Things are moving in the right direction for the Galaxy Z Fold series, especially now that the future of the Galaxy Note is unclear. But even with all of these year-over-year upgrades, is this foldable package finally attractive enough?
Ninety percent of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is about the same as Galaxy Z Fold 2. Samsung’s tweaked a few design elements like rearranging the rear camera layout and shaving 0.5mm of thickness and 11 grams off, but the Z Fold 3 is still a big, heavy, and very expensive phone that folds in half.
When it comes to foldables, it’s clear Samsung’s top priority is still durability. It has to be. Can’t tout foldables as a revolution if they break easily. Samsung says the Z Fold 3’s “Armor Aluminum” is 10% stronger than on the Z Fold2 and the preinstalled protective film is 80% more durable.
The biggest year-over-year improvement to the Z Fold 3’s durability is its IPX8 rating, which means it can be dunked in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. Realistically, it means the Z Fold 3 can be used in the rain or will survive an accidental drop in the pool or toilet. Water resistance is a pretty big vote of confidence for durability!
By popular demand, the Z Fold 3 supports a stylus. And Samsung delivered... sorta. While I love that the Z Fold 3 works with an S Pen — it’s a match made in heaven — I don’t like that the stylus is 1) sold separately for $50 ($100 if you want the “Pro” version with Bluetooth) and 2) there’s nowhere to store it. Samsung sells an $80 case that includes the S Pen and a slot for it, but that’s still an extra cost.
※ 7.6-inch QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X foldable display / 6.2-inch HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X external display
※ 120Hz refresh rate
※ Snapdragon 888 chip
※ 12GB of RAM
※ 256GB of 512GB of storage
※ 4,400 mAh battery (fast wired and wireless charging)
※ 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
※ Stereo speakers
※ IPX8 water resistance
Saddling a $1,800 phone with last year’s cameras is going to upset some people. While the S21 Ultra’s cameras would have been greatly appreciated, the Z Fold 3’s cameras are fine. Not the latest and greatest, but far from the worst.
I’ve enjoyed using the Z Fold 3 — compromises and all. But I also liked the Z Fold 2. That doesn’t change the fact that Samsung’s biggest foldable is still ludicrously priced at $1,800. Water resistance and S Pen support make the Z Fold 3 a more reliable and versatile phone, but I’ll say it again for the third year in a row: the software still needs work. A lot more work.