Review of the Galaxy Z Fold 3: Two months later, improvement is key

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the zenith of Samsung’s current third generation of flagship foldables, which represents the company’s best work to date. The Fold 3 is a demonstration for advancement in this area thanks to stronger, more robust hardware, developing folding technologies, and prices that are steadily falling to sane levels. But is it prepared for the typical consumer?

EXPECTATIONS FOR THE HARDWARE ARE FINALLY MET The physical hardware of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the focus of attention since it is a feat for which Samsung can rightfully claim to be proud. The most recent Flip Fold, like its smaller, less expensive sister, is as water-resistant as any other premium smartphone. This phone has an IPX8 water resistance rating, which means it can withstand being submerged in waters for up to a minute without immediately dying. However, users shouldn’t necessarily push this newfound resilience to its limits. Samsung had to use cunning to achieve water resistance on a foldable.

What does the IPX8 rating actually mean? I’ve been less concerned about damage while I’m out over the past two months of using the Fold 3. With the Fold 2, which I used for the last year, I was far more likely to grab another phone if I was heading somewhere where water might be involved, a luxury that most people purchasing a phone of this price do not have. This year, I’m not as concerned about taking the Fold out when it might rain or while I’m visiting a friend’s pool because I take it out on bike rides where I know I’ll have to cross some water.

But dust resistance is not the same as water resistance. The Fold can still occasionally introduce a little amount of dust into the assembly, as indicated by the X in that rating. However, I contend that this matter is mostly moot. The brushes Samsung utilizes on the Fold 3 and other foldables’ hinges have amply demonstrated that, save in the most extreme circumstances, dust is typically not a problem. I’m delighted to report that after two months, dust has become a secondary concern for my device.

Fold 2 (L) vs Fold 3 (R)

The further improvements Samsung made to the Galaxy Z Fold 3 may also be overlooked by a new user, but they demonstrate the company’s effort in making these devices accessible to new users. In comparison to the Fold 2, the Fold 3 is a little easier to open, and its hinge doesn’t seem to be deteriorating as quickly as my Fold 2 did last year. This indicates that Flex Mode techniques, in which the hinge keeps its position, continue to function as intended and that the hinge still opens and closes with a respectable degree of resistance.

Over the course of the last three generations, the design has also wonderfully changed. This year’s Fold 3 is entirely matte, which feels wonderful in the palm and has a fantastic visual appeal, particularly in the Phantom Silver version. This phone has been given a few minor upgrades, like a smaller and more rounded camera module.

EVEN THOUGH THE SCREEN FEELING BETTER THAN EVER, A LURKING ISSUE The display has likely undergone the most refinement in terms of usage on a daily basis. That is due to the layer above rather than the panel underneath. This year, the pre-installed screen protector feels just like glass despite being purportedly essential. It includes an oleophobic coating that effectively hides fingerprints and is still enjoyable to use every day even after two months. The main difference between this plastic outer layer and typical glass is that the former may seem to hold on to dust a little longer, while the latter, of course, may be more prone to minor scuffs and scratches. However, the inside display of the Fold 3 continues to be as immaculate as the day I first opened the package, demonstrating that Samsung has made significant advancements in this area.

Unfortunately, the layer below doesn’t change. Under the protective top layer, Samsung continues to use the same ultra-thin glass, which has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. The more stable layer improves the usability of this foldable, increases to the assembly’s endurance, and guards against display damage. But even extremely thin glass can break since it is still made of glass. Ultra-thin glass still seems to be more prone to cracking, sometimes unexpectedly, as proven by my recent experience with the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and several internet examples. Fortunately, the glass on both my own Fold 3 and a review unit from Samsung has remained intact to this day. Nevertheless, I would consider this layer to be a legitimate cause for concern and would strongly advise getting a stronger warranty for the device, whether that be Samsung’s own Care or something third-party.

The other, in my perspective, minor issue is that while this phone is foldable, it is thick when closed. Give or take a few millimeters, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is nearly twice as thick as the typical smartphone. I haven’t personally had many issues with that. It still fits well in my pocket, and I believe the extra thickness helps when using the outer screen with one hand. Sometimes, though, it becomes a little more difficult. For instance, my phone’s thickness made it difficult to find a bike mount, and now that it has a case on top of that thickness, it hardly fits.

Because this is still a relatively new technology that is constantly developing, the hardware of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is one area where you can’t only look at the present. After three years, Samsung has discovered a lot about what its customers want and what the business can fit into this product. The Fold 3 is a display of these accomplishments, both successful and ongoing. It’s also the first Fold that, in terms of hardware, offers enough noteworthy advantages that, if customers are truly interested in purchasing the gadget, they can look past the minor drawbacks.

REFINING THE FORMULA OF ITS LEADING FEATURE FOR DISPLAY INNER DISPLAY Of course, the tale doesn’t end with the hardware. The displays are the most important component of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 because they are the main attraction of this product.

The Fold 3 uses a 7.6-inch panel with an unusual 11.2:9 aspect ratio for its internal display. While a little strange with apps, as well, the display is bigger and broader than what you’d get on any other pocketable gadget, and this year’s panel quality is also much better.

This time, Samsung is adopting a new display technology that makes use of some creative techniques to create a panel that is brighter for the user (peak brightness has been measured at little over 700 nits) while having less of an impact on the battery. That increase is appreciated in daily life because the Fold 3’s display performs admirably both inside and outside. While I’m scrolling through social media or reading late at night in bed, it has enough range to block out bright sunlight without making me feel blinded. As again, the 120Hz refresh rate is also greatly appreciated.

The under-display camera is the only truly novel feature of the internal display, other from the aforementioned screen protector. The 4MP sensor is hidden under content when not in use and may be used for photos or video calls when desired thanks to the thinned-out OLED array it is positioned beneath. Though it sounds like a brilliant idea in theory, even after two months, I still believe that the under-display camera is a horrible idea. The OLED thinning still makes the cameras seem terribly bad, is occasionally distracting, and is quite unattractive to look at. Since the area is typically ignored during normal use, I’ll admit that it doesn’t bother me as much anymore, but every so often it still irks me just a little bit. Although I still think Samsung should stay with the classic hole-punch camera, there is one advantage I have grown to value. The screen real estate is returned in situations like watching movies and playing games since Android no longer regards the camera as a notch because it is technically behind a display.

It’s difficult to judge if the Fold 3’s under-display camera was a worthwhile addition, especially given that it clearly increased the price, but this feature isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. It’s a small irritation at worst, and something you’ll grow to like at best.

Making the most of necessary limitations is the outer display. Of course, there is also the exterior display. Many people find the tall, slender panel odd at first, but after using the Fold 2 for a year and the Fold 3 for a few months, I can’t argue with the critics any more. The Galaxy Z Fold 3’s outside display is pretty impressive. Given the bulkier architecture of this gadget and the panel’s compact nature, one-handed use is brilliant. It doesn’t take up much screen space either because it is so tall. The aspect ratio does take some getting accustomed to, but it’s not a deal-breaker. It’s one of this device’s real pluses, in my opinion, and I use it a lot.

The amount of screen time I spend using the Fold 3 is probably split roughly 50/50, with the outside display likely being used more frequently than the inner one, albeit for shorter bursts. The outside display is excellent for making quick work of emails, tweets, shopping lists while out and about, and of course receiving phone calls. All of that is slightly more pleasant on this model than previous generations thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate that was added to that outside panel this year.

Additionally, this year’s Fold gives a fresh emphasis to the exterior display of the Fold 3. Due to the display’s interference with the internal selfie camera, the exterior display’s classic hole-punch style camera is considerably more important for taking selfies.

Unfortunately, both smartphones experience software optimization problems, same like the Fold 2. In short, programs on the outside display frequently feel crowded, and occasionally as a result, portions of the screen end up getting chopped off, which is definitely not a pleasant experience. While the interior display of the Fold 3 experiences less problems, there are still sporadic glitches. However, we’ll get to that in a moment. Some apps just don’t resize to the aspect ratio.

SOFTWARE SAMSUNG’S SOLID ONE UI TRYES TO FIX THE PROBLEM WITH ANDROID TABLETS The Galaxy Z Fold 3’s software experience is built on top of Android 11 and is wrapped in Samsung’s One UI. Both lovers and detractors of the software’s appearance will exist, but I’ve personally joined the camp of fans. One UI can seem disorganized at times, but in everyday use, I find that I develop a routine that allows me to ignore most of these problems. There are duplicate apps, Samsung’s browser is just as intrusive as Edge on a Windows computer, and the Settings menu frequently feels like a maze, but the advantages far exceed the disadvantages.

Samsung’s software on the Fold 3 has benefits in several areas, but tablet optimization is the foremost. This year, a change to the DPI will allow more apps to display a tablet UI on the inner display, making it possible to treat it like a true tablet. Although it isn’t always the case, when it is, it gives the impression that the device is making the most of its bigger canvas. Split panes in Samsung’s apps, which I must admit I only occasionally used, are a particularly good illustration of this. This is displayed in the Settings menu below, which has options on the right and sections on the left.

With its many Labs features, Samsung went above and beyond in its attempt to maximize the use of the Fold 3’s screen (Settings andgt; Advanced Features andgt; Labs). The taskbar, which runs along the side of the screen and can display a few apps of your choosing and be pinned to the side of the screen, is the first of these features. This closely resembles how a conventional Windows or Mac computer would look and feel. I don’t frequently have this feature turned on, but if you frequently multitask, it might be the most helpful feature on this phone. This sidebar makes it really simple and quick to switch between a few different programs, and it works well with the S Pen.

The scaling problems that are present in many apps are also addressed in the Labs section. Some, like Instagram, won’t fill the entire canvas inside. Users can force programs to fit into a specific aspect ratio inside the settings, whether it be to fill the entire display or to get smaller to preserve visual aspects. Although I often like how apps are shown by default, there are times when this is useful. For instance, setting my preferred weather app, Accuweather, to a smaller aspect ratio makes it much more helpful on the inner monitor. By default, Accuweather looks terrible on that display.

Fold 2 (L) vs Fold 3 (R)


In addition to such experimental, by default deactivated options, One UI makes sure there are many alternatives for multitasking. Traditional top-bottom split-screen is an option, as is splitting apps in half and placing them side by side or even adding a third to the mix. You may also add a fourth floating window on top of it. Four active apps can be displayed on the inner screen if you do this all at once. With this phone, you can accomplish a lot, but, like with the Fold 2, I didn’t find myself using that capability all that much. At least for me, multitasking is a skill that occasionally comes in handy, but most of the time I find myself appreciating this larger canvas just to see more stuff at once or to accomplish more while I’m typing out a lengthy email or taking notes.

The fact that advertising appear to finally be losing their nasty reputation in 2021 is the best aspect of One UI. The Weather, Pay, Health, and other default apps that come with the phone have all had their advertisements deleted by Samsung. Even better, since using the Fold 3, I haven’t received any notifications from Samsung containing advertisements.

Samsung’s software benefits from upgrades as well because the business does a fantastic job of promptly releasing security fixes. My Fold 3 has already received two security updates for September and October since the August release. Based on last year, the Fold 3 will most likely be a few months behind Android 12 when it launches, but the phone will still receive security upgrades and a few more significant improvements over the course of the following four years.

Performance completes the picture and is undoubtedly quite commendable. With the same Snapdragon 888 processor and 12GB of RAM as the powerful Galaxy S21 Ultra, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 actually performs very well. Although I occasionally encountered stutters that I hadn’t seen on other recent Samsung devices, fixes that have been released over the past two months seem to have fixed the problem.

A welcome addition should be made, not a selling point. Despite working with a screen that folds and isn’t covered in thick glass, Samsung was able to make the Galaxy Note series’ recognizable S Pen function on the Fold 3. Although the technological and functional components of this are intriguing, they do not justify purchasing the phone. The S Pen is not a key component of the Fold 3; rather, it is a useful add-on. It doesn’t go well with the smartphone and must be purchased separately is the S Pen. It is absurd how Samsung’s stated answer combines the two.

Fold 2 (L) vs Fold 3 (R)


I discovered that I seldom ever utilized the S Pen in my own use. It was a bit of a hassle to have it close by. I have a large phone in my pocket—the Fold 3—and I don’t want to frequently add a stylus to the mix along with my wallet, keys, and earbuds on the opposite side. Only until I had a clear idea of how I would use the S Pen, such as to highlight certain text while reading, do sketches, or perform precise multitasking, did I actually pick it up. But, at least for me, those events don’t happen very often. The physical silo that made the S Pen so useful on the Galaxy Note is absent from the Fold, making it an afterthought despite having all of the software features that make it so amazing.

Having said that, Samsung deserves a lot of praise for making this work at all. Being able to use a stylus on a screen of this size is a remarkable technical achievement, especially since the digitizer doesn’t actually cover the entire screen. The Fold, on the other hand, bridges the gap with sophisticated software that I thought was really realistic. With the S Pen, the crease didn’t feel inconvenient either. When pressure is applied, the tip of Samsung’s special Foldable Edition S Pen retracts, but I’m not sure how useful that would be. The screen would very probably be damaged by the pressure required to make that spring engage, but I suppose it’s better than nothing.

Fold 2 (L) vs Fold 3 (R)


NOT AN EXACTLY STRONG POINT, BATTERY LIFE The Fold 3’s battery life, which hasn’t been great, would probably be the one drawback I could name except its cost. The 4,400 mAh cell is less powerful than the already average Fold 2s battery, so this was never going to be a terrific story.

With my combined usage of the two 120Hz displays on the Fold 3, I can typically complete a full day of use with 3–4 hours of screen time between 8–11 p.m. To give the battery a fast boost before using it throughout the evening, I do, however, typically go for a charger around 7 o’clock, especially if I want to fit in a brief session on Stadia or Game Pass before going to bed. Although I don’t often experience battery anxiety with this gadget as I did with the Flip 3, it isn’t exactly a powerhouse either.

Fold 2 (L) vs Fold 3 (R)


Fold 2 (L) vs Fold 3 (R)


Fold 2 (L) vs Fold 3 (R)


Fold 2 (L) vs Fold 3 (R)


Fold 2 (L) vs Fold 3 (R)


I can’t suggest the Folds endurance if you need a phone with a lot of battery life. However, if like the majority of people you have the opportunity to plug it in for 15 minutes during your trip home or throw it on a charger during dinner, I believe it will work just fine for your needs.

CAMERAS PERFECT OUTSIDE There are a total of 5 cameras on the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Three primary cameras, each 12MP, are located on the rear and may be used for regular, ultrawide, and 2x telephoto images.

The main cameras are generally satisfactory. As is customary with Samsung, the performance can be a little erratic, occasionally leaving you with an unexpectedly useless shot. However, other times it can persevere and deliver a magnificent photo, particularly outside. The 2x telephoto is a little underwhelming in comparison to the superior S21 Ultra, but it mostly does the job.

Fold 2 (L) vs Fold 3 (R)


Fold 2 (L) vs Fold 3 (R)






The Fold 3 falters somewhat when it comes to the selfie cameras. Under ideal lighting conditions, the 10MP selfie camera on the outside display performs admirably, but it is clumsy. Fortunately, you can use the back cameras in conjunction with the outside display to take a shot of considerably higher quality that is just a fold away. However, the inner selfie taker is a complete disaster. Under a thinned-out OLED panel, a 4MP sensor is concealed, and it is visible (pictured above). The shots are murky and boring, and Samsung’s software upgrades don’t always produce something usable. Even worse, they can only be used with still pictures. Since you only use the internal camera for video chats, it can be forgiven for being subpar, but the quality of the images is not great. As I previously stated, I wish Samsung had either left a hole-punch inside or simply deleted the camera and applied the cost savings to the final pricing.

LAST THOUGHTS ON THE WAY TO REALITY Foldable smartphones were long thought to be the stuff of science fiction, but Samsung has shown this year that for many people, these devices are becoming closer to reality. The largest barrier preventing many people from getting their hands on a Galaxy Z Fold 3 is price, in my opinion. Even divided into monthly payments, $1,799 is still a difficult amount to bear. To Samsung’s credit, the trade-in deals are fantastic, and the price will likely be justified for a lot of consumers, but the device is still quite pricey.


The fact that foldable cellphones are still in the early stages of development is another difficult aspect. In the past three years, durability has advanced significantly, but Samsung still has to improve its service options and ultra-thin glass. Although Samsung is nominally associated with Asurion (uBreakiFix) for repairs, almost any severe damage to a Galaxy Z Fold 3 would need returning the phone to Samsung for repair. Some issues are just out of those stores’ hands, leaving you without your phone for days on end. Samsung has a problem that needs to be resolved.

Having stated that, I can finally declare that it is reasonable for people to think about the Fold model this year. If you have enough money and possibly a backup phone on hand in case something goes wrong, the technology and software are capable of handling the job.

The greatest prices for the Fold 3 can be found at , but you can also purchase the device from Amazon and Best Buy and from big carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile and ATandamp;T . We’ve already witnessed sales that significantly reduce the cost. The Fold 3 is currently available from various stores for $1,599.

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