Review: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

The best flip-phone on the market to date

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is much better than its predecessor in almost every respect.

Karakter
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
Our opinion
+Best foldable form factor combined with 5G, Snapdragon 888, IPX8 certification and 120 Hz refresh rate.
-Same camera as its predecessor, and otherwise it lacks optical zoom. Biggest problem, however, is the battery of just 3300 mAh, which has a hard time holding power for an entire day.
Specifications
  • Operating system: Android 11
  • Display: 6.7″ Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120 Hz FHD + (2640 x 1080) (primary) / 1.9″ S-AMOLED (512 x 260) (front)
  • Processor: Snapdragon 888 5 nm 64 bit octa-core
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM/128 GB storage (UFS 3.1)
  • Cameras: 12 Mp f/2.2 ultra-wide angle (123°) + 12 Mp f / 1.8 OIS wide-angle (primary) / 10 Mp f/2.4 (front)
  • Wireless: 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo
  • Dimensions and weight: 72.2 x 166 x 6.9 mm / 183 g
  • Battery: 3300 mAh, 25 W fast charging + 10 W wireless charging
  • Web: samsung.com
Price 949

Actually, I did not intend to test the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 at all, which is why we are somewhat late with this test.

When Samsung launched the two new foldable smartphones Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 this summer, I judged that it was most important to focus on the expensive Fold model. Not least because much (e.g. that the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 supports the S-Pen) already at that time indicated that Samsung intended to let the Fold series replace the popular Galaxy Note series.

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The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is quite similar to its predecessor. Folded, it even fits in a shirt pocket. (Photo: Peter Gotschalk)

That assumption has later been confirmed, and the dedicated Note users will have to get used to the idea that their next smartphone should be foldable if they want to continue to have access to S-Pen-specific features.

But with the first Flip model, Samsung launched as early as 2020 (just before the corona, so it feels like an eternity ago) a foldable mobile for a younger audience of “expressive and social users who see technology as a natural part of life , ”As Samsung put it at the time.

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The 22: 9 screen format provides more vertical space for your feed in the Facebook app as well as in the Twitter app, in the Instagram app or, as here, on web pages. (Photo: Peter Gotschalk)

Actually, I was pretty excited about the first Galaxy Z Flip, which seemed much more finished than the first Fold models, just as Samsung’s folding mobile gave users completely new creative possibilities that we had not seen before. But at first glance the Galaxy Z Flip 3 did not seem as if it had much new to offer compared to its predecessor. Not even though Samsung has even skipped the second and has gone straight from the first edition of the Z Flip to number three.

But a meeting with a tech journalist colleague in Oslo made me change my mind. He had tested the new folding mobile for his media way back in the month of August, but still used it on a daily basis and was wildly excited. Therefore, I decided to give the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 another chance, and it turned out to be wise, because with their latest clamshell phone, Samsung has actually fixed many of its predecessor’s weaknesses.

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Unfortunately, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 has a physical crease that goes across the screen when unfolded. (Photo: Peter Gotschalk)

The rest of this test assumes that you have read my test of the first Galaxy Z Flip – or at least are familiar with the form factor of folding mobiles, which we also know from the Motorola Razr 5G.

Instead of explaining everything from scratch, I will focus on the main differences between the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and its predecessor, which (dare I reveal right now) speaks exclusively in favor of the new model.

Appearance and construction

If we start by looking at the physical appearance of the Galaxy Z Flip 3, it’s quite similar to its predecessor. Folded together, it even fits in a shirt pocket, and the weight is still just 183 grams. But now it is Gorilla Glass Victus that protects the mobile, just as the Galaxy Z Flip 3 has even got IPX8 certification and thus has become water resistant, which the previous model was not.

In any case, the new phone can in principle withstand being immersed in water for up to 30 minutes, although we would not exactly recommend taking it on the beach. Not least because the hinges still mean the phone is not protected from dust and sand.

It should also be mentioned that the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is available in more colors than its predecessor – including Cream, Green, Lavender and Phantom Black – just as the frame around the unfolded screen has become narrower.

Screen

In addition, the new model has a significantly larger front screen, which now measures 1.9 inches, which makes it really usable, where the small 1.1-inch front screen on the predecessor could truly only be used for notifications.

With the new, larger front screen, you can much more easily answer phone calls or switch between songs in your favorite music app without opening your mobile, and some apps also support app continuity, so you go directly to the relevant app if you open your mobile after clicking on it via the front screen. This includes the dictaphone function.

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Using the front screen and the ultra-wide-angle lens of the primary camera, one can take the meanest selfies. (Photo: Peter Gotschalk)

The foldable main screen is the same size (6.7 inches) and has the same resolution (FHD +) and extremely elongated format (22: 9) as its predecessor, but new is that the screen now comes with a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz, and as we know, this means that the user experience becomes faster and softer.

The screen itself is made of so-called Ultra Thin Glass (UTG), which is a kind of glass alloy with a thin layer of plastic as a protective layer and flexible glass underneath.

It does not feel quite like real glass, and the soft material also means that you can see a physical fold that goes across the screen, even when it is unfolded.

Camera

In fact, I should not write a word about the camera as it is identical to what sits in the first Galaxy Z Flip. But let me recapitulate the most important points:

Objectively, you will not find the best camera on the market in the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. With two lenses, both 12 megapixels (wide-angle with optical image stabilization and 123-degree ultra-wide angle, respectively), and the option for HDR10+ video recording, the camera is largely identical to the camera module that sat in the Samsung Galaxy S9 from the beginning of 2018, although it must do without i.a. optical zoom.

The smartest thing is the form factor of the mobile itself. Especially the front screen, which can act as a camera display, so you can see what you are photographing or filming. Thus, it is as easy as nothing to take really good pictures of oneself with the mobile’s primary camera, e.g. using the self-timer.

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With the built-in, imporved night mode (which exposes the image a full 14 times), even images in low light become quite good. (Photo: Peter Gotschalk)

Another helpful detail is the small changes in the camera app that Samsung has made to take advantage of the folding mobile’s form factor. Already with the first Galaxy Z Flip you could e.g. move icons in the camera app from the top of the screen down to the bottom part when leaving the folding mobile half-open to take selfies. Then the viewfinder would be on the top half of the screen while all the operation was on the bottom half.

But with the Galaxy Z Flip 3, Samsung has given the user even more flexibility by also allowing the viewfinder to be on the bottom half of the screen while icons and controls remain at the top.

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Samsung has given the user even more flexibility by also allowing the viewfinder to be on the bottom half of the screen while icons and controls remain at the top. (Peter Gotschalk)

Performance and features

Unlike the first version of the Flip, the Z Flip 3 comes with 5G, and then it has also been equipped with Qualcomm’s fastest Snapdragon 888 processor so far. In addition, 8 gigabytes of memory as well as either 128 (as on our test copy) or 256 gigabytes of built-in storage space that can not be expanded.

Around here, we are otherwise used to Samsung’s flagship mobiles coming with the South Koreans’ own Exynos processors – Galaxy S21 Ultra thus came with Exynos 2100 octa-core – but Qualcomm’s best processor is actually faster across the board, as our benchmark results also testify. about.

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The Galaxy Z Flip 3 comes with 5G, and then it has also been equipped with Qualcomm’s fastest Snapdragon 888 processor so far, which our benchmark results also testify to. (Photo: Peter Gotschalk)

The only serious criticism has the Galaxy Z Flip 3 unfortunately shared with its predecessor. And it is that the battery of only 3300 mAh has a really hard time holding on to being used intensely during an entire day.

Our benchmark test, which stress tests the battery as much as possible, showed a result of just five hours and 12 minutes, which is decidedly poor. And we may well be surprised that Samsung has not tried to make room for a slightly larger battery than last time, all the while the new model as mentioned comes with several improvements – among others. 5G and a refresh rate of 120 Hz – which consumes a lot of power.

In the end, the poor battery life is such a big issue that it ends up dragging down significantly in our overall rating.

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Like its predecessor, the folding mobile comes with two lenses, both of which are 12 megapixels (wide-angle with optical image stabilization and 123-degree ultra-wide-angle, respectively). The camera does not have optical zoom, but can in turn take good portrait images with bokeh effect. (Photo: Peter Gotschalk)

Conclusion

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is in many ways an improved version of its predecessor. The new folding mobile thus comes with 5G and the latest Snapdragon 888 processor, and then the foldable screen has been given an update frequency of 120 Hz, just as the front screen is now 1.9 inches and thus really usable. The mobile also comes with IPX8 certification, so it can also withstand being dropped in the toilet.

The form factor makes the mobile take up less space in the pocket, and together with the excellent camera, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 gives users completely new creative possibilities.

Most notable, however, is the price, which has gained a marked downward trend. Compared to Samsung’s first folding mobile, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 has cut more than a third from the price, which makes the foldable smartphone a far more attractive purchase than its predecessor.

Only a too small battery and the resulting short battery life spoils the overall impression, so we unfortunately do not see ourselves able to give the Galaxy Z Flip 3 the top rating that the phone would otherwise certainly have deserved.

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