Foldables have seen a sustained increase in popularity over the past few years, and a good chunk of that credit goes to Samsung. Samsung entered the foldable space with the original Galaxy Fold, which had a fair few flaws. The company took the criticism on the chin, went back to the drawing board, and returned with a fixed product. A few months later, Samsung dipped further into the foldable space with the Galaxy Z Flip, experimenting with a different form factor. On the flagship line, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 arrived sometime later, marking the strongest attempt at a foldable on a wide scale. Now it’s 2021, and that means it’s time for the next foldable. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 has been officially announced today. Unlike previous years, there’s no Galaxy Note to take center stage, and the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is not One More Thing. Alongside this device, Samsung also launched the Galaxy Z Flip 3, Galaxy Watch 4, and Galaxy Buds 2.
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Price and availability
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 release date is Friday, August 27 in the US and UK, while in Australia, it’s September 10. Galaxy Z Fold 3 pre-orders are open now in all regions through Samsung’s website, and the phone will be available from other retailers and carriers in the coming weeks. It starts at $1,799 / £1,599 / AU$2,499 for a model with 256GB of storage, while if you want extra capacity you can get a 512GB Z Fold 3 for $1,899 / £1,699 / AU$2,649. The Z Fold 2 started at $1,999 / £1,799 / AU$2,999 when it was released last year.
Design and display
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 retains the book-like design and functionality of its predecessors, with a limited but usable 6.2-inch Cover Display on the outside of the handset that opens up to reveal a massive 7.6-inch display on the inside. That inner display uses the same AMOLED tech as on the last-gen smartphone, with a resolution of 2208 x 1768. Folded, it’s 16mm thick, while unfolded, it’s 6.4mm thick. Compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 2, it’s 4.5% thinner when folded, and 8% thinner when unfolded. Compared to non-folding phones, it’s 28% thinner than the Galaxy S21 Ultra when unfolded — 6.4mm vs. 8.9mm — and ~14% thinner than the iPhone 12 Pro Max — 6.4mm vs. 7.4mm. The foldable phone also arrives with a S-Pen support.
The rear camera setup of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 has a 12MP f/1.8 main camera, a 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide camera, and a 12MP f/2.4 telephoto camera that’s capable of 2x optical zoom. You’ll get optical image stabilization in the telephoto and ultra-wide cameras on this device. There are two further cameras on the Galaxy Z Fold 3, both of which are designed for selfies. On the phone’s outer screen you’ll find a 10MP f/2.2 shooter, which matches what we saw on the Z Fold 2. More significantly, the Z Fold 3 also comes with Samsung’s first commercially available under-display camera, which is hidden under the screen on the right-hand side of the inner screen. This is a 4MP f/1.8 camera, and we found it to work notably less well than the camera on the front screen.
Processor, software, and battery
The Snapdragon 888 processor powers the Galaxy Z Fold 3 with 12GB of RAM and either 256GB or 512GB of storage. The whole package is powered by a 4,400 mAh battery and supports charging up to 25W when wired or up to 10W wirelessly. There’s also reverse wireless charging up to 4.5W, which is ideal for charging accessories like the Galaxy Buds 2 or Galaxy Watch 4. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 runs Android 11 with Samsung’s own One UI overlay on top. There are some optimizations here to suit the foldable design - for example, the keyboard on the screen appears in two separate sections.