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Samsung galaxy z fold 3 feature image 1

Long-Term Review: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 After 1 Month

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 is the latest smartphone to land in the Man of Many testing shed. Over the next few months, we’ll be getting our hands all over the cutting edge device to test its true value proposition to the customer. Discussing what we like and what we’d change in this revolutionary smartphone. So whether you’re in the market for a new smartphone, or you’re just looking to see what all the fuss is about with folding phones. We’ll be giving the “best folding phone on the market” a proper shakedown and answering any questions you might have along the way.

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Samsung galaxy z fold 3 cover screen

“I find the cover screen very handy for quick messaging, not actually that small”.

Specifications – Headline Grabbing Numbers

We’ll get the nitty-gritty stuff out of the way first, starting with the specifications. The headline numbers immediately greet you – 120hz refresh rate on the main and cover screen, Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, and a hidden under-display front camera. But it’s the additions the brand has made in the features department that really draws you in. With the addition of S-Pen compatibility, the main screen that’s sharper and tougher than before, and an overall look that just screams refinement. Even at a rather exorbitant price tag of AU$2500, we’re not surprised the third generation Fold is selling out. If there was a time to make the leap into folding phones, it’s now.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3
Screen Size Main Screen: 7.6″ Dynamic AMOLED 2X
(2208 x 1768)
Cover Screen: 6.2″ Dynamic AMOLED 2X
(832 x 2268)
DimensionsOpen : 158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4mm
Close : 158.2 x 67.1 x 16.0~14.4mm
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 888
Max. display refresh rate120 Hz (main, cover)
Camera12MP Wide
12MP Ultrawide
12MP Telephoto
Battery4,400mAh (typical)
Storage512GB / 256GB

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Samsung galaxy z fold 3 thickness

“The Fold3 feels solid, not fragile as expected – you can see that it’s still a chunky boy but still pocket friendly

First Impressions – Durability

We’ve been using the Fold3 every day for the better part of a week, and while it’s still early days in our time with the phone there are a few stark instances where expectations were eclipsed by reality. The first of which revolves around durability.

When opening the box of your new $2500 folding phone you just want to baby it. It’s futuristic, gorgeous to look at and very expensive – we don’t blame you. Folding phones of the past seemed to suffer in the durability department and they instilled little to no confidence for the customer when using them every day. The idea of dropping, or exposing a foldable to water, sends shivers down the spine of owners of past models but Samsung has officially broken that stigma with the Fold3.

The new Galaxy Z Fold is IPX8 water-resistant, so it can withstand being in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. In the screen department, you’ll find a stronger Armor Aluminum frame and Gorilla Glass Victus (the strongest glass yet). And while the last thing you want to do is drop your new $2500 smartphone, the chances are, it’s bound to happen and the Fold3 doesn’t look or feel great with a case so some factory protection is necessary.

With that new glass is a PET film that results in an 80% more durable screen. We have criticized past folding models for screens that feel a little too ‘gel-like’ but the same cannot be said for the Fold3. Of course, it’s a freaking folding phone! So the hardcore enthusiast will notice the screen isn’t quite as hard to the touch as something like the S21 Ultra, however, it’s hardly a compromise if not for a reasonable increase in fingerprint marks.

Update (2/11/2021): A stickler for not using a case on our phones, we can officially say that we’ve now dropped our Fold3 on two occasions *shrieks*. Call it ‘testing’ if you will, but we’re happy to announce that the phone is still in complete working condition and there’s absolutely no damage to the screen!

So where does the issue lie? Well, through the complete fault of our own this skinny (yet chunky) boy slid out of our pocket a few times onto raw concrete. You might assume that the Fold3 would like to stay in your pocket due to the weight, but the issue lies in the width. Where, unlike a traditional phone, the Fold3 is a little skinnier and the corners don’t smack the corners of your pocket and prevent the phone from escaping like a traditional smartphone. An issue? Not if you use a rubber case, but something to note nonetheless.

Samsung galaxy z fold 3 open cover screen 2

“When unfolded you can use the main 12MP camera as a selfie camera – my face (not pictured)”

The Design

Update (2/11/2021): It’s been about a month since we last updated our long term review, and now would be the best time to give an update on our thoughts around the design of the phone.

Long story short, we’re still just as excited about the design as we were after opening the box on the first day. While it does like to escape our pocket on the odd occasion, the phone looks awesome and grab a lot of attention even when folded up. The camera module looks great, as do the bezels and layout.

Having the speakers on both sides of the phone offers great sound quality when watching a video on YouTube while sipping our morning coffee. And we love the recessed fingerprint scanner on the side that’s fixed next to the slightly raised volume rocker to make sure you don’t mix them up. Do we wish it had a behind-screen fingerprint scanner like our S21+? Yes, at least on the cover screen, but we’d expect this to be a feature of the later Fold4.

What’s Next?

The next segment of our long-term review of the new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 will talk about the functions we’ve been using.

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