Starting at $1,000, the latest flavor of Samsung's clamshell flip phone sports a faster processor, larger front cover display and lower initial price tag than its predecessor.
Samsung has taken the wraps off the latest edition of its Galaxy Z Flip phone. Dubbed the Z Flip 3 5G, this new phone maintains the foldable clamshell design that folds and unfolds vertically like an old-style flip phone. This differentiates it from Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold lineup, which folds and unfolds horizontally. The flip style design results in a smaller display when the phone is unfolded compared with the Z Fold. But the Z Flip offers a more compact and pocket-friendly form factor and rings in at a much lower price than its larger cousin.
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Though Samsung christened the new phone the Z Flip 3 5G, there was no phone named the Z Flip 2. The company unveiled the original Z Flip in 2020 and then quickly followed up with the Z Flip 5G. Samsung dubbed the new version the Flip 3 to match the naming convention of the Z Fold 3.
In many ways, the Z Flip 3 5G is similar to last year's Z Flip 5G. Both phones offer the clamshell form factor with a 6.7-inch main display, 5G connectivity, dual rear 12MP cameras, a 10MP front camera, and storage options of 128GB and 256GB. The new phone improves on its predecessor through a larger front cover display with a faster refresh rate, a beefier processor, and a lower initial price tag.
The standout feature of the Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G is its foldable form factor. With the Galaxy Z Flip and Z Fold series, Samsung has been touting foldability as a practical and useful capability and the latest innovation to attract smartphone buyers.
When the device is closed, the cover display allows you to view your calendar, check the weather, monitor your workout and perform a variety of other tasks. Samsung offers cover screen widgets that you can set up and customize to access your favorite apps and features from the front. Samsung Pay is built directly into the cover screen for you to pay for items without having to flip open the phone. When folded, the phone measures 4.2 inches diagonally, so it easily fits into a pocket or purse.
Introduced with the original Z Flip, the Hideaway Hinge on the Z Flip 3 5G allows you to position the device at any angle, including propped up. With Samsung's Sweeper technology, the bristles inside the hinge are now shorter as a way to prevent dust and dirt from affecting the reliability and durability. Based on the folding tests conducted by Samsung and verified by Bureau Veritas, the hinge on the phone is designed to hold up after 200,000 folds.
When the phone is partially folded, Samsung's Flex mode goes into action. Any apps designed to support this mode will automatically change their size or layout to take advantage of the dual screen. As one example, you could read an email in Outlook on one screen and preview other emails on the other screen, similar to Outlook on a desktop. For now, only certain apps support Flex mode, though Samsung said that more are starting to jump on board.
The super AMOLED display on the cover screen of the Z Flip 3 5G is now 1.9 inches with a resolution of 260 x 512 pixels, an improvement over the 1.05-inch screen and 112 x 300 pixel resolution on the Z Flip and Z Flip 5G. Open the phone, and the FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED main display is still 6.7 inches with virtually the same resolution at 2,640 x 1,080 pixels. But the refresh rate has been bumped up to 120Hz from 60Hz, making the display faster and easier on your eyes.
Processor and storage
The Z Flip 3 5G is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, faster and more efficient than the Snapdragon 865 Plus found in the previous model. The 888 chip is equipped with a 6th generation Qualcomm AI engine, a Tensor accelerator with twice the compute capacity, and a score of 26 for TOPS (trillions of operations per second) performance.
The phone itself comes with 8GB of RAM with a choice of 128GB or 256GB for internal storage. You won't find a built-in SD card slot, so there's no way to add extra storage.
As with the Z Flip 5G, the Z Flip 3 phone offers 5G connectivity for areas that support the latest wireless standard. The new phone supports Sub6 for broader coverage and millimeter wave (mmWave) for higher speeds. Also included are Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC and GPS.
The Z Flip 3 5G comes with the same rear dual 12MP cameras as the prior model. The wide-angle camera offers an aperture of F1.8 and a field of view (FOV) of 78 degrees. The F2.2 ultra-wide camera comes with an F2.2 aperture and an FOV of 123 degrees. The ultra-wide also includes dual pixel autofocus for more reliable autofocusing and optical image stabilization (OIS) to better steady your shots.
For recording video, the rear cameras provide up to a 10x digital zoom and HDR10+ recording. The 10MP front camera comes with an F2.4 aperture and FOV of 80 degrees.
The camera provides several different shooting modes. Portrait mode lets you easily change the depth of field and lighting. Night mode attempts to retain the proper color and clarity under low-light conditions by stabilizing the rear camera. Hyperlapse mode snaps long-exposure shots. And Director's View mode takes videos from different angles and cameras.
Battery and charging
The dual 3300mAh battery is the same capacity as in last year's Z Flip phone. The more efficient Snapdragon 888 processor should help the battery, so you may see more life out of a single charge. The Z Flip 3 5G supports fast charging and wireless charging with 15W fast charging, 10W fast wireless charging and 4.5W reverse wireless charging.
The Z Flip 3 5G is outfitted with Armor Aluminum, the strongest aluminum found on a Galaxy smartphone, according to Samsung.
The front cover screen is made of Corning Gorilla Glass Victus to protect it against scratches and drops. Based on Corning's lab tests, Gorilla Glass Victus survived drops onto hard, rough surfaces from up to 6.7 feet. This new flavor of Gorilla Glass has up to four times the scratch resistance of competing products, according to Corning.
The screen is covered with a new protective film composed of stretchable PET (polyethylene terephthalate), making it 80% more durable than with past models, Samsung said. Further, the Z Flip 3 5G is rated at IPX8 for water resistance so it can handle immersion in more than 3.3 feet of water.
Authentication and security
The phone comes with both facial recognition and a fingerprint sensor to unlock the screen and authenticate purchases and logins. Your fingerprint data and other information stored on the device are protected by Samsung's Knox security. A special secure folder isolates private files such as apps, photos and videos.
Operating system and interface
The Z Flip 3 5G is outfitted with Android 11. Samsung also has equipped the phone with a special version of its One UI interface built to take advantage of the foldable format.
The Z Flip 3 5G is available in four colors: Cream, Green, Lavender and Phantom Black. Samsung.com also offers three exclusive colors: Gray, White and Pink.
Specs for the Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G
- Main display: 6.7-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display (2,640 x 1,080 pixels, 120Hz refresh rate)
- Cover screen display: 1.9-inch Super AMOLED display (260 x 512 pixels)
- Dimensions: Folded: 2.84" x 3.4" x 0.67" (hinge), 0.62" (sagging); Unfolded: 2.84" x 6.54" x 0.27"
- Storage: 128GB or 256 GB
- RAM: 8GB
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
- Cameras: 12MP rear ultra-wide and telephoto lenses; 10MP Selfie Camera
- Battery: 3,300mAh dual battery
- Login security: fingerprint reader, face recognition
- Charging: Fast charging compatible on wired and wireless, wireless power share
- Connectivity: LTE, 5G Sub6/mmWave, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS
- Ports: USB-C
- SIM card: One eSIM and one Nano SIM
- Water Resistance: IPX8
- OS: Android 11
- Colors: Cream, Green, Lavender, Phantom Black. Samsung.com exclusive colors: Gray, White, Pink
- Included in the box: Galaxy Z Flip3 5G, data cable, ejection pin, quick start guide
Should I buy the Z Flip 3 5G?
One way to answer that question is to decide if you want a foldable phone. A feature that started out as a gimmick and was poorly designed initially has become a more effective and intriguing option. As designed for the Z Flip 3, foldability turns a small pocket-sized device into a larger dual-screened device better equipped for multitasking, creating documents and watching videos.
If you like the look and feel of the foldable concept and believe it will make you more productive, then the decision next turns to which phone is your best bet. Samsung's foldable lineup consists of the Galaxy Z Fold and the Galaxy Z Flip. The Fold series offers a larger cover screen and dual screen layout, turning the device into a mini tablet or phablet. But mix in that form factor with a triple camera system and other cool but pricey features, and you end up with a phone that starts at $1,800.
The Z Flip offers a smaller form factor than the Fold. In exchange, however, you get a phone that fits more comfortably in the hand and in the pocket and is $800 less expensive. Still, the Z Flip 3 isn't the only clamshell flip phone in town. Motorola's Razr 5G offers a similar form factor. And more foldable phones are coming from other Android vendors. Even Apple is reportedly considering a foldable phone that might adopt the clamshell design, though such an iPhone is likely a few years away.
Availability and pricing
The Z Flip 3 5G is available for preorder as of Aug. 11, 2021, and will launch on Aug. 27 in select regions, such as the U.S., Europe, and Korea. In the U.S., the phone is up for preorder from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and US Cellular.
Anyone who preorders the phone will receive a year of Samsung Care+ protection to cover the device for accidental damage, including screen replacement, water damage and back cover replacement.
The price of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G starts at $1,000 for the 128GB version and rises to $1,049 for the 256GB model.
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