When Samsung announced the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3, we were impressed with the new design-build of this Z Flip for this time around. The Galaxy FLip 3 actually brings us back to the late 1990s; where the flip phones trends had started. We still remember how stylists we are if we are holding on flippable phones with us. It was the time where many of the phone brands had launched many different flip phones to the market.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is without a doubt the best clamshell foldable on the market, although as the newest addition to what is an extremely limited device niche. In this article, we will be reviewing the Galaxy Z Flip 3 in more detail.
There are some (mostly aesthetic) improvements, however. While the phone doesn’t fold completely flush, there’s less of a gap between sides when it’s closed, and the protective plastic bumper ringing round the inner flex display is still there, but it’s thinner, looking more like a guardrail strip than the rounded pontoon layer lining the edge of the Z Flip’s screen.
The back is covered in Gorilla Glass Victus (which its maker, Corning Glass is more durable than Gorilla Glass 6 with twice the scratch resistance), while the screen inside has a ‘glasstic’ flexible plastic display. For the first time in a foldable, Samsung has secured an IPX8 rating for water resistance, meaning the phone can be submerged in 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. It’s not rated for dust resistance, however (hence IPX8 instead of the more common IP68, with the ‘6’ denoting dust resistance).
When folded up, the buttons sit in the middle of the side of the top half of the phone. On the left side near the top is a SIM slot, although sadly there’s no microSD slot, so you can’t add to the built-in storage. The top only has a microphone, while on the bottom there’s a USB-C slot in the center, with a speaker on the right and mic on the left.
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is basically a smartphone that enables you to fold the Galaxy Z FLip 3 in half. Flip it open with your wrist one-handed. Use the outside screen when it’s closed and place it just about anywhere you want to record videos and take photos. With its lower price than its predecessor, seven colors, and an assortment of bold cases that make it looks stylish.
One of the most important factors in determining if the Flip 3 is ready for daily use is durability. Samsung used stronger aluminum; Armor Aluminum for the Flip 3’s frame, refined its hinge, and made the screen tougher. That extra tensile strength makes it feel more like a single piece. They weigh the same 183 grams (6.45 ounces) and the Flip 3 is a hair thicker.
The greatest difference between the Flip 3 and a typical smartphone is that you can close it, which is not only a satisfying means of putting your phone away but also introduces a new way to interact with the device. The 260 x 512 pixels 1.9-inch cover screen with Super AMOLED is four times larger than the previous model and can show up to four lines of notifications at once. A single tap of the screen reveals the time. A double-tap brings up an animated animal to greet you. It’s an unexpected and silly delight. Swipe to the left to reveal your notifications. It can display up to four lines of text at a time, and you can scroll through notifications. Swipe up to change the cover screen brightness or volume. Swipe down to use Samsung Pay. Swipe right to use cover screen widgets for the weather, alarms, a timer, music controls, your daily step count, and your schedule. It’s such an improvement.
While unfolded, it’s still a very tall and narrow phone, with a 1080 x 2640 pixels, 6.7-inch display with Foldable Dynamic AMOLED Infinity Flex. It has a larger cover screen, a better main screen, and improved software that put the Z Flip 3 on par with most premium phones. With the new flexible PET protector that feels smooth. It’s still not like using a phone with a glass screen, but it feels similar to a glass screen with a plastic protector on it, which technically it is.
When opened, the phone is only 6.9mm thick and it feels like a premium flagship phone with a hinge and back that lies flat. Daily use with the phone open will have you forgetting it’s a Flip, but as soon as you slam down the top to hang up a call you will recall the nostalgia of hanging up with a Startac back in the day. It is very satisfying to open and close the phone, made more perfect with a fully functional cover display.
Under those smudges, the screen supports a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, which is lovely. With its fast touch response, punchy colors, deep blacks, and smooth scrolling. It’s easy to see outdoors, looks great when watching the video, and is right up there in performance and quality compared to other flagship phones. Overall the main screen is right on par with other phones at this price.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is equipped with 12MP f/1.8 main and 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide cameras on the rear which are good enough for everyday shots but don’t expect them to outrank what you get with the Galaxy S21 Ultra or the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The main wide camera captures really good images in a variety of different lighting conditions, even in low light.
It also has a 10MP f/2.4 selfie camera which enables us to takes decent selfies. Still, this is the most selfie-friendly phone we’ve used in a while – being able to shoot with the phone unfolded halfway, with one side resting flat on a surface, is much easier than awkwardly bending an arm to fit yourself and others in the frame.
The Z Flip 3 price is high because it folds in half, not because of its cameras. But that unique build makes taking a photo or recording a video a unique and wonderful experience. The foldable shape and size mean you can put the Z Flip 3 just about anywhere to get a truly one-of-a-kind shot. The Z Flip 3 is essentially its own tripod. We found ourselves wanting to take more photos and videos just because of its flexibility.
As far as image quality, its photos look good in bright lighting. In medium and low-light conditions, such as a dimly lit living room, photos look rough. The phone uses a long shutter speed to compensate for less light, so your subject can look soft because of motion blur if they’re moving even just a little.
Samsung peppers in new camera modes from the Galaxy S21+ and S21 Ultra such as Director’s View, which gives you a live preview from all three cameras, and Single Take, which captures a series of photos and videos of your subject as determined by AI.
You can use the cover screen to display a preview from the cameras on the outer case. This is great for filming yourself or offering your friends a chance to see what you’re capturing.
The Z Flip 3 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip, Octa-Core Processor, 8GB of RAM, and either 128GB or 256GB of storage. It runs Android 11 and Samsung’s OneUI 3. In use, it was peppy and fast. You can use the Z Flip 3 as a regular phone, but if you dive into settings, you can customize which apps take advantage of Flex Mode, which is when the phone is left half-open like a laptop.
I loaded up a couple of dozen Google Chrome tabs while running a YouTube video in the background without a dropped frame. Lightroom Mobile can be a tall task for any phone, and the Galaxy Z Flip 3 kept up with the fastest we’ve tested. Gaming was a similarly flawless experience with the Galaxy Z Flip 3 capable of running the Alsphat games at nearly maxed-out settings without slowing or stuttering.
Overall performance is impressive: whether we were browsing the web, watching media, or playing games, the phone didn’t stutter or falter and kept up with whatever we put it through.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 has stereo speakers located at the top and bottom of the phone. Like Samsung’s other flagship phones, the audio experience is excellent and the form factor of the Galaxy Z Flip 3 gives it a bit of an edge. With the phone slightly folded on its side, you can angle both speakers toward you for an optimal surround experience.
At full volume, it easily fills my 12 x 18-foot listening area. We have tried to listen to some music and were surprised by the amount of bassy punch the speakers delivered during the brief reverberating percussive sections of the song. The aptly dreamy delivery of the lyrics also contained a richness that you only find in top-tier flagship phones.
Nevertheless, a pair of wireless buds will still deliver the best mobile audio experience, but more so than most, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is adequate for an impromptu listening to music, podcast, or watching movies.
One feature that wasn’t upgraded was the Z Flip 3’s dual 3,300-mAh batteries. On medium-to-heavy use days, with the screen at the 120Hz adaptive refresh rate and the brightness at 80%, we make it about 10 hours or 4-5 hours of screen time. And that’s starting with the battery fully charged.
The Z Flip 3 supports 15W fast-charging which it charges relatively fast; it took 15 minutes to reach a 22% charge and 30 minutes to hit 44% in our testing. The Z Flip 3 is also equipped with 10W of wireless charging and 4.5W reverse-wireless charging. The wireless charging is not fast but it is a great feature to that in a phone.
Is Galaxy Z Flip for you?
As mentioned in our Galaxy Z Flip 3’s first impression article, The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is for a completely different set of people, who want an even more compact smartphone. If you are looking at the most equip fordable smartphone, a light, and pocketable smartphone, or a selfie machine, this Galaxy Z Flip is for you.
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is Samsung’s best shot at making a foldable phone mainstream in a meaningful way. It’s not outrageously priced – in fact, the phone costs less than the iPhone 12 Pro. It’s not a perfect device but the thought that you can now fold a 6.7-inch screen in half and turn a phone as small as Chanel’s Compact makeup foundation (ladies will relate to this more) is crazy. If you’re ready to embrace its “different” vibe, it’s absolutely fun to use.
To tempt you more, The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is open for pre-order and is priced starting from RM 3,999. Any pre-order on the Z Flip 3, starting 19 August until 21 September 2021 will also receive a complimentary Samsung Care+ 1 Year Plan worth RM699 and a Samsung Online Store e-voucher worth RM600 too. For more information check out Samsung’s Official Store at https://www.samsung.com/my/smartphones/galaxy-z-flip/