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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G First Impressions

OPPO
Huawei
The successor to Samsung's flagship foldable has finally arrived with a tougher but lighter body, water resistance, and more!
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G First Impressions
Handheld foldable

We take a look a closer look at the recently announced flagship foldable from Samsung. The Korean giant says that it asked its consumers what they would like to be improved on foldables. The top two answers were affordability and durability. Samsung hopes to address these two concerns and more in the new Z Fold3 5G.

To recap, the new Z Fold3 5G features a large 6.2-inch cover display and a larger 7.6-inch inner folding display. Both are Dynamic AMOLED 2x panels with a 120Hz refresh rate and Gorilla Glass Victus protection. Inside is the 5nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 octa-core processor, 256GB/512GB UFS 3.1, 12GB LPDDR5 RAM and a 4,400mAh battery. It is running on Android 11 with OneUI 3.1 on top.

In the Philippines, the Z Fold3 5G is up for pre-order with a starting price of PHP 87,990!

Let's dive in!

Build Quality/Design

Outer side
Outer side

As expected from the flagship foldable, the smartphone is made of metal and glass. Both the cover screen and the inner folding screen is made of glass with Gorilla Glass Victus protection. On top of each glass panel is the preinstalled screen protector. The back panel is made of matte textured frosted glass.

The toughest fold yet!

Both the hinge and the frame are made of metal but with different textures. The hinge is polished and shiny while the frame has a matte textured finish. This matte texture finish reduces fingerprints and makes the phone less slippery when held. 

Samsung says that the company used "Armor Aluminum" which is the strongest material the company has used in a smartphone.

We've had the Z Fold2 5G for a while and it is a lot tougher than people give it credit for. Now that Samsung has added water resistance that is IPX6 certified, we are confident that the Z Fold 3 5G will be one tough cookie.
Unfolded
Unfolded

Out of the box, the phone feels solid and hefty. Because of its size and folding nature, the phone may feel heavy for people coming from the S or Note series. But when comparing it side by side with the Z Fold2 5G, the Z Fold3 5G is slightly lighter at 11 grams. This may not seem much, but this device is like two phones in one and when you add a case to the phone, it matters.

Stunning and eye-catching design, no punch-hole, no notch!

In terms of design, The Z Fold3 5G is stunning and eye-catching. Samsung has refined the look and feel of the already premium Z Fold2 5G even better by shaving off the size and weight. Overall, the Z Fold3 5G looks slimmer and sexier. 

The crease isn't as bad as the original fold, but we didn't notice a difference between Fold2 and this new one. Personally, I got used to it after a few hours of use. The panel doesn't feel soft when you press or apply pressure to it.
Handheld when folded
Handheld when folded

Samsung has also changed the rear camera module from the rectangle of the Z Fold2 5G to a more capsule-shaped module. This capsule-shaped module is made of rough-textured metal as opposed to the metal with the glass rectangle design of the predecessor.

Even with the matte-textured frame and matte textured frosted glass back panel, the Z Fold3 5G still feels slippery. 

The pre-installed screen protectors are also fingerprint magnets. We recommend bringing a microfibre cloth for those who don't like seeing their fingerprint smudges.
Cover screen
Cover screen

The aforementioned 6.2-inch cover screen has been upgraded to a curved Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a 120Hz refresh rate and Gorilla Glass protection. It is surrounded by evenly distributed bezels and it has a punch hole that houses the 10MP selfie camera.

Above the top bezel is a super slim (that is nearly invisible unless you are looking for it) slit for the earpiece.
Inner main screen with under-display camera
Inner main screen with under-display camera

While the inner main folding display is a larger 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a 120Hz refresh rate. It now has an under-display camera on the upper right third of the display. This under-display camera is seen clearly when the panel is displaying a bright or white image.

The bezels surrounding the larger inner screen are noticeably slimmer when compared to the Z Fold2 5G which makes the viewing experience much more immersive.

Both panels produce images that are bright, sharp, detailed, and color accurate. Both panels also support 10-points of multi-touch which makes both panels good for apps and games that take advantage of the multi-touch or multi-gesture interactions.
Top and bottom sides
Top and bottom sides

On top, you will see multiple microphones, multiple antenna lines, and the speaker grill while at the bottom are more antenna lines, the speaker grill, a microphone port, and a USB-C port.
Left and right sides
Left and right sides
A closer look at the hinge
A closer look at the hinge

On the left side is the aforementioned polished hinge with the Samsung logo while on the right side are more antenna lines, SIM tray, volume rocker, and the power button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner. All of the previously mentioned hardware buttons are made of metal with a nice solid feel and good feeling feedback when pressed. 

The phone measures 67/1 x 158.2 x 16 mm when folded and measures 128.1 x 158.2 x 6.4 mm when unfolded. Z Fold3 5G weighs less at 271 grams when compared to the Z Fold2 5G that weighs 282 grams.
Rear triple rear cameras
Rear triple rear cameras

The rear camera module is made up of a 12MP f/1.8 main camera, 12MP f/2.4 2x telephoto camera with up to 10x digital zoom, and 12MP f/2.2 120-degree ultra-wide-angle camera with LED flash and Super clear glass with Corning Gorilla Glass with DX.
The cover screen selfie camera
The cover screen selfie camera

On the punch hole of the cover screen is the 10MP f/2.2 front-facing camera. While on the inner display is the 4MP f/1.8 under-display camera. 

The stock camera app has several modes that include: Photo, Video, Pro, Pro Video, Night, Director's view, Panorama, Food, Slow Motion, Super Slow-Mo, Hyperlapse, Portrait Video, and AR Doodle.

The Pro mode allows for control of ISO (50-3200), shutter speed (1/12000-32 seconds), Focus, and White Balance. Users can also use Pro Mode with the main camera and the ultra-wide camera.

Aside from the controls Pro Mode allows for Photo, Pro Video also has added features like Histogram, AF mode (Center, Multi), and Mic pick-up direction (Omni, Front, Rear).

Samsung also takes advantage of the large real estate of the inner screen and has a mode where the viewfinder gets smaller for an area that instantly displays the most recent shot.
AnTuTu score!
AnTuTu score!

In our initial AnTuTu benchmark, the Z Fold3 5G managed to score more than 748+K.

Lastly, like in the previous generation, there is a button to allow users to use the cover screen as a viewfinder and the rear camera as a selfie camera.

As of the moment

Chrome and YouTube apps simultaneously
Chrome and YouTube apps simultaneously

Samsung's new Z Fold3 5G starts at PHP 87,990 which is nearly PHP 22,000 less than the original Z Fold and Z Fold2 5G that was originally priced at PHP 109,990. This makes it more affordable while offering tougher build materials, water resistance, and a slimmer and lighter body. The price is still on the side where most people can't afford it. 

Our major concerns with the Z Fold2 5G were the size, weight, and software support. With the new Z Fold 3 5G, Samsung aims to address all of those with the aforementioned better materials, IPX6 rating, slimmer and lighter design, under-display cameras, and 120Hz refresh rate displays.


BUT if you can afford it and if you want the best foldable smartphone so far, then the Galaxy Z Fold3 5G might be it.

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