Part tablet, part phone, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a portable powerhouse that provides a wholly unique experience. Is this the future of foldable phones, and how does it measure up against regular smartphones? Read on to find out more.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 key features
- Internal display: 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with 120Hz maximum refresh rate
- Triple lens rear camera: 12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide and 12MP telephoto
- 10MP front camera and 4MP under-display camera
- 12GB of RAM
- 4400 mAh battery
- Two storage options: 256GB and 512GB
- 5G support
- Ships with Android 11 and One UI 3.1
- Three colourways: Phantom Black, Phantom Green, Phantom Silver
Samsung’s been dabbling with foldable phones for a while. It launched the original Samsung Galaxy Fold in 2019, and quickly followed with 2020’s Galaxy Z Fold 2, which saw some big improvements (and a big price tag to match).
Now, third time’s a charm, as Samsung further fine-tunes the foldable design to present 2021’s Galaxy Z Fold 3. This third generation of tablet-phone hybrid provides major upgrades across the board – all for a lower price at launch (although it’s still very expensive).
There’s a significant step-up in durability and display, as well as improved cameras and a faster, more powerful performance.
It also boasts superior software for impressive multitasking prowess that makes the most of the device’s foldable form factor – for example, its Multi-Active Window feature, Taskbar and Flex Mode, to name just a few.
Most importantly, there’s finally support for Samsung’s S Pen stylus – something that has been hotly requested since the original Z Fold. It’s a real gamechanger, transforming the phone into a tablet that you can easily write and draw on.
On a less positive note, the Z Fold 3 doesn’t come with the S Pen, nor does it have a space to slot it in. You’ll need to buy it separately and carry it around with your phone, which some may find inconvenient.
Galaxy Z Fold 3 dimensions
There’s no getting away from the fact that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a whole lot of phone to handle. After all, you’re essentially carrying a mini tablet around.
When folded, it measures 158.2 x 67.1 x 16.0-14.4mm, which is considerably thicker than conventional smartphones. When opened up, it measures 158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4mm and reveals a sprawling 7.6-inch main screen.
Weighing in at 271g, it’s heavier than even the largest premium powerhouses, such as the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.
It’s not an easily pocketable phone. Still, it’s a little lighter and slimmer than the previous year’s Galaxy Z Fold 2.
How good is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3’s Camera?
On the back, you’ll find a neat triple camera set-up that includes a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens at f/1.8, a 12-megapixel ultrawide at f/2.2 and a 12-megapixel telephoto camera at f/2.4.
It’s certainly an excellent and dependable camera system – one that you can rely on for bright, clear and detailed snaps in a variety of conditions, as well as 4K video recording at 60 frames per second.
However, for a cutting-edge phone, it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Other top-tier flagships, like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra from the same year, boast advanced camera modes and revolutionary optical zoom capabilities.
Nevertheless, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 does include some of the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s impressive features, such as Single Take Dynamic Video and Director’s View (which records the view from the front and back cameras at the same time).
As for selfies, you have two options: a 10-megapixel camera on the front display and a four-megapixel under-display camera on the unfolded screen.
While the under-display camera blends in seamlessly with the expansive screen, it’s a case of fashion over function. Image quality is quite poor, and it’s best left for video calls – you’re much better off using the 10MP front camera for actual photos.
How good is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3’s Design?
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 largely follows the same book-like blueprint of its two predecessors, but with some major upgrades in its strength and durability.
Compared to the fragile build of the original Galaxy Z Fold, 2021’s version has upped its defences. Now, it’s protected with a stronger ‘Armour Aluminium’ body and Gorilla Glass Victus outer display that’s more resistant to drops and scratches.
When it comes to foldables, the hinge is a huge pressure point that can make or break a phone’s longevity. So it’s good to see that the hinge is more refined than ever. You can open up the phone completely flat, like a tablet, or at a variety of angles, so it can prop itself up for hands-free video calling in Flex Mode.
The internal main screen isn’t quite as tough as a regular smartphone with a hardened-glass screen. Nevertheless, Samsung has worked to improve durability in this area, by rearranging the layers of the screen and introducing a new ‘Stretchable PET’ screen protector on the top.
As a result, it’s strong enough for regular note-taking and sketching with the S Pen stylus. It also feels a lot smoother than the previous Galaxy Z Fold 2, and less susceptible to fingerprints and scratches.
Most importantly, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 finally has an IPX8 rating for water resistance. While it’s not sand or dust resistant just yet, it’ll be able to withstand being dunked in 1.5 metres of water for up to half an hour.
All these hardware improvements come under the hood of a sleek, industrial design. Not only does the phone’s satin finish look seriously premium, but it also hides fingerprints and smudges very well.
You can choose from three colourways: Phantom Black, Phantom Green and Phantom Silver.
How good is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3’s Display?
Thanks to its foldable design, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 actually features two displays: a 6.2-inch OLED cover display when the phone is folded, and a 7.6-inch main screen when unfolded.
Both now have a 120Hz variable refresh rate, ensuring a beautifully smooth experience when browsing the web and scrolling through feeds.
The external display has a resolution of 2268 x 832 pixels, while the internal display has a resolution of 2208 x 1768 pixels. It’s also 30% brighter than the previous year’s Galaxy Z Fold 2.
As expected, the phone’s standout feature is its internal screen. It’s a stunning and immersive display that’s further enhanced by the new under-display camera, allowing for a truly uninterrupted viewing experience. It’s great for reading e-books, looking at detailed documents and watching videos.
A big question is whether the crease in the middle of the screen gets in the way. While you might feel it and see it at certain angles, it easily blends into the background – you’ll barely notice it in day-to-day use.
This wider display is particularly useful for multitasking. Use the Multi-Active Window feature and you’ll be able to view multiple apps simultaneously, side-by-side – for example, checking your emails while opening links in your browser app.
There’s also a handy new Taskbar feature that allows seamless switching between apps on the go.
How good is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3’s Battery life?
Powered by a 4400 mAh cell, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 has decent – if not spectacular – battery life.
How long it’ll last isn’t as straightforward as with regular phones: it depends on whether you have the ‘Always On’ front display enabled (which can eat up battery life), and how often you’ll unfold the phone to use the main screen.
Light users should be able to comfortably get two days’ use on a single charge. For heavy users switching between the front and main displays, the phone should last at least a day. It’s respectable enough, but it’s not as long-lasting as the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and iPhone 12 Pro Max.
It supports fast charging up to 25W.
What are the key differences between the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy Z Fold 2?
When compared to the original Galaxy Z Fold, both the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the previous year’s Galaxy Z Fold 2 are much better in terms of build quality.
However, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 has several other noteworthy upgrades:
- S Pen support on the inner screen
- 120Hz refresh rate on both the outer and inner displays
- Improved multitasking features
- IPX8-rated water resistance
- Better camera performance
Galaxy Z Fold 3 pros and cons
- Well thought-out software for optimal multitasking
- S Pen support for the internal screen
- Big improvements in key areas, such as better durability
- Tablet experience in a portable size
- Still one of the priciest phones out there
- Battery life could be better
- Thicker and heavier than regular smartphones
- No S Pen included
How does Samsung compare to other manufacturers?
At most, there’s the Huawei Mate XS. Released in 2020, it’s a powerful and impressive piece of tech. However, it was extremely expensive at launch, plus there’s no access to Google apps and services.
MoneySuperMarket's expert rating: 4/5
It’s hard not to be amazed by the Galaxy Z Fold 3, as it’s truly an innovative piece of technology. Samsung has made huge strides with its third generation foldable, creating a tablet-phone hybrid that’s eminently useful and – most importantly – fun to play around with.
While new generations of smartphones offer only minor improvements, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 includes a host of noteworthy upgrades from its predecessors, such as a stronger design, better displays and improved multitasking.
Not to mention, the inner screen now has S Pen support for true note-taking and sketching, transforming the phone into a workable tablet.
As we’ve seen from the Galaxy Z series, the focus is more on creating a unique user experience and making the most of the phone’s foldable form factor. As a result, regular features do tend to get side-lined. For example, the Z Fold 3’s camera is excellent, but not exactly revolutionary, while its battery life could be better.
But it’s difficult to compare with head-to-head with other flagships, as it offers so much more than a regular phone. With its sizeable screen and optimised software, it provides the functionality of a laptop or tablet – all in a portable device that can be used on the go.
Although it’s cheaper than the Galaxy Z Fold 2 at launch, there’s no denying that it’s still extremely expensive. And despite the improved durability, it’s not as hardwearing as normal phones – its IPX8 rating means you wouldn’t want to take it to the beach.
Due to the hefty price tag, we’d say that casual smartphone users might be better suited to a regular flagship.
But if you’re a tech enthusiast, or want a portable tablet, you’ll likely jump at the opportunity to play around with this futuristic foldable. Right now, it’s one of the best on the market – but you’ll be paying a premium.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 contract options
If you don’t want to shell out the cash to buy the Galaxy Z Fold 3 outright, you can spread that cost with a mobile contract deal. By paying monthly, it can help make costs more manageable – plus, you can sometimes find deals that throw in some tempting perks or rewards.
Contracts with no upfront cost
Even if you get a phone contract, you may sometimes have to pay an upfront cost when you sign up.
This is usually the case with brand-new flagship handsets, as it basically acts as a deposit towards the cost of the phone. Nevertheless, plenty of networks offer no upfront cost contracts.
Read our page for more on phone contracts with no upfront cost.
Contracts with no credit check
Networks will usually require you to pass a credit check before signing up for a phone contract. So, if you have a bad credit score, it can be tricky getting accepted for a phone contract – particularly if the phone is the latest, most expensive version.
Visit our page for tips on getting a phone contract with bad credit.
What was the Galaxy Z Fold 3's release date?
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 was announced on 11 August 2021 and went on sale on 27 August.
Is the Galaxy Z Fold 3 worth buying in 2022?
At the time of writing (April 2022), it’s the latest foldable phone from Samsung.
So, if you’re looking for the latest phone but want something different from the normal flagships, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is one to check out.
Is now a good time to buy the Galaxy Z Fold 3?
It depends – as mentioned above, if you want the latest iteration of Samsung’s foldable handsets, now is a good time to get your hands on the most up-to-date model.
However, at the time of writing (April 2022), it’s at its most expensive price point. If you’re able to wait, you’ll be able to get it for cheaper when a newer version is launched.
Will the Galaxy Z Fold 3 drop in price?
Typically, phones drop in price when a newer model comes out on the market. Samsung has been releasing new phones every year since 2010, but it only began releasing foldable phones in 2020.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 should drop in price when the next version is announced – and rumours talk of an August or September 2022 release.
Should I upgrade to a newer Samsung Galaxy?
If you already own the previous year’s Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, you might want to wait and see how the next version of the Z Fold measures up.
Galaxy Z Fold3 5G specs
|Release Date||11/08/2021 00:00:00|
|Sim Card Type||Nano|
|Size||128.1mm x 14.6mm x 158.2mm|
|Battery Type||Lithium Polymer|
|Display Size||7.6 inches|
|Resolution||1768 x 2208 inches|
|Pixels Per Inch||374 ppi|
|Touch Screen Type||Capacitive|
|Processor Cores||Octa Core Cores|
|Internal Storage||256, 512|
|Primary Camera||12 MP|
|2nd Camera||4 MP|