Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 hands-on review

Last Update 2021-08-13


The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is here, and it’s the “cheapest” foldable phone yet at $999. No, a grand isn’t cheap, but the Galaxy Z Flip 3 brings foldable phone technology down to a much more attainable price. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is available now for pre-order, with a shipping date of August 27. The 8GB/128GB base configuration runs $999, but there’s a 256GB option, too, for $1,049. Those who pre-order the Galaxy Z Flip 3 will get a $150 credit and 12 months of Samsung Care+ free with a three-year plan.

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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

Design and display

Just like its two predecessors, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is a clamshell foldable with a 6.7-inch plastic OLED screen that bends and folds horizontally at the midway point. Unfolded, the Z Flip 3’s shape and dimensions approximate a typical slab phone. The screens of the Z Flip 3 have got major upgrades. The inside folding screen now refreshes at 120Hz (vs 60Hz on last year’s Z Flip 5G), and the outside “cover screen” is 4x larger. The cover screens of the last two Z Flips were only good for displaying the most basic of information (time, battery percentage, etc) and not much else. Even text messages with more than five words wouldn’t show properly on the cramped space. That’s been fixed here with the Z Flip 3 — you now get four lines of space with the option to scroll to see more text. Samsung’s also built widgets specifically for this cover screen, allowing users to control music playback, audio recording, set a timer, and more. Just like last year, you can use the cover screen as a viewfinder for selfies. The Z Flip 3, along with its bigger brother, the Z Fold 3, are the first foldable phones to gain official water resistance with a rating of IPX8. Samsung says the material used to construct both the folding screen and hinge are stronger than ever. The latter has been dubbed “Armor Aluminum” by Samsung, and it’s supposedly 10% stronger than typical aluminum.


In terms of cameras, they’re unchanged from the original Flip. On the back, you get a 12MP (f/1.8) wide-angle sensor and a 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide one. The selfie camera is 10MP with an f/2.4 aperture. There’s no telephoto lens on the Galaxy Z Flip 3. The Galaxy Z Flip 3’s camera improvements come down to software, offering enhancements to portrait mode and indoor photography. There’s Flex Mode, so you can part-fold the phone at a right-angle and use one side as a stand to keep the other, camera-toting side steady, along with the standard modes you’ll find on the Galaxy S21.

Processor, software, and battery

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 brings some small performance upgrades over its predecessor – chief among these are that it uses the Snapdragon 888 chipset, the top-end Android processor available to it. The SoC is paired with 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB storage. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 comes with Android 11 and One UI 3.1 out of the box, with an Android 12 update on the horizon. As with other Samsung phones, you can expect three years of platform updates and four years of security patches with the Flip 3. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 has the same 3,300mAh battery as its predecessor, which is on the light side for a phone with a 6.7-inch display. The phone supports 25W fast and 11W wireless charging.