It's the third time the charm for Samsung and its Galaxy Z Flip range. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 shows that the tech giant is very much still embracing foldable phone technology, proving that with this fashion-focused series it is pushing its bendable OLED screens to those who want both style and cutting-edge tech.
This time around, though, it hasn’t got the initial ‘wow’ factor to hide behind. Everyone has seen a phone fold, so it has to impress not just with looks but features, too.
We have been playing with the phone for a while now: here are five things to know about the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3.
1. Samsung has Flipped the power switch
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 shares the same processing power that was seen in the Samsung Galaxy S21 range, so there’s no fear of this phone slowing down when you need it the most. Couple this with a screen that’s bloody gorgeous (6.7 inches when fully unfolded and 120Hz) and it is something of a powerhouse.
Flip the thing around and the screen on the cover has been increased, too, from a mere 1.1 inches to 1.9 inches - a small but noticeable change. This extra real estate makes it easier to read your messages, check weather notifications and the like, but we can’t see you trying to bang out your novel through this screen. It’s more there for at-a-glance checks before you flip the Flip open.
2. It’s a phone for those that don’t like big phones
The key to the Flip 3 is its form factor. This isn’t a phone that stretches into a tablet (that is what the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is for) but one that changes from a seriously-sized 6.7-inch handset that will give normal non-foldable phones a run for their money (albeit being a little taller) to something much more compact. When flipped it is much more the size of a pocket mirror - at 4.2 inches. It is thick, obviously so, but that didn’t bother us too much.
This isn’t a phone you can flippantly flip like the old Motos, either, it has to be done with two hands. There is a certain amount of toughness here to get the screen up which reminds you that this is indeed an expensive bit of kit in your hand. But the ability to have a decent-sized full screen phone turn into something that won’t bulk out a purse or pocket really is something to behold. Flipping the Flip isn’t just about compactness, though, as Samsung has added some decent features to take advantage of the bendable screen…
3. New features for the Flip
The Samsung Galaxy Flip 3 made loads of sense when we flipped it to a 90-degree angle, having the bottom of the phone act as a base. This summons Flex mode and some dual screen action, where you can take pictures using the base as to balance the phone, speak on a video call hands free and use multi-window to do two things at once. In our case it was doom scroll Twitter and watch some YouTube (which sounded great through the new upgraded stereo speakers).
The screen size is pretty perfect for this mode and there are a number of apps that take advantage of the dual-screen capabilities. And for those that don’t, you can just shift apps around to take advantage of the dual screen.
4. Photos are fun when Flipped
There are a number of decent lenses on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 but they are the same found on the previous iteration. This isn’t a bad thing as what’s there is decent (2x 12MP wide and ultra-wide rear cameras, 10MP selfie camera) and is coupled with some nifty features prized from the Samsung Galaxy S21.
These include: Director's View (a live preview of sorts) and Single Take which uses AI to figure out the best image for you from a series of images taken. The ability to preview your image from the front case is a great feature (and works better now the case screen is bigger) and the selfie options when the phone is unflipped are great.
5. The Flip has big ideas but needs a bigger battery
We are guessing because of the form factor, battery life had to take a bit of a backseat and it does show on the Flip. We managed to squeeze around four hours’ screen time out of the thing, which could do you a whole day if you spread it out.
We reckon you will want a charger handy, though. Oh, and Samsung has stopped adding charging plugs in the case, so you will need to find one of those, too. There is wireless charging on board, which is great to see - and the phone supports 15W fast charging.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3: final verdict
Samsung’s foldable phones are no longer the future, but the present and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 no longer feels like a novelty showcase of technology but the real deal. It’s the perfect phone for those who don’t want a ‘big’ phone all of the time.
It’s feature packed and durable to point. While we never felt like we were going to snap the thing, we did always feel that we needed to be that little bit more careful with the phone, compared to other handsets.
Price wise, Samsung has managed to get the handset under the magic £1,000/$1,000 mark for the first time. Yes, it’s still premium but no longer out of reach to the mainstream phone buyer.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is out Friday 27 August and available for pre-order now. Colour-wise, it comes in Cream (reviewed), Phantom Black, Green and Lavender and in both 128GB/8GB and 256GB/8GB variants.