Galaxy Z Flip 3 assessment: Samsung’s cheaper, higher hi-tech flip telephone | Samsung

The flip telephone continues its march again in the direction of the mainstream because of Samsung’s folding-screen expertise. Now cheaper, smoother, waterproof and extra sturdy than final 12 months’s mannequin, it could depart you questioning why you’ll purchase a normal telephone on the similar value.

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 replaces the unique Z Flip (there was no model two) and prices £949 ($999/A$1,499) – £350 cheaper than its predecessor and on a par with the highest smartphones, together with Samsung’s £949 Galaxy S21+.

The Flip 3 is one among Samsung’s third-generation folding-screen units alongside the £1,599 Galaxy Z Fold 3 tablet-phone hybrid. The Fold 3 is about placing a pill in your pocket, whereas the Flip 3 is basically a smartphone that folds in half like a make-up compact.

The 1.9in cowl display screen is beneficial for displaying the time, notifications and widgets for issues comparable to music management, the climate or timers. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The brand new Flip 3 is an evolution of Samsung’s earlier foldable system. It’s barely thinner, shorter and narrower, the hinge has been refined, the design on the surface is much less showy and it feels a bit extra sturdy.

In contrast with the unique Flip, the folding 6.7in OLED display screen is twice as quick, with a 120Hz refresh fee, bringing it into line with high common smartphones and making scrolling and different interactions visibly smoother. Its ultra-thin glass cowl is 80% extra resilient too, although nonetheless significantly softer than commonplace glass, and far smoother to the contact, permitting your fingers to glide over the floor as simply as a daily telephone.

There’s nonetheless a crease you may really feel the place the display screen folds, however it is just seen when the display screen is off and at sure angles, making it simple to miss.

samsung galaxy z flip 3 review
The Z Flip 3 is totally flat when unfolded and operates identical to a daily smartphone. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Maybe the largest bodily improve is the telephone’s water resistance – a primary for folding-screen telephones – rated to IPX8 requirements of 1.5-metre depths for half-hour, matching one of the best common units.

It is very important be aware that the system is just not dust-resistant to the identical extent, as Samsung has waterproofed every half of the telephone after which put anti-corrosion therapy on the hinge in between. Mud might nonetheless get in to the hinge, however because the earlier mannequin proved, issues of it inflicting points are largely overblown in the event you’re a bit of bit cautious with the system.

Specs

  • Essential display screen: 6.7in FHD+ 120Hz AMOLED Infinity Flex Show (425ppi)

  • Cowl display screen: 1.9in AMOLED (302ppi)

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

  • RAM: 8GB of RAM

  • Storage: 128 or 256GB

  • Working system: One UI 3.1 based mostly on Android 11

  • Digital camera: twin rear digital camera: 12MP huge angle, 12MP ultra-wide angle, 10MP selfie digital camera

  • Connectivity: 5G, nano sim + esim, wifi6, NFC, Bluetooth 5 and GPS

  • Water resistance: IPX8 (1.5 metre depths for half-hour)

  • Folded dimensions: 86.4 x 72.2 x 17.1-15.9mm

  • Unfolded dimensions: 166.0 x 72.2 x 6.9mm

  • Weight: 183g

High efficiency, common battery life

samsung galaxy z flip 3 review
It takes 94 minutes to completely cost the Z Flip 3 by way of USB-C with a suitable 15W quick charger. Notice an influence adaptor is just not included within the field. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Z Flip 3 ships with Qualcomm’s newest high processor, the Snapdragon 888, which is similar chip as fitted to the Galaxy S21 collection within the US and by rivals comparable to OnePlus and Xiaomi.

Day-to-day efficiency is great. The telephone feels quick, apps load and carry out instantly, and gaming efficiency was on a par with high Android rivals. Unlocking the telephone utilizing the fingerprint scanner within the aspect works significantly quicker than the earlier mannequin.

Battery life is decidedly common for a smartphone, nevertheless. It lasts greater than 25 hours, or a strong day with the display screen on for about three hours, ending with underneath 25% left within the battery so that you’ll should cost it every day. That’s much like final 12 months’s mannequin, however behind the 36 hours of the S21+.

Sustainability

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 review
The Flip 3 ships with a particular display screen protector put in that, not like these on different smartphones, shouldn’t be eliminated and solely changed by a technician. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Samsung doesn’t present an anticipated lifespan for the battery within the Z Flip 3. These in related units usually preserve no less than 80% of their unique capability for no less than 500 full cost cycles.

The telephone is usually repairable. Display repairs price not more than £279 for the interior show or £79 for the duvet show, whereas the battery is replaceable by authorised service centres.

Samsung provides trade-in and recycling schemes for previous units however the smartphone doesn’t embrace any recycled supplies. The corporate publishes annual sustainability studies however not affect assessments for particular person merchandise. The Z Flip 3 doesn’t ship with a charger or earphones.

One UI 3.1

samsung galaxy z flip 3 review
The display screen could be very lengthy, that means most widescreen video finally ends up with giant black bars on the sides except zoomed to suit. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Z Flip 3 runs the identical Samsung-customised model of Android 11 referred to as OneUI 3.1 as the remainder of the corporate’s telephones, together with the S21 collection.

It’s a refined and well-performing model of Android that appears trendy and is properly organised. A couple of additions have been made for the folding display screen. “Flex mode”, for example, splits the display screen once you fold it into an L-shape for supported apps. It could transfer the video to the highest and playback controls to the underside for YouTube, or for the digital camera put the viewfinder on the high and the shutter button on the backside.

The Z Flip 3 will obtain no less than 4 years of software program updates from launch, together with month-to-month safety patches, making it one of many longest-lasting Android units obtainable, however a couple of 12 months or so behind Apple’s five-year-plus help for its iPhones.

Digital camera

samsung galaxy z flip 3 review
The digital camera can be utilized flat, partially folded in ‘flex mode’ or shut with the surface coverscreen lively as a viewfinder. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The twin 12-megapixel digital camera on the again options a normal “huge” digital camera with optical picture stabilisation and an ultrawide angle digital camera, much like final 12 months’s mannequin. Each cameras are notably improved and are basically the identical as the 2 fitted to the S21+.

They shoot actually good photographs and strong video in most lighting situations. Low mild efficiency is improved over final 12 months and whereas the ultra-wide digital camera loses a bit of element and sharpness in decrease mild ranges it’s nonetheless among the best.

There isn’t any telephoto digital camera, limiting you to digital zoom, which works high quality at 2x and stretches to 10x. Shut the telephone and you should utilize the principle cameras to shoot selfies with the duvet display screen as a viewfinder, which generally is a little tough to line up at arm’s size however works properly for impromptu snaps. You can too activate the duvet display screen when capturing a traditional picture in order that your topic can see themselves as you {photograph} them.

The selfie digital camera on the high of the principle display screen is nice too, capturing a strong quantity of element in a combination of sunshine situations.

Total the cameras on the Flip 3 sustain with all however the easiest common smartphones, with the one draw back for the value being no telephoto digital camera.

Observations

samsung galaxy z flip 3 review
The facility button doubles as a quick and correct fingerprint scanner for unlocking the telephone. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
  • It has respectable stereo audio system within the high and backside of the telephone, however the high one is noticeably louder.

  • The sleek, flat again glass means the telephone slides simply off uneven surfaces comparable to a settee cushion.

  • The display screen collects fingerprints quicker than common telephones, most likely as a result of it doesn’t get rubbed clear when put right into a pocket.

  • Name high quality was glorious and 5G efficiency matched related Android rivals.

Value

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 prices £949 ($999/A$1,499) with 128GB of storage or £999 with 256GB.

For comparability, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 prices £1,599, the Galaxy S21 Extremely prices £1,149, the Galaxy S21+ prices £949, the OnePlus 9 Professional prices £829 and the Apple iPhone 12 Professional Max prices £1,099.

Verdict

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 advantages from a collection of small however significant enhancements to Samsung’s first folding-screen flip telephone that make it virtually prepared for the mainstream.

Open it, and it behaves identical to a daily, large-screen premium Android smartphone, however one you may shut with a satisfying snap and carry in a lot smaller pockets or baggage. Improved sturdiness, water resistance and a lower cost make it a viable and way more attention-grabbing various to common smartphones costing about £900.

You continue to should be extra cautious with the softer folding display screen than you’ll a hardened-glass one. And in contrast with Samsung’s different £900-ish telephone you’re buying and selling a telephoto digital camera and longer battery life for the compact measurement.

Should you’re bored of massive slab telephones and wish one thing extra thrilling and leading edge the Z Flip 3 is nice.

Professionals: an important giant display screen that folds in half, good cowl display screen, display screen protected when closed, IPX8 waterproof, good cameras, thrilling and completely different, One UI 3 (Android 11) with 4 years of updates.

Cons: display screen softer and fewer scratch resistant than a daily telephone, no mud resistance, no telephoto digital camera, solely a day’s battery life, costly.

samsung galaxy z flip 3 review
There’s a small hole between the 2 halves of the display screen when the telephone is shut. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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