The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is here, and at $999, it’s the “least” foldable phone available. Although a grand isn’t cheap, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 brings foldable phone technology to a more affordable price point. And now, more individuals than ever before can test out the folding lifestyle.
Will the decreased price persuade users to switch to foldable phones? The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is also more water-resistant than its previous one, with an IPX8 rating. On the outside, the phone has Gorilla Glass Victus and Samsung’s new Armor Aluminum shell, which makes the screen 80 percent more durable. In short, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is more durable than the original Galaxy Z Flip, but we still wouldn’t drop it.
If you’re still undecided about which Samsung foldable to choose, I recommend reading our Galaxy Z Fold 3 reviews. In addition, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs. Galaxy Z Flip 3 comparison examines the differences between the two latest foldable.
Battery life is one aspect where the Galaxy Z Flip 3 fails miserably, according to the tests. It’s not a nice sight. For the most part, the Flip 3 is a nice foldable phone, but it’s not fantastic. Continue reading for the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 review.
Price: $999 (128GB), $1,049 (256GB)
OS: Android 11 / One UI 3.1
CPU: Snapdragon 888
Storage: 128GB, 256GB
Rear cameras: 12MP (f/1.8) main, 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide
Front camera: 10MP (f/2.4)
Battery: 3,300 mAh
Weight: 6.5 ounces
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is related to the Galaxy Z Flip in that it folds vertically to morph from a standard-sized phone to something that fits into even the tiniest of pockets, but it features a few aesthetic improvements. First and foremost, the phone is water-resistant, with an IPX8 rating, which is a remarkable achievement given that Samsung has just recently begun producing foldable phones. For further durability, Samsung has used Armor Aluminum to reinforce the frame and hinge, while Gorilla Glass Victus protects the rest.
Of course, the pleasant folding mechanism is what distinguishes the Galaxy Z Flip range, and you won’t be able to stop yourself from opening and shutting the phone for no apparent reason over the first few days. Unfolding the phone with a single hand is still difficult due to the phone’s ability to unfold and stay open at numerous angles, but this does not apply to folding it shut, which is rather simple after some experience.
The Z Flip 3 has a two-tone design, with the metal frame and hinge being a little different color than the glass in each of the seven colors available (three of those are exclusive to ordering from Samsung.com). Because the cover display is all black and adds another touch of contrast to the phone’s appearance, you could call it a three-tone design. Samsung has done an excellent job of ensuring that this gadget attracts attention wherever it appears.
The only flaw with Samsung’s foldable for now is the space between the device’s two sides when folded. Because of this gap, loose items in your pockets, such as coins, pose a risk to the foldable display. Oh, and the Z Flip 3 is really slick and kept sliding off the wireless charger, so keep that in mind if you decide to get one.
The 8GB/128GB base setup costs $999, but there’s also a $1,049 256GB variant. With a three-year plan, those who pre-order the Galaxy Z Flip 3 will receive a $150 Samsung.com credit and 12 months of Samsung Care+ for free.
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 has a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display when it’s fully opened. The combination of the 2640 x 1080 resolution and the 120Hz refresh rate created a genuinely stunning viewing experience. The Flip 3’s scrolling was silky smooth, demonstrating Samsung’s genuine display power.
The 1.9-inch touchscreen can be used to play music, monitor the weather, and even take selfies when closed. (The touchscreen can be used as a viewfinder as well.) Simply double-click the power button to start the camera, and you’re good to go. This is a significant improvement over the Flip 3’s tiny exterior display, making it more useable while closed (and thus saving battery life, theoretically).
I was immediately enamored with the Flip 3’s redesigned cover display when compared to the original Flip. It’s quite versatile and handy, allowing you to interact with a variety of phone tasks without having to open the device. Outside of the folding, it’s by far my favorite Flip 3 feature.
The seam across the center of the internal display, though, is a holdover from the original Flip. Even though you don’t see it all the time, it’s still obvious when you scroll over it. The image distortion is extremely evident in direct sunlight or in apps that use light mode. The apparent crease isn’t a deal-breaker, but you might be disappointed if you were looking for something more subtle this time.
The Galaxy Z Flip 3’s inner screens reproduced 102 percent of the sRGB color spectrum and 76.4 percent of the DCI-P3 color range. The iPhone 12 Pro’s 115.6 percent sRGB rendering is actually less saturated. The Galaxy Z Flip 3, on the other hand, has poorer color accuracy, with a Delta-E score of 0.32 vs 0.28 for the iPhone 12 Pro.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 Review: Cameras
In terms of the camera, they’re identical to the original Flip. On the rear, there’s a 12MP (f/1.8) wide-angle camera and a 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide camera. A 10MP sensor with an aperture of f/2.4 is used in the selfie camera. And, unlike comparable $999 phones like the iPhone 12 Pro — which I used for the subsequent photo comparisons — the Galaxy Z Flip 3 still lacks a telephoto lens.
If the Flip 3 is going to compete with one of the greatest camera phones available, it will have its work cut out for it. Let’s not forget that the Galaxy S21 includes a telephoto lens, and Samsung does some amazing things with those lenses. The camera upgrades on the Galaxy Z Flip 3 are software-based, with upgrades to portrait mode and inside shooting.
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 can record video at a resolution of up to 4K at 60 frames per second. The finished product is sharp and smooth, and it looks fantastic. I used both phones to record a quick walk to test stabilization, microphone quality, and overall visual fidelity. The iPhone 12 Pro can also record up to 4K 60 fps, so I used both phones to record a little walk to test stabilization, microphone quality, and overall visual adherence.
The video quality of the Flip 3 is comparable to that of the iPhone 12 Pro, which is one of the better options for filming video. The colors in the Flip 3-shot footage were accurate and colorful, with outstanding daylight correction. The Flip 3’s stabilization was excellent, but the iPhone’s mic quality and background noise isolation were superior. The Galaxy Z Flip 3’s video capturing capabilities, on the other hand, will not disappoint.
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is a powerhouse with a Snapdragon 888 processor and 8GB of RAM. As I went through apps in Flex mode, it didn’t stutter once. In summary, the Flip 3 operates in the same way as any other Snapdragon 888-powered smartphone.
On Flip 3, intense games like Genhin Impact and Asphalt 9 run smoothly. There were no frame drops that is detected. Games that require a higher refresh rate, such as Dead Cells, run smoothly on this phone. Of course, the main drawback is battery life, which I’ll discuss in a moment.
In Geekbench 5, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 achieved a multi-core score of 2,984. That’s not far off from the 3,669 on the iPhone 12 Pro. Geekbench isn’t always 100% accurate in predicting real-world performance, but it can give you a sense of what a system-on-chip like the Snapdragon 888 can do.
The Flip 3 averaged 27.3 frames per second in the 3DMark Wild Life Unlimited graphics benchmark. In comparison, the iPhone 12 Pro averages 51 frames per second.
Finally, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 completed the Adobe Premiere Rush video test in 53 seconds, which required the phone to transcode a 4K film to 1080p. That’s impressive, but the iPhone 12 Pro completed the task in just 27 seconds.
Battery and Charging
The battery capacity of the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is 3,300 mAh, which is the same as the original Flip. This is troubling, especially because the Flip’s battery life was not particularly impressive. The 3,300 mAh battery is also less than that of other Samsung phones, such as the standard Galaxy S21, which has a 4,000 mAh battery.
We put the Galaxy Z Flip 3’s battery to the test in both refresh rate options and neither produced a satisfactory result. The Flip 3 only lasted 5 hours and 43 minutes in adaptive mode. It lasted significantly longer in 60Hz mode, at 6 hours. I’ve also heard about other reviewers who experienced dreadful battery life. The Flip 3’s short battery life detracts greatly from the phone’s total value.
The battery life on the first Flip was a disappointing 8 hours and 16 minutes. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 doesn’t have much room for a large battery, but it does have a larger outer display and a 120Hz refresh rate on the inner one, both of which consume more power than before.
Another flaw with the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the maximum wired charging power of 15W. I predict charging your Flip to be slow in comparison to the Galaxy Z Fold 3, which supports up to 25W. The wireless charging speed for the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is considerably slower, at 10W.
In our tests, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 charged from 0 to 22 percent in 15 minutes and 44 percent in 30 minutes. That’s not horrible in and of itself, but the battery is also smaller than that of many modern Android phones.
Samsung will not provide a charger in the box, as it did with the Galaxy S21 series. We don’t agree with this idea either.
Software and Flex Mode
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 comes pre-installed with Android 11 and One UI 3.1, with an Android 12 update on the way. The Flip 3 will receive three years of platform upgrades and four years of security patches, just like other Samsung phones. Samsung’s update policy has paved the way for stronger Android phone support, particularly in the United States, where the company has a big presence.
The comments on One UI 3.1 can be found in our past coverage of Samsung devices, but it’s a fantastic representation of Android. There is a lot of functionality and enough design chops from Samsung to make One UI stand out. In fact, for many people, it’s probably the de facto Android experience.
The software changes that Samsung has slapped on to make the Galaxy Z Flip 3 seem useful, not One UI itself, are the star of the show. Flex mode is one of the most important of them, as it dramatically improves the app’s customer experience where it is available.
You can split UI items between the two monitors in Flex mode. One of the greatest locations to try this is in the Camera app, where the viewfinder is on the top display and the shutter controls are on the button. Similarly, you can video call while sitting on a table with your phone folded at an angle, which should reduce arm fatigue during long video talks.
One issue with the Galaxy Z Flip’s Flex mode was that there weren’t many apps that took advantage of it. YouTube was an outlier, allowing you to watch a video on the top screen while scrolling through comments on the bottom. When questioned, Samsung only offered a few apps that support Flex mode, perhaps because the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s multi-screen capabilities drew the most attention.
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