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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Review: A huge leap forward

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the most significant upgrade in the Fold lineup. But should you pick one up?

Devesh Arora Devesh Arora @aroradevesh
New Delhi Published on: September 14, 2021 13:52 IST
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the most significant upgrade in

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the most significant upgrade in the Fold line.

Last year, when I tried out both the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and the Galaxy Z Flip, I knew that foldable smartphones are the future. With the launch of the Galaxy Z Fold 3, Samsung proved that foldables are here to stay and we will get to see better ones over time. The company has not only added more features to the new Galaxy Z Fold 3 but they have also made it more durable than its predecessor. 

At the time of writing this review, I have spent over two weeks with Samsung’s new foldable device. While that is certainly not a long period, it surely is enough to tell me the advantages and disadvantages of living with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 in 2021. 

The cover display

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The cover display is a bit narrow for regular usage.

When Samsung first unveiled its Galaxy Z Fold, the biggest complaint that people had was that it had a small and unusable cover display. The company fixed it with the Z Fold 2 and made it even better on the Z Fold 3. The cover display now features a 120Hz high refresh rate Super AMOLED panel that matches the flagship standard of 2021. 

The panel gets fairly bright and it comes in really handy when one needs to do some quick single-handed tasks. Initially, I felt that the screen is too narrow and it was difficult to type on it. However, after spending 2-3 days, I started feeling comfortable using the cover display. I mostly used the cover display to keep a check on the notifications and even have a quick glance at my Instagram feed. 

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One can even use the cover display as a viewfinder for the rear cameras.

It also comes with the Always-On display feature that tells you the time throughout the day without touching the phone. I am fond of this Samsung feature since I bought the Galaxy S8. 

Unfolding a new experience

The actual fun begins once you unfold the Galaxy Z Fold 3. It sports a large 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with a resolution of 1768x2208 pixels. Coming from a traditional smartphone or even from the cover screen of the Fold 3, one will feel that the inner display feels too plasticky. However, that is something one can get used to. The second thing that comes to the notice is the crease. It is certainly annoying at first but once you start watching content on the foldable smartphone, you will get the hang of it and you will only realise that there is a crease when you glide your finger over it. 

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Viewing web pages was a bliss on this huge screen.

The thing that you would not notice at first is that there is a second selfie snapper on the inner display. Samsung managed to hide it with the help of their under-display camera technology. While this technology is not as good as some other smartphones, it still manages to hide the camera. 

It is not only the hardware front where Samsung has improved but they have also added some extra software-based features in order to make the inner display much more convenient. Firstly, if you are using the stock OneUI launcher, you can keep different setups on the cover display and the main display. This will help you to keep some quick to open apps on the cover display while you can have some useful widgets on the main display.

Secondly, the edge panel that comes in handy to launch our favourite apps can now be pinned to show always. This makes the productivity side of the foldable much better. That’s not it as everything from a Chrome browser window to a multi-window setup, it all looks and works much better on the inner display. 

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The Z Fold 3 comes with the company's Infinity Flex Display.

Lastly, the company has added S-Pen support to the main display. The company did this to justify the move of getting rid of the Galaxy Note lineup. While the S-Pen feels great on a bigger display, it is pretty limited. One cannot use it on the cover display for those quick notes, which I think Samsung will fix on the Galaxy Fold 4. Also, the phone does not have a place to keep the S-Pen, which means you either need to carry the pen separately or put it on the official Samsung leather case that you can buy from Samsung.com. Notably, the S-Pen does not come included in the box and one has to purchase it separately. 

Living with a foldable

Coming from a conventional smartphone, it is pretty easy to get used to the new foldable form factor. The hinge feels promising and even the partial tilt that you can get helps you a lot to click selfies or even have a laptop-like set-up on a few apps. The Galaxy Fold 3 also has a great speaker setup which means you will have a great time watching content on this. 

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It features a capacitive fingerprint scanner on the power button.

As for the battery life, the company has reduced the battery capacity when compared to Fold 2. However, the optimisations that the company has made manages to give a full day of heavy usage. When I used the Fold 3 as my secondary device, I was even able to get through more than one day of usage. 

Cameras

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It features a triple camera setup at the back.

Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 has a total of five camera sensors. To begin with, there is a triple camera setup at the back. It consists of a wide, ultra-wide and telephoto lens with all of them having 12-megapixel sensors. The camera setup is surely not as good as the company’s own Galaxy S21 Ultra or the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max. But it is not something that you would be disappointed about. 

The cameras perform well in both good and low lighting situations. When clicked under good lighting, the images come out with good level of details and punchy colours. The ultra-wide camera also offers some promising pictures. Lastly, there is a telephoto camera that offers 2X optical zoom and maximum digital zoom of 10X and it works great under good lighting conditions.

Taking advantage of the phone’s foldable nature, you can also use the rear camera setup to click selfies by opening the Fold 3 and using the cover display as a viewfinder. 

As for the selfie cameras, the one on the cover display does a great job. However, you will be disappointed by the 4MP under-display selfie snapper found on the main display. But it is worth pointing out that the under-display camera is not made for selfies but is supposed to serve as a webcam for your video call sessions. 

Should this be your entry ticket to foldables?

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It sports a great build quality.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 improves on a lot of things when compared to the Z Fold 2 and even manages to keep the same price tag as last year. With the company now having over five foldable smartphones on their portfolio, it has given us an assurance that Samsung is serious about bringing the foldables to the masses. 

In case you have been impressed by what a foldable has to offer and you are ready to spare Rs. 1,49,999 on a smartphone cum tablet, this could definitely be the first foldable that you can carry in your pocket without having any regrets. 

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