Hi there, I’m Abrar Khan, and I’m here to give you an in-depth review of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, a foldable smartphone. In this article, we’ll deep dive its design, screen and audio quality, Cover Screen functionality, Flex Mode capabilities, camera performance, and battery life. By the end of this review, you’ll have a clear idea of whether Z Flip 3 is still a worthwhile purchase or not.
Read Also: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Review
Galaxy Z Flip 3 Design
When I first laid eyes on the Z Flip 3, it immediately struck me as adorable, especially when it’s folded. The design of the Z Flip 3 is refreshingly minimal yet exudes an undeniable elegance, which happens to align perfectly with my personal style. I opted for the cream color variant, though there are several other enticing options available such as lavender, green, and pink. While I had the chance to see some of these colors in person, I must admit that the cream one remains my favorite.
However, there’s one aspect of the design that doesn’t quite hit the mark for me – the glossy back. It has a tendency to attract fingerprints with ease. Personally, I would have preferred a more matte finish, not only for its aesthetic appeal but also because it would resist fingerprint smudges better. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that the back is constructed from Gorilla Glass, which not only imparts a premium feel but also ensures durability and resistance to easy scratching.
Main Screens and Audio Quality
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 boasts two screens. The primary display measures a substantial 6.7 inches and features a vibrant 120 Hz Full HD+ AMOLED panel with a slightly taller aspect ratio. Because of its foldable nature, there is a noticeable crease that you can feel when you run your fingers over it. However, the visibility of this crease varies with the viewing angle. When you look at the screen head-on, it isn’t very prominent. However, when you’re outdoors, the crease becomes more visible due to increased light and reflections. While it hasn’t been excessively bothersome to me, individual preferences may differ.
One noteworthy feature of the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is its stereo speakers. Despite its compact, pocket-friendly form when folded, you still get a commendable movie-watching experience, especially for content shot in widescreen. The stereo speakers contribute to delivering a fairly immersive audiovisual experience, enhancing your enjoyment of multimedia content on the device.
When the Z Flip 3 is closed, you’ll notice a subtle gap in between its halves. It’s not too pronounced, but this space tends to attract dust and lint from pockets, often ending up on the screen. The outer display primarily serves the purpose of allowing you to interact with widgets, check notifications, and snap quick selfies. Its functionality is quite basic, and I believe that’s a part of its charm.
Interestingly, I’ve found the outer display to be one of the standout features of this phone. Since I need to physically open it to access the main display, I’ve naturally reduced my usage of the primary screen. When I reach for my phone, I often check notifications on the outer display and then return it to my pocket, unless there’s something urgent. I’m not sure if this was Samsung’s intention, but as someone trying to cut down on screen time, I genuinely appreciate it.
On the flip side, you could argue that the repetitive process of opening and closing the phone might seem a bit tedious. However, as I mentioned, this extra step has made me more conscious and deliberate in my smartphone usage. I don’t find myself mindlessly scrolling on my phone as much as I used to, and that’s a positive change in my book.
A significant portion of the marketing for this phone centers around the enjoyable ways you can utilize it. Samsung refers to this as Flex Mode. Essentially, when you’re using an app that supports it, the content dynamically adjusts to fit the two parts of the display. It’s akin to having a versatile, built-in stand whenever the need arises. If you frequently use Google Duo, you’re likely to find this feature particularly appealing. In my opinion, Flex Mode truly shines when it comes to video chatting. It allows you to effortlessly set the phone down, ensuring a perfect frame for yourself, and enjoy a completely hands-free experience.
Within the camera app, it’s almost like having a built-in tripod. You can simply set the phone down, frame your shot using either the front or back cameras, and then start recording. This feature comes in especially handy for capturing time-lapse videos. It’s also compatible with YouTube, where it displays the video on the top half of the screen while allowing you to scroll through comments on the bottom half. While the list of officially supported apps is somewhat limited, for those lacking support, you can access the labs menu and force them to work. In most cases, this shifts everything to the top half of the display and provides a convenient four-button menu for notifications, screenshots, brightness adjustments, and volume control. However, media apps like Netflix offer additional video controls, adding to the convenience of the overall experience.
Let me break down how phone calls work on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. When you receive an incoming call, you have the option to answer it from the cover screen, and by default, it’ll be on speakerphone. If you want to answer the call by flipping open the phone, you’ll need to enable this feature in the settings. Interestingly, closing the phone during an ongoing call will hang up, reminiscent of old-school flip phones. While this feature may not be a necessity, it does bring a touch of nostalgia and fun to the overall phone call experience. Beyond these unique aspects, there isn’t much more to elaborate on in this regard.
Software and Features
The software experience on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 aligns with the typical Samsung approach. It’s worth noting that I would have welcomed the inclusion of Samsung DeX, a feature found in their other flagship devices, but unfortunately, it’s absent in this model.
One standout feature for me is the fingerprint scanner, which is side-mounted and integrated into the power button. This is a departure from high-end Samsung phones that typically place the fingerprint scanner under the display. While the placement is a bit high for my thumb, you can easily map another finger from your other hand, like your index finger. The scanner works exceptionally well, and I particularly appreciate the return of the fingerprint gesture for pulling down the notification shade.
In terms of performance, the Z Flip 3 delivers a very solid experience. However, I should note that the top half of the phone can become quite warm during more demanding tasks. While this doesn’t severely impact performance, it’s something to keep in mind during extended usage.
Battery Life on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
Let’s talk about the battery, which represents one of the notable trade-offs with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. It has a battery that can last from morning to night with moderate usage. However, if you engage in a lot of intensive tasks or heavy smartphone use, you’re likely to find yourself needing to recharge it before the day is over. The charging speeds are not particularly impressive either. It takes roughly an hour and 45 minutes for a full charge when connected to a charger, and over two hours when placed on a wireless charger.
There’s also a handy feature of reverse wireless charging available, which allows you to top off other devices like earbuds if you have some spare battery left. In general, the 3300 milliamp-hour battery is not geared towards heavy smartphone users. For those who use their smartphones casually and don’t spend more than four to five hours a day on their devices, it should suffice.
Hinge and Durability
While I can’t provide an extensive assessment due to my limited time with the device, if you’re considering getting a Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, I highly recommend opting for insurance and an extended warranty. It’s a worthwhile investment for your peace of mind. This isn’t to say that the device isn’t well-built; in fact, it does feel quite sturdy. The hinge offers good resistance, and upon close inspection, the bendable areas are fully covered and protected.
Notably, there’s a built-in screen protector that you’re not supposed to remove under any circumstances. This protector feels very much like glass, although I’m not as confident in its durability compared to actual glass. However, it’s worth mentioning that Samsung has introduced an IPX8 water resistance rating, which is a significant step in the right direction. While I won’t be submerging or swimming with the phone, it does provide assurance that it won’t be ruined if I take a call in the rain or snow, which is a reassuring feature.
Galaxy Z Flip 3 Camera
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is equipped with a total of three 12-megapixel cameras: a wide and ultra-wide lens on the back, and a punch-hole selfie camera on the front. Unlike some of Samsung’s other flagship models, it doesn’t include a dedicated telephoto lens. As a result, any zooming you do will rely on digital zoom. Despite not having Samsung’s top-tier camera hardware, the pictures it produces still manage to impress me and get the job done. I’m quite satisfied with the quality of the photos I’ve taken using the Flip 3.
The selfies captured by the front camera are detailed and generally attractive, although in some scenarios, they can appear slightly over-sharpened, which may emphasize pores and sunspots. These finer details can become more pronounced and visible in certain lighting conditions.
The ability to capture pictures while the phone is closed, thanks to the front cover display, leads to higher quality selfies. This feature provides a surprisingly delightful experience. Moreover, the cover display serves a dual purpose by showing your subject their appearance, allowing them to plan their pose before you take the shot. In terms of design and aesthetics, Samsung has truly excelled with the Z Flip 3. It’s a stunning, fashion-forward device, and they’ve managed to strike an excellent balance that makes it appealing to individuals of all genders.
The tech behind a product like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is undeniably astonishing. Year after year, Samsung has been making it increasingly affordable. While we can debate its practicality, the experience of holding a phone that can fold in half is truly remarkable.
Now, should everyone rush out to buy this device? Certainly not. Factors like battery life and the absence of a telephoto lens might be deal-breakers for many users. However, if these trade-offs don’t matter to you, and you’re in search of something nostalgic, a conversation starter, or a pocket-friendly device that can unfold into a full-size smartphone, then the Z Flip 3 might be precisely what you’re looking for.
It’s important to note that it’s still a relatively costly phone. But if Samsung continues to lower the price point, it’s conceivable that many people, myself included, could fall in love with it. To be honest, I haven’t been this intrigued by a phone in a long, long time. It’s far from perfect, but it’s undeniably cute and a lot of fun.