The "1-Minute" Review
VerdictIf you don't mind the price, Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 3 offers a taste of what could be the future of mobile technology. It's one of the first foldable phones reviewers seem to actually trust and the large display and S-Pen support give it huge potential for productivity and serious work.
- S-pen support
- Unsurpassed multi-tasking
- Still expensive
- Lackluster camera
- S-pen not included
Samsung’s going all-in on the future of mobile technology, releasing two phones -- the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and the Galaxy Z Fold 3 -- with a noticeably different shape and design at the same time. While both are released around the same time, they each have differences that appeal to different people. Let’s take a look at the Z Fold and see if it lives up to the hype.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 folds in half from side to side -- more like a book or magazine than a make-up compact or clamshell phone. Reviewers note that the phone is massive and you’ll feel the weight of its three screens in your pocket.
The phone’s chassis features aluminum and Gorilla Glass Victus for added protection and durability. It’s also available in three colors -- Phantom Black, Phantom Green, and Phantom Silver. Reviewers liked silver the best.
Featuring a whopping three screens coated with Gorilla Glass Victus, the displays are definitely the star of the show. The phone features one outward display while folded and two on the inner chassis when unfolded which created a segmented 7.6-inch screen.
Reviewers noted that the crease between the two screens when unfolded is still noticeable, especially in direct or outdoor lighting. The phone’s bulk also makes it less than ideal for one-handed use.
However, as expected from Samsung’s displays, colors were sharp and details were crisp. The display is also much brighter than its predecessor.
The design offers obvious perks for multitasking and reviews indicate the phone can keep up with no issues as you bounce between apps. The 120Hz adaptive refresh rate helps to keep things moving buttery smooth.
If you’d prefer the entertainment side of things, the displays are crisp enough for video content and the processor is plenty snappy for the occasional bit of gaming -- though with all those displays you’ll want to mind the battery life.
Software & Storage
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 uses Android 11 and comes in two different storage sizes: 256GB or 512GB. There’s no option for storage expansion.
Reviewers loved the software tweaks Samsung made, including a tiny taskbar present on the side of the right screen making it easy to switch between multiple apps. You can also tell apps to launch on specific displays to help make managing three screens more predictable.
The reviewers weren’t exactly thrilled with the state of the cameras as it has had no changes from the previous version of the phone. Nothing was particularly disappointing in terms of quality per se, and it just seemed like an opportunity missed by reviewers.
While Samsung has built a reputation around challenging the top of the charts in photography performance, this phone falls a bit short. So you’ll need to decide if photo quality or an innovative design with smoother multitasking is more important to you.
With three different displays, you would assume the battery would be beefier than most phones. But that’s not the case.
Worse still, reviewers were only able to squeeze around seven hours on a single charge with regular browsing on 60Hz. Switching to the 120Hz adaptive shrunk that number even smaller and the phone doesn’t come with a charger out of the box.
This definitely isn’t an all-day phone for power users and you’ll want to make sure you keep a charger nearby for anything more than light use throughout the day.
Reviewers had little to nothing to say about the audio with the phone, though you’ll probably want to use wireless headphones or pick up an adapter for your wired ones because the phone lacks a headphone jack.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is one of the first phones outside of Samsung’s Galaxy Note line-up to offer full support for the S-Pen. This takes the multitasking and productivity potential of the phone even further still.
However, it’s not included with the phone. And with the phone’s already sizable price tag, you’ll want to make sure the costs are worth it before you commit to picking up both the phone and Samsung’s popular S-Pen stylus.
Specs at a Glance
- Aluminum chassis
- 7.6-inch segmented display, outer display
- Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 5G processor
- 12GB of RAM
- Android 11
- 256GB/512GB of storage
- 12+MP camera
- 4400mAh battery
- Support for S-pen
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is by far the best folding smartphone yet. Multitasking is fluid and easy, with a PC-like taskbar and an outer display for on-the-fly use. However, with a very hefty price tag, it is still a niche phone that skirts the line between innovative phone and luxury product.
Tech Radar says, “Those fence-sitters will be swayed by the new Z Fold 3’s S Pen support, greater durability and water-resistance in an otherwise familiar-looking foldable design with unchanged cameras. It’s still mighty expensive, and therefore not for the average consumer.”
Android Central states, “Samsung made all the right changes with the Z Fold 3, finally giving people a good reason to consider a foldable phone without making serious concessions.”
What the Critics Are Saying...
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G’s global battery performance was at the low end of our database, brought down by poor autonomy, long charging time, and weak efficiency.
- Richard Goodwin, Know Your Mobile
After three generations and plenty of mistakes, Samsung has really hit its stride with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3. The design issues have been worked out, the software is now fully optimized for its display, and the phone now even has an official IP rating for water and dust resistance. Add in thin...
- Dayna Eileen, CGM
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G is a sleek looking, premium-priced device without premium-quality features. The 7.6” foldable screen is excellent, and the style, but it's the only part of the smartphone that really meets or exceeds expectations.
- Samuel Huang, G Style Magazine
So 6-months after release, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is still quite an interesting proposition. You’re looking at a device that can take the place of two devices with little compromise. Both outside and inside displays are very usable and both look very good in terms of color, clarity, and respons...
- Darwin Sucipto, TechENT
You can consider this as your replacement to the Samsung Galaxy Note series, if you do not mind the step-down in camera technology. Yes, the Galaxy Z Fold3 is a good device. If you are coming from the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 though, you might want to hold it off for a while and wait for the next iter...
Prices (Where to Buy)
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 prices will vary depending on retailer, age, special offers and whether or not it's purchased with a service plan. If purchased with a 2 year service contract for example, you would likely pay much less for the phone itself up front. Samsung's suggested retail price is $1799.99. You can compare Galaxy Z Fold3 prices from around the web here on The Informr.
We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 user manual here.
Samsung backs up the Galaxy Z Fold3 with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your Galaxy Z Fold3 has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Samsung support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Samsung's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.
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