Today’s Galaxy Unpacked event introduced the latest Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G and Galaxy Z Flip3 5G. Samsung has made these third-generation foldables more durable — they are even water-resistant now. So if you’ve considered the previous generations of the Galaxy Z folding smartphones but weren’t quite compelled to buy one yet — whether because of their prohibitive prices, their perceived delicateness, or because you felt the technology was still too new — I suspect that you’ll be interested in today’s reveal.
Buying a flagship phone generally means that you are getting top-of-the-line specifications, a large brilliant display, and the latest technology available from that particular device’s manufacturer. That’s always been the case with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold and X Flip series, yet they were also perceived as delicate and definitely not safe to use near water.
That all changes today; the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G and the Galaxy Z Flip3 5G are being touted as the first foldable smartphones to offer IPX8 water resistance. Don’t expect to take it swimming, though — this is mainly to protect you should you get splashed or rained on.
The frames on both devices are made with Samsung’s new Armor Aluminum, which they are calling the “strongest aluminum ever used on a Galaxy smartphone.” The smartphones use Corning Gorilla Glass Victus on their glass bodies to protect them from scratches and drops.
The main screens on the Galaxy Z Fold3 and Galaxy Z Flip3 have optimized panel layers, and a new protective film made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) that Samsung is saying is 80% more durable than their previous folding devices.
The Hideaway Hinge that we first saw on the original Galaxy Z Flip is back, but it is now even thinner and less obtrusive; this hinge will still allow you to open either folding phone and hold it at whatever angle you’ve set. The Sweeper technology used on the Hideaway Hinge is still present, but it has been enhanced with shorter bristles to help repel dust and pocket detritus.
Extensive testing has been done to ensure that the hinge will withstand folding 200,000 times. I’ve done the math for you — that’s 547 times per day if you own the phone for a year, 274 times per day if you own it for two years, 182 times per day if you own it for three years, and so on.
Let’s take a look at the phones, shall we?
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 measures 6.22″ tall by 2.64″ wide by 0.63″ thick on the side closest to the hinge; there is a slight slope from the hinged side to the edges that open, so on the open end opposite of the hinge, the phone is 0.57″ thick.
When unfolded, the Galaxy Z Fold3 measures 6.22″ tall by 5.04 wide by 0.25″ thick; it weighs 9.55 ounces.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 will be available with either 12GB RAM and 256GB user memory or 12GB RAM and 512GB user memory; it will be powered globally by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor.
There will be two 2,200mAh batteries for a combined total of 4,400mAh, and it will offer 25W fast charging, 10W wireless charging, and 4.5W reverse wireless charging.
With the Galaxy Z Fold3, you’ll have the option to use one eSIM and two nanoSIMs. Out of the box, it will run Android 11. You’ll be able to unlock the device by drawing a pattern, using a PIN or password, with the capacitive fingerprint sensor on the side, or by facial recognition.
Now, on to the hardware!
The redesigned cover screen on the Galaxy Z Fold3 is now even larger; it has a 6.2″ HD+, Dynamic AMOLED 2X Display (2268 x 832 pixels at 387ppi), with a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. There is a punch-hole 10-megapixel selfie camera in the top center of this screen.
I had imagined that most people who bought a Galaxy Z Fold2 would wind up using this display more often, only opening to the main screen when they needed more space; that fact was actually mentioned and confirmed at today’s event. I like the idea of a tablet-sized phone, but I wouldn’t need it all the time; the inner folding screen may be a niche product, but I can definitely think of uses for it.
The beauty of using a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 is revealed when you open it up to reveal the larger 7.6″ QXGA+, Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity Flex Display (2208 x 1768 pixels at 374ppi) with a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. Look at all that screen area …
Notably missing in this display is the punch-hole camera that we saw on the upper right of the Galaxy Z Fold2’s display. Instead, there is now a 4-megapixel under-display camera.
When the main screen’s camera isn’t turned on, it’s almost impossible to tell that there’s even a camera there. This will be a welcome change for those who like to see their videos, games, eBooks, and productivity apps without a distracting hole staring back at them.
Here’s the main display on the Galaxy Z Fold2 so you can see a comparison, although Samsung cleverly disguised the punch-hole camera with the wallpaper used in this image.
I have to wonder, though, if there will be a noticeable loss in video call quality going from the 10-megapixel main display camera (albeit with a punch-hole) on the Galaxy Z Fold2 to the 4-megapixel main display camera on the Galaxy Z Fold3.
If video calls weren’t so necessary these days, and if the Galaxy Z Fold3’s main display’s design didn’t lend itself so perfectly to being used while making them, I wouldn’t give it a second thought; this wouldn’t necessarily be the camera I would use at any other time.
There are three lenses on the back of the Galaxy Z Fold3, including a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, and a 12-megapixel telephoto camera.
I can’t help but be disappointed that Samsung isn’t using the same rear camera array found on the Galaxy S21 smartphones. While I certainly didn’t expect the Galaxy Z Fold3 to come with the 108-megapixel camera found on the Galaxy S21 Ultra, even the basic S21 had a 64-megapixel telephoto camera with a 3X hybrid zoom. Oh well.
As you may have noticed being teased in a couple of the photos above, one cool new feature is the addition of S Pen functionality, which we usually only see in the Samsung Galaxy Note series, although it was present in the Galaxy S21 Ultra. The S Pen for Z Fold3 will come in two models, the S Pen Fold Edition and the S Pen Pro.
Both S Pens for the Z Fold3 will have a “retractable Pro tip with force limit technology,” so you won’t accidentally gouge your main screen when taking emphatic notes.
The S Pen won’t have silo storage in the Galaxy X Fold3’s body, but there will be case options that can help you keep it close by. This is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G Flip Cover with S Pen in Black; it sells for $79.99 and has a detachable S Pen holder on its spine.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 will be available in Phantom Black, Phantom Green, and Phantom Silver. The 256GB version will sell for $1799.99, and the 512GB version will sell for $1899.99. In the box, you’ll get the Galaxy Z Fold3 5G, a data cable, an ejection pin, and a quick start guide; noticeably missing is a wall charger. It is available for pre-order now.
Worth mentioning is that the 256GB Galaxy Z Fold3’s starting price is $200 less expensive than the Galaxy Z Fold2. Substantial discounts are available directly from Samsung and the major carriers that will cut that purchase price down to something much more manageable.
Michael Josh from Gadget Match had the opportunity to get some hands-on time with the new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3. Check out his video …
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G
I really enjoyed using the Samsung Z Flip 5G that I reviewed last year; if that phone appealed to you, you’re going to love the upgraded Z Flip3 5G. The front cover has been redesigned and now has a four times larger display.
There are new Cover Screen widgets, and you can use them to keep track of your steps, follow the weather, or keep up with your schedule. Samsung Pay is built into the cover, as well, so that’s one less thing you’ll have to flip open your phone to do.
So let’s compare the front cover of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G to the Galaxy Z Flip3. As you may recall, the front display on the Galaxy Z Flip 5G was pretty small at 1.1″, and though you could swipe the display to scroll through upcoming calendar notifications, caller ID and text messages, upcoming calendar notifications, and other app notifications, the functionality was limited.
With four times as much space on the Cover Screen, everything isn’t quite as cramped, and you won’t have to squint at the screen to read it.
When closed, the Galaxy Z Flip3 measures 2.84″ wide by 3.4″ long by 0.67″ thick on the hinge end and 0.62″ on the end that opens. When opened, it’s 6.53″ long by 2.84″ wide by 0.27″ thick; it weighs 6.4 ounces.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 will be available with either 8GB RAM and 128GB user memory or 8GB RAM and 256GB user memory; the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor will power it.
Inside, there are two 1,650mAh batteries for a total of 3,300mAh; like the Galaxy Z Fold3, it will offer 25W fast charging, 10W wireless charging, and 4.5W reverse wireless charging.
Opening the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 reveals the 6.7″ FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity Flex Display (2640 x 1080 pixels at 425ppi); it has a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. The is a front-facing, 10-megapixel center punch-hole camera at the top of the display.
There are two cameras on the phone’s back, including a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera and a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera.
Because of that handy Hideaway hinge, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 is perfect for making video calls or watching media — no stand necessary.
If you’ve wanted the option to get a colorful and fun-looking folding phone, you’re going to like the Samsung Z Flip3; it comes in Cream, Green, and Lavender, but there is also a Phantom Black option for anyone who doesn’t want to stand out as much. There will also be three exclusive colors available only from Samsung, including Gray, Pink, and White.
There will also be an assortment of cases available for the Galaxy Z Flip3 with different options and lots of fun colors. Gotta protect that pricy little thing!
The 128GB version will sell for $999.99, and the 256GB version will sell for $1049.99. In the box, you’ll get the Galaxy Z Flip3 5G, a data cable, and an ejection pin. So there’s no quick start guide and no wall charger. It is available for pre-order starting today.
Worth noting again is that the Galaxy Z Flip3 is significantly less than its predecessor, which sold for $1499.99 for the 8GB RAM and 256GB user memory version, which put it out of reach for most.
Here’s MJ’s hands-on video for the Galaxy Z Flip3.
Samsung Galaxy Buds2
Samsung has also announced the Galaxy Buds2 today. Samsung’s smallest and lightest earbuds yet feature dynamic two-way speakers for crisp, clear high notes and deep bass.
They also have Active Noise Cancellation; when you need to hear your surroundings, there are three adjustable Ambient Sound levels you can choose from. A machine learning-based solution makes sure that distracting background noises are filtered out, so your voice is always clear on calls.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds2 are available in Graphite, White, Olive, and Lavender; they are available for pre-order starting today at $149.99.
And here’s MJ’s hands-on look at the Galaxy Buds2.
So let’s talk about some of the available deals if you want to upgrade to one of the new Samsung Galaxy Z series phones.
AT&T is accepting pre-orders for all the new devices as of today, and they will be available for online purchase and in stores on Aug. 27. They are offering these deals for new and existing customers:
- Get up to $1000 off the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G or Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G with an eligible trade-in when purchased on an installment plan and eligible unlimited plan. That means you can get the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G for FREE or the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G for $799.99.
- Buy one Samsung Galaxy Watch4 series and get one FREE when both are purchased with wireless service on a qualifying installment plan.
- Get any Samsung accessory 50% off with a purchase of a Samsung-connected device.
- Business customers can also get the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G for up to $600 off and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G for up to $650 off with eligible 2-year contracts.
Verizon is accepting pre-orders for the Galaxy Z series on Verizon starting today, or you’ll be able to pick one up at the store on August 27.
- The Galaxy Z Fold3 5G starts at $59.99 a month for 30 months or $74.99 a month for 24 months on Verizon Device Payment (0% APR; $1,799.99 retail).
- The Galaxy Z Flip3 5G starts at $33.33 a month for 30 months or $41.66 a month for 24 months on Verizon Device Payment (0% APR; $999.99 retail).
- Switch to Verizon and get up to $1,000 off a new Galaxy Z series phone with select trade-in and select Unlimited plans, plus get up to $500 to help cover the cost of switching.
- Current customers can save $500 on a Galaxy Z series phone with select trade-in on select Unlimited plans.
- If you can’t decide which Z series phone to get, you can buy a Galaxy Z Fold3 5G or Z Flip3 5G and get a 128GB Galaxy Z Flip3 5G for free with select Unlimited plans.
- While supplies last, you can get the Samsung Fold Cover and S Pen bundle for free when purchased with the Galaxy Z Fold3 5G from Verizon.
- Get 25% off all Samsung Galaxy Z series cases and screen protectors and 25% off Samsung-brand wireless charging accessories during the pre-order period.
Starting today through August 26, 2021, consumers who pre-order on Samsung.com or the Shop Samsung app can:
- Get a $200 Samsung Credit with a Galaxy Z Fold3 or a $150 Samsung Credit with a Galaxy Z Flip3.
- Opt-in to a 3-year Samsung Care+ plan (cancellable at any time) to also get a discount on the total plan price and will have no monthly payment for the first 12 months. Pre-order consumers can make the most of their Galaxy experience and redeem their Samsung Credit on Samsung.com or the Shop Samsung app towards specialty bundles and select products, including Samsung TVs, Galaxy Tab S7 FE, Galaxy Watch4, accessories, and more. With Samsung Care+, consumers get 24/7 dedicated support, accidental damage from handling protection, and extended warranty coverage. The promotion will last for a limited time and only while supplies last. Terms and conditions apply. Visit here to learn more.
- Trade-in up to four devices and earn up to $800 in credit to be applied to Galaxy Z Fold3 or up to $500 to be applied to Galaxy Z Flip3. With eligible trade-ins, those looking to finance can get monthly payments as low as $28 per month for Galaxy Z Fold3 and $13 per month for Galaxy Z Flip3 for 36 months – Samsung’s lowest financing terms to date.
- Starting today through August 26, those who preorder Galaxy Watch4 Classic and Galaxy Watch4 can get a $50 samsung.com credit. Galaxy Watch4 Classic and Galaxy Watch4 retail availability begins August 27. Galaxy Watch4 Classic is available in a 42mm size (priced at $349.99 for Bluetooth and $399.99 for LTE) and the 46mm size (priced at $379.99 for Bluetooth and $429.99 for LTE); colors include Black and Silver. Galaxy Watch4 is available in a 40mm size available in Black, Silver, and Pink Gold (priced at $249.99 for Bluetooth and $299.99 for LTE) and a 44mm size available in Black, Silver, and Green ($279.99 for Bluetooth and $329.99 for LTE).
Also, consider that Samsung.com makes it easy to experience a product worry-free with no cost via its “Try Now, Pay Later” Program, which was recently made available for smartphones on the site.
- Earlier this year, Samsung offered a Buy-and-Try program for Galaxy Z devices, which allowed customers to return the device within 100 days, no questions asked. The Try Now, Pay Later program includes the following:
- A 21-day return window.
- There’s no upfront charge – that means if you do decide to return your device, there’s no wait for return credit.
- Samsung covers return shipping.