During the Unpacked event that happened in August of 2021, Samsung announced a bunch of stuff – and we’re reviewing most of them. In this video, we’re taking a look at the new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3. Yes, the Flip3. There is no Flip2 because Samsung skipped that number, presumably to match the number with the Galaxy Z Fold3. The review of the Z Fold3 is up next, by the way.
So, with a new lower price tag, how is the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3?
Not gonna lie, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 is a rather simple smartphone. Its main appeal is the ability to take a typical smartphone and fold it in half.
So, let’s start off with the design of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3. This is one of the biggest changes that I’ve seen so far. The new Galaxy Z Flip 3 is more angular in terms of design – like a rounded rectangular when it is opened.
I honestly think that with its boxier design since I can get a better grip on my hand. It is also smaller than its predecessor. While it’s not that much on paper, I can definitely feel it when I hold it in my hands.
By the way, quick side note. It’s a minor detail but I think it’s worth mentioning – the hinge cover of the Galaxy Z Flip3 has a matte finish. And since the unit of the Galaxy Z Flip3 that we have here is in the cream color, its hinge is also in the cream color.
But for whatever reason, the two halves of the phone are covered in glossy glass instead of a matte finish.
And speaking of colors, Samsung went bonkers and offer the Galaxy Z Flip3 in a total of 7 different colors! We have these 4 colors in retail:
- Cream (the one we have)
- Phantom Black
- Phantom Green
These 4 colors are available at retail stores and both the frame and hinge cover follow the color of your choice – like what we mentioned early, the cream color Galaxy Z Flip3 comes with a cream-colored frame and hinge cover too.
Then, we have the 3 exclusive colors that are only available on Samsung.com:
From what I can see though, it seems like these exclusive colors all have black-colored frame and hinge cover. I can’t really confirm this myself but that pink color sure looks peachy – pun intended. Also, that white looks like a panda.
Okay, the displays. This is the one thing that I think really got a big upgrade this year. Starting from the outside – the Galaxy Z Flip3 now has a larger cover display. 1.9-inches to be exact, and with a resolution of 260×512 pixels.
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The cover display is much more usable now. I mean, I can read my notifications by swiping to the left.
I can even add tile-like widgets to perform some simple controls – like controlling my music, looking at the weather, setting a timer, or start the voice recorder – all without opening the phone.
But, if you just want to quickly view the time, then just double tap on the cover display. As you can see, I placed my desktop wallpaper on the cover display. That is because I customized it. You can do most of the customizations on the cover display directly, or head into the settings menu to do it. It’s up to you.
However, the cover display is pretty dim. I took the Galaxy Z Flip3 out on a gloomy Sunday afternoon and that cover display… well it’s very difficult to see what’s up.
There is manual brightness adjustment for the cover display by swiping down – but it’s not ideal.
Once we flip open the Galaxy Z Flip3, we’re greeted with a very long 6.7-inch screen with a resolution of 2640×1080 pixels. It’s the same size as before, but it’s now using the Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel – which can go up to 120Hz refresh rate for a smoother user experience.
The color accuracy is also something that we’ve tested too. It covers:
- 100% sRGB
- 99.92% DCI-P3
- 94.07% Adobe RGB
As a quick mention here – the Galaxy Z Flip3’s main display also uses PET as its screen protector material – so it now looks and feels a lot better to use compared to last year’s Galaxy Z Flip.
While on the subject of user experience, let’s talk about software since is literally what makes the Galaxy Z Flip3 such an amazing experience.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 runs on Samsung’s One UI 3.1.1 and I won’t go deep into details of why I love Samsung’s One UI in this video – because I talked about it in our long-term review of the Galaxy S21 Ultra – which you can watch it at the top right corner there.
For the Galaxy Z Flip3, I gotta say, Samsung really paid attention to ensure the software takes advantage of the hardware. On top of the usual flex mode apps like YouTube and whatnot, you can now use Samsung Pay without needing to open the device. Just double-tap on the cover display, swipe up, verify your identity with the fingerprint scanner at the side, and you can pay.
It’s little details like this that make the user experience that much more enjoyable.
Samsung also added an option in the “labs” menu to let you force enable Flex Mode on any apps. I don’t really see this feature to be useful on the Galaxy Z Flip3 though, maybe while you’re reading some stuff on the web? But then the screen is too small… Let me know what you think this feature is best for.
On top of that, Samsung also delivers monthly updates to their smartphones nowadays – which I commend them for doing so. Like what we mentioned in our Galaxy S21 Ultra long-term video, every month, without fail, Samsung will issue a new update for your device.
I mean, some of its competitors don’t even get a single update for 3 months!
Alright, let’s talk about the cameras. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 comes with a dual-camera setup – just a main camera and an ultrawide angle camera.
These cameras are identical to last year’s Galaxy Z Flip – even the selfie camera is the same.
I mean, both the main and ultrawide angle still takes fantastic pictures overall – but even in Samsung’s product lineup, we have phones like the Samsung Galaxy S21 with a better sensor and a relatively small camera bump.
It’s just that I really do wish Samsung would have upgraded the camera a little and not just reuse all the same cameras from last year.
To have a look at all the pictures taken with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3, watch our video at the top of this review.
Tieing back to the point regarding the software and user experience – we can double-press the power button to launch the camera while the Galaxy Z Flip3 is closed. Then, we can swipe to the sides to change between photo and video modes, and swiping up and down changes between the main and ultrawide angle cameras.
To take a picture or video, just tap on the cover display once again or use the iconic Samsung hand gesture.
But… the aspect ratio is weird since it’s always stuck in 1:1.
For the performance side of things, it’s using the Snapdragon 888 chipset. I wouldn’t expect someone to play games on this phone – but hey, you can if you want to.
Performance is buttery smooth as always – and I don’t want to touch much on this aspect.
The chip does heat up the phone but only the top half of the Galaxy Z Flip3 so I think that’s a bonus? I really can’t feel any heat if I hold the bottom half of the phone.
And the one thing I worry about the most – is the battery life. Because the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 only comes equipped with a 3,300mAh battery – which is the same as last year’s Galaxy Z Flip. In case you aren’t familiar with these mAh numbers, 3,300 is really tiny, and combined with the Snapdragon 888 chipset, we get less than 9 hours in our battery life test. That means it will be difficult to get through a full day’s use. We’ll have to be thrifty for sure.
For the charging side of things, the Galaxy Z Flip3 does not come with a charger in the box, just like the Galaxy S21 series of smartphones. That’s not a problem for me as I have a 65W USB-PD GaN charger.
But I don’t think I’ll need such a high-powered charger to test the charging speed of the Galaxy Z Flip3 because it only supports 15W maximum. We got from 15% to 100% in slightly more than an hour.
While I usually don’t have an issue with smartphone batteries nowadays, the Galaxy Z Flip3 comes with a double-whammy. It has a small battery capacity and not really fast charging – so quickly topping it up quickly in case of an emergency is not an option.
Misc. stuff to mention
There are a few things that we need to mention – the Galaxy Z Flip3 has IPX8-rating, which I still cannot brain. I placed the Galaxy Z Flip3 into the water and yea – it works.
For those who are asking if the Galaxy Z Flip3 has Samsung DeX, the answer is unfortunately no. I still don’t know why Samsung doesn’t include DeX on the Galaxy Z Flip3.
However, if you do have a PC with Samsung Flow installed, then you can use it with the Galaxy Z Flip3 in wired or wireless mode.
Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3?
We have to mention the price first. The new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 comes at a much lower price than before – starting at just RM3,999 or USD $999. This is literally the lowest price that a foldable device can have, and it’s quite affordable too – relatively speaking.
And I think this phone will sell like hotcakes because it shows that foldable devices are now mature enough to be replacing the traditional smartphones. With the IPX8-rating and a larger cover display in tandem with the lower price tag, those factors are what make the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 stand out.
The Galaxy Z Flip3 has a lot of improvements over its predecessors that a simple specs sheet simply fails to list out. If you really want to give foldable devices a try, then get the Galaxy Z Flip3.