ShortList is supported by you, our amazing readers. When you click through the links on our site and make a purchase we may earn a commission. Learn more

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review

Fold the front page! Samsung's latest foldable is a delight.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review
01 September 2021
When the first Samsung Galaxy Fold arrived, it had the ultimate wow factor. No other phone on the market did what it did - it looked like the future. Unfortunately, with new technology came a few missteps and durability was put into question.
This wasn’t the case for the Samsung Galaxy Fold Z 2, a handset that tweaked the design, upped the durability but, boy, the price was still sky high.
Enter the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: a folding phone that gets pretty much everything right. The durability is there, there’s the additional advantage of S-Pen support and the price is, well, premium but not ‘way out of your league’ premium.
We’ve been playing with the Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 for a few weeks now - here are 5 things to know...

1. The display is brilliant and bright

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review

The size of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold is unfurled is MASSIVE, The main screen is a 7.6-inch display (and when folded its 6.2 inches, both OLED) and the good news is that Samsung has upped the brightness. This thing is 30% brighter than before which means that outdoor viewing has improved a lot.
Fold the phone into its candy bar setup and it’s great to see that the cover screen has been given a 120Hz refresh rate. This means that all your scrolling and switching through apps is nice and buttery smooth.
A great addition to the main screen is that there is an under-display camera on board. This magically disappears when you are viewing anything on the device. This means that you don’t have a pesky notch in the way when gaming or watching Netflix.
The camera itself is only 4MP but this is one of the first phones to have this technology and we think it works really well with the tablet-like screen.

The screen is HDR10+ certified, too, which is fantastic for movie watching and Dolby Atmos surround sound built into its speakers.

2. This Fold 3 is a performance powerhouse

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review

While the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3’s big screen will mean that you will want to immediately watch a movie on the thing, or play a game, the extra real estate does mean that this handset is a multi-tasking master.
There is something called the Multi-Active Window that allows you to have multiple apps working on the same screen independently - if you are feeling really geeky you can have three apps on the screen at once.
It also allows you to have multiple tabs up on a screen at once, too, which does make the Fold 3 feel like a real tablet killer.
While it’s not quite a laptop killer yet, Flex mode does allow you to use the handset like a laptop (when you put it into a 90-degree folded position), which offers up separate controls to apps such as YouTube on the bottom of the device. It also means that you can do your video calls hands free as the phone has its own base to rest on.

3. Design is decent - as long as you don’t mind a bit of chunk

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review

You can’t help falling in love with the look of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3. It’s a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, from the flexible screen (which makes a nice soft sound when closed) to when it is folded out like a tablet, it’s a serious slab of phone which measures: Folded, 158.2 x 67.1 x 16.0mm (Hinge) - 14.4mm; Unfolded, 158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4mm and weighs 271g.

So the answer is: yes, it is chunky when folded and does leave quite a bulge in your pocket. |f you are a skinny jeans wearer then you might want to re-think your phone options. We weren’t put off with the chunk, though, as the option to have a bigger screen far outweighs this.

4. The cameras are cool but we didn’t use them all that much

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review

The cameras on the Flip 3 are decent, but we found ourselves not using them all that much. We don't know if that's because of the device being more suited for screen time, but if you are a photo fiend, then there is a lot to like here. Selfies and group shots are easier, thanks to the ability to ‘fold’ the device so it has a base so you can place the camera on.
Those who are familiar with the S21 Ultra will be right at home with the Single Take and Director's View features, while the Capture View Mode uses the split screen mode nicely.
As for actual hardware, the Fold 3 has the following cameras
(alongside the aforementioned 4MP selfie cam): 3x 12MP lenses (wide-angle, ultra-wide and telephoto).

5. Battery is fine but you’ll be charging daily

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review

We clocked around seven hours’ battery life from the Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 but that was using the handset to the max, in both folded out and folded views. It’s not bad but we wish there was an extra bit of charge in there.
It’s worth noting that you don’t get a plug in the setup, either, but you can use any USB charger and wireless charging is also on board.
Another thing that doesn’t come in the box, but is an additional extra, is an S-Pen. This is the first Fold to be compatible with the stylus and we definitely recommend getting one to complete the Fold 3 experience. It will allow you to write freehand on the device, annotate documents and more.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: final verdict

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review

Alongside the Galaxy Z Flip 3 (pictured above), Samsung has created something special with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold. It's the future of phones and while it is still pricey - from £1,599 on Samsung's official site - it really is a fantastic premium handset.

While this is a handset that will wow friends when you whip it out in the pub, it's far from being that superficial - its multi-tasking is superb, the screen(s) fantastic and, above all, it's bloody fun to use!