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The Truth About The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: If you did enjoy that intro, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3.

I’ve had my SIM card in this bad boy from the day it was released.

So it’s been around two weeks, and I will be talking about my experience in this article.

What I like about it, what I don’t like about it, and what I think can be improved.

Now before I start, I just want to say that Fold1 and Fold2 were my favorite smartphones of 2019 and 2020.

And that wasn’t because we didn’t have other great smartphones, we had lots of other great smartphones, but those two really stood out.

Even now having a smartphone that I can open up into a tablet is just absolutely amazing and mind-blowing for me.

It’s funny, my nephew actually calls this the iPad phone, which I’m sure Samsung, no, you’re not going to be ecstatic about it, but it just goes to show how unique this smartphone is, but this is the third generation of the Fold now.

So I’m going to be more critical towards it compared to Fold1 and Fold2, so fanboys brace yourselves.

Now, initially, I want to talk about the building design I’ve brought here the Fold2, just to give you a comparison and realistically speaking when you do take a look at the Fold3 compared to the Fold2, they look very much the same and to somebody that wasn’t really tech-savvy, they’d probably think it’s the same device.

And yes, the Fold3 is slightly smaller and it’s also slightly lighter compared to the Fold2, but realistically speaking, it is still very similar.

It does feel the same for me.

Having said that there are some key improvements to the build and design of the Fold3, which I really did appreciate.

As you saw earlier from the intro, this is the world’s first foldable smartphone alongside the Flip 3 to have an official IPX8 water-resistant rating.

That is absolutely amazing and props to the Samsung engineers, because it couldn’t have been easy to have this IP rating on a foldable smartphone and traditionally using the Fold1 and the Fold2, I was really reluctant to use it outdoors when it was raining (rain pouring) and I live in the UK, so it’s always raining, but with the Fold3, it’s just so convenient, I can just pull it out, use it in the rain, not have to worry about it.

If I go wash my hands before I used to have to make sure I’ve completely dried them, I’ve got no drops just because I didn’t
want to damage the Fold, I don’t have to do that with the Fold3, it’s absolutely amazing and so, so convenient.

Now, the X in the IPX8, means that this is not dust resistant, but Samsung has taken some precautions inside with some fibers to prevent dust from getting in.

I’ve not had any issues in terms of getting any dust in, I didn’t have any issues like this for the Fold2 either.

Now on the outside, we do have improved aluminum, which is supposed to be 10% stronger, and we’ve also got Gorilla Glass Victus, the strongest Gorilla Glass version available right now.

There is a plastic screen protector included with the front display, and I haven’t really taken this off because it seems to be doing fine.

And then of course the main display.

Now the main display does have a new protective film, which is supposed to be 80% more durable.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Now using this over the past two weeks, I can’t really notice any scratches or anything, and I’ve not been easy with this, but I think the main thing for me with this new protective film is that it just feels a little bit better compared to the Fold2.

I don’t really have an urge to take off the screen protector or anything like that, it’s a big, big improvement.

And let’s talk about the displays.

So I want to initially talk about this cover display.

If you put it alongside the Fold2, it looks pretty much the same, the bezels are roughly about the same, we still have that punch out.

The biggest improvement or actually two improvements that we’ve got to the cover display of the Fold3, firstly it is 120 Hertz, this makes a big difference, for me on the Fold2 going from the 120 Hertz main display to the 60 Hertz cover display was definitely noticeable.

I mean, if you’re just using a 60 Hertz device, it’s not something that you’re going to notice because you’re not actually getting that 120 Hertz experience on the previous Fold going back and forth was something that I didn’t appreciate.

The Fold3 now has this 120 Hertz cover display, which is a big, big plus in my opinion and it makes things consistent.

And speaking of consistency, the other big advantage that we have now is that the cover display now mirrors

the main display for your home screen.

Previously, you pretty much had two separate home screens, which wasn’t consistent and I would kind of forget what I’ve put something with the Fold3, you have your main home screen, and then when you close it, the cover display mirrors that exactly.

And although things are quite tight here for the apps, I mean, it’s just apps that you need to open, it’s not a big deal, I absolutely love that this is now mirrored, so that’s a big, big plus.

Now the cover display is still too narrow for my liking.

I cannot type on this thing to save my life.

Whenever I type something quickly on the cover display, it doesn’t make any sense because the keyboard is way too narrow.

Now some of the fanboys might be saying, oh, you can just type on the big display and I understand that, but there might be some quick situations like saying I’m heading to the gym, I just want to send a quick message to my buddy saying, I’m going to be a few minutes late, I have to keep opening it up, which is super annoying.

If we look at something like the aluminum, Mate X2, that’s got a much wider display.

And in my experience of using that, it was so much better for what the cover display.

Now it’s a real shame that Huawei is no longer in the Western market competition leads to innovation and I really do hope that for the Fold4 at least Samsung does go for a wider cover display, which will make it so much more usable.

So that’s the cover display.

Let’s talk about the main display.

I mean, it still just blows my mind that we can have a smartphone that opens up into the tablet.

This display is absolutely amazing.

This is around 29% brighter compared to what we had last year and we’ve still got that 120 Hertz refresh rate, which makes this absolutely awesome.

Now, yes, the crease is still visible.

This isn’t really a big deal for me personally, because you don’t really touch it.

So when you’re using the smartphone, your thumbs are usually around the sides.

So it’s not like you actually swiping across it too much, so it’s something that I think you kind of learn to ignore after a little bit, however, the Fold3 now does have support for the S Pen.

And I’m going to talk a little bit about the S Pen, but I want you to keep in mind that the S Pen is a bonus feature, it’s not something that you have to get, it is something that’s sold separately.

You can either get the fold edition or you can get the S Pen Pro.

Once again, we do have to give credit to Samsung’s engineers.

Being able to have the digitizer on a folding display is absolutely awesome and if you are a regular on the channel, you know that I’ve been a Note user since the Note 4, I also use a graphics tablet on my PC.

So having an S Pen for me is a big, big plus.

I like to doodle on my smartphone, I like editing images, signing documents, and these are things that you really can only do with the precision of an S Pen.

Now, having said that there are a few things that you do have to consider.

Now I mentioned the crease, the crease in day-to-day use is absolutely fine, but when you’re using the S Pen, if you are using the full canvas, it does a dip in, so the best way I can describe this is to say, you’ve got a book which you open up in the middle and then there’s that little bump in the middle, so if you are trying to draw around that, you’re going to have to be a little bit more careful, and it’s not the best experience, so something to keep in mind there.

But as well as that, the S Pen can only be used on this main display, it can not be used on the cover display.

Now that’s probably not going to be a big deal for most people, but just to keep in mind that with the Note series, how you can just make quick notes, even when the screens are off, you’re not going to be able to do that here on the Fold3.

And the biggest thing for me when it comes to an S Pen on the fold, similar to how it was on the S21 Ultra, is that there is no way to actually enclose the S Pen within the device as you can do on the Note series.

And that means that if you want to use an S Pen, if it’s the S Pen Pro that’s quite large, you’re going to have to keep that with you or you can get the Fold edition with a case.

Now I’ve tested the case out and it’s okay, but it does add more bulk to the already bulky smartphone that we’ve got here.

It’s got the flappy bit at the front, which I’m definitely not a fan of, and for me, it just doesn’t match the Note experience.

So if you are a Note user, traditionally, just keep in mind that these are the things that you are going to have to compromise with, coming on to the Fold3.

Does this replace the Note?

Definitely not, in my opinion.

it really does help me out and also with the YouTube algorithm.

Camera, so the first camera we’re going to talk about is this an under-display camera on this main display.

Now I have some strong feelings about this under-display camera.

It’s not completely invisible, you can still see it and I still notice it when I’m watching articles or doing anything really, you do see these dots in front of it.

Now I have tested the ZTE Axon 30, and that’s the second generation under-display camera, and granted that’s on a glass display, but that almost completely disappears when the screen is on, with the Fold3 personally speaking, I still notice it.

So yes, it does give you more of an uninterrupted display compared to the Fold2, but it’s still noticeable and in order to achieve this, there has been a big compromise in terms of the quality.

This is four megapixels, and sure it can be fine for video calls.

I’ve done some video calls and people haven’t really noticed, but images from this are really not great.

Now we do have the cover display camera, and you can also use the rear-facing cameras as front-facing cameras with the cover display as a viewfinder, so for selfies, you really won’t be using this, you will be using this mainly for video calls, but in my opinion, having this compromise for a flagship device, especially when it’s still 50% visible is not worth it.

Now, personally speaking, I would have minded if they stuck with the punch out, it’s fine.

I know some of you guys will be like, you wouldn’t have minded, if there wasn’t a camera here at all, that’s up to you.

But personally having a punch out in my opinion would have been better than having this, which is kind of 50% there.

And speaking of the other cameras, they’re good.

You’ve got lots of dynamic range.

You’ve got the flexibility of the ultra-wide, the primary, as well as the telephoto camera, but there’s nothing hugely exciting about these cameras.

I mean, sure, they’re more than good enough for the day-to-day, but the hardware that’s being used is pretty much the same as
what we had in Fold2 and doing some side-by-side comparisons, I can’t notice a huge deal of difference.

Maybe the Fold3 is slightly better in low light, but generally speaking, I don’t think you’re going to be buying this smartphone for the cameras, if you are looking for better cameras, of course, the S21 Ultra has better cameras.

It’s got a much larger sense of size for the primary camera, we also have to zoom cameras three times, as well as the periscope zoom camera two, the Fold3 again, the cameras are good, they’re fine for your day-to-day, but they’re not really going to be up there against some of the competition, just something to bear mind.

Now, let’s talk about the performance and the software experience.

This is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 chipsets.

A few of you may be thinking, why didn’t they go with the 888 Plus?

Now this year, the 888 Plus compared to the 888, I mean, it’s an improvement, but it’s not a significant improvement that we’re used to seeing in previous years.

So personally speaking, I’m absolutely fine with this.

It’s not giving me any issues in terms of performance, speed, absolutely fine.

And in terms of the software experience, Samsung has done a lot to make the most of this large display.

So we’ve got improved multi-window support, you can actually have three apps open at the same time.

Now I’m not somebody who uses three apps at the same time.

Yes, maybe I’ll have a video playing while I’m scrolling through tweets at the same time, but generally speaking, it’s not something that I do too much.

However, the big thing for me, when it comes to the Fold is certain apps that are optimized, so for example, my Outlook app is optimized.

I can have my emails listed across the left-hand side, and then I can see a preview on the right-hand side, pretty much as you do on a desktop and things like this really make this such an awesome experience.

I do not like answering emails on my smartphone, it’s just something that I don’t enjoy doing.

And just earlier today I was at the barber’s and I was waiting for a haircut.

So usually I’ll just be wasting time on my phone, just scrolling through social media.

But today I actually was going through my emails, I was actually being productive here on the Fold3, which is so, so awesome.

And just having that larger display makes it so much easier to kind of just going through those emails, checking them off quickly, replying to them.

I absolutely love that about the Fold and it’s something that you really cannot get on any other smartphone.

Samsung has also optimized other apps such as Instagram.

So you’ll see that I have now got it at the correct aspect ratio.

I can still have it full screen if I want, but the best thing about this is I’m not really having any compromises when it comes to the experience of using these apps.

One of the problems that I used to have on Fold1 and Fold2 was if I would post a story when everybody else with normal size smartphones would see it, it would be cropped from the sides and it just would not look good.

And sometimes the texts would also be cropped and it was super frustrating to the point where I used to use my secondary smartphone for Instagram, and I never used to use my phone whatsoever.

This has now been addressed, and I’m so glad that this is here.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s still a long way to go for apps to be optimized.

I mean, lots of apps are just enlarged versions, like you’re on Twitter, you’ve got so much extra space here that definitely could be utilized better and it really depends on when some of these app developers are going to bring this here, hopefully, Samsung is going to have more partnerships where this will be available.

In terms of some of the other features, we do have stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support, which sounds absolutely great, viewing experience on this is so, so good.

And we do have the side-mounted fingerprint scanner, it’s not in the display and this is absolutely fine, works really, really well.

Let’s talk about the battery now.

So the battery size is actually smaller.

It’s split into two cells, but slightly smaller compared to the Fold2, and in terms of my usage, I would say it’s had good battery life.

Now, what do I consider good?

So I’m getting around four to five hours of screen on time, based on my personal usage.

Now, with the Folds in particular, compared to other devices, it’s going to vary so much from person to person.

It really depends on how much you use the larger display, which is obviously going to take up a lot more battery than the cover display.

If you can get away with using the cover display for a lot of your standard things, then it’s going to give you better battery life, but this for me is again good, but it’s not great.

Something like, yes, when you went Ultra, the iPhone 12 Pro Max, give me a much, much better battery life.

Again, this is something that I do want to emphasize is going to depend on your usage, but what I’m saying is the battery life isn’t great if that’s what you were expecting.

Now, when it comes to charging, you do have support for 25 Watt charging, which isn’t the fastest in the world, but it’s fast enough and you do have wireless charging, once again, this isn’t super fast, but for me, when I do leave it on my wireless charger on my bedside of the night, it’s fine, it’s not a problem.

There’s also wireless power share, so you can do reverse wireless charging, which I personally never use.

And as you may already know, unfortunately, a charger is not included with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3.

This is a trend that we’ve seen, not only on Samsung devices but many, many others.

It’s just something that I guess we’re going to have to learn to accept as we had to, with the lack of a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack.

Now, one thing that might make up for not having a charger included out of the box, is the price.

I mean, I know a lot of people are going to be arguing with me in the comments for this, but this does come in at low price compared to the Fold2

around £200 or $200 less.

It starts at around £1600 in the UK or around $1,800 in the U.S.

So, maybe that’s not much of an argument because this is still a very expensive device, almost double the price of a regular flagship these days.

So if you do want the Fold3, you really have to want it.

In my overall opinion, I still think this is the best large folding smartphone that you can buy right now, with Huawei really not
in the Western market, but it does come with a few compromises such as the under-display camera, the cover display, which
is still too narrow for my experience, as well as the battery life, which could definitely be better.

I think overall, I would consider this an incremental update, maybe, a Fold to S, I know the fanboys are going to hate me for saying this, but I still think where I listen to the generation of the mark of having a really good, large foldable smartphone.

Now there is the Z Flip 3, which is coming in at under $1000 or £ 1000, which in my opinion is very, very impressive.

I’ve not got that in the house as yet, so when I do have that, I’ll try to do some coverage.

What do you guys think of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3?

Will you be picking it up?

Definitely let me know in the comments below.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful.

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