While several smartphone brands are still developing their first generation of foldable smartphones, Samsung is already out with its third generation fold as well as flip. The South Korean smartphone manufacturer is trying to make its foldable technology available to the masses, especially its latest addition of the flip dubbed the Galaxy Z Flip 3, which starts at only Rs 84,999 in India.
Besides bringing down the price of its latest flip smartphone under one lakh, the company is making the device even more durable and usable with features like IPX8 water resistance rating, among others. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the company’s biggest push to make foldable smartphones mainstream. I have been using the device for a few days now and here are my initial impressions.
Design and build
With straight glass and metal slabs that we call smartphones these days, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and all the other foldable smartphones manage to stand out. Every foldable smartphone has a unique design and is turning back the clock to a time when no two phones looked the same. Such a unique design and sleek profile is why I think that phones are becoming fun once again.
The device has been made available in Phantom Black and Cream colour options. While a lot of people I know are skewed towards the Cream colour option, I personally feel that the Phantom Black colour option is the best out of the bunch as it makes the phone look professional and sleek. Also, the matte layering across the device makes it feel very premium. The company does list a Lavender and a Green colour option on its website, which might be made available at a later date.
The folding mechanism does gain eyeballs wherever you take this smartphone but is a bit loose on the Galaxy Z Flip 3 compared to its predecessor. I feel that the hinge could have been a bit tighter and the ends should have had a click to them.
One of the major improvements in this generation is the larger outer display, which can now be used for checking notifications, clicking selfies and much more. On top of the display, the company has used Gorilla Glass Victus to protect it against scratches and drops. The back panel feels similar to a Pixel, with frosted and glossy glass. The hinge consists of the Samsung branding, but when the phone is unfolded, you will not be able to find the company’s branding being shown anywhere.
The back of the phone is pretty slippery, which does cause it to take a nosedive every time it is on a sloped surface or it is vibrating. While that might be a problem, the durability is not. While using the phone, it took two major falls from my desk, but did not show any sign of damage. However, I would still recommend that you use a case (there is no case inside the box).
Right next to the outer display, there are two camera modules, which can be used to take normal photos and selfies. There is no major camera bump and the sensors have a protective ring on top to ensure that the lenses are not scratched.
The left edge of the device consists of the SIM Card tray. The right edge consists of the volume rocker and the power button. The fingerprint sensor embedded in the power button is pretty responsive. The volume rockers are pretty high and I did not like the placement of these.
This is the world’s first foldable smartphone to come with an IPX8 rating, which means that you will not have to worry about it getting a little wet in the rain. Durability is something I will take a deep dive in my in-depth review.
Flipping the phone up you will get to see the gorgeous foldable display. The 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED Infinity Flex Display is simply gorgeous with a 2600×1080 pixels resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. The display comes with a new protective layer on top, which secures the screen from getting dented by accidental hard presses.
The foldable display
So far I personally had no issues using the Galaxy Z Flip 3 outdoors, with it being easily legible. The display is pretty sharp and colourful. The 120Hz refresh rate does feel pretty smooth, making the 60Hz Galaxy Z Flip display feel ancient.
The tall display with a 22:9 aspect ratio is perfect to consume content, with it completely filling the screen.
The crease in the middle where the display folds is still visible and can be easily felt when you run a finger on it. While at first, it is an annoyance, after some hours of usage you will start ignoring it just like the hole punch.
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is powered by one of Qualcomm’s most powerful chipsets, the Snapdragon 888. Along with the high-end processor, the device comes with 8GB of RAM. Both of which when combined, easily handle all of the tasks thrown at the device.
I played multiple heavy games on the device including Battlegrounds Mobile India, Asphalt 9: Legends and more, and did not get to see any lags or stutters. I also tried doing heavy multi-tasking and the phone glided through. It did get a bit warm to touch while playing for long hours or taking a lot of photos. However, that was expected considering the raw power the device offers in such a slim profile.
While I have not tested the cameras of the Galaxy Z Flip 3 in-depth, I have taken them out for a spin a few times. And I have to say that they are not flagship-grade cameras. Do not take me wrong here, they are not bad, they are pretty good, especially for foldable smartphones. However, when compared with flagship cameras like the Galaxy S21 Ultra, they do lacklustre.
The images clicked with the Galaxy Z Flip 3 are usable and can be posted online. The device also lets you click images from the main cameras.
Overall, I would state that the cameras are decent and something that I would like to keep an eye at for the future generations of the device.
The device comes with a split 3,300mAh battery, which is a bit small according to me. While I was using the device sparingly, it managed to give me a full day’s worth of battery life. However, once I started using the device heavily with the 120Hz adaptive refresh rate and all of my primary apps, it only lasted me for half a day and required to be charged once more to last me the day. If you were to use the device in the 60Hz mode and not spend so much time folding and unfolding it, then the device could potentially last you throughout the day even with heavy usage.
The charging speed is also pretty slow when you compare it with the competition. It only supports 15W fast charging, which is a bit annoying. Charging the device takes around two hours from 0-100 percent.
With the Galaxy Z Flip 3, Samsung is looking to take the foldable form factor mass market, and at this price and features, I think that the company will be pretty successful in doing so. While I might not fully recommend the phone just now and will ask you to wait for my full review, the device is pretty compelling and to date, I am pretty impressed with it. This is a smartphone that makes me feel that phones are fun again.
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