Samsung today updated its foldable phone portfolio at its Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event. The Galaxy Z Flip3 5G and Galaxy Fold3 5G bring improved designs and increased durability compared to the previous generation.
Galaxy Z Flip3 5G
The Galaxy Z Flip3 5G has received a big upgrade in durability; the phone is now IPX8 water-resistant. Samsung claims that it is the first foldable phone to achieve this certification. This means that water won’t seep into the hinge when the user pulls it out in the rain. There’s no rating given for dust resistance, but there’s a good chance that it’s gotten better too.
Size-wise, the new phone is practically identical to its predecessor, with under a millimetre difference in width and depth. It now uses Samsung’s new Armor Aluminum frame, which Samsung touts as its strongest frame yet.
The main AMOLED display is about the same size as the previous generation: 6.7-inches with a 2640 x 1080p resolution. However, both displays now support a 120 Hz refresh rate, a welcome upgrade over the previous generation’s 60 Hz. The refresh rate is also adaptive, which means it can lower itself based on what’s being displayed on-screen. The glass got an upgrade, too. The display now uses Corning’s newest Gorilla Glass Victus, which is much more resistant to scratches.
Samsung has also increased the size of the rear cover display. It now measures 1.9-inches, up from the previous generation’s 1.1-inches. Its resolution has been bumped up to 250 x 512 which works out to a resolution of 302 pixels per inch. The bigger display should offer a more comfortable viewing experience when previewing notifications and widgets.
The rear dual-camera array is now arranged vertically as opposed to horizontally, likely to make room for the larger cover display. Nothing jumps out immediately here; both cameras seem identical to those in the previous generation. The Z Flip3 5G features a 12MP f/ 1.8 main camera and a 12MP f/ 2.2 ultra-wide camera. On the front is a 10MP f/ 2.4 pinhole selfie camera.
Performance-wise, the Z Flip3 5G features Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 888. It comes with 8GB of memory and either 128GB or 256GB of speedy UFS 3.1 storage. The phone will run Android 11 at launch.
The Z Flip3 5G has the same 3300mAh battery capacity as the previous generation, and it will be interesting to see how it performs, given its larger rear display and high-refresh main display.
Biometrics include face recognition, and there’s a fingerprint sensor on the side of the phone.
The Z Flip3 5G is available for pre-order now starting at CA$1,260 and will start shipping on August 27. Colour options include Cream, Green, Lavender, Phantom Black, Gray, White, and Pink.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G
The story is similar with the larger Galaxy Z Fold3 5G, which opens horizontally instead of vertically for more display area. The phone has also received the IPX8 water resistance rating; no more worries in the rain.
The Galaxy Z Fold3 5G has had a few millimetres shaved off of its dimensions compared to the previous generation. It also now uses Samsung’s Armor Aluminum for its chassis.
With no new Note devices coming this year, Samsung has added S Pen support to a number of its other phones, including the Z Fold3 5G. It makes sense, really, as the massive display lends itself well to drawing. Samsung has developed an S Pen with a softer tip specifically for foldable displays, but the phone supports the active Bluetooth S Pen as well.
The Z Fold3 5G also makes multitasking better by providing more screen space for opening multiple apps. And with its large cover display, users can tackle simple tasks without unfolding the phone.
The Galaxy Z Fold3 5G’s display area didn’t change; it still features a 7.6-inch main display with a 2,208 x 1,768 resolution and a 6.2-inch cover display with a 2260 x 816 resolution, both of which are AMOLED. However, like the Z Flip3 5G, the Z Fold3 5G’s main display now also sports a smoother 120 Hz refresh rate.
Its three rear cameras–a 12MP ultra-wide, 12MP main, and 12MP telephoto–now reside in a more conspicuous block on the back. The flash has been moved to the bottom of the camera stack instead of parallel to it. On the cover is a 10MP camera, and inside the main display is a 4MP under-display camera–a first for Samsung phones. Unlike a pinhole camera, an under-display camera sits beneath the display and does not need a cutout.
As expected, the Z Fold3 5G also features Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 SoC. It tops out at 12 GB of memory and offers up to 512 GB of UFS 3.1 storage. The phone will launch with Android 11.
Battery size has been slightly downgraded compared to the Z Fold2. The Z Fold3 now uses a 4,400 mAh battery as opposed to the Z Fold2’s 4,500 mAh. It’s not a big difference, but it does raise the same question as with the Z Flip3 5G: how will it cope with the high-refresh-rate display?
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 is available for pre-order now starting at CA$2,270, in Phantom Black, Phantom Green and Phantom Silver. It will ship on August 27.