At Samsung’s recently concluded Unpacked, we saw the South Korean manufacturer reveal its flagship smartphone for the latter half of this year. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 boasts a more durable design, under-display camera technology, S Pen support and a suite of new software features.
Stronger than ever before
This year’s Galaxy Z Fold 3 sports Corning Gorilla Glass Victus protection all across the board. Its outside hinge is made from ‘Armor Aluminium’, a material that Samsung claims to be the strongest on any smartphone. On the inside, there is a reinforcing layer which provides 80 per-cent better durability.
Above all though, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 finally comes with water resistance. This is an omission that has kept us from wholeheartedly recommending Samsung’s foldable lineup over flagships in the last two years. But with IPX8 certification, this changes. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 will be able to withstand submersion in 1.5m of fresh water for up to 30 minutes. Furthermore, regularly splashes and rain should also not be a problem for the smartphone. But do keep in mind, the new foldable is not dust resistant.
The right design changes
Last year, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 was an extremely premium smartphone. However, it came with a rectangular and sharp design that was not ideal for long one-handed use. Samsung has gone back on this and made the Galaxy Z Fold 3 curvier and much more comfortable to us. And perhaps, this is will be the most evident hardware change among the other minor ones. For example, when opened up, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is now thinner at 6.4mm and it is also lighter at 271g. The rear camera cut-out is also sleeker, but you will still find the same triple 12MP camera setup from last year.
Familiar but high-tech display technology
Despite form factor changes, the core experience remains unchanged. There is a 7.6-inch WXGA+ 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED 2x Infinity Flex display on the inside with a 6.2-inch HD+ 120Hz Super AMOLED Infinity-O cover display sporting a 10MP selfie camera. The outer display’s faster refresh rate makes elements feel much smoother but on the inside, the under-display camera is a first for Samsung.
The South Korean manufacturer believes this makes the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s multimedia experience more expansive. And it is not wrong. In some cases, the camera completely disappears but if you look a bit harder, you will see a visible matrix of pixels over the camera. Moreover, when viewing elements with darker tones, the camera stays as pronounced as a regular camera. From a novelty and innovation perspective, the under-display camera is fantastic. But with only a 4MP resolution, it may be a tough pill to swallow for many accustomed to using the inner display’s camera for video calls.
S Pen support and tailor-made software
With no Galaxy Note smartphone this year, the S Pen is now also a staple feature of the Galaxy Z Fold 3. You can either opt for the S Pen Note Edition or the S Pen Pro. The latter is just bigger, supports multiple Samsung devices and has Bluetooth. And with the S Pen, Samsung has baked in some nice software features.
When in Flex Mode, you can double-tap on the bottom part of the display for quick note-taking. Or enjoy fluid multitasking thanks to Samsung’s Taskbar feature. With this, you can pin your favourite and recent applications permanently for quick access and interacting with the S Pen provides an extra level of intuitiveness.
Other software features on top of the Android 11 and One UI experience include improvements to Samsung’s Drag and Split and a new addition to force applications in split-screen mode. The latter is particularly useful for applications such as Netflix, which typically do not support split-screen multitasking.
Pricing and availability
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 comes equipped with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G chip and 12GB of RAM. You can either opt for a 256GB or 512GB storage variant priced at Dh6,799 and Dh7,199 respectively, available in black, green and silver finishes.