Foldable smartphones have a very unique pitch behind them i.e., big phones in a small form factor, but they have always been really expensive. Samsung is changing that with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 which starts at $999; $400 less than the previous Z Flip 5G. This alone makes it a viable option for most people. But let us discuss a little more and decide whether or not someone should spend $999 on the Z Flip 3.
Design & Build Quality
Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip 3 has the same design as the previous Z Flip that came out last year. But this phone is not like the Z Fold 3 that gives a 7.6-inch display, but rather this is a normal smartphone that folds into a smaller footprint making it pocketable, similar to the old flip phones. When open the Z Flip 3 offers a tall 6.7-inch OLED screen. When the Flip is folded similar to its predecessors its footprint is rather thick, but handling it is no problem.
The hinge on the Flip 3 remains the same as its predecessors making it still hard to open with one hand (Samsung does recommend opening the phone using two hands). The hinge is designed in such a way that it can be positioned halfway open and can stay there, which is especially while making a video call, or a watch a video.
Samsung has also done some under the hood tweaking which has made the phone IPX8 water-resistant, but since there is a little gap in the hinge it is better to be cautious as the phone does not have any dust protection rating. As expected from Samsung's high-end flagship devices, Z Flip 3 has a beautiful finish with a two-tone finish, aluminum side rails, and a soft matte finish hinge.
The biggest differentiating factor present in this generation Z Flip is the size of the cover display which is now 1.9 inches when measured diagonally. The cover display has finally become usable as it can now show a lot more information than before and can now show calendar, alarms, timer, and weather through its swipeable interface. But the phone still cannot reply to messages without using Bixby. The cover screen can also be used as a viewfinder to take selfies from the rear camera.
Camera & Performance
Galaxy Z Flip 3 comes with a 12-megapixel standard wide and ultrawide rear camera and a 10-megapixel front-facing selfie camera similar to the last Z Flip 5G. I personally have never liked the way Samsung processes its images as they are vibrant with oversaturated colors and lots of sharpening and smoothing. The photos that come out of the Z-Flip 3 are not as good as Apple's iPhone's or Google's Pixels and it does not perform any good in low light.
The Z Flip 3 comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor along with 8GB of RAM due to which the device feels quick and snappy. The phone is also fully equipped with 5G. Battery life on the Z Flip 3 is not groundbreaking as it only provides four to five hours of screentime just like any other flagship device (the Z Flip 3 like most modern flagships does not come with a charging brick in the box).
Samsung has added stereo speakers on the Z Flip 3 which provides a much louder and richer sound compared to the previous mono speaker making gaming and video watching more enjoyable. While the speaker got a major upgrade there is still no headphone jack on the phone.
When the Z Flip 3 is opened it greats us with a 6.7-inch, 1080p OLED display which is brighter than the previous models and comes with a fast refresh rate of 120hz. The display like all Samsung OLEDs has deep blacks, punchy colors, fast touch response, and smooth scrolling. The phone has a 9:22 aspect ratio with enough brightness for it to be viewed outdoors.
This time around Samsung has also inserted a screen protector on their main display that is made from a harder material which protects the display from dents and scratches. Samsung recommends the user not to remove this screen protector and in case any bubbles accumulate over time they say to get it replaced from a certified repair center.
The crease on the Z Flip is still visible if being viewed from a certain angle. But getting used to it is fairly easy as it does not get in the way when watching a video, playing video games, or scrolling through Twitter. But the screen is still not glass which makes it very fragile even though Samsung claims that the screen protectors make the screen 80% more durable.
Samsung is offering the Z Flip 3 in a range of color options with the panda (white & black) color being my favorite. Samsung has created an amazing foldable that gives the best of both worlds i.e., a foldable experience and a normal smartphone, and with the new lower price the Z Flip 3 can now be used by a much wider audience.
Foldables have come a long way and have seen a lot of improvements over the years, but for the first time, they are finally affordable which could be an enticing deal for many consumers. But still, with the camera drawbacks, this phone might not be for everyone as people paying $1000 expects to have the best-in-class camera, and seeing the Z Flips track record it is still not certain how well will this smartphone hold up over time and will it face the same problems as its predecessors.