The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 are out to prove that the third time’s a charm with some important changes coming to each handset.
And not to flex, but I did get a chance to go hands-on with both foldable smartphones.
Let’s start with the Galaxy Z Fold 3. We’re finally getting S Pen support on a Samsung foldable, so that lovely 7.3-inch tablet-like display can act as a large canvas for your notes and drawings. And it has one convenience that a tablet doesn’t have: you can close this foldable phone, with its book-like design, and stick it in your pocket or use it one-handed to operate its 6.2-inch Cover Display on the go.
Now, the S Pen doesn’t come WITH the Z Fold 3…. and it can’t tuck into the phone itself, like an included S Pen can with ANY Note phone. You’ll need a separate phone case with a holster for safekeeping.
But the larger S Pen that’s used on the Z Fold 3 proved to be more comfortable and we had more room to work with the stylus than any Note phone we’ve ever used.
The screen held up against our stylus strokes, and the aluminium frame and Corning Gorilla Glass Victus materials felt stronger than the previous two Fold phones. The Z Fold 3 is also water-resistant, which is a novelty in the foldable phone category.
The cameras, from what we can tell right now, are carried over from last year’s Fold 2, which provides great, but not ground-breaking photos. You won’t get Samsung’s Space Zoom features, so you’ll need to dial back your expectations from its prior two flagship phones: the S21 Ultra and Note 20 Ultra.
Understandably, not everyone is going to be able to pay double the price of Samsung’s S flagship phone.
But for early adopters who were sitting on the fencer for Fold 1 and Fold 2, Samsung’s slightly lower price for the Fold 3 AND, in some regions, excellent trade-in incentives, may hook you on its vision of the future of the smartphone.
If that’s not convincing or out of your price range, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the gateway drug to buying a foldable phone.
This is another cute clamshell-style foldable, and it’s debuting at a cheaper price at – $999 in the US and / £999 in the UK, for example.
Still expensive, but trending in the right direction.
What’s new here will hit you right away: a 1.9-inch Cover Display that’s 4 times larger than the original Cover Display on the Flip and Flip 5G. Now you can see multiple lines of text and more easily glance at the weather, your schedule or Caller ID information without opening up the rest of the phone.
When you DO actually opening up this phone, the 6.7-inch FHD+ is back, but outfitted with a 120Hz screen refresh rate. It looks smooth on the tall screen.
There’s no fancy S Pen support here or under-the-screen camera, like you’ll find on the Z Fold 3, but for a lot of people, this phone is going to be the more practical choice when hopping from a traditional smartphone.
We’re still not ENTIRELY convinced that either foldable phone is right for the masses, but from our early hands-on time and after seeing the price and trade-in values, those who normally call themselves early adopters but have been stalling on this trend, may finally have something new to show off.
There’s a lot more Samsung Unpacked coverage to come, so keep it locked to TechRadar as we continue to test these two eye-catching foldable phone upgrades.
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0:00 Z Fold 3
2:12 Z Flip 3