Samsung just can’t quit foldable phones: Meet the Galaxy Z Fold3 and Z Flip3
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Samsung has a fever and more foldable phones are the only prescription. And thus today the biggest name in Android phones announced the third generation of its foldable Galaxy smartphones: The Galaxy Z Fold3, a flagship model that opens like a book, and the smaller Z Flip3, a less expensive model that opens vertically and harkens back to the flip phones of the early 2000s.
Both phones include new features to improve durability, which may help mitigate public perception that foldable phones just can’t withstand the rigors of, well… repeated, incessant folding. And you’re going to want a sturdier phone, given Samsung’s price tags: $1,800 for the Galaxy Z Fold3 and $1,000 for the Galaxy Z Flip3. Pre-orders begin today and run through August 26, and if you do so, you can get $200 or $150 off each model, respectively.
Galaxy Z Fold3 5G: specs and features
The Z Fold3 comes with S Pen support, and with its expansive 7.6-inch, 2208 x 1768 main display, it directly targets the Galaxy Note audience, which won’t be getting a new model this year and may now be looking for a new productivity experience. The phone’s Dynamic AMOLED cover screen (which you use when the Z Fold3 is folded up) is a no-excuses 6.2 inches with 2268 x 832 resolution and 120Hz refresh rate for ultra-fluid screen response.
Anyone looking to buy the expensive Z Fold3 must have both deep pockets and big pockets, as this big boy is 6.2 inches tall and 0.6 inches thick when folded. As a point of comparison, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is about a quarter-inch thick.
Both the Fold3 and Flip3 promise a new level of durability thanks to IPX8 water resistance; a new Armor Aluminum construction (“the strongest aluminum ever used on a Galaxy smartphone”); and Gorilla Glass Victus, Corning’s strong phone glass ever. The phones also come with a new protective film made of stretchable PET, and Samsung promises the new folding screens are 80 percent more durable than what came in previous folding-phone generations.
Even wiith the Z Fold3 folded up like a traditional phone, you’ll have access to three rear cameras: an Ultra Wide (12-megapixel, 123-degree field of view); a Wide Angle (12-megapixel with 83-degree field of view, dual-pixel autofocus, and optical image stabilization); and a Telephoto (12-megapixel with a 45-degree field of view and dual optical image stabilization). At the front of the folded phone is a 10-megapixel camera with an 80-degree field of view.
When in its unfolded, tablet-like state, you’ll also get a 4-megapixel camera with an 80-degree field of view for video calls. The reason for the lower resolution is because the camera is Samsung’s first to fit under the display. While it’s a neat effect that creates an unobstructed view when using the tablet, you’ll still see the camera peeking through from under the screen in some lighting.
5G is standard on both models, and the Z Fold3 has 12GB of RAM and either 256GB or 512GB of storage. Samsung is being vague on the two phones’ processors, but you can rightly assume it’s using the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 in the U.S.
Galaxy Z Flip3 5G: specs and features
The smaller Z Flip3 may be the more intriguing proposition, as the modernized flip-phone design offers generous screen real estate and should fit reasonably well in today’s ridiculously undersized jeans pockets. Folded up, it’s a porky three-quarters-of-an-inch thick, but only 3.4 inches tall. Your pocket will protrude a lot, but you’ll actually be able to sit down.
The whimsical Z Flip3 comes in Cream, Green, Lavender, Pink and White, and features a 1.9-inch Super AMOLED cover display that’s four times larger than the previous Galaxy Flip generation. You can use the wee display to view notifications, texts messages, and various widgets designed for the small form factor. The main screen is 6.7 inches with a 2640 x 1080 resolution. Not too shabby for a phone that’s smaller than an Altoids box when folded up.
The Z Flip3 has a more sober array of cameras. The front selfie cam is 10-megapixel with an 80-degree field of view. On the back, there’s a 12-megapixel Ultra Wide with a 123-degree field of view and a 12-megapixel Wide-Angle with a 78-degree field of view, dual-pixel autofocus, and optical image stabilization.
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Jon is the Editor-in-Chief of PCWorld, Macworld and TechHive. He’s been covering all manner of consumer hardware since 1995.