Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 assessment

Samsung Electronics’ foldable smartphone Galaxy Z Fold3 is seen on this undated handout photograph launched to Reuters on August 11, 2021.

Samsung Electronics | Reuters

Samsung’s new folding telephone, $1,799 Galaxy Z Fold 3, launches on Friday. I used to be unimpressed with the primary two fashions, however after testing this one for 2 weeks, I form of adore it. There are nonetheless too many compromises for most individuals — significantly battery life and the thickness of the telephone when it is shut — and it is costly. However I’m more and more satisfied Samsung is on to one thing.

Samsung’s foldables had a rocky begin. The primary mannequin was delayed after items despatched to reviewers broke. The second model was significantly better. This 12 months’s Z Fold 3 provides extra refinements: It’s extra sturdy, waterproof (however nonetheless not mud resistant), and helps a stylus for the primary time. It additionally prices $200 lower than final 12 months’s mannequin.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Samsung appears to be making a severe guess that foldable telephones discover a market. It is launching two sizes, together with this one and the Galaxy Z Flip 3 mannequin, which is extra like a daily telephone that folds in half.

Prefer it did with the large-screened Galaxy Observe, which was one of many first large-screened telephones with a stylus, it is establishing a foothold in a brand new market lengthy earlier than Apple. By bettering its screens 12 months to 12 months, it may well have them able to promote to different telephone makers. As costs proceed to drop, Samsung shall be prepared if customers determine that is the following huge pattern in telephones.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Todd Haselton | CNBC

This is what you want to know in regards to the new Galaxy Z Fold 3.

What’s good

Samsung Electronics’ foldable smartphone Galaxy Z Fold3 is seen on this undated handout photograph launched to Reuters on August 11, 2021.

Samsung Electronics | Reuters

I like that Samsung’s experimenting with enjoyable designs. A number of the latest progress in telephones has been in incremental enhancements to community speeds, digital camera high quality and shows. However telephone design has remained comparatively comparable since Samsung first launched big-screened “phablets” with its Observe collection in 2011. (Now these huge screens are customary — the display screen of Apple’s present iPhone Mini is definitely larger, at 5.4 inches, than the primary Galaxy Observe, which measured 5.3 inches.)

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Samsung also improved the phone’s durability. With new changes to the screen and the protector on top of it, the combined display durability is now 80% stronger than before. There’s still some flex when you push down on the screen, but it’s a lot better than the first version, which felt too weak. Samsung also made the phone IPX8 water-resistant, which means you won’t have to worry about damage in the rain but should still avoid taking it anywhere where dirt or dust could get into the hinge and behind the screen. So far, I haven’t had any problems.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Todd Haselton | CNBC

I also like that you can start doing something on the front screen and then continue doing that on the larger inside display. So, if you search for a coffee shop in Google Maps on the outer display, for example, and then open it, you’ll see a huge Google Map waiting for you. It works well for movies, if you want to start one with the phone propped open on your desk and then continue watching it on the bigger inner display.

Samsung Electronics’ foldable smartphone Galaxy Z Fold3 is seen in this undated handout photo released to Reuters on August 11, 2021.

Samsung Electronics | Reuters

This is the first folding phone from Samsung with support for its S Pen. The company didn’t introduce a new Galaxy Note phone this year, instead opting to add support for its stylus to the Galaxy Z Fold 3. But, you need to buy a $49.99 special version of the S Pen with a tip that retracts so you don’t push too hard on the screen. Also, there’s nowhere to store the pen, so you just have to keep it in your pocket or buy a $79.99 case with storage for the pen.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Todd Haselton | CNBC

It works well, despite the crease in the middle. I wish it worked as previous S Pens did, though, with the option to control media or the camera shutter with the S Pen’s button. Instead, it’s best for just navigating on the screen, drawing or writing notes. I found it most useful for signing the occasional document.

Ultimately, I just really like that this phone is so different from anything else out there, and I haven’t (yet) had to worry so much about it getting damaged. It’s just fun. But it’s definitely not for everyone, and there are still a lot of compromises for the price.

What’s bad

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G

Samsung

There are two big drawbacks to the Galaxy Fold 3: Thickness and battery life.

It’s still chunky, even folded closed. Yet, the outside screen still felt a little small when I was trying to send emails. I made more typos. So I found myself using the bigger screen most of the time.

Unfortunately, it takes a lot of power to keep the 7.6-inch screen running. I found I mostly got about four to four-and-a-half hours of screen time on a charge, which isn’t a whole lot. I fully charged it, then surfed Airbnb for a place to stay on vacation and, two hours later, the battery was at 50%. It’ll last much longer if you’re not using that big screen, but that’s sort of the whole point of the phone. It does charge pretty quickly, but you’ll want to keep a battery pack or at least a charger in your bag.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Also, yes, there’s still a crease in the middle of the screen. It’s annoying for a couple of days, but it starts to sort of blend in, and it’s hard to see when you’re looking directly at the phone with the brightness up. I think Samsung needs to get rid of the crease before it goes mainstream. Most people used to traditional phones will probably be put off by it.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The cameras are fine and you get plenty of choices, including a wide-angle, zoom and an ultra-wide-angle lens for fitting more people into a shot. But they’re older cameras that were first introduced two years ago, so you’re getting dated tech instead of the latest and greatest cameras Samsung introduced on its S21 phones earlier this year. Those cameras would have added to the cost.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Speaking of cameras, there’s a funky new under-screen camera on the big display. Samsung’s goal was to make the black camera dot less visible, and it works in some cases, such as when you’re watching movies. But you’ll still certainly see the camera if you look for it — it looks like a jumbled screen of pixels. Samsung had to make sacrifices for this. It’s a lower quality, so selfies aren’t as sharp as they could be. You can still use any of the other four sensors for selfies, but you have to close the phone to use those.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Todd Haselton | CNBC

I have a few other quibbles with the phone. The speakers sound sort of tinny compared with other flagship phones, for example. And despite the increase in durability, I’m still afraid I’ll break this phone much faster than I would a regular flagship.

Should you buy it?

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 still isn’t for regular people. But it’s a great phone for gadget geeks who know what they’re getting into.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Todd Haselton | CNBC

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