Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 review: best foldable smartphone of the year
By: Alex Chub | 25.11.2021, 16:00
Looking at the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 and its cost, it can already be argued that Samsung is targeting not only the premium segment with flexible smartphones, but also the mass audience. Yes, the smartphone still has a wow effect and the price still bites, but it is already on par with the "regular" flagships in terms of level. Compared to its predecessor, the smartphone has become stronger, acquired IPX8 waterproof protection, a more interesting design and an enlarged external display, which is now really convenient to use. The main screen of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 is of excellent quality. Productive hardware is installed inside, and the main camera takes very solid pictures. There is only one serious complaint: battery life. The smartphone lives until late at night, no more. And the internal perfectionist would really like a flat display without creases. Now the junior modification with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal memory costs UAH 31,000 (on Black Friday - UAH 25,000)...
5 reasons to buy the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3:
excellent flexible AMOLED screen with 120Hz refresh rate and support HDR10 +;
large and functional additional display;
interesting design and protection from water IPX8;
Modest equipment now applies to all Samsung smartphones, including fashion smartphones. Which is exactly the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3. It is packed in a thin black box with a stylized letter Z. The box contains the smartphone itself, a cable with Type-C connectors on both sides, a tray eject tool and documentation.
How is the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 different from the Galaxy Z Flip?
Samsung decided to skip the number 2 in the Flip line and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip2 did not see the light of day, so the predecessor is the Galaxy Z Flip. The design remains generally the same: it is a "clamshell" with a folding display. The claimed resource of the mechanism is 200,000 flexions or 5 years of use with 100 actuations per day. But the outlines have become less streamlined and the smartphone no longer resembles a powder box, but looks more strict. Gorilla Victus glass and reinforced aluminum are used. The smartphone is now IPX8 water resistant. The main flexible display is still 6.7 inches with a resolution of 2640 x 1080, but now it supports an adaptive refresh rate of 10-120 Hz. The external display has significantly increased: now it has a diagonal of 1.9 inches and a resolution of 512x260 versus 1.1 inches and a resolution of 300x112 in the first model. The set of cameras has not changed. The main one is double. 12 megapixel module with aperture, f / 1.8, 27 mm EGF, 1 / 2.55 ", 1.4 µm, Dual Pixel PDAF and optical stabilization. And ultra wide-angle module of the same resolution 12 MP, f / 2.2 with a viewing angle of 123˚, without The front camera is 10 MP, f / 2.4, 26 mm EGF, 1.22 µm. The insides have been improved to the current flagship. The battery remains small: 3300 mAh with support for 15 W charging. Detailed comparison of characteristics:
3300 mAh, non-removable, fast charging 15W wireless charging 10 W
Android 11 + One UI 3.1
Android 10 + One UI 2.5
protection against water IPX8, fingerprint scanner in the power button
fingerprint scanner in the power button
What does the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 look like?
When closed, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 resembles a small square bar with a rather impressive thickness. The front panel is divided into two parts, which are covered with glass. The bottom is black with an external screen and a dual camera, above is the main part of the panel with a flash. In our case, it is beige, but the smartphone is still available in matte black, green and purple. The external screen has increased significantly, making it much more convenient to use. We will come back to this later. In the open state The Galaxy Z Flip3 looks and feels almost like a regular smartphone with a slightly elongated screen. The perimeter bezels are still slightly wider than those of "regular" smartphones. The front camera is located in a round cutout, and above the screen there are three slots for the speaker, which is used for both conversations and stereo sound.
The collar protrudes slightly above the display to protect it from accidental damage. Additionally, there are two small dampers at the bottom.
The frame of the smartphone is metal, with a pleasant matte surface. There is still a gap between the halves near the hinge, but it cannot be called very large. A tray was placed on the left end.
The tray, like in the previous Flip, is extremely modest. Only one SIM card, nothing else can be installed. But those who like to use 2 SIM-cards have nothing to worry about: there is support for eSIM.
On the right side there is a volume rocker and a power button, which is combined with a fingerprint scanner. It may not be very convenient at first: they are shifted upward due to the design. And if the power button is "groomed" quite easily, then you have to reach for the volume buttons a little.
On the bottom and top faces - a set as in standard smartphones. Microphones (in this case there are only three of them), speaker and Type-C for cable connection. It would be silly to wait for a 3.5mm jack.
Unlike the Galaxy Fold3 (where the hinge is the only glossy part), the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 has a matte finish. With Samsung logo .:
The back (or both, as you look at) protects Gorilla Glass Victus. All color options except black glossy.
There are "only" two main cameras in the smartphone. Which is modest by the standards of the current flagships. But they do not stick out over the body of the smartphone. And the design allows them to be used for selfies in private mode.
Samsung has released a bunch of different cases for the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3, including those with carabiners and other delights. But there are also quite calm blacks with a matte texture and a carbon fiber pattern.
In general terms, the design of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 is not much different from its predecessor. But there are a couple of very important differences. The external screen is much larger and the presence of moisture protection according to the IPX8 standard. Visually, the new Galaxy Z Flip3 looks more expensive and stylish (subjectively, of course).
How convenient is it to use?
Due to its small linear dimensions when folded, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 fits perfectly in the pocket of almost any jeans. On the other hand, the increased thickness is a little less pleasing. Another feature that migrated from the first model is that it is difficult to open the smartphone with one hand. This is quite realistic, but I have not been able to work out the appropriate "technique". Apparently the lack of use of clamshell phones from the times of push-button telephones affects. What does such a design give in addition to the wow factor and compactness? To begin with, in a semi-folded form, you get a kind of "stand" for shooting with both the main and front cameras. Yes, and useful for video calls.
One of the main problems with the first Galaxy Z Flip was its poorly usable external screen. In the new Galaxy Z Flip3, this point has been corrected. The diagonal is 1.9 inches. It can be used to take selfies with the main camera, while modes and cameras are switched with swipes. And it's really convenient. Plus there were widgets. With their help, you can get quick access to some useful functions without having to open your smartphone. Well, its most obvious use is Always on Display with a clock, notifications, and more.
In the experimental section, there is a thing called the "flex mode bar". The bottom line is that if you bend the smartphone a little, the application itself will be displayed in the upper half, and the controls in the lower half. The most obvious application so far is the camera app.
As for the rest, there are no serious features during use. When the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 is opened completely, it turns into a familiar smartphone.
How good is the main screen?
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 has Foldable Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a diagonal of 6.7 inches, resolution - 2640x1080, pixel density - 426 ppi. Promise 1200 cd / m2 peak brightness2, there is support for HDR10 +. An important innovation compared to its predecessor is support for an adaptive refresh rate of 10-120 Hz. External screen - Super AMOLED, 1.9 inches, resolution - 512x260. In terms of settings, the set is familiar to modern Samsung smartphones. There is a dark interface theme, frequency setting, font settings and scaling of interface elements on the screen, an "eye comfort" option (automatic color temperature adjustment), Always On Display and two color rendering modes: "rich" and "natural".
There is an Always on Display function for both external and internal displays.
Visually, there are no complaints about the screen: a bright, rich AMOLED picture and maximum viewing angles. In fact, there is only one claim, but it concerns not the quality of the screen, but the design. The fold is still felt. Although almost invisible when viewing content. Hardware measurements showed that the screen is of very good quality. Maximum brightness in "bright" mode was 460.6 cd / m2, color temperature and color rendering indicators are very close to the reference values, and the color gamut is significantly wider than sRGB, which is typical for AMOLED.
In "natural" mode, the color gamut is close to sRGB, the color reproduction is also relatively accurate. Although not as much as in "bright" mode. But the maximum brightness is noticeably lower: 444.715cd / m2...
Comparison with other models:
Brightness of the white field, cd / m2
The brightness of the black field, cd / m2
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3
Xiaomi 11T Pro
ASUS ROG Phone 5
Samsung Galaxy S21 +
Samsung Galaxy S21
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
Sony Xperia 1
Huawei P30 Pro
Samsung Galaxy S10
What are the unlocking methods?
A fingerprint scanner in the power button is provided to unlock the smartphone. It works very accurately and quickly. You can also assign a gesture to it to call the shutter. The button is located slightly higher than in conventional smartphones, but in general it is convenient to use it. Ka right and left hand. For pface recognition is solely responsible for the front camera. Works quickly under good lighting conditions. Additional options include "accelerated recognition", preventing recognition with closed eyes and increasing the brightness of the display when needed.
What about performance, memory, sound and autonomy?
The hardware of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 is not much different from the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3. Inside the flagship eight-core 5-nanometer Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor is installed, which includes one Kryo 680 core clocked at up to 2.84 GHz, 3хKryo 680 2.42 GHz and 4хKryo 680 at 1.8 GHz. Graphics accelerator Adreno 660. RAM in all variants is 8 GB, additional virtual RAM Plus 4 GB is supported (borrowed from the internal storage). Built-in - 128 or 256 GB of UFS 3.1 standard, no memory card slot. Performance is at a high level, quite expected for such configurations. No surprises.
With overheating, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 has some problems, like most smartphones with Snapdragon 888. In the stress test, the performance gradually drops to about 80% and remains at this level for about 10 minutes. Then the second fall begins. At the end of the test, up to 50%. The smartphone heats up noticeably. At the same time, in real life, even in heavy games, such problems are not observed.
The smartphone has the Game Center application (standard for Samsung). It is a hub of installed games and a Game Booster add-on. Including settings for increasing performance, turning off notifications, blocking brightness, and more. There are also additional modules that are installed separately. In particular, the most useful module is Z Pref. with monitoring of GPU load, temperature and FPS in real time. Performance in games is in order. Call of Duty Mobile at maximum graphics settings is 60 fps, in NFS No Limits - the same 60 fps. And the only oddity is Shadowgun Legends. Similar 60 frames per second. Although the game supports more, and the hardware itself. It looks like some kind of software block.
Wireless interfaces: dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, Bluetooth 5.2 LE (aptX HD and LDAC) and NFC for contactless payments. The smartphone can work with global positioning systems GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS. Another not critical, but extremely pleasant difference from its predecessor is support for stereo sound. The smartphone sounds loud and quite high quality. No headphone jack... In the corporate the music player has all the standard features, plus Dolby Atmos and Adapt Sound modes for age-specific sound adjustment.
The battery remains unchanged: the same modest 3300 mAh battery. And the same modest support for just 15W charging. 10W wireless charging and 4.5W reverse wireless charging are also supported. It would be silly to expect a long runtime with such a screen and processor. And, in fact, the smartphone really does not shine. He lives from morning until late at night, no more. This is with about 15 minutes of talking, using the camera, listening to music for about an hour, and of an abundant number of instant messengers and social networks. I suppose if you play games, you will have to put your smartphone on charge by 5 pm already.
What's with the interface?
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 works on Android OS 11 version with One UI 3.1.1 shell. We considered it in the review Galaxy Z Fold3, and on the earlier flagships of this year, One UI 3.1 is not much different. Everything is familiar: completely redrawn design, desktops and a separate application menu, gesture and button navigation, grid size adjustment, different design themes, a simplified mode with large icons.
An application manager with the ability to switch to a two-window mode, as well as launch applications in a reduced window mode, make them semi-transparent and minimize to an icon.
Edge Side Panels:
The set of branded pre-installed applications is quite large, but they are mostly useful. Galaxy Wearable for wearable electronics, Smart Things for smart home control and automation, file manager, voice recorder, calculator, smartphone optimizer, notes, S Health, AR Zone (emoji creation and virtual measurement of object sizes) and so on.
How good are the cameras?
Cameras migrated from Flip's past. So the differences in photo quality will be more software related. There are only two main cameras in the smartphone, unlike most flagships. The main one is 12 megapixels with f / 1.8 aperture, optical image stabilization and Dual Pixel PDAF autofocus. Super wide-angle also at 12 megapixels, aperture f / 2.2, viewing angle - 123 °, no autofocus. Front camera - 10 megapixels, optics - f / 2.4.
The application is already well known from a lot of previously reviewed Samsung smartphones. A customizable carousel of modes, there is a "Multi-shot" (the smartphone takes several photos and short videos on different cameras at once), all the basic settings (including switching cameras, flash settings, etc.) are on the main screen.
In sufficient light, the main camera produces a picture with good detail, contrast, sharpness and good dynamic range. No obvious errors in white balance and close to natural color reproduction. In any case, the work of the "enhancers" is not striking. Night mode also copes with the task in most cases. Overall, the camera is very solid. The originals can be viewed here...
The ultra-wide-angle camera is similar to most of Samsung's current flagships (except for the S21 Ultra with a more advanced width). It has a viewing angle of 123 ° and lacks autofocus. Good pictures can be obtained provided there is sufficient lighting, but in the evening noise and blur are already visible. The situation is standard for most modern smartphones.
Videos in 4K resolution at 60 fps when walking are not very stable, but the picture itself is very good.
FullHD video with stabilization:
The bottom line: four things you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 is one of the most affordable flexible display smartphones at the moment.
It has an excellent flexible AMOLED screen and is IPX8 water resistant.
Autonomy leaves much to be desired, the smartphone has to be charged in the evening.
For those who want to know more:
The most in-depth Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 review: a distant cousin of the Nokia Communicator
OPPO Find X3 Pro review: a microscope in your pocket
The most detailed Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review
IPhone 12 Pro review: an expensive dozen
Realme 7 Pro review: AMOLED display, Snapdragon, NFC and lightning fast charging
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE review: fan club flagship
Samsung Galaxy Note20 review: we had three cameras, a stylus and a plastic case with us
Vivo X50 Pro review: the first smartphone with a "suspended" camera
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