model.

So where's the upgrade? On the inside. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 offers IPX8 water resistance, which means the phone can withstand being submerged in about five feet of water for up to 30 minutes. worried if you get caught in the rain. Dust resistance is still missing, so it's still not as rugged as other flagships, but it's getting closer.

Samsung has also improved the Hideaway Hinge, which allows you to fold your phone. It's "thinner and sleeker" than the Galaxy Z Fold 2 while retaining its 200,000x lifespan and ability to hold at any angle. The inside of the hinge has also been improved with more fine bristles for greater protection against dust penetration.

Ruggedness was high on our list of reasons why foldables aren't popular (price is the main issue), so these improvements go a long way to making foldables feel more like a viable phone that can withstand the rigors of life.

Displays Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Again, not much has changed with the Galaxy Z Fold 3's displays at first glance, but there's one massive update to the lid display and a potentially game-changing addition to the internal display.

First of all, after addressing the issue of the smaller screen on the lid, Samsung made the one upgrade I wanted in the Galaxy Z Fold 2; i.e. 120Hz refresh rate. The 6.2-inch display on the lid also got a slight resolution increase to 2268x 832 pixels, up from last year's 2260 x 816. The narrow display still leaves the odd aspect ratio, but it's an improvement.

The 7.6-inch internal display is identical to the Galaxy Z Fold 2 except for S Pen support (more on that later). This new feature could open up this device to a whole new audience (especially Note fans mourning the loss of that line). Oh, and don't worry about Samsung using the same display - the Galaxy Z Fold 2's display is one of the best phone displays on the market, and we expect the same from the Z Fold 3.

Another tangible but invisible upgrade to the internal display is its increased durability. Not only should this alleviate some of the scratch issues that were particularly problematic on the original Galaxy Fold, but it should also offer an improved feel.

Cameras Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 has a triple 12-megapixel rear camera on the Galaxy Z Fold 2. This includes a wide-angle lens at f/1.8, an ultra-wide angle at f/2.2, and a telephoto lens at f/2.4. I've been pleased with the Galaxy Z Fold 2's results in the past year, so I don’t think that everything will be different on the Fold 3.

With that said, this configuration is almost identical to that of the sub-$600 Galaxy S20 FE, so it would be nice to see some upgrades. Both the Snapdragon 888 and Samsung's ever-improving computational photography should improve results over last year's results, but you'll be disappointed. if you were hoping for the super-high-end picture quality of the Galaxy S21.

The punch-hole front-facing camera on the lid display is the same, 10MP at f/2.2 sensor. The biggest camera change concerns the internal display, as it now features an under-display camera for the first time. The sensor itself has 4 MP at f/1.8, which suggests that Samsung intends to only use it for video calls. The under-display camera is still visible, but it's much less visible than the hole-punch or notch, so it's a step in the right direction.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 performance

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 uses the same Snapdragon 888 processor paired with 12GB of RAM as the Galaxy S21 Ultra, one of the best devices this year. the configuration should be enough to get everything moving on the Z Fold 3 displays.

Samsung provides 256 GB of storage, which is enough for most users. I'm glad Samsung hasn't tried to reduce the amount of storage, as some rumors suggest. You even have the option to upgrade the storage to 512 GB this year, which is a nice addition given the lack of microSD slot.

While I don't expect performance to be an issue with the Galaxy Z Fold 3, it's interesting that Samsung didn't follow its traditional Galaxy Note pattern by introducing the Snapdragon Plus processor. Also, we don't get the 16GB of RAM that the Galaxy S21 Ultra has. The first one suggests that Samsung is struggling to achieve this discounted price with the Galaxy Z Fold 3.

Battery Life and Charging Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

The battery size falls slightly short of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 at 4400 mAh (up from 4500 mAh). This can be a concern, as the Galaxy Z Fold 2 only lasted 9 hours and 5 minutes in our battery test with a 120Hz display. And when the display cover will move to 120Hz, battery life may be significantly reduced.

With that said, I've never found the Galaxy Z Fold 2's battery to be an issue when used in the real world. I could usually finish a full day with 15-25% left. There's also reason to believe that the 5nm Snapdragon 888's improved efficiency compared to the 7nm Snapdragon 865+ will be enough to counteract the minimal battery size reduction. I'm never thrilled with battery size reduction, but it doesn't seem like it should be an issue.

On the charging front, everything remains the same, with 25W fast wired charging and 10W fast wireless charging. Neither compares to what we've seen from OnePlus and others with 65W wired charging and 50W wireless charging, but Samsung does. still nervous when it comes to battery and charging limits.

Support S Pen Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

There won't be a new Galaxy Note this year, but it remains unclear if the lineup is completely dead. Samsung is trying to bandage those wounds with S Pen support, which is showing up in more and more other devices. Although the idea of ​​using an S Pen stylus on a Galaxy Fold or even a Galaxy The Z Fold 2 seemed ridiculous given concerns about fingernails scratching the internal display, it remained a feature many wished for given the expansive display.

That desire has become a reality with the new S Pen Fold Edition and S Pen Pro available for the Galaxy Z Fold 3; the latter is also compatible with other Samsung devices. cases will be available that let you hold the S Pen close. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 has a much more stable screen than its predecessors, but the S Pen itself also features a new retractable nib that prevents excessive pressure on the display while writing.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a fantastic size for a small portable laptop, but only time will tell if any device other than the Note can generate the same amount of interest from S Pen fans.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Software

Samsung now offers better software support than any other manufacturer, with four years of security updates and three years of major OS updates. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 also has a number of unique foldable display features.

Some of these are related to Flex mode features. These include the ability to share features from an app when the phone is in Flex mode. For example, you can separate the camera controls from the viewfinder. Samsung has promised that additional third-party app makers are rolling out these features, which will only be enhanced by additional foldable devices coming later this year and presumably better Android support, while Google may , will release the Pixel Fold later this year.

Samsung has also improved the Multi-Active Window feature, which allows you to control up to three apps on the screen at the same time. They can be split into separate areas of the screen or viewed in an overlay. Improvements include the ability to create shortcuts to regularly used sets of apps and a new taskbar that lets you quickly switch between applications.

prospects

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 won't bring foldable devices to the masses. That award will most likely go to the Galaxy Z Flip 3. However, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is making steady progress in a category that is still struggling to find its footing.

Unlike the Galaxy Z Flip 3, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is trying to do something new, reminiscent of the original Galaxy Note. While I'm glad we left the word 'phablet', if ever a phone really deserved that title, it would be The Galaxy Z Fold is truly a phone and tablet in one. Now the question is simply how many people need this form factor.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3, like the previous Note, opens up productivity opportunities not available on other devices. New additions such as Multi-Active Window and S Pen support further enhance this advantage. Price will remain the biggest issue for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 even after dropping to $1,799, which is still hundreds more than even the top-end Galaxy S21 Ultra or iPhone 12 Pro Max. Yes, the foldable is capable of more, but in direct spec comparison it lacks what makes it difficult to sell at its price.

The Galaxy Z Fold 2 has been one of my favorite phones because of its form factor. I have no doubt that this will be true with the Galaxy Z Fold 3, however, like many other potential Galaxy Z Fold 3 buyers, I will need a long and seriously consider spending so much on your phone.