First impressions of the Galaxy Z Fold3 and Galaxy Z Flip3

Earlier today Samsung debuted its new lineup of foldable phones, in the form of the Galaxy Z Fold3 5G and Galaxy Z Flip3 5G.

While each device is set to go up for pre-order at the beginning of September, we were able to get some hands-on time with the foldable phones at the Samsung Experience Centre in Johannesburg last week.

There we had the opportunity to explore marketing samples of the Fold3 and Flip3 (pictured below), giving us an idea of what these devices have to offer.

With that in mind, here are our first impressions of the new hardware.

The Fold3 5G

Starting with the more expensive of the two, the Galaxy Z Fold3 5G, still retains the same form factor as its predecessor, with the folio style on offer here. The device feels a little slimmer than the Fold2, but there has not been a significant amount of re-engineering with this model as there was with the previous one.

Still some of the same elements remain, such as the hinge that features tiny brushes to keep debris out of the mechanism.

The flexible display also feels familiar, with a distinctive crease showing at the point of articulation, as was the case with past models. As such, it is simply something that owners will need to get use to, with the technology for these displays only going so far at this stage.

One difference we did spot though, is that the display looks better integrated into the frame of the phone, instead of layered on top. The bezels also appear smaller and content a bit more immersive.

One key change that was pointed out to us was the front facing camera on the Fold3 5G when unfolded, which is now a 4MP under-the-screen selfie option. When not snapping pictures, the UI of the phone layers pixels over the housing in order to create the illusion of it not being visible.

We must admit that it was an element we had not noticed previously, but when it was shown to us, could not help but look at all the time.

With the Fold3 5G, it seems like Samsung has kept upgrades and improvements to a minimum, but the key aspect is how the device makes the most of its increased real estate when in “tablet” mode. We were underwhelmed by the lack of features on the Fold2 to multitask like the Galaxy Note series, so it will be interesting to see what improvements Samsung has made on that front.

For now, all that has been shown to us is the newly designed S Pen stylus for the Fold3 5G. Samsung’s on-hand product experts explained that it is purpose-designed for this new foldable and not the the Flip3 5G. Added to this, the new S Pen is far larger than we had envisioned, with it twice the size as the stylus found on the Note series.

Speaking of which, Samsung may have missed a trick by not recessing the stylus in the body of the Fold3, as is the case with  more recent Note flagship phones, but the company may be holding off on adding that feature to a future Fold.

The Flip3 5G

Shifting to the Flip3 5G and it seems like Samsung has opted for refinements over grand changes. Here the device feels sturdier and the hinge satisfying snaps into place and closes. You can’t quite do it one-handed as with old school clamshell phones, but it folds up into a neat package that should slip into most pockets.

The significant improvements that Samsung has made, however, are with the processor, offering a powerful chipset on par with what the Fold3 has onboard.

Added to this is a larger display on the cover, which has a rather handy camera mode that leverages the lenses on the rear as apposed to the one’s up front. This should yield higher resolution images compared to the cover camera-only shooting for selfies that the previous Flip had.

There are also a few more colours on offer and more glass for the body, which is a bit of a magnet for smudges, so that is something to keep in mind.

All in all it does not make the same splash as the first Flip, but does take steps to make the experience better.

Neither of these devices come cheap, with the Galaxy Z Fold4 and Flip3 expected to cost R39 999 and R29 999 respectively, so it remains to be seen what appetite there is for such offerings in the current climate.

Where the first foldables were for early adopters, we’re still on the fence on whether these new iterations will win over a larger segment of consumers.

Once we have a bit more time with the phones following fully fledged reviews, we should have a better idea of things.


About Author


Related News