The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G is probably the “cheapest” foldable smartphone you can own right now for sub RM 4,000 or US$ 1,000. It’s still expensive for a smartphone, but the Galaxy Z Flip3 set a new bar of foldable smartphone prices. This brings foldable smartphones more accessible to a lot of people.
But by just bring down the price, would its win people over from conventional candy bar smartphones to foldable? Here’s my review of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G after having it as my daily driver for 2 weeks. A teaser, it’s a fun and fast device to use but the biggest trade-off is the battery life.
You may check my first impression of the Galaxy Z Flip3 5G HERE or watch my FastView video.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G Design – Ready for Mainstream?
There are two parts that we need to look at in-depth, price and reliability. The price is pretty straightforward, Samsung has dropped the launch price of the first-gen Galaxy Z Flip from RM 5,888 (US$ 1,380). Now, after the third iteration, the Z Flip3 5G’s price gets close to what Samsung Galaxy’s flagship price offering. After all, the Z Flip3 5G is flagship packed hardware.
The first thing that comes to durability is the flexible screen and hinge mechanism. Undeniable the display is more fragile compared to the common candy bar phone that can use Corning Gorilla Glass protection. The UTG (Ultra-Thin-Glass) that Samsung claim is 80% more durable than previous models, I do not try to break the phones, so far the display on my review unit remained pristine with an estimation of 30 to 40 open and close daily.
Samsung also made the Galaxy Z Flip3 waterproof, IPX8 rated where you don’t need to worry about using it under the rain or accidentally submerged it into water.
Fret not if you have the anxiety of breaking as it is taken care of by Samsung Malaysia, offering 1 year Samsung Care+ when you pre-order the Galaxy Z Flip3 5G. It protects against accidental damage to the device including liquid spills and cracked screens.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G Design – Fashionist
Samsung markets the Z Flip3 5G as a fashionist phone by offering 7 colour options; Phantom Black, Cream, Green, Lavender and 3 exclusive colours from samsung.com; White, Gray and Pink.
The gesture of folding the phone in half looks way cooler after you are done with your phone and fit in your pockets or a small clutch bag.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G Displays – Crease is here to stay
Although it has been 3 iterations, the crease between the folding two halves screen remains noticeable especially swiping between the display. This is due to the limitation of flexible screen technology. Until the panel manufacturers are able to come out parity between glass and plastic display, the crease not going anywhere anytime soon.
This doesn’t mean the display is totally bad, Samsung doesn’t only improve the 6.7-inch display to 2X Dynamic AMOLED which is now brighter, it even gets a 120Hz refresh rate for smoother browsing and gaming.
The cover display has gotten larger at 1.9-inch. It’s more usable now with mini-app widgets for simple notification reading, taking selfies with the main camera, set off the alarm, making payments with Samsung Pay and a few other things. I’m sure Samsung can do better with the 1.9-inch display like reading messages or quick replies since its 1.2-inch Galaxy Watch4 can do more than that.
There’s also Flex Mode, where you have the phone half-open and some of the application UIs split content on top and controls on the bottom. I did find it very convenient for some apps to use like video calls, taking photos or videos where you can place it on a flat surface. There are some app works natively like YouTube, Google Duo and Samsung did features Labs that force unsupported apps to work. Still, I find the Flex Mode is more practical to use on the Galaxy Z Fold3 5G due to it inner screen size.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G Camera – It’s Not All About the Megapixels
The Z Flip3 5G is paired with a good dual 12-megapixels rear camera. The main 12-megapixels f/1.8 Dual-Pixel is not only fast in autofocus it also features optical image stabilization (OIS). Meanwhile, the ultrawide 12-megapixels f/2.2 has a pretty wide 123˚ FOV.
It may not have the high megapixels counts but photos and videos quality ain’t outlying with current flagship smartphones. Great images are taken from smartphones not just relying on the camera sensor but also software and Image Signal Processor (ISP). The Qualcomm Spectra 580 from the Snapdragon 888 is one powerful image processor.
Here are some photos were taken with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G.
The images are brilliantly bright and sharp with natural colours. It is also able to handle low light situations without an issue. When coming to night mode, the software does its best to capture as many details as possible.
Meanwhile, the 10-megapixels front camera is great for selfies and video calls. Remember the display cover? Why settle for less when you can have the best camera possible. We can also Vlog with it but there’s a catch when the Z Flip3 5G is closed, it takes photos or videos at a 1:1 ratio – cross finger there will be a software update with option.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G Performance – More Than You Need
With a Snapdragon 888 and 8GB of RAM, the Galaxy Z Flip3 5G is a flagship tier device. I never feel it slowed down and perform as smooth as others Snapdragon 888 devices throughout my test.
Intensive games like Genshin Impact and Asphalt 9 were run smoothly with no stutter or frame drops. Since the display can push up to 120Hz, it is able to support higher refresh rate games like PUBG Mobile, COD, Gear Club: True Racing and more.
Based on synthetic benchmark test results, it gets similar performance scores with other Snapdragon 888 powered devices but reported lower single-core on Geekbench 5. This could be some throttling done by Samsung to conserve some battery juice.
With such capable hardware, not sure why Samsung axed DeX supports on the Galaxy Z Flip3. It can be a powerful tool for those who need a desktop use with just a monitor and a keyboard & mouse.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G Battery – Unchecked Box
The battery is the weakest part of this device. Not only there was no incremental in the battery capacity, the charging speed was not even updated. A 3,300 mAh wasn’t enough to fuel the high-performance Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor not forgetting the 120Hz refresh rate display. To make things worst, the Galaxy Z Flip3 5G only supports 15W wired fast charging and 10W wireless fast charging. Bluntly to say this, it ain’t any fast charging for 2021 standard.
Averagely I’m getting only 3 hours of screen-on-time with the 120Hz refresh rate enabled. While I switched to 60Hz refresh rates, it just improved by an extra 15 to 20 minutes screen-on-time. This is based on casual use with Wi-Fi connected all the time, taking some calls and the usual social media. By evening I need to tether my phone onto the wall plug or a power bank.
Should You Get The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G?
Absolutely yes if you are looking for a unique yet stylish smartphone that can fold in half. It’s a smartphone and no longer a concept phone.
You are not sacrificing any performance by its design but if you are looking for a longevity battery life device, you can look elsewhere.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 Review
The incremental from the Galaxy Z Flip 5G to the Galaxy Z Flip3 5G is huge especially the IPX8 water-resistant and the bigger cover display. With the specs and a price comparable with other flagship smartphones, it’s the best clamshell smartphone that I would recommend.
It’s a fun yet powerful smartphone that you would enjoy, except for the battery life. I wouldn’t mind rocking with a Snapdragon 778G instead of 888 to get me a full day of use.
- Fold into half
- IPX8 water-resistant
- Great display
- Flagship-tier hardware
- Fair pricing
- Skimpy battery
- Could have better cover display interaction
- No DeX support