Galaxy Z Fold3 Review: A couple of weeks ago, we had a very interesting discussion on foldable phones on our 24Bit podcast. We did this podcast just days after Samsung unveiled its latest Foldables; the Fold3, and the Flip3 and one question was clear, do we really need them? That’s a question I will let you answer.
Here is the thing, for many years, smartphone companies have always experimented with new designs mostly driven by consumer surveys. This has brought us devices with longer battery life, bigger screens, better and massive cameras – this that most consumers like me and you wanted. But one thing we never saw coming was a folding phone and now they’re here with us with Samsung being the bigger player here.
When the local Samsung office asked to send the Galaxy Z Fold3 for review I said why not. This was the first time I was going to interact with a foldable phone.
Let me take you back a little bit. At Samsung’s 2021 Unpacked event in August this year, Samsung unveiled its new range of foldable smartphones including the Galaxy Z Fold3 and the Galaxy Z Flip3 5G. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy Z Flip3 5G are the third generation of Samsung’s foldable category.
The Galaxy Z Fold3 comes as a successor to the Galaxy Z Fold2, while the Galaxy Z Flip3 is a replacement of the Galaxy Z Flip and the Galaxy Z Flip 5G.
I need to also mention that Samsung’s first foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold, which was released in 2019 had some serious problems, breaking within days of use by most tech reviewers. Samsung however says this new generation of its foldable includes massive improvements, some recommended by previous foldable smartphone users.
A month of using the Galaxy Z Fold3 and the phone really convinced me that yeah, I really need a foldable phone. That I can stop being angry at Samsung for not releasing a NOTE device this year and just stick to the Fold3. The NOTE has always been my favourite series from Samsung.
Galaxy Z Fold3 Design and Display
Just like its two predecessors, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 features a book-like design and functionality of its two predecessors (My little niece told me it looks like a bible LOL). We are getting a limited but usable 6.2-inch Cover Display on the outside and opening up the phone reveals a massive 7.6-inch display on the inside.
The two displays and the hinge that allows you to fold or unfold the phone makes the phone one of the most interesting pieces of tech we have seen this year. People like me have read about foldables but anyone who saw me using that device including my little niece have never seen anything like it and this is what most consumers are paying for.
Samsung has made some good improvements on the hinge and used more durable materials than those used on the previous folds. The company says the Z Fold3 is 80% stronger than its prior foldables. I might not have used a foldable before but sure enough, you can feel something new when you unfold the device.
The design is out of this world and Samsung has also managed to make the phone water-resistant.
The phone is quite thin when it is opened and well. I also need to mention that the sizes of both screens haven’t changed over the previous model, Samsung has however upgraded the cover screen to match the 120Hz display seen on the main display, so it gets that lovely smooth feeling when scrolling through your favourite apps and feeds.
This 7.6-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate also remains to be one of the key selling points for this smartphone. With a wide 24.5:9 aspect ratio, the Fold3 became my preferred way to read my articles or visit my favourite websites, playing games and even watching YouTube videos.
The transition from the cover screen to the main screen is also very seamless and trust me, you will love the quality.
Galaxy Z Fold3 Performance review and battery life
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review article. The Galaxy Z Fold3 is an interesting piece of tech and Samsung did not compromise on the specs and performance. The phone is a powerhouse. The phone as most reviewers have described it is Samsung’s most ambitious, productivity-centric smartphone yet.
The phone runs Android 11 with OneUI 3.1 on top. Under the hood, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is powered by the Snapdragon 888 SoC, paired with 12GB RAM and 512GB internal storage. This is the most powerful configuration we have seen on a Samsung or even any Android phone. The phone handles everything perfectly well offering the best multitasking experience ever.
You can watch your videos while browsing through your favorite websites at the same time. I also need to mention that the phone has support for an S-Pen stylus. Unfortunately, the review unit Samsung sent us did not come with one. You can, however, buy one separately. The large screen should really come in handy with the Stylus support especially when you’re working on things like a spreadsheet or a large document.
The phone also supports 5G which we really never got a chance to experience considering it has not yet been officially launched in the country. For security, Samsung added an in-display fingerprint sensor and face unlock. The fingerprint is fast but the face unlock was a bit slow.
For the battery life, the 4,400mAh battery on the Galaxy Z Fold3 with support for 25W fast charging and wireless charging should be able to take you through the day on average use. Fully charging the phone takes about an hour and 30 minutes but this will depend on the adapter you use. Remember you’re not getting any charger in the box, just the charging cable.
Galaxy Z Fold3 cameras
I took the Galaxy Z Fold3 to Amboseli National Park last month and I think I had the best phone camera experience ever. I uploaded some of the shots I took on my Twitter page and official Instagram page. You can check them out.
— Nick Kanali (@NicKanali) September 25, 2021
The phone features a triple rear camera setup that includes a 12-megapixel primary sensor with an f/1.8 lens and optical image stabilisation (OIS), a 12-megapixel sensor with an ultra-wide-angle f/2.2 lens and 123-degree field-of-view (FoV), and a 12-megapixel sensor with an f/2.45 zoom lens and OIS. When folded, the Galaxy Z Fold3 features a 10-megapixel sensor with an f/2.2 lens and when unfolded, there is a 4-megapixel sensor with an f/1.8 lens.
There is also a 2X optical zoom and 10X digital zoom along with HDR10+ video recording.
The primary cameras are the star here producing some pretty decent images. Stabilization when taking videos is also on another level. These are probably the best cameras you can get on a Samsung phone. Check some more sample shots below. (Click on the images to expand).
Should you buy the Galaxy Z Fold3? – Pricing and availability
The Galaxy Z Fold3 is the best premium phone I have used this year. It has the makings of a proper flagship written all over it and can be a good option for everyday use for people with big pockets. Samsung is selling it for KShs. 220,999 for the 512GB.
Three things that you might not like about the device:
- No charger in the box, earbuds or any other accessory, just a USB cable
- In case you have the older Stylus, you might need to buy a new one because the phone does not support the older versions of Stylus
- There’s also no IP rating for dust so you will need to be really careful with the device. The device is however water-resistant.
Bottomline the Galaxy Z Fold3 has all the hardware and software power you will need in a flagship.
You can listen to our podcast on foldables below.
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