Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G, analysis: a good idea, a convenient execution, a familiar result

Samsung has five folding devices under its belt and in its latest round it has finished settling the nomenclature. Two surnames for two well-differentiated formats with that striking feature in common, seeing in the analysis of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G how the third version of the brand’s book-type folding is like.

In our first impressions it seemed to us that it had reached a point of maturity that we had not yet seen in the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 or the original, the Samsung Galaxy Fold . It remains to be seen if the sensation continues to make our device for a while, so we will tell you in depth after a few weeks with it.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G datasheet

FEATURES
INNER SCREEN7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity Flex Display QXGA + (2208 x 1768 dots), 120 Hz, 374 dpi and S Pen support
EXTERIOR SCREEN6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X (2268 x 832 dots), 120 Hz, 387 dpi
PROCESSORSnapdragon 888 5G with 8 cores, 64 bits and 5 nm lithography (2.84 GHz + 2.4 GHz + 1.8 GHz)
PRINCIPAL MEMORY12 GB
STORAGE256 or 512 GB UFS 3.1
FRONTAL CAMERA10 megapixels, f / 2.2, FOV 80º and 1.22 µm photodiodes
INNER CHAMBER4 megapixels, f / 1.8, FOV 80º and 2 µm photodiodes
REAR CAMERAS– Main: 12 megapixels, f / 1.8, 1.8 µm photodiodes, Dual Pixel AF, 83º FOV and optical stabilization- Ultra wide angle: 12 megapixels, f / 2.2, FOV 123º and 1.12 µm photodiodes- Telephoto lens: 12 megapixels, f / 2.4, PDAF, 1 µm photodiodes, Dual OIS, 45º FOV and 2x zoom
WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY5G NSA and SA, Sub6 / mmWaveLTE Enhanced 4X4 MIMO
OSAndroid 11
SIM2 x nano-SIM and 1 x eSIM
SOUNDStereo speakersDolby Atmos
BATTERY4,400 mAh
BIOMETRIC IDENTIFICATIONSide fingerprint sensor IPX8
facial recognition
DIMENSIONS67.1 x 158.2 x 16 mm (folded)128.1 x 158.2 x 6.4 mm (unfolded)
WEIGHT271 g
COLORSPhantom Black, Phantom Green and Phantom Silver

Design: little noticeable changes in a familiar format

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 01 Water 02

Both this new Fold and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 are children of their parents: the Flip is a mobile that folds on itself like the shells of a clam and the Fold is a hybrid between mobile and small tablet that does so as a book. For those of us who have been lucky enough to try its predecessors, the sensations of familiarity invade us instantly ; this sounds like a lot to us.

It occurs both in handling, as in dimensions, as in materials, although there are changes that are not so perceptible and it is worth mentioning. The brand claims to have used an aluminum 10% stronger and is 11 grams lighter than the Fold2, and although it does give off a feeling of robustness , it is something that already happened to us with the previous one. So they have maintained something that was already positive, in principle with that improvement at the resistance level.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 01 Profile 01

The touch is pleasant and when folded it is comfortable to hold , although it is literally twice as thick as a current average mobile. It does so by being at a width of about 67 millimeters, compared to the 75.6 millimeters of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and recalling almost more in this parameter the Sony Xperia 1 III , a true champion of narrowness in the current high-end range.

Compared to its predecessor, it is a little more compact (it is not noticeable) but yes, it integrates a battery with slightly less capacity . As we said, it is above the heaviest standard mobiles, but below the Huawei Mate X2 , perhaps one of the most physically similar devices and a fairer comparison in this sense (295 grams).

HEIGHT (MILLIMETERS)WIDTH (MM)THICKNESS (MILLIMETERS)WEIGHT (GRAMS)SCREEN (INCH)BATTERYSURFACE (CM²)VOLUME (CC)
SAMSUNG GALAXY Z FOLD3 (OPEN)158.2128.16.42717.64,400202.7129.7
SAMSUNG GALAXY Z FOLD2 (OPEN)152.9128.26-6.92827.64,500204.1140.8
SAMSUNG GALAXY S21 ULTRA165.175.68.92286.85,000124.82111.09
REALME GT158.573.39.1186.56.434,500116.18105.73
XIAOMI MI 11 UTRA164.374.68.382. 3. 46.815,000122.57102.71
SONY XPERIA 1 III165718.21866.54,500117.1596.06
HUAWEI P40 PRO158.272.68.952096.584,200114.85102.79
ONEPLUS 9 PRO163.273.68.71976.74,500120.12104.5
IPHONE 12 PRO MAX160.878.17.392286.73,687125.5992.81

Although they have managed to reduce the weight by a few grams, it is still a heavy mobile and 271 grams is still too much for a single hand when it is unfolded. Although it gives to hold it like an open book at the end, it is like when we have a small tablet for a long time and it ends up getting tired. It becomes somewhat more bearable if it is folded and we use the external screen, although we will miss less inches in some apps.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 02 Screen 04

The central fold as a consequence of the hinge continues to appear visually and to the touch. It is not something annoying nor does it dramatically restrict the experience, but it is fully visible and there are no changes with respect to the above, so Samsung has not yet achieved that smooth panel that perhaps we have idealized many and that for now it has not achieved. no folding. It should be said that it does not cause problems at the level of tactile sensitivity, although we perceive it when we pass our finger over it.An oleophobic treatment has been applied to the surface of the Z Fold3 to prevent greasy from the fingertips and this is achieved on the back with the cameras, but not so much on the edges (with a little more shine) and not much less on the back cover of the hinge, being quite dirty

The hinge does not seem to have undergone radical changes and externally it is still covered by a glossy rear cover (with the logo) and two upper and lower covers that seem to prevent the entry of particles both with the mobile folded and open, without showing any holes. . Speaking of finishes, an oil-repellent treatment has been applied to the surface of the Z Fold3 to prevent greasy from the fingertips and this is achieved on the rear with the cameras, but not so much on the edges (with something else shine) and not much less on the back cover of the hinge , being quite dirty (especially in the black color).

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 01 Side 01

We talked about the Huawei Mate X2 before and it helps us to bring up something: although we have not been able to test ( like its predecessor ), Huawei’s promises a complete closure so that there is no gap between the two sides of the folding screen. It’s something that has remained largely unchanged on the Fold3, with a slit that fits the corner of a standard card.

Something that is not appreciated with the naked eye, but it is done using the device as if it were swimming in the rain, is the IPX8 water resistance certification . We have not tried to submerge it calmly as the specification suggests, but taking advantage of the anomalous rainy condition in this area we have used it without a cover letting everything get wet and without problem.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 00 02

For now we have commented that the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G is robust, somewhat lighter, relatively comfortable and dirty, and quite conservative. Let’s talk about edges and “tricks” .

The metal edges that cover the two halves of the device are drawn almost identically to the Fold2, distributing the two stereo speakers on the upper and lower sides of the one that incorporates the secondary screen. Open, the frame that shows the internal flexible screen is also clone, but instead of a hole we see a front camera under the screen .

The implementation at a technical level does not seem to be far from what we have seen before in ZTE or what others like OPPO seem to show , but it seems much more blatant than what we saw in the ZTE Axon 20 . With the ambient screen or off we can see the camera, as it happened with the normal insertion with a hole, but with the screen on, which is when it is supposed to be more concealed, the pixels are seen with the naked eye, they are much larger than what that we saw in the ZTE and the effect is much less achieved (we will talk about the photographic quality in its corresponding section).

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 02 Under Screen Camera 01

The part of the outer screen has changed slightly: the hole for the front camera is preserved and the panel fits into the case with a thicker left edge, but the screen bezels thinner (and the ratio is 24.5: 9, no 25: 9). The fingerprint reader is physical and is still on the side of the lid that has the cameras, well placed to use it especially with the right thumb or the left middle finger.

Screen (s): the third reaffirmation that something does not fit

The Z Fold3 features a 6.2-inch non-flexible screen on the outside , with a resolution of 2,268 x 832 pixels and a density of 387 pixels. The refresh rate reaches 120 Hz, which, as we will now see, remains on the folding screen.

Speaking of which, it is a 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X folding panel with QXGA + resolution (2,208 x 1,768 pixels). This translates into a density of 374 pixels per inch, adding support for the S Pen and a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 02 Screen 05

The resolution of the panels is more than enough to see the content well, even if they do not have a competitive density for a high-end mobile . No blurred content is accused or sharpness is lacking, so it is a correct experience that they give. The contrast is also adequate, especially on the external display.

The panel is very saturated from the factory, although we can use the screen settings to leave a more natural level of vibrancy. If we choose this, however, we will not be able to adjust the white temperature on demand, as is possible with the oversaturation option.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 02 Screen Settings 01
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 02 Screen Settings 02

As for the refresh rate, we do not see an improvement over the previous thing but it is not very necessary either. 120 Hz maximum is a more than correct value in a current mobile and an adjustment that is visually appreciated with respect to maintaining 60 Hz, and in this case they have also reached the external screen . Later in the autonomy section we will talk about whether or not it is noticeable in terms of consumption, but the extra fluidity of the specific 120 Hz is appreciated and it suits One UI.The added fluency of the 120 Hz punctuals is appreciated and suits One UI well

The maximum brightness is more than sufficient, although the automatic brightness setting is a bit high in low light conditions . The opposite situation occurs with the automatic setting to the minimum when reaching 5% battery, something that Samsung has maintained for years and that is not enough in many situations (although it is always better not to reach this battery percentage).

The ambient screen, or Always On , is already a classic among the possibilities offered by our own software and here we find it available for both panels, although what we adjust will be maintained for both. There is nothing new here, being able to activate the display of music playback and also see the Bixby routine and alarm widgets.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 02 Always On

The home screen has many possibilities, seeing that you can choose or not by app drawer and that we can choose what to see differently in each panel, or on the other hand, activate that the changes are copied from one to another. The wallpaper can also be set differently for each screen.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 02 Home Screen

The apps can be viewed in full screen if the app allows it… And if not, also, thanks to the tricks (or forced maneuvers) that Samsung Labs allows . We will see several of them in the software part, but in line with the screen percentage it is good to show how we can also choose whether to see an app in 16: 9 (automatic), 4: 3 (wider) or full screen.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 02 Labs
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 02 Interfaces

This is how the Instagram interfaces are on the external screen and that of ‘PUBG’ on the folding screen.

Although we have tested the device with a protective plastic on the folding screen, the touch sensitivity has been correct at all times, including also the fold area. Without problems in this sense with the external screen, being able to play and make the gestures enabled without problems.

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