Galaxy Z Fold 3 evaluate: Samsung’s cutting-edge water-proof phone-tablet hybrid | Samsung

Samsung’s third-generation folding phone-tablet hybrid is a technological marvel – sooner, extra refined than its predecessor and can even survive being dropped within the tub. However is the general public prepared for foldable telephones?

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 prices £1,599 ($1,799/A$2,499), which is £200 cheaper than final 12 months’s mannequin, though nonetheless very costly. It joins the £949 Galaxy Z Flip 3 and £1,149 Galaxy S21 Extremely on the high of Samsung’s smartphone line.

The Fold 3’s type and performance are just like final 12 months’s Galaxy Z Fold 2, simply 12g lighter and a bit slimmer in all instructions. However the premise is identical – a tall, slim display screen on the skin with the system opening up like a e-book to at least one bigger inner display screen.

Typing on its slim outdoors width takes just a little observe however it’s in any other case snug to make use of closed for typical each day duties reminiscent of messaging and checking the practice instances.

There’s a crease in the course of the display screen, which you could see when mild hits it and really feel together with your finger, however is well missed in use. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Opening the telephone like a e-book reveals the improbable versatile 7.6in OLED display screen for tablet-like actions, reminiscent of watching films, studying a e-book or utilizing two apps aspect by aspect. The interior display screen is way smoother to the contact than the Fold 2, permitting your fingers to glide over its floor extra simply.

The hinge can maintain the telephone flat or at a variety of angles, which implies you possibly can stand it up on its finish or aspect for watching video or comparable.

The display screen continues to be softer than a standard hardened-glass smartphone display screen, so it’s a must to be just a little extra cautious when it’s open. However it’s sturdy sufficient to make use of Samsung’s S Pen stylus, which makes it work like a tablet-sized Galaxy Be aware for sketching, marking up paperwork or handwriting notes. The stylus prices £44 and isn’t included within the field, although.

The brand new IPX8 water resistance score is an enormous sturdiness improve and means it would survive dunks into water as much as 1.5 metres deep. Briefly, you don’t have to fret about it getting moist.

Mud may nonetheless be a problem, however long-term testing of the Fold 2 confirmed the telephone was as much as the duty of each day use.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review
The interior display screen has one of many first under-display cameras. You’ll be able to nonetheless see it when the display screen is on, however you possibly can’t really feel it and there’s no indentation to gather mud making the show extra seamless. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian


  • Important display screen: 7.6in QXGA+ Dynamic Amoled 2X Infinity Flex Show (374ppi)

  • Cowl display screen: 6.2in HD+ Dynamic Amoled 2X (387ppi)

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

  • RAM: 12GB of RAM

  • Storage: 256 or 512GB

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

  • Digital camera: Triple rear 12MP: huge angle, ultra-wide angle, 2x telephoto; 10MP and 4MP selfie cameras

  • Connectivity: 5G, twin sim, USB-C, wifi 6, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, UWB and site

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

  • Dimensions folded: 158.2 x 67.1 x 16.0mm

  • Dimensions unfolded: 158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4mm

  • Weight: 271g

Sooner and smoother

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review
The Fold 3 takes about 90 minutes to completely cost, hitting 60% in 40 minutes utilizing a 25W USB-C energy adaptor, which isn’t included. It helps 10W wi-fi charging too. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Fold 3 has Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 888 chip. It matches the efficiency of the S21 Extremely, the Flip 3 and the OnePlus 9 Professional and different high Android telephones, feeling noticeably snappier, sooner to unlock and smoother in use than its predecessor.

Battery life is extra variable than a daily smartphone. Gentle use totally on the skin display screen will see the telephone simply final two days. A mixture of utilizing each screens for messaging, studying, basic productiveness, watching a little bit of video and capturing a couple of pictures will see the Fold 3 final nearer to 35 hours, which is barely longer than its predecessor. Even on heavy-use days it manages to final not less than a day, though battery life is considerably shortened when utilizing the always-on show mode.


Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review
The again of the hinge has little brushes inside it that assist preserve mud and filth out from the transferring elements. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Samsung doesn’t present an anticipated lifespan for the batteries within the Fold 3. These in comparable units usually keep not less than 80% of their authentic capability for not less than 500 full cost cycles.

The telephone is typically repairable. Display screen repairs price not more than £409 for the inner show or £109 for the quilt show, whereas the battery is replaceable by authorised service centres.

Samsung affords trade-in and recycling schemes for outdated units however the smartphone doesn’t embrace any recycled supplies. The corporate publishes annual sustainability experiences however not influence assessments for particular person merchandise. The Fold 3 doesn’t ship with a charger or earphones, only a USB-C cable.

One UI 3.1

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review
Faucet an app icon within the recently-used apps menu and choose ‘open in cut up display screen view’ to place it to at least one aspect of the display screen. Then choose the second app you need from the record. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Samsung’s customized model of Android 11, One UI 3.1, has been refined considerably to reap the benefits of the massive inner display screen.

Closed, the Fold 3 behaves identical to a daily telephone. Open it and you’ll choose as much as three apps from the just lately used apps menu to make use of in a split-screen configuration. It can save you your favorite combos of apps to a multitasking menu for fast entry, too.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review
In contrast to final 12 months’s mannequin, should you change to a different single app or shut the telephone, if you return your mixture of split-screen apps continues to be accessible as a web page within the just lately used apps record. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

You resize the home windows by dragging the little two and three-dot handles that separate the apps. The entire split-screen expertise feels extra refined and is a particular advance on earlier efforts.

Many extra apps take correct benefit of the massive inner display screen, too, such because the two-column settings app, Google’s Photographs, Maps, Gmail and the uncover feed. Third-party apps reminiscent of Evernote have began displaying multi-panelled interfaces too, all of which makes the inner display screen extra like a pill and feeling much less like only a blown-up telephone display screen.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review
You’ll be able to have a unique dwelling display screen layouts on the inside and outside screens, so you possibly can have phone-type apps present when closed and tablet-like apps when open. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Many of the different distinctive software program options from the Fold 2 are carried over. The app you’re utilizing on the skin display screen can change to the within one if you open it and visa versa. However should you go away this function off, locking the telephone by shutting it’s actually satisfying.

The Fold 3 will obtain not 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 accessible, however a couple of 12 months or so behind Apple’s five-year-plus help for its iPhones.

5 cameras

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review
The digital camera app has numerous modes for capturing on each the inside and outside screens, together with full and split-screen views (as proven). I discovered capturing pictures with the Fold 3 closed like a standard telephone the simplest. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Fold 3 has a triple 12MP digital camera system on the again, a 10MP selfie digital camera on the entrance and a further 4MP selfie digital camera hidden beneath the highest proper of the inner display screen.

The principle rear digital camera is great. It’s basically the identical as that fitted to the S21+ and retains up with the competitors, together with improved low-light efficiency in contrast with its predecessor. The ultrawide digital camera produces good photographs in brilliant circumstances however suffers a little bit of grain in decrease mild ranges. The 2x optical telephoto digital camera is strong with usable digital zoom as much as about 5x. It will probably’t compete with optical zooms as much as 10x, reminiscent of that on the S21 Extremely, nevertheless.

The surface selfie digital camera is great, producing good element all the way down to moderately dim mild, however struggles a bit with backlighting. The under-display selfie digital camera is actually spectacular know-how by mixing extra seamlessly into the system, however pictures lack element with noticeable grain – greatest confined to make use of for video calls.

Total, the cameras on the Fold 3 are a marked step up over final 12 months’s mannequin and compete properly with all however the most effective cameraphones in the marketplace.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review
The fingerprint scanner beneath the ability button is quick and correct, and considerably extra dependable than its predecessor. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian


The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 prices £1,599 ($1,799/A$2,499) with 256GB of storage or £1,699 with 512GB.

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


The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a real technological marvel from Samsung.

The South Korean agency has improved nearly all the things with its third-generation folding tablet-phone hybrid. It’s sooner, smoother, has a lot improved software program, higher cameras, a extra dependable fingerprint scanner and is £200 cheaper – though nonetheless very costly.

Water resistance is an enormous step ahead for sturdiness. The know-how behind it feels extra mature whereas nonetheless being probably the most thrilling cutting-edge system accessible. Stylus help is an added bonus that received’t be for everybody, however for Galaxy Be aware followers that is the powerhouse substitute for you.

There’s nonetheless a crease within the display screen and the show stays smooth and should be handled with extra care. However the greatest problem for the Fold 3 is that it’s an on-the-go system, at a time when many people are caught at dwelling – a pill that matches in your pocket is much extra helpful if you’re out of the home, at work, on the commute or sharing movies with mates. At dwelling, there’s normally an even bigger and higher show inside arm’s attain.

Professionals: a telephone and pill in a single, water resistance, helpful split-screen apps, nice cowl display screen, improbable pill display screen, high efficiency, good battery life, good cameras, head-turning design, S Pen help.

Cons: very costly, no 5x optical zoom digital camera, inner display screen could be marked extra simply than conventional glass, heavy, thick.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review
‘Flex mode’ divides the inner display screen in two in order that video sits on the highest half so that you could stand the Fold 3 up or comparable for different apps. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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