The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is designed to convince you that the third time’s a charm when it comes to buying into the future of foldable phones, and without a Galaxy Note 21, there’s a lot of pressure on Samsung to make good on that adage.
Good news: we’ve fully tested the Galaxy Fold 3 for nearly two weeks now, and it’s become the first foldable phone that we can recommend to those who would ordinarily consider themselves early adopters, but who passed up on the first two iterations of Samsung’s foldable, without hesitation.
We’ve been closely evaluating its familiar 2-in-1 design, determined to fold and unfold the 7.6-inch flexible display until we could do it in our sleep in order to properly test its durability.
This version of Samsung’s foldable phone feels stronger than its two predecessors: it’s waterproof this time, while its mini-tablet-sized inner screen withstood our meanest stylus strokes with the new S Pen and S Pen Pro.
S Pen support makes perfect sense on a screen of this size, and it was something that people were clamoring for with the first two Folds. There’s more writing and drawing real estate here than on any Galaxy Note smartphone, yet not so big that it’s inconvenient like a full-sized traditional tablet that has to be stowed in a bag. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 can be closed to half and stuck in a pocket.
It may well change the way you use your phone day to day, especially if you spring for the S Pen and a case to carry it in – unfortunately, the stylus is sold separately and doesn’t tuck inside the phone. That inconvenience will be jarring for long-time Note fans, even if we found the new stylus bigger and easier to use than the Note’s toothpick-sized S Pen.
Also, you’ll need to dial back your camera expectations: this is yet another foldable with cameras that are good, but which lack the zoom-in oomph of the Samsung Galaxy S21 and last year’s Note 20 Ultra. There is one standout camera perk: an under-the-screen camera neatly obviates the need for punch-hole on the more seamless inner display, although the 4MP camera quality loss is noticeable.
The big hook to the Galaxy Fold 3 is its slightly cheaper price compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 2, we will keep you updated...