Announced a few weeks ago, the Galaxy Z Fold3 5G is Samsung’s third-generation foldable flagship, and it promises to be the best yet. And while it looks almost exactly like the Z Fold2 at first glance, there are numerous features that set the Fold3 apart from its predecessor.
For starters, the Galaxy Z Fold3 5G is powered by a Snapdragon 888 processor, and it features Samsung’s first-ever (for a foldable) under display front camera. Along with these, the Fold3 also features IPX8 water resistance, S Pen support, and a host of software and hardware polish.
With its list of enhancements, does the Galaxy Z Fold3 5G make a strong case for the future of foldable phones? And can we recommend it to users who want a unique and premium flagship device? Find out here in our full review!
Most of today’s flagships feature eye-catching colors in unique finishes, but not the Z Fold3 5G. Samsung’s foldable flagship has a clean and sleek look, with a matte back that’s reminiscent of the Galaxy S21 lineup. Of course, even if it doesn’t come with the design flourishes of other flagships, the mere fact that it’s a foldable phone means it’ll definitely catch people’s attention.
When folded, the Z Fold3 looks like a tall and skinny phone when viewed from the front with its 6.2-inch, but it does feel thick and weighty in the hand. What surprised me though was how usable the phone was when folded. Sure, the tall cover display is unusual and takes a bit of getting used to, but in my time with the phone, I had no issues with browsing my email, checking social media, and even taking photos when folded.
Of course, the Z Fold3 is still best used in unfolded (aka in tablet mode) so you can take full advantage of the large 7.6-inch main display. Size-wise, the Z Fold3 isn’t quite as big as your typical Android tablet or iPad, but it’s still impressive to get a big display area in such a small package. This large screen meant the phone was much better for reading, as well as for multi-tasking when compared to a more typical smartphone.
One thing to note is that the middle part of the folding display still has a fairly noticeable crease, though it isn’t as apparent as the crease in the first-generation fold. Still, in my experience, I barely noticed the crease while using the phone for browsing or watching videos. You’ll only really notice if you actively look for it.
One cool thing about the Z Fold3 is that it has a front camera under the main display. While the part of the display that covers the selfie camera has noticeably larger pixels, it’s far from distracting. In fact, I’d say this under display camera isn’t as immersion breaking when compared to even a small notch when watching movies.
Speaking of watching movies, the Galaxy Z Fold3 5G promises to be a capable binge-watching partner thanks to its large 7.6-inch AMOLED display. Though it does have a squarish 1768 x 2208 resolution, meaning widescreen content will have black bars on the top and bottom on this display.
This unusual resolution may not seem ideal for watching widescreen movies/shows, but in my experience, binge-watching on the Z Fold3 was still much better when compared to watching on a standard phone. This is thanks in large part to the big display; so even if there are black bars (which aren’t much of an issue thanks to the deep blacks of the AMOLED screen), the Z Fold3’s large screen makes for more immersive viewing.
One interesting thing to note is that if you love watching classic movies with a 4:3 aspect ratio, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is an excellent companion as these content will be able to utilize most of the display area.
While I wouldn’t recommend it due to its even more unusual aspect ratio, the phone’s 6.2-inch cover display is of mostly similar quality to the main screen, as both displays are AMOLED.
For audio, the Z Fold3’s stereo speaker setup outputs quality audio, and can get decently loud to boot. Though the trade-off is that the Z Fold3 has no 3.5mm headphone jack.
As mentioned above, the Z Fold3 5G is powered by a Snapdragon 888 processor, and this is paired with 12GB of RAM. Even if the phone has a large display to power, the Snapdragon 888 has more than enough to let the Z Fold3 run practically all Android games with ease.
Whether you play less demanding games such as Wild Rift, or prefer more hardware-intensive games such as Genshin Impact, you’ll have no issues playing them on the Fold3. Though playin games on this large a screen does take some time of getting used to. But once you do, the extra screen real estate is quite nice (if the game you’re playing supports it).
While not all games are a great fit for the squarish aspect ratio, turn-based strategy games such as Civilization 6 are a great match for the Fold3.
As for playing on the cover display, we tried it out and you definitely can, though we wouldn’t really recommend it. Plus, if you start a game on the cover display, you’ll have to restart it before you can switch to the main screen (and vice versa).
Meanwhile, here are the synthetic benchmark scores of the Z Fold3:
Geek Photoshoot Capabilities
For its cameras, the Z Fold3 has a 12MP main + 12MP ultra-wide + 12MP telephoto (2x) triple rear camera setup, a 10MP front camera on the cover display, and a 4MP selfie shooter on the main display.
The phone’s 12MP main shooter is able to take high quality daytime and indoor shots that should be comparable with today’s flagship phones.
At night, the main shooter also impresses as low light photos are bright without having artificially vibrant colors. For the best results at night though, make sure to turn on Scene Optimizer or use the camera’s dedicated Night Mode.
The same can be said for the phone’s 12MP ultra-wide camera, as both daytime and nighttime shots are of good quality. Though for low light shots, we recommend using the Night Mode instead of relying on Scene Optimizer for the best results.
As for the telephoto shooter, this camera is able to capture good 2x zoom images at daytime, with 10x digital zoom shots being pretty decent as well. Though at night, anything higher than 2x zoom won’t look as good.
Finally, we have the two front cameras. The 10MP selfie shooter on the cover display takes detailed selfies. Meanwhile, the 4MP front cam isn’t as good for selfies, though still perfectly usable for online meetings.
Given its excellent gaming performance, the new Samsung foldable does not disappoint for everyday use. Whether you’re a light user or someone who opens multiple hardware-intensive apps, the Galaxy Z Fold3 will hold up without slowing down.
Of course, performance alone isn’t the Z Fold3’s main selling point; there’s the fact that it’s a tablet-like device in a much more portable package. In this regard, the Z Fold3 lives up to its promise. Thanks to the large display, multi-tasking is made way easier, as you can even open up apps in a pop-up window. Though personally, I enjoyed the large display in apps that have scalable sizes.
While we were unable to test out the S Pen, we can imagine that the Z Fold3 will be even better with one, making it basically a larger Galaxy Note.
You can also open the Z Fold3’s main display only halfway through. Doing this in supported apps will transform the app to take better advantage of the phone’s form factor. For instance, in YouTube, you can keep watching the video on the top half while looking at comments on the bottom. This also works well for recording yourself using the under-display camera, as well as for video calls.
Another nifty thing about the Z Fold3 is that you can set some apps to continue running even when you close the main display. For example, you can set apps such as Spotify or Camera to continue on to the cover screen when you close the phone. This also means that apps that aren’t set like this will pause when you close the main display, essentially putting the phone to sleep.
While we were mostly impressed with the Fold3, we found that the phone’s battery life to be just around average. Its 4400mAh battery did let the phone last for around a day of use, but if you’re a heavy user, you’ll likely want to have a power bank or a charger with you just in case.
Finally, we found the Z Fold3 to feel tough and sturdy. Even though a foldable phone seems quite fragile, the Z Fold3 feels like a solidly-built phone that should easily last for a while; not to mention that it packs IPX8 water resistance. In fact, it even passed JerryRigEverything’s durability test. So, if build quality is a concern, you won’t have to worry when getting the Z Fold3.
Final Geek Lifestyle Verdict
Thanks to the phone’s good cameras, impressive performance, and excellent build quality, the Z Fold3 5G has everything you need in a smartphone, all while having a unique tablet-like form factor that’s almost as portable as your average phone. Overall, the Z Fold3 5G is an excellent device that has no glaring flaws.
Samsung’s latest foldable is great for sure, but is it worth the PHP 87,990 starting price? For most users, it probably won’t be as it’s still definitely an expensive purchase. But for those who have a lot of money to burn and are interested in trying out a foldable, the Galaxy Z Fold3 5G is the top choice.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G Specs:
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G processor
- Adreno 660 GPU
- 12GB RAM
- 256/512GB storage
- 7.6-inch Foldable Dynamic AMOLED, 120Hz, HDR10+ main display (1768 x 2208 resolution)
- 6.2-inch AMOLED, 120Hz cover display (832 x 2268 resolution)
- 12MP main + 12MP ultra-wide + 12MP telephoto (2x) triple rear cameras
- Front camera (cover): 10MP
- Front camera (main display): 4MP
- 5G, 4G, LTE
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
- Bluetooth 5.2, A2DP, LE, aptX HD
- Side-mounted fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C 3.2 port
- 4400mAh battery w/ 25W fast charging, 11W fast wireless charging, 4.5W reverse wireless charging
- Android 11 with One UI 3.1.1
- 256GB variant – PHP 87,990
- 512GB variant – PHP 95,990