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Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

27.12.2021
A step in the right direction

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
This year's third generation of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold smartphone brings a lot of novelties. What is it better at than the previous one? Has a folded smartphone become mainstream?

Unfortunately, the price of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is still not mainstream and remains abstract to the average "Smith". But imagine that finances are not playing a role. Is it worth buying this smartphone or not? I do not hide - Galaxy Fold remains my dream smartphone - but would I buy this year's model...?

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 - wide review
video: GSMchoice.com via YouTube

At first glance, this year's Galaxy Z Fold has not changed significantly compared to its predecessor. It has a similar appearance and also similar dimensions and weight. Comparing the specifications of the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and the Galaxy Z Fold 3 you also have to look carefully to see the differences. The fact that a newer processor was used in the third generation, the battery decreased a bit ... But these are small things. We'll find the most important changes elsewhere!

What's new?

In my opinion, the most important modification and the main argument that is the advantage of Galaxy Z Fold 3 over "Two" is the IPx8 housing tightness certificate! It is the world's first foldable smartphone that can boast of such capabilities. Another new feature is the ability to use the stylus on an internal, flexible display. Unfortunately, due to the specifics of the display, the stylus must have a special, cushioned tip - and the earlier S Pen models are not supported. What's more, the stylus must be purchased separately and carried in an average practical case on the phone - but this is something completely new.

The third novelty is a selfie camera hidden under a flexible display. Here I will start again by complaining - the camera remains visible after all, and the photos are poor - but after some time our eyes start to ignore it - maybe it did not turn out as bad as it seemed at first ...? Invariably, Galaxy Z Fold 3 I enjoy the large screen and the practicality of this solution. Invariably, this smartphone is an excellent work tool, it takes decent photos, offers high efficiency and is even - contrary to appearances - quite handy.

Everyday practicality

I have no objections to the quality of assembly and materials used. Metal, Gorilla Glass Victus and the matte texture of the back together create a whole that undoubtedly meets the highest expectations. The sealing of the housing makes the smartphone safe, we can accidentally splash it or use it in the rain. I use folded smartphones long enough not to worry about their durability. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 did not offer any discounted rates - I treated it like a regular telephone. Ba - I even dared to use it on the beach.

It turned out that the sand was not a problem for him - no grain had penetrated into the mechanism of the folding housing, the hinge worked velvety throughout its lifetime, without making any suspicious noises. The internal, flexible screen has received a new generation of protective foil this year. I did not notice any scratches on it, but I have the impression that the material is quite electrifying and attracts dust. The internal screen is quite difficult to keep clean - but cleaning it is not a problem. The rear and external display are much less dirty. In any case - we put concerns about the device's susceptibility to damage aside - probably for good.

Contrary to appearances, Fold is handy!

You will ask if Galaxy Z Fold 3 can be considered a handy piece of equipment. In my opinion - you can. The folded one is narrow, albeit thick. Thanks to this, we can easily embrace it with a hand, and also comfortably talk, holding the phone with an arm, without fear that it will slip out. Unfolding and folding with one hand is possible - but it is more convenient to do it with both hands. Most importantly - the phone can be placed in a half-open position and make it something like a small laptop.

The interface makes sensible use of this possibility. What I don't like? The inner screen still shows a sharp crease where it bends, and the outer screen is too narrow to display a comfortable-to-type keyboard. In addition, the flexible internal display has a "plastic", soft-touch feeling. It does not bother me - but I note that the impression is different than in the case of classic "glasses".

What are Fold's screens?

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 external display - apart from unusual proportions - has good image quality and high brightness. The internal, flexible screen also does not have a typical smartphone aspect ratio - nevertheless its 4: 5 is a convenient format for viewing texts and quite passable for watching videos. The dark stripes create a comfortable place to grab the device without obstructing the speakers. Both displays are capable of refresh rates up to 120Hz, but are usually dynamically lowered to conserve power.

You cannot complain about the quality of the screens - but a few words should be given to the camera under the internal display. Forget that it is invisible. You can see him perfectly. When a bright image is displayed above the lens - we can clearly see a thinner grid of pixels. On the other hand, when the surroundings of the lens are dark, you can see it perfectly through the surface of the screen. The best effect is on a subdued, green background - then the lens almost disappears. Why did Samsung use this solution? Because he could! Maybe it was about adding "goodies", maybe about collecting buyers' opinions...? I do not penetrate, but I can assure you that after using Fold for some time, you will stop noticing this detail. And maybe that was it...? In any case - I will not join the reviewers condemning this solution.

The interface was fine

Galaxy Z Fold 3 software is not much different from what I knew from the previous generation. In addition to what is obvious - that is, support for the stylus - we have actually known from other Samsung OneUI models with additions that take into account the specificity of the design. Me - I like the enlarged keyboard the most, which is fabulous to type with both hands. You can also set the phone to the half-open position and have a natural division into the keyboard and text field.

Similarly - for example on YouTube, we can watch a movie and write a comment at the same time. The folding screen was also used in the photo interface and many other scenarios ... You just have to experience it. You can write a lot - but in my opinion, you have to try. Be warned - going back to a regular smartphone can be difficult. I am experiencing it once again.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 offers a unique experience not only for writers and readers, but also for multitaskers. Screen sharing? You will say that this is normal. How about sharing the screen between three applications at the same time? And that's without clipping...? The apps can be unfolded on the screen and then transferred between them - more conveniently than on a classic smartphone with a 16: 9 screen. Of course - applications can also work in floating windows, there was also a wireless Dex mode. Here - you can get the biggest touchpad you've ever used!

Efficient but with throttling

I mentioned that you will not experience clipping on Fold... It's hard to expect them when we have a Snapdragon 888, 12 GB of RAM and fast UFS 3.1 internal memory on board. In everyday use, the smartphone's performance does not leave much to be desired, but the charm may be lost. When? Galaxy Fold 3 does not like working under higher load, and it certainly hates benchmarks. These - especially in the issue of the abstracts - clearly show that the performance of this smartphone is uneven. After a few test cycles, it drops noticeably.

Honestly, you shouldn't experience a liquidity shortage in normal operation, as the power reserve remains large, but the hardcore gamer would probably start complaining by now. A performance stability of less than 70% is not what I would expect from a smartphone at this price. On the other hand - this is a device for work, intended for a businessman rather than a seasoned gamer ... My consolation is that I did not manage to warm Folda beyond the limits of reason, although the warmth was already felt...

In other words - in practice it is good, in theory a bit less. As usual, I complain about the lack of space for a microSD card ... Maybe I'm boring, but I know that using such a device for more than six months, the memory would start to shrink. And read and write speed is not always crucial.

Security at

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 has a classic fingerprint reader on the side. This is due to the fact that efforts were made to make the reader conveniently available both when the housing is closed and open. It almost worked - it could have been placed a little lower. Fortunately, it works quickly and flawlessly. The face recognition system is also good - it works well even in low light, but the unlocking speed is slightly lower than the fingerprint sensor.

Great speakers!

As a communication tool - Galaxy Z Fold 3 is almost perfect. Text communication - as you probably guessed - is a fairy tale. The sound quality during calls - perfect. I also love Fold for the fact that I can talk while holding him with my arm without tilting my head too much... Multimedia speakers - this is a real revelation. Not only two - they also sound well. There is even an outline of the bass, and the spaciousness is nice, because the speakers are placed on opposite sides of the housing.

NFC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 5G - everything works and does its job. I did not make specialized measurements, but when compared with several other smartphones working on the same network, I noticed that Fold has a unique talent for searching for networks. It is also perfect in the role of navigation. While wandering on foot, we can see a large map in front of our eyes, it is worse in the car - we only put a closed smartphone in the classic holder. Fortunately, Samsung has introduced a dedicated Fold handle - but I did not have the opportunity to try it out. What was missing? You won't guess: minijack!

Could use a larger battery

The battery seems to be the Fold's Achilles' heel. Already the previous generation model didn't set the bar too high, and now ... it's not better. Galaxy Fold 3 has a relatively small battery for its capacity - 4400 mAh. The battery was split into two parts to provide a good weight distribution between the halves of the foldable case, but that didn't make for a high-power super fast charge to emerge. We have a modest 25 W (and without a charger included!), And for consolation - we have 11-watt inductive charging. It takes up to two hours to charge the battery - and emptying it may take a little longer. Of course - if you try hard and put the phone to intense work.

By intensively using multimedia and the Internet (after all on vacation!), I was able to empty the battery sometimes faster than in 5 hours. On the other hand - Fold could work even 2-3 hours longer without charging as a car navigation... With much more economical use - the smartphone is able to withstand from morning to evening, but for a much longer time of operation, involving another day - no count. Well - the specificity of this design to some extent justifies this not very thrilling performance - but I do not deny that it could be better.

Photographically - normal

The Galaxy Fold series models have never had the ambition to be Samsung's best photographing models. This does not mean that there is nothing to complain about. We get a practical set of rear, 12-megapixel matrices with optical image stabilization in the main module and tele.

The set is completed by: a wide-angle lens as well as a 10-megapixel selfie camera, placed in the opening of the external display. The cameras provide a really decent quality of photos, and most importantly - when switching between lenses, we will not notice any clear differences in sharpness or colour reproduction.

In low light, the night mode is definitely useful, while portraits are best taken with the rear camera. The front one can do that as well, but it separates the background a bit less precisely. The quality of the films is - as is the case with Samsung - excellent, the photographic interface is also nothing to complain about.

Importantly - it uses options that assume the use of the possibilities offered by the folding housing - and allow you to conveniently take a selfie with the rear triple camera. Just open the casing and click on a small, slightly camouflaged icon. I mention the last camera - the one under the flexible screen - at the end, because there is probably nothing to talk about.

4 Mpx resolution and poor image quality predestine it rather for video calling. These - of course, will be convenient, because we can put the phone in front of us like a laptop. For commemorative selfies - I suggest, however, using one of the other two cameras. I also advise against using digital zoom. Better to stop at what the telephoto lens offers.


Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 - sample movies
video: GSMchoice.com via YouTube

Is it worth putting off on Folda?

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is - like its two predecessors - an extremely expensive and even more unique smartphone. It is so specific that I do not care about its natural shortcomings - such as a not very large battery or clearly visible throttling. I will not be fussy about the rather average (of course - in this price class) photographic possibilities or the not necessarily successful "prepping" of the phone with a sub-screen selfie camera (back: video communication!).

In my eyes, the device only lacked faster loading, expandable memory and a minijack. It is a pity that the stylus is an option and cannot be hidden in the phone casing, it would also be useful to work on the susceptibility of the internal screen to dirt and eliminate the visible refraction.

The lack of a charger in the set is, in my opinion, a grim joke, but I appreciate the manufacturer's development of a dedicated car holder, although it was two generations too late. The biggest advantage of Fold is the large display and the practical use of its capabilities in the interface. It is water-resistant, which proves the technical advancement and maturity of the entire structure. It's worth appreciating the excellent speakers, and even something as banal as a good fingerprint reader.

There were a lot of shortcomings - but still Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is on my very short list of smartphones that I would like to own. It is one-of-a-kind equipment, so expensive and unusual that you should buy it consciously. For me - Fold is a model of work comfort that is unmatched by other constructions. After trying the third generation of this equipment, I am sure that the next one will be even better - and I secretly hope that I will finally be able to afford this equipment ...

Pros:

  • S Pen support
  • Watertight
  • Large, fold-out screen
  • Stereo speakers
  • Reasonable dimensions when folded
  • Comfort of working with text
  • A polished interface

Cons:

  • No microSD slot
  • No minijack
  • Throttling vulnerability
  • Folds on flexible screen
  • Battery performance
  • Charger not included
  • Folded phone thickness
  • Price
  • no fast charging
  • Stylus available separately

Source GSMchoice.com; viewed: 220 times.


By:
Monika Krasicka-Kulińska

By:
Adam Łukowski



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