As expected, Samsung introduced its foldable flagship Galaxy Z Fold3 at its Unpacked event. The third generation Fold brings an IPX8 rating for water resistance and support for the S Pen alongside durability, display and performance enhancements.
The Galaxy Z Fold3 carries over 7.6” Dynamic AMOLED 2X with adaptive 120Hz refresh rate from its predecessor, but now the selfie camera has made its way under the display, instead of being behind a punch hole, making the Z Fold3 the first Samsung phone with a UD camera.
The sensor of this UDC solution has just 4MP resolution but also has the largest 2.0µm pixels of all cameras on board and f/1.8 aperture. Its intended use is mostly video calls as you get another 10MP f/2.2 selfie shooter in a punch hole on the cover screen, and you can, of course, also take selfies with the main camera on the Fold3.
Speaking of the cover screen – it has retained its 6.2″ diagonal and Gorilla Glass Victus protection but has now also gained a 120Hz refresh rate.
Driving the Galaxy Fold3 is the 5nm Snapdragon 888 chipset, and the phone utilizes its modem fully to offer both Sub6 and mmWave 5G support. It’s paired to 12GB of RAM and UFS 3.1 storage to ensure smooth operation of the Android 11 OS with One UI overlay.
Rather disappointingly, the Z Fold3 has virtually the same camera setup as the outgoing model. And while the 12MP main unit with f/1.8 lens and 1/1.76″ sensor size (1.8µm pixels) are not bad, the 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide unit with 1.12µm pixels and particularly the 12MP f/2.4 telephoto snapper with tiny 1.0µm pixels and only 2x zoom feel outright outdated. For reference the Galaxy Note9 had a 12MP F/2.4 with the same pixel size and it came out in 2018.
The main camera has Dual Pixel AF and OIS, while the telephoto shooter has gained OIS. Sadly, the rumors about autofocus on the ultrawide camera ended up incorrect. On a more positive note, the whole back panel is now covered by a Gorilla Glass Victus.
The build of the Z Fold3 is clearly Samsung’s proudest accomplishment. The company also brought an Armor Aluminum frame, which should be more durable than any other aluminum frame the company has produced. The protective panel over the internal display has also been toughened up and can now withstand more abuse.
Samsung also managed to cut a millimeter here and there, making the Z Fold3 slightly more compact than its predecessor. The weight was also brought down a bit, but at 271 g, the new foldable is anything but a light phone. Sadly, battery capacity is slightly reduced to 4,400mAh (from 4,500mAh on the Fold2), and the charging still tops at 25W wired over PD, 11W wireless and 4.5W reverse wireless charging capabilities.
Arguably, the biggest change the Fold3 brings is S Pen support, the phone getting a choice of the S Pen Pro and the new S Pen Fold Edition – an exclusive accessory crafted precisely for the needs of the Z Fold3. It is slightly smaller than the S Pen Pro and lacks Bluetooth but still allows for Air commands. As was the case with the Galaxy S21 Ultra, the Fold3 doesn’t have a slot for the S Pen, so you have to get a special case that adds one.
Samsung also polished the multitasking on the Galaxy Fold3. The UI has been improved, so it’s easier to divide the screen between multiple apps and interact with them. There’s also a Mini Menu for quick app switch without going back and forth with buttons or gestures.
The Galaxy Z Fold3 is sold in three different colors – Phantom Black, Phantom Green, and Phantom Silver. It comes in 256GB and 512GB storage versions with the starting price in Europe set at €1,799 or £1,599. Pre-orders are already open, with sales to commence on August 27. Just for comparison, These starting prices are €150/£200 lower than what the Galaxy Fold2 cost at launch.