Admittedly, the announcement of the Samsung Z Flip 3 smartphone did not give me the impression of a revolutionary model, despite the clear progress compared to its predecessor Z Flip. A personal encounter with the newcomer didn't create a sense of a new phase in the bendable screen smartphone category either. Well, obviously, the external screen was enlarged, it began to fit more information. Yes, IPX84-rated water resistance appeared. But, as it turned out, it was just a superficial experience. After a few days of use, I changed my point of view. No, it didn't revolutionize it in my eyes like the Z Flip did a year ago, but its list of benefits add up to a very different, user experience that you should know about.
I'm as confident as ever in the great future of the foldable screen smartphone segment, and there are several reasons for that. For the first time in the past decade, smartphones with this display allow for new form factors (perhaps a topic for a separate article, in the near future). This is a completely new user experience, allowing to make smartphones either more compact or, conversely, with a larger screen. It is obvious that the most popular form factor will be the clamshell (such a smartphone will always win in price against other form factors), so I sincerely recommend everyone at least go to the store and twirl such a device by itself in order to gain impressions and to touch (I say this without any pathos) the future. The fact that these smartphones are gaining popularity is evidenced by statistics.
Next Generation Display
You've certainly heard that the Samsung Z Flip 3 has a new screen that supports an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120 hertz. It makes the picture smoother - in games and when navigating menus. You also know about Corning's latest generation Gorilla Victus protective glass. But what the lists of specifications and advertising booklets don't tell you is that compared to the Z Flip, the tactile feel of the screen is fundamentally different. Just put both phones side by side and compare. The screen Z Flip 3 is as if rubbed with polish - your finger slips on it so easily. Also the crease on the fold looks (and feels tactile) smaller. And no, it's not because it's a new smartphone at all, because after almost a year of using the Z Flip its crease on the fold has not increased at all. So there is no reason to believe that it will increase in the future and the Z Flip 3.
Reinforced aluminum metal frame
No, in fact, of course, Z Flip also has a metal frame. But there's one "but": it's all too glossy, and that frame (and both covers too) is covered in polished plastic. Very beautiful, undoubtedly, but dirty - fingerprints look unaesthetic on it. Yes, and after a few drops the polishing layer is knocked down, exposing the metal, but losing in aesthetics. The Z Flip 3 has left pure metal, which gives the smartphone a more aesthetic look, and gives the impression of technology (metal and silver have always been symbols of high tech as a style).
Reverse wireless charging
And here's the technological difference I missed when I first met it - reverse wireless charging. This means that its back cover can act as wireless charging. Yes, it's no longer rocket science for 2021, and the feature is not the most sought-after by customers, but for overnight charging your watch or headphones along with your smartphone, it works just fine. And let's not forget that the buyer of this smartphone probably already has both (watch and TWS headphones).
Enlarged external display
This is the obvious difference between the Z Flip 3 and the Z Flip that everyone knows about, and the main visual difference from the predecessor model, but so it cannot be left out. It now has a separate menu section and the ability to personalize: a choice of widgets (music, weather, timer, sound recording, calendar, alarm clock and Samsung Health) and watch style. The display became touch-sensitive, it got gesture control: if you swipe your finger on the screen from top to bottom, there will be settings of brightness and sound modes (vibration, silent, normal). Swiping the screen to the left allows you to browse widgets, to the right - to read notifications without opening the screen. After reading the notification you can press "Open in application" button and after unfolding the smartphone you will continue working with the application already on the main screen.
It is impossible not to mention an interesting feature for selfies lovers, which appeared in the Galaxy Flip 3. It is unique for this form factor and allows, firstly, to take selfies on the main camera, and secondly, to see your image on the external display at the time of shooting. To activate this shooting mode, you need to quickly press the power button twice. The camera is activated, but that's not all. By swiping left and right on the outer screen, you can switch between photo and video modes. Swipe up and down to switch between the lenses, selecting the normal or wide angle camera. You touch the screen to take a picture and a timer will start with a visualisation on the display. It shoots immediately in Instagram format with square image proportions. For photos the resolution is 2992x2992 pixels, for videos the resolution is 1440x1440.
Cinema mode: dual camera video mode
Dual camera mode first appeared in Samsung smartphones in the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, anyone interested, there is a separate text on gg about it. The Z Flip 3 has two cameras, not three, but this mode will be of interest to video bloggers, travel bloggers and other kinds of bloggers it won't hurt either, because it allows you to show both the author and what he sees with his own eyes. You can split a frame into two screens, or place the second screen in a picture-in-picture mode by moving it anywhere on the screen. The Z Flip, despite having the same version. UI One 3.1.1 version has no such an option.
Water protection class IPX8 means the ability to submerge the smartphone to a depth of one and a half meters for up to half an hour. The main thing to know about it is that we are not talking about salt water, so you should not swim with the phone in the sea and take photos underwater. Together with the Z Fold 3, this is the first smartphone with a bendable screen that has this protection. In any case, it's a good improvement from the user's point of view, reducing the risks when using the phone (especially if you like to hang out on social media while taking a bath).
Another small improvement over the Z Flip, which is easy to notice, but no longer externally, but by ear. Games, videos, just listening to music - all this is now available in a foldable smartphone with stereo sound.
Although most consumers don't yet have a router at home that supports the latest 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6 Wi-Fi or simply Wi-Fi 6, this is a useful improvement. Sooner or later all home routers will migrate to this format, but in the office or cafe you can use faster Internet now, this is the technology of today, not tomorrow. Connecting to a Wi-Fi 6-enabled network is now signaled by a special symbol in your smartphone notification bar - the number 6 appears next to the Wi-Fi network icon.
Choice of news recommendation system
All Android smartphone owners are aware of the fact that on the left-hand screen of the desktop there is a news feed, which is formed by Google based on the user's personal preferences. It is possible to choose the preferred topics by yourself, plus Google algorithms try to guess which news will interest you the most, offering it based on all the data collected about you - Google knows what you searched in Internet, how much time you watched this or that video on YouTube, which sites you visited (and regularly visit) in Google Chrome. The Galaxy Z Flip (like other Samsung smartphones in recent years) used its own Samsung Free recommendation system. And it was somehow not "Samsung-like": the manufacturer just always distinguished by giving the user the freedom of choice and the ability to configure everything exactly the way he wants. In Galaxy Z Flip 3 justice prevailed: it is possible to choose the system of news recommendations between Samsung Free and Google Assistant. And it's great.
A wide range of different covers
And this is a real dessert for the buyer of Galaxy Z Flip 3 - for this model, Samsung has prepared an abundance of different cases that protect the beautiful glossy surface of the outer panels. There are transparent covers (for those who do not want to hide all this beauty), cases with different textures and colors (I personally like the black case with carbon fiber, as well as I like the black version of Galaxy Z Flip 3, it has a matte rather than glossy surface). There are cases with a ring, which is convenient to hold the smartphone (for example, when taking selfies). It is cute, convenient and practical. Yes, and drop your expensive smartphone with such a case is not so scary and terrible. The internal display is difficult to break, if not impossible, but the glossy surface of the cover is unlikely to like the fall - with offense they can be covered with ugly cracks.
Despite the fact that the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is unlikely to open a new page in the history of smart folding smartphones, it is still a significant milestone in the development of such devices. In terms of the combination of new specs and new features opening up, it's a notable step forward, rather than the usual "face-lift" as it seemed to me at first, upon superficial familiarity. It has a lot to offer users. It has no competitors in the market. That said, the entire category of foldable smartphones continues to evolve, prices are slowly, year by year, coming down (as they should with production growth) and Samsung is leading this new technological revolution today. I truly believe in two things: that Samsung will succeed in maintaining this leadership. And that Galaxy Z Flip 3 buyers will be very happy with their purchase.
For those who want to know more
5 things you will love the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and why this form factor has a future
Before Galaxy Unpacked 2021: foldable smartphones, for those who "enough" is not enough
Ecosystem and personalization: where the further development of smartphones leads
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review: clamshells return with flexible displays
The most detailed review of Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2: the distant relative of Nokia Communicator
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