Update Three Mobile Deals Review – The fold has been around for more than three years. They bring good innovation by combining smartphone and tablet experience in one device. But still, questions like “Do we need foldables?” and “Do foldables solve all the problems that ordinary smartphones can’t?” remains one of the most requested in terms of folding. Well, user needs and use cases are evolving. Today’s customers are more demanding and looking for productivity on the go. Samsung addressed this with its Galaxy Note and S series flagship smartphones, and now it’s the same with the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 shows how much the fold has improved in three generations. The smartphone now has a more durable design, has an ultra-thin glass on the main folding screen and supports the S Pen stylus for taking notes and signing documents on the go. The foldable smartphone also comes with an IP rating for water resistance.
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We’ve been using the Galaxy Z Fold 3 for over nine months now, and Samsung has delivered on its promise of durability. Below is a detailed analysis of how the foldable smartphone performs in the long run, how it performs as a daily driver, and how it improves the user experience with consistent and timely software updates.
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For a foldable smartphone, the hinge is the most important piece of hardware. The longevity and durability of the device is determined by the design and mechanism of the hinge. Even after eight months of using the Z Fold 3 as my primary controller, the hinge mechanism is still as strong as when I first took out the smartphone.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 are the only foldable smartphones with an IPX8 waterproof rating, which allows you to submerge the device in 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.
During my usage, I put the Z Fold 3 through the water test, immersing it in a bucket full of water and using it to click photos and make calls when caught in an unexpected downpour, and it survived without a problem. Please note that the smartphone is not dustproof, so do not take it to the beach or dusty areas and do not submerge it in swimming pools or sea water.
Now, even though the hinge is strong and all, there is still a gap when the screen is folded. This makes the crease easy to see, especially when viewed from different angles.
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You can feel the hinge gap when you move your finger on the foldable screen. But not too intrusive during daily use. We can expect Samsung to improve the hinge design for its upcoming foldable smartphone to minimize crease marks.
The crease is still visible on the folding screen, but doesn’t get in the way when playing content.
Samsung has designed the hinge so that the screen can be held between 75 and 115 degrees. This is where Flex Mode comes into play, making some interesting use cases for compatible apps. Basically, the application interface is divided into two parts where the display is at the top and the controls are at the bottom.
In the case of the camera app, the viewfinder is on the top, while the shutter, gallery, and camera mode buttons are on the bottom half. This also allows you to use it as a tripod while clicking photos and videos. Similarly, in the Netflix application, the viewing area is in the upper half, and the lower half has play/pause, volume, and screen brightness options.
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Flex Mode is an interesting feature, but more apps need to adopt it. Durable folding screen – ideal for multimedia consumption and productivity
One of the biggest changes to the Z Fold 3 display over the Z Fold 2 is that the display is now 80% more durable, according to Samsung. It feels more like glass than plastic like in previous generations, thanks to Samsung now using UTG (Ultra Thin Glass).
The screen is also brighter at 1200 nits of peak brightness, making it readable in direct sunlight. It’s a 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X LTPO folding panel that supports an adaptive refresh rate of 120Hz. Finally, the screen is also compatible with HDR10+, making it perfect for all kinds of content consumption, whether you’re reading e-books, surfing the web, playing games or watching your favorite movies or TV shows. As an LTPO panel, it can adjust the refresh rate between 1Hz and 120Hz depending on the content on the screen.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3’s foldable display has one more trick up its sleeve in the form of an under-screen selfie camera. The Fold 3 is the first Samsung smartphone to have this solution, offering a beautiful full-screen, uninterrupted viewing experience, whether you’re watching videos or playing games.
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However, technology is still in its infancy. Due to the low pixel density covering the camera sensor, it is easy to see when the screen is off or with a light background. We will talk about the image quality of this under-display camera later in the camera section.
Content such as music videos and movies are recorded in a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. However, the foldable screen has a 5:4 aspect ratio, so there are thick black bars at the top and bottom when watching videos. There is an option to expand to full screen, but it ends up cutting out a significant part of the video.
Moving on to the cover display, you have a 6.2-inch AMOLED panel with HD+ resolution and a tall 25:9 aspect ratio. With a 120Hz refresh rate and vivid color reproduction, the cover display offers a wide viewing angle.
With its traditional smartphone experience, the cover screen is great for multitasking, like scrolling through your social timeline, browsing the Internet, replying to messages, and more. However, apps like Instagram are not optimized for this aspect ratio, resulting in a poor experience.
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Also, the tall aspect ratio and narrow width make typing a bit cumbersome, resulting in many mistakes. A slightly wider cover screen, like on the OPPO Find N or HONOR Magic V, would be a welcome change on the Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Unlike Samsung’s flagship S series, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 doesn’t have a high-resolution 108MP camera sensor or a periscope zoom lens. However, it comes with a powerful camera that can click some great pictures. Good color science and photos clicked between different lenses deliver consistent results. Hopefully, with the Galaxy Z Fold 4, we can see a better camera system.
There are five cameras in total, including three 12MP sensors on the back, with ultra-wide, wide and 2X telephoto lenses. Thanks to Samsung’s AI algorithm and post-processing skills, you can take stunning photos, whether in sunlight or low light. Portrait mode photos are also good with good edge detection and adequate foreground background separation. Here are some examples:
For selfies and video calls, there is a 10MP camera on the cover display, which is quite good. There is also a camera under the display below the main folding screen. The quality is decent for video calls on platforms like Zoom, Teams or even WhatsApp.
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Photos taken in bright outdoor environments are acceptable on social media, but as the light fades, the under-screen camera struggles to capture detail. Since it’s a first-generation bottom screen solution, there’s plenty of room for improvement. Here are some examples of cameras:
Under the hood is the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC paired with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. This combination of hardware and software optimization does all the heavy lifting, making it a great productivity tool.
Whether you’re playing the most demanding games or have three apps open in split-screen multitasking mode, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 can handle all the tough tasks without a hitch.
Battery life with a 400mAh unit is good enough to last you a day with moderate to heavy usage, offering up to five hours of screen time. Like other Samsung smartphones, there is no support for crazy charging speeds, but even at 25W, the Fold 3 is fully charged in about 90-100 minutes.
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Fast performance and good battery life make the Galaxy Z Fold 3 a great choice for power users. WATCH: Why the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a great productivity device
Samsung has upped its software update game: the Z Fold 3 will receive four major Android updates and five years of security updates. Shipping with Android 11 and One UI 3.1, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 received the Android 12 update and One UI 4 skin in three months, which is faster than most OEMs. The smartphone has also received regular monthly security patches that provide bug fixes and stability improvements.
The best part about foldable screen smartphones is that you get more screen space to run multiple apps side by side. To take advantage of the foldable form factor, Samsung has gone one step further
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