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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 evaluation: Specs, value & extra

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The Galaxy Z Flip 3 — certainly one of Samsung’s new foldable choices — is the corporate’s newest try and convey foldable smartphones into the mainstream.

The compact system, which folds open right into a full-size smartphone, boasts the most recent display tech, a contemporary processor that makes software program glide, a reliable set of digital camera lenses and a contemporary design. What’s extra, Samsung priced the telephone on the comparatively normal $999, one of many few foldables according to different high-end choices. But does all this add as much as a tool that brings foldables out of novelty limbo and into the realm of on a regular basis use?

A foldable telephone with out compromises

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is finally a traditional smartphone that simply occurs to fold with important options accounted for. It’s the primary foldable we will safely advocate, however there is not a loopy function begging you to expire and get it.

Who that is for: The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is right for somebody who’s been contemplating getting a foldable however was ready for a sturdier, speedier possibility that rivals the likes of iPhone and Galaxy units.

What you could know: The solely two main compromises with the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is not any telephoto lens and a battery that performs under par in contrast with different high-end units. But, from what we may glean from our testing, Samsung fastened the main points with earlier foldables, specifically a premium construct and vibrant show which might be according to different $999 smartphones.

How this compares: In phrases of direct competitors with the Motorola Razr and the earlier Z Flip, the third technology is extra sturdy with a stronger construct and display that doesn’t lead you down a highway of considerations. Whereas earlier foldables didn’t really feel safe within the hand or made audible creaking sounds in regular operation, the Z Flip 3 is finally a traditional smartphone that simply occurs to fold. Still, those that need the final word digital camera setup are doubtless higher served by the iPhone 12 Pro or Galaxy S21 since these function a telephoto lens. If you may have an iPhone, the Z Flip 3 isn’t going to maneuver the needle, as, other than the foldable nature, there’s no actual upside. And if you’d like the final word Android telephone, you’re higher served with an S21 Ultra or Note 20 Ultra.

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The third-generation Z Flip incorporates a refined design highlighted by an Armor Aluminum construct, which mixes aluminum and different metals. With that new construct, Samsung has veered into extra muted shade choices moderately than flashy ones that we’ve seen on earlier units. Our cream Z Flip 3 is far tamer than the Mirror Purple Z Flip.

The rear of the Galaxy Z Flip 3, at the least the glass parts, is protected with a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, which protects in opposition to drops and scratches. We dropped the Z Flip a couple of occasions on surfaces like grass, carpet and hardwood with none points. And essentially the most vital piece of refinement: water resistance — particularly an IPX8 water resistance that may deal with submersion in as much as a meter of water for as much as half-hour. It’s spectacular, although we’ll word this doesn’t carry a mud resistance, which is arguably extra important with the hinge. But you possibly can certainly get the Z Flip 3 moist — we dunked it a couple of occasions right into a bucket of water and used it outdoors in a drizzle with out harming the system.

Jacob Krol/CNN

When unfolded, the Z Flip 3 feels as sturdy as any normal-size smartphone — iPhone 12 or Galaxy S21 included — and there isn’t any additional flex or bend. It’s a considerably beefed-up design with stronger supplies, but it surely nonetheless weighs in at 183 grams.

Samsung continues to be utilizing its hideaway hinge. When closed, you’ll see it because the steel band with Samsung etched into the highest of the system. As you open the system, the hinge will get coated by the 2 major halves of the Z Flip 3. The Z Flip 3 continues to be a bit harder to open with only one hand, and the sleek end doesn’t assist a ton on this space. There continues to be a crease within the show — you’ll really feel it when utilizing the telephone, however we’ll contact on that extra under.

Jacob Krol/CNN

Jacob Krol/CNN

The cowl display on the unique Z Flip was a gimmick at simply 1.1 inches. It may act as a inventory ticker to current your notifications or rapidly present the time — but it surely proved basically ineffective.

With the Z Flip 3, Samsung made some nominal enhancements. The display is almost 4 occasions bigger and now has a date and time show — it may possibly match your Galaxy Watch 4 or rotate by way of a sequence of animals. A swipe from left to proper pulls up your notifications, which now you can scroll by way of and open to learn, but it surely pushes you to open the Z Flip to finish an motion like replying.

Swiping from the suitable to the left helps you to stroll by way of totally different widgets. You can customise a few of these, but it surely’s only a choice of Samsung experiences, and so they’re not opening it to 3rd events simply but. You can management media playback (and sure, this works with a service like Spotify), see the climate, begin a timer, see fast stats from well being and look at your calendar, amongst others. While it does allow you to peek at a notification with ease or with out absolutely partaking the telephone, it’s form of irritating you could’t reply proper again on that display. Still, although, it’s bite-size doses of data with some degree of performance.

The display’s gimmicky however useful perform as a viewfinder for selfies continues to be right here, and you may swipe up or down to modify between broad and ultrawide, and even proper to left for video. It’s neat, however a 1.9-inch viewfinder nonetheless shrinks the expertise. The higher use case with the duvet display is once you take a photograph or video with the telephone folded open, because the individual you’re capturing can see the framing within the mini display.

Jacob Krol/CNN

Folding open the Z Flip 3 reveals the first 6.7-inch Infinity Flex Display, which is vibrant with colours and heavy with particulars on any given display. Taking in content material like the most recent episode of “What If…?” on Disney+ takes benefit of the total shade spectrum and has some fast-paced motion sequences.

The Z Flip 3 5G incorporates a 120 Hz refresh fee show, which is just about the brand new normal — apart from Apple that sticks to 60 Hz. This spec speaks to what number of occasions in a second the display can refresh itself, and with this turned on the display feels buttery clean. Page scrolling, watching content material or taking part in video games feels a bit extra pure.

The hinge creates a crease that lives proper within the heart of the show — and you’ll really feel it when scrolling. By no means the top of the world, however it’s one thing to know when choosing a foldable.

In phrases of precise utilization, day in and time out, the Z Flip 3’s 6.7-inch show is admittedly terrific. It’s additionally on par with different flagships on the $999 value level by way of high quality and outcomes. The display right here isn’t fully product of glass, although — it’s a layer and Samsung’s Ultra Thin Glass expertise. The precise last layer is plastic, and it feels much like a plastic display protector on high of a traditional glass show. But we didn’t trigger any scratches or points to the show in our testing both.

Jacob Krol/CNN

The Z Flip 3 is all in regards to the return of a clamshell that opens into a contemporary smartphone. And like a full-size smartphone, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is working Android 11 with a Samsung person interface on high. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor powers it with 8GB of RAM, the identical setup because the Galaxy S21. It’s a flagship in each proper on this regard.

We by no means felt the system stutter or decelerate on the primary display, even with some intense duties. The Z Flip 3 feels as quick as different main smartphones and sure will proceed that assist into the longer term. Samsung additionally guarantees three years of Android updates with this system, stretching the worth equation additional.

And Samsung’s model of Android right here is fairly acquainted. You get the basic clock widget on the primary display, a bevy of preloaded apps and the flexibility to make use of the Edge bar. Swiping on or tapping the small grey bar that hovers on the suitable aspect of the show brings up fast entry to core apps and setups. The latter helps you to use multi-window to position an app like YouTube on the underside for playback and an internet browser on the highest. It’s a neat trick and allows you to multitask on the Z Flip 3.

The different key affordance to the Z Flip 3 is Flex Mode, during which you prop the telephone at a 90-degree angle and it’ll stick there. With Samsung Labs turned on in any setting, any app could make use of this by leaving controls on the underside half, which is flat, and the playback or media on the high display faces you. It works nice for an app like YouTube, as you should use playback on high and look at particulars or feedback on the underside. With Messages, your dialog is on the highest and your keyboard is on the underside. It’s neat, however we’d prefer to see extra functions natively undertake this.

Jacob Krol/CNN

Battery life, alternatively, may need you reaching for a charger noon. The two cells, which add as much as a 3,300mAh battery, drained fairly rapidly in order that we couldn’t get a full day of use out of the Z Flip 3. You’ll must plug it in for a fast cost or lay it on a wi-fi charging pad. Lighter days with much less interplay may allow us to stretch the battery life a bit extra. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 does assist quick charging by way of a brick, however you’ll must convey your individual.

As the total title suggests, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G does assist 5G connectivity. And the excellent news is Samsung is supporting Sub-6 and mmWave networks with the Z Flip 3. These two bands are the main requirements within the United States. While tougher to seek out, mmWave delivers ultra-fast speeds. When testing utilizing a Verizon SIM and in direct line of sight with a mmWave cell website in NYC, we hit speeds near 1,000 MBps on the Z Flip 3. That crushes 4G LTE, which hovers nearer to 100 MBps or 200 MBps.

You’re extra more likely to have Sub-6 5G in your area, however this merely provides extra capability and never the flashy speeds. If you may have both band close to you, you’ll have the ability to faucet into it proper now. Otherwise, it’s a way of future-proofing your funding within the Z Flip 3.

We’ll tackle the elephant within the room: These cameras carry out on par with the Pixel 5, iPhone 12 or Galaxy S21. The lenses included are:

Jacob Krol/CNN

12-megapixel broad digital camera: This broad lens is helpful for portrait pictures and does a great job of precisely capturing a scene. We didn’t expertise any vital shade skewing. This lens options optical picture stabilization for much less blurry pictures as properly.

Jacob Krol/CNN

12-megapixel ultrawide digital camera: The ultrawide helps you to seize extra in any given shot and is an entertaining strategy to body a constructing or no matter you may be capturing. It carried out fairly properly in our testing.

As an entire, the Z Flip 3 captured some good photographs. Photos of our poodle, Georgia, or Bernadoodle, Charlie, picked up the person hairs with relative ease and didn’t overtly clean the shot. Similarly, pure landscapes didn’t look skewed and packed in lots of element. Portrait Mode carried out sturdy right here, with the Z Flip 3 accurately selecting up hairlines and sensing the depth. You can see a full gallery of our pictures under.

The one lens we’re lacking right here is telephoto, and for $999, we’d have favored to see a bodily optical zoom possibility right here. Lastly, the interior 10-megapixel selfie digital camera does a wonderful job. Know that it’s not an ultrawide lens, although, so it may be tougher to squeeze fairly a couple of individuals into the shot. Still, although, higher particulars than the under-display 4-megapixel digital camera on the Z Fold 3.

Jacob Krol/CNN

Jacob Krol/CNN

Jacob Krol/CNN

Jacob Krol/CNN

Jacob Krol/CNN

Jacob Krol/CNN

Jacob Krol/CNN

Jacob Krol/CNN

Between the bigger — and extra useful — cowl display, water resistance, clean inside show and extra refined design, there’s quite a bit to love in regards to the Z Flip 3. Has it gone mainstream? Well, sure, within the sense that we will safely advocate it for somebody who desires a folding smartphone.

But there isn’t a motive to hurry out and change to a folding smartphone as of but. Yes, Flex Mode is neat, however not each app helps it natively. It’s additionally not vital. The compact nature of the system is extra of an enchantment, and should you’re bored with these outsized smartphones not becoming in your pockets or being a chore to hold, know that you just’re not sacrificing a lot by choosing the Z Flip 3.

You’re lacking out on a 3rd digital camera lens and all-day battery life. And that’s the achievement right here; choosing the Galaxy Z Flip 3 doesn’t imply you’re sacrificing something you’d count on on a smartphone. You would possibly even find yourself on high with extra shade choices, two screens and a dialog starter.

Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 3 begins delivery on Aug. 26 and is up for preorder now at $999.99.

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