Galaxy Z Fold 3 assessment: Samsung goes all-in and wins

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The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is one of the best foldable smartphone out there proper now however can or not it’s one of the best smartphone of all? On this assessment, I share my ideas on Samsung’s newest foldable.

Good

The twin AMOLED 120 Hz screens are properly calibrated
Achieved and waterproof design (IPX8)
Hybrid kind issue could be very helpful
OneUI and Flex mode – the proper combo
Nice photographs below well-lit circumstances
No notch or punch-hole in the primary show
Assured 3 Android updates and 4 years of safety patches

Unhealthy

Digital camera module is not groundbreaking
Disappointing under-display selfie digital camera efficiency
Battery life just isn’t excellent
Quick charging is simply too gradual
Aggressive thermal throttling (nevertheless it doesn’t overheat)
Costly

Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 in a nutshell
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 has been out there within the US since final month, arriving in two configurations 12GB RAM/256 GB reminiscence and 12GB RAM/512 GB reminiscence, retailing for $1,799 and $1,899, respectively.That is cheaper than the Galaxy Z Fold 2 when it was launched final 12 months, which continues to be promoting for roughly $1,200 on Amazon proper now (as a renewed system). Technically, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 would not make any large technological leaps from its predecessor, nevertheless it’s positively a extra completed and polished product.The twin-screen configuration has no notches or punch-holes when unfolded due to a selfie digital camera that continues to be hidden below the show. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 helps the S Pen and a 120Hz refresh price, even on the quilt display screen itself. It is also Samsung’s first foldable smartphone to be IPX8 licensed for water resistance as much as 1.5 meters for half-hour.
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In my Galaxy Z Fold 2 assessment final 12 months, I concluded my 5,000+ phrase article by explaining that the foldable smartphone made me dream and that it was one of the best flagship. Actually, it was the one true flagship available on the market. A 12 months later, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 has solely bolstered that concept in me.Samsung’s foldable vary has now arrived at full maturity with this third iteration, because the idea is lastly full and there shall be yet one more Galaxy Fold 3 successor out there. That is what I feel on the very least.

Design and display screen: Stronger, higher completed, and waterproof!

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 would not change a lot visually however has a extra refined design than the Galaxy Z Fold 2.
What I favored:
A related smartphone/pill hybrid kind issue
IPX8 ranking
Interior show doesn’t have a punch-hole digital camera or notch
Max brightness of 900+ nits
What I disliked:
Full HD decision on the quilt show
24.5:9 ratio of the quilt display screen is slightly too slender
Fold alongside the primary display screen could be very noticeable

The smartphone disciminates towards these with small arms / © NextPit

Extra strong design and modern look”Sure, nevertheless it’s nonetheless fairly heavy and ponderous with this design.” Cease, I do not need to hear that! Do you even elevate, bro? After all, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is very large at 271 grams and its dimensions of 158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4 mm when unfolded and 158.2 x 67.1 x 14.4-16 mm when folded. However a hybrid kind issue must make sure compromises. Come on, drop now and provides me a sequence of digital push-ups to strengthen your fragile little fingers.Personally, I am completely gained over by this format. And do not get me mistaken, I put on skinny denims that my physique kind is clearly not fitted to, and I’ve by no means actually felt uncomfortable when the smartphone was in my pocket.

The fingerprint reader below the ability button is responsive and correct / © NextPit

That is particularly so since Samsung has optimized its design by strengthening the aluminum body and hinge in comparison with final 12 months’s mannequin. The Phantom Black colour and its matte end on the again and the perimeters are visually very good to have a look at, to not point out contact. The truth that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is IPX8 licensed can also be reassuring, so you will not be afraid to take your foldable system out within the rain.There may be Gorilla Glass Victus on the back and front, and Samsung guarantees that its inside display screen is 80% stronger than earlier than. Nevertheless, this does not forestall us from seeing the very (all too) clear crease within the center proper from the very starting. I do know that it is a deal-breaker for some quarters.

The crease within the Z Fold 3’s display screen continues to be very seen / © NextPit

An “under-display” selfie digital camera for extra immersionAnother constructive level to pay attention to, after the discount of the large notch within the very first Galaxy Fold to a easy punch-hole within the Z Fold 2, we are actually offered with a show that doesn’t have any of such visible aberration. This tour de drive design is made potential by the presence of a selfie digital camera below the display screen. The know-how just isn’t but mature and when you had been to pay nearer consideration, you possibly can work out the place the selfie digital camera is positioned for the reason that pixels on prime are much less dense as a way to let the sunshine by way of.However this design is ideal for one to be immersed when watching video content material. Particularly since each the primary display screen and the quilt display screen supply a refresh price of 120 Hz. The 7.6-inch inside display screen is actually excellent for my part. It is barely smaller than an iPad mini 6 and means that you can take full benefit of the QHD+ decision (2208 x 1768 pixels) within the 22.5:18 side ratio.

The white background makes the under-display digital camera very seen, however in actuality you possibly can hardly see it when you do not give attention to it / © NextPit

The utmost brightness (peak) introduced by Samsung is 1,200 nits. In response to the checks that I’ve run, it maxes out at round 920 nits, which continues to be superb.The one flaw that might actually be famous on the screens is that the quilt display screen solely presents Full HD decision. Positive, it is a secondary or perhaps a back-up show, however Samsung might have included Full HD+ decision. I’m nonetheless having a tough time utilizing this secondary display screen comfortably with my fats fingers, however maybe the Galaxy Z Fold 4 will right this mistaken.Ideally, I might like the quilt display screen to be bigger as a result of I ended up utilizing the smartphone in a folded kind issue fairly often, particularly when I’m on public transport or on the road the place I used to be reluctant to unfold it to keep away from stares (and risking it of being stolen).

The quilt display screen deserves to be extra than simply an additional display screen / © NextPit

The design and extra exactly, the 2-in-1 kind issue of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is clearly a killer function for my part though we now have no strong candidate to match it to. But it surely actually looks like a special class of product in your arms, optimized for multimedia content material consumption. The extra strong and now waterproof design offers me full confidence on this foldable format.

Interface: OneUI + Flex Mode = intuitive multitasking

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 runs on Android 11 with OneUI 3.1.1 that’s unique to the South Korean big’s foldable smartphones.
What I favored:
OneUI works nice with multitasking
Flex Mode is greater than only a gimmick
S-Pen help (not examined)
3 Android updates and 4 years of safety patches assured
What I disliked:
S-Pen bought individually
No place to retailer the S-Pen
I am not going to dwell on the qualities of OneUI since I recurrently discuss it in my different evaluations and little or no has modified on Samsung’s foldable smartphones. I do suppose that it’s totally cool, although, that Samsung separates the interface on the quilt display screen and the one on the primary display screen, so you possibly can customise them independently of one another.

OneUI 3.1.1 Interface design

OneUI 3.1.1 Sidebar

We additionally discover the pop-up and split-screen options of OneUI to be glorious because it permits an optimum multitasking expertise. Mixed with the 7.6-inch major display screen, it is actually the proper combo for energy customers. For instance, you possibly can show as much as 5 windowed purposes on the identical time and shortly create pairs of purposes (and triples!) from the Samsung Edge Display, a hidden multi-function panel on the correct facet of the display screen. It is intuitive and full, in brief, I’ve nothing to complain about.

OneUI 3.1.1 Pop-up

OneUI 3.1.1 Pop-up multi-window

OneUI 3.1.1 Cut up display screen

I am not going to dwell on Flex Mode and App continuity (to change an app from the primary display screen to the quilt display screen) both. I’ve devoted a separate article to it with a number of movies to point out you the completely different utilization situations. It is something however a gimmick for my part and it’ll, in time, totally justify the brand new kind issue provided by Samsung.

Final however not least, Samsung is promising at the least 3 main Android variations for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 (Android 12, Android 13, and Android 14) in addition to 4 years of safety updates. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3’s Flex Mode is something however a gimmick for my part / © NextPit

Efficiency: Snapdragon 888, we all know the tune

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 packs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 coupled with the Adreno 660 GPU together with 12GB of RAM.
What I favored:
Sheer efficiency with all video games working at most decision
No brutal overheating (the smartphone would not burn your arms)
What I disliked:
Dropped framerate on the quilt and/or major display screen and vice versa
Progressive however constant thermal throttling (it drops slowly however by a big margin)
Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V each efficiency part of a (non-gaming) smartphone powered by a Snapdragon 888 chipset. I might merely cease right here.In a short time although, the CPU benchmark scores are clearly not loopy and under most Android flagships launched in 2021. You possibly can allow an “enhanced processing” function to spice up the efficiency by a bit and that continues to be properly hidden within the battery utility.On the GPU facet, efficiency is much like the Galaxy Z Fold 3, besides that it has hassle dealing with graphics calculations from one display screen (when folded or unfolded) to the opposite. The 1768 x 2208 decision of the inside display screen tortures the GPU and the smartphone struggles to take care of a steady 60 fps framerate on suitable video games.Typically, it is also on the quilt display screen that the framerate experiences a laborious diploma of upkeep. There’s additionally thermal throttling which is inescapable for Snapdragon 888-powered smartphones. Nevertheless, I did not discover any sudden losses or different large “drops” in framerates.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Graphical benchmarks

Benchmarks
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Xiaomi Mi 11 Extremely
Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely

3D Mark Wild Life
5683
5621
7373

3D Mark Wild Life Stress Check
5531
Failed, overheating
5175

Geekbench 5 (Single / Multi)
1095/3239
1123/3619
942 / 3407

PassMark Reminiscence
31.953
30.460
31.752

PassMark disk
101.744
115.473
81.108

Effectively, these are the benchmarks figures. In real-world use, I used to be in a position to play my regular video games like Name of Obligation: Cellular with ultra-high graphics and most framerate with none points. I wasn’t at 60 fps on a regular basis, however the expertise was clean general. Clearly, there aren’t any points for workplace and day by day use.The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 just isn’t an Extremely flagship when it comes to efficiency. Now that is a pity for a smartphone that’s bought for $1,799, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a high-end system, do not get me mistaken. There are higher fashions on the market, however it’s clearly not unhealthy in itself.

Cameras: Galaxy Notice 10+-like sensors

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 packs a triple 12 MP digital camera module with a telephoto lens that’s able to 2x optical zoom in addition to two selfie cameras, one in every of which is hidden below the show.
What I favored:
Versatile digital camera module
Devoted telephoto lens
Good dynamic vary through the day
Unnatural however good colorimetry (a matter of desire)
What I disliked:
Disappointing night time mode
Unnatural colorimetry (a matter of desire)
Selfie digital camera below the show is simply too restricted
 

The triple 12MP digital camera module is the least modern a part of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 / © NextPit

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 photographs with the primary lensThe Galaxy Z Fold 3’s major digital camera lens depends on a 12MP Sony IMX555 sensor with dual-pixel part detection autofocus (PDAF) and optical stabilization (OIS). Nearly nothing has modified from final 12 months’s Galaxy Z Fold 2.Below vibrant daylight and with a wide-angle lens, I felt like I have been snapping photographs with a Galaxy S20. The rendering is superb, the dynamic vary is sort of large alongside the colorimetry, though it isn’t very pure (a lot lower than on an iPhone for instance), is sort of satisfying to my eyes as a daily Joe who likes moderately aggressive picture processing (with out having extreme saturation, both).

Primary lens 12 MP 1x

12 MP 1x major lens

12 MP 1x Primary Lens

12 MP 1x major lens

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 extremely wide-angle photosIn extremely wide-angle, I instantly observed typically smoother rendering in daylight, though it does get too noisy in low gentle at occasions and unusable at night time. The photographs lack sharpness and particulars as quickly because the dynamic vary turns into a bit extra advanced (extra shadows, and so on.).

Primary lens 12 MP 1x

Extremely wide-angle lens 12 MP 0.6x

12MP Primary Lens 1x

12 MP 0.6x extremely wide-angle lens

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 photographs with the telephoto lensThe Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3’s devoted telephoto lens is able to 2x optical zoom and Samsung can push hybrid magnification as much as 10x. The sensor captures much less gentle than the opposite two, so it presents a extra pure rendering which will please some individuals, which is a bit completely different from the rendering of different lenses. The lack of particulars is negligible at 2x and even 4x. However just like the extremely wide-angle, the photographs should not actually usable at night time.

12 MP 1x major lens

12 MP 1x major lens

12 MP 1x major lens

12 MP 1x Primary Lens

Zoom

12MP 1x Primary Lens

12MP 1x Primary Lens

12MP 1x Primary Lens

12 MP Primary Lens 1x

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 night time shotsAt night time, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 has scene recognition that applies a default “lite” night time mode to your photographs as quickly because the low gentle circumstances are met. However you can even entry the devoted night time mode that barely brightens up the scene. Total, I wasn’t blown away by the night time rendering.The scene recognition and its Night time Mode Lite is usually inadequate to make the shot extra nice to have a look at. Whereas the devoted night time mode, whereas typically fairly efficient, it additionally typically makes the shot look much less pure.

12MP Primary Lens 1x

12MP Primary Lens 1x

12MP Primary Lens 1x

12 MP Primary Lens 1x

The devoted night time mode works properly when it comes to lighting the scene and it’s, no pun supposed, night time and day in comparison with the photographs captured with out night time mode and scene recognition as you possibly can see for your self under. The flare results of metropolis lights are additionally fairly attenuated.However general, I discovered the extent of element inadequate and the digital smoothing (to scale back picture noise) too pronounced, making the photographs lose sharpness.

12 MP 1x Primary Lens Night time Mode: On

12MP Primary Lens 1x: Night time Mode: Off

12MP Primary Lens 1x Night time Mode: On

12MP Primary Lens 1x Night time Mode: Off

12 MP Primary Lens 1x Night time Mode: On

12 MP Primary Lens 1x Night time Mode: Off

12 MP Primary Lens 1x Night time Mode: On

12 MP 1x Primary Lens Night time Mode: Off

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 just isn’t one of the best digital camera smartphone available on the market, fairly the opposite. I might say we’re nearer to the rendering capabilities of a 2020 and even late 2019 flagship like a Galaxy S20 or perhaps a Galaxy Notice 10+. Once more, Samsung appears to be depending on its kind issue (which makes it tough to combine extra refined {hardware} with out making the smartphone bulkier). However at $1,799, this isn’t an excuse and it’s nonetheless an argument that can maintain probably the most reluctant customers to this new class of merchandise away.

Battery life: In the future, not more than that

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 packs a 4,400 mAh battery that helps 25 Watts of wired charging and 11 and 4.5 Watts of wi-fi and reverse wi-fi charging, respectively.
What I favored:
First rate battery life
Very full battery utility
What I disliked:
Charger just isn’t included
Wired and wi-fi charging speeds are too gradual
 

The Galaxy Z Fold 3’s 4,400mAh battery holds up surprisingly properly with two 120Hz AMOLED screens and the Snapdragon 888 chipset / © NextPit

With two AMOLED screens in 120 Hz and the Snapdragon 888 SoC to energy, one would possibly suppose {that a} 4,400 mAh battery is ridiculously insufficient.In precise use, I averaged over 12 hours earlier than dropping to lower than 10% with combined folded/unfolded use of the smartphone. In prolonged unfolded use, the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s battery drains a lot sooner and I dipped under the ten% of remaining battery life mark after simply over 8 hours. That is sufficient to final a day on the workplace, however not sufficient for a full day’s use.

My common utilization sample

My final days of use, with 5h of display screen time (video calls)

My final days of use, with 4h of display screen time (video calls+video games)

As for the charging pace, it was means too gradual. 20W is already nearly archaic in 2020 and it clearly hinders my person expertise, as I’m used to the 65 Watts that OnePlus presents with its Warp Cost. To attend for 50 minutes for a full cost is simply means too lengthy.Total, my utilization was actually irresponsible, battery-wise. The 2 screens in 120 Hz, the All the time On Show activated always, and utilizing it primarily in pill mode (extra battery consuming) with loads of video calls and gaming. But it surely should be acknowledged that these figures are nonetheless under what is accessible on the high-end market. You merely can’t squeeze out greater than a day’s price of use on a single cost.

Detailed technical specs

 
Technical specs

System

Picture

Primary show
7.6-inch AMOLED, 22.5:18 side ratio, QXGA+ (2208 x 1768 pixels), 120Hz refresh price

Cowl show
6.2-inch AMOLED, 24.5:9 side ratio, (2268 x 832 pixels), 120 Hz refresh price

Processor
Snapdragon 888

Reminiscence
12 GB / 256 GB12 GB / 512 GB

Micro SD
No

Twin SIM
Sure (SIM1 + SIM2 or SIM1 + eSIM)

Primary Digital camera
12 MP | f/1.8 | 26mm | 1/1.76″ | 1.8µm | Twin Pixel PDAF | OIS

Extremely large angle
12 MP | f/2.2 | 123˚ | 12mm | 1.12µm

Telephoto lens
12 MP | f/2.4 | 52mm | 1/3.6″ | 1.0µm | PDAF | OIS | 2x optical zoom

Video
Max: 4K at 60 fps | 1080p at 60/240 fps (gyro-EIS) | 720p at 960 fps (gyro-EIS) | HDR10+

Selfie below the display screen
4 MP | f/1.8 | 2.0µm

Cowl Selfie
10 MP | f/2.2 | 26mm | 1/3″ | 1.22µm

Audio
Stereo Audio system, Dolby Atmos, Music Share

UWB
Sure

Battery
4,400 mAh

Wired charging
Max 25 watts

Wi-fi & Reverse Cost
Max 11 watts and 4.5 watts

Worth
$1,799 – $1,899

Gives*.
Test worth

Conclusion

I am not going to go on a tirade by waxing lyrical and spewing superlatives like I did with the Galaxy Z Fold 2 final 12 months (except Samsung lets me maintain the Galaxy Z Fold 3, nudege nudge, wink wink). However the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, regardless of its flaws, is the one smartphone I have not discovered boring this 12 months.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the end result of an idea that has matured. Sure, it is nonetheless very costly. However truthfully, it is the one smartphone I might be prepared to purchase with my very own cash in 2021
Preserve your iPhones 13 and different Xiaomi sequence, these glass bricks do not curiosity me a lot anymore. Can your iPhone 13 Professional Max rework right into a tent for watching movies? That is what I assumed. Come on, arms down, that is one of the best cellphone of the century!

V for Victory, the victory of an idea that might have been completely tousled after the primary Fold’s botched launch / © NextPit

On a extra severe be aware, contemplating the $1,799 price ticket, which is $200 lower than the 1TB iPhone 13 Professional Max, the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s flaws needs to be unforgivable. The bang common digital camera module, just-enough battery life with out something extra, and forgettable charging speeds are nearly unacceptable compromises to be current at that worth level.
Personally, I see this as the start of democratization of the foldable smartphone idea. Samsung generated loads of buzz with the primary two Folds, touting them to be flagships of flagships. Now it is about beginning the transition for foldable to be the norm. Not having an ultra-premium foldable vary however a complete catalog that covers all worth factors.
Actually, this hybrid kind issue appears so related to me, I do not see how we are able to proceed to be glad with the present format of “regular” brick smartphones.” I am not going to enterprise to foretell the long run by saying that that is the way in which smartphones ought to seem like, however in any case, Samsung has completely succeeded in bringing this product class to the mainstream in my eyes.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
To system database

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