It has been nearing a month since I received the brand new Galaxy Z Flip3 for review and I am still awed by the look and overall feel of the phone. I have said in my preview article about a week back that it feels so aesthetically good in my hand that I didn’t want to put it down. When it is closed, it is smaller than my card holder wallet and when it’s flipped open, it is slim and thin but yet roaring with so much power underneath.
I have said many awesome things in my preview article. Those who have read it, will know and understand why I love it so much. But this is the full review of the brand new Galaxy Z Flip3 by Samsung. So in this article, I will elaborate more on its outside beauty and inside beast. Also bear in mind that I have more articles coming up with regards to this Galaxy Z Flip3, so be sure to keep an eye on my upcoming segmentised reviews.
The First Look
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 comes in a slim and thin two tone black and gray box. You can tell that it is a Z Flip box because of the large Z smack in the center of the box. And looking at this thin box, you will know that it does not come with a charger brick. Again, this is becoming a new normal for newer smartphones to potentially save the environment. And I don’t oppose that.
Opening the box for the first time is rather therapeutic for me. The excitement was real, probably because I was looking forward to this moment since Samsung had the Z virtual event in mid August. And when the box is fully opened, the Z Flip3 is the first thing on top. It is in the open position and wrapped nicely. You can find anything else in the box except for the USB type-C charging/data cable and the warranty + user documentation stuff. I was hoping to see a nice phone case in the box but I guess that has to be purchased separately.
Now we look at the Galaxy Z Flip3. The build of the phone is pretty darn solid. In fact, it is way better than the first Flip. It feels more sturdy and premium. If you hold the Galaxy Z Flip3 for the very first time, you can tell that you’re holding a premium item.
Flipping it open and close is pretty satisfying. I can’t remember how many times I did that when I first held it in my hands. It doesn’t feel flimsy nor does it feel cheap. The guys at Samsung have made a solid device this time and made so many improvements to the hinges. The phone just snaps into place when it’s in the fully open position and the same snap when flipping it close. It just works. I am pretty sure the same can be said about the Fold3 as well.
At full open, the front display is at full 6.7” screen size and at 1080 x 2640 pixels Dynamic AMOLED rendering to a maximum of 120Hz and at a brightness of 1200 nits. This is pretty awesome for a foldable display, and right now this is the best there is. There is also a visible punch hole selfie camera right at the top. The selfie camera on the Fold3 is hidden underneath the display but not here on the Flip3. The earpiece speaker sits at the top bezel, just above the selfie camera. This also acts as one of the main stereo speakers on the Flip3.
Being a foldable display, the folded crease is clearly visible going horizontally across the front display. It is very obvious when the screen is off or on standby, but once the screen is on, you will hardly notice it. And since the display is rather “tall and slim”, the crease will not bother you with the page scrolling because you will scroll with your thumb at the bottom half of the screen. After a while, the crease does not bother me at all and I kind of forget it’s there.
On the rear side, there’s the camera module sitting inside the rear glass. I think this looks better. The camera bump is decreased in thickness to almost flushed with the rear glass. However, the dual tone LED flash sits outside of the glass. To be, the rear of the Galaxy Z Flip3 looks really sexy. And there’s also a 260 x 512 resolution, 1.9” Super AMOLED display at the back underneath the new glass protection material called Gorilla Glass Victus.
Looking at the right side of the phone, there’s the volume rocker near the top and the power/standby button below it. The power button is also a fingerprint sensor to unlock the phone or to add an extra layer of biometric security with some compatible apps. On the left side, there’s the SIM card tray near the top. The Galaxy Z Flip3 does not support any external storage so don’t expect to see a MicroSD slot here.
At the top, there’s only a single microphone hole near the right side while at the bottom, there’s two microphone holes near the left side. In the middle is the USB type-C port and the bottom firing speaker to the right of it. As I said earlier, this phone comes with a stereo speaker. The bottom firing speaker is the second of two stereo speakers on the Galaxy Z Flip3.
Now the dimension of the Galaxy Z Flip3 when it is fully unfolded is 166 x 72.2 x 6.9 mm. And when it is fully folded, the size is 86.4 x 72.2 x 15.9 (near the top)-17.1 (near the hinge) mm. This may feel a little thicker for some people but you will be grateful at the overall folded size of this phone. No doubt, I do feel that it is a little bit thick in my pocket. But when I look at it when it’s folded, I think to myself, I really don’t mind the thick feel to it.
Performance and Usage
When it comes to my daily routine, I always look for a device that can withstand long hours and heavy multitasking. I have stopped carrying an external battery pack (powerbank) in my bag. I already have so many things to carry and I don’t need another heavy item in my bag. Therefore, if the device can stay alive for as long as I’m out and about, then it deserves a little praise.
So can the Galaxy Z Flip3 last the whole day without me having to scramble around looking for a charger? Yes it can. But you do have to tweak the Galaxy Z Flip3 a little bit so that the battery life can be extended to last a few more hours. On standard settings however, the Z Flip3 can last about 11 hours on its 3300mAh Li-Po battery with heavy usage. But if you set the display’s refresh rate to 60Hz (not using the adaptive mode), the battery can last a lot longer. This will reduce the memory and CPU/GPU power when rendering anything on the display.
I don’t usually use the adaptive refresh rate. Not that I don’t like the smooth scrolling on the screen. It’s just something that I can go without. Plus, it does save lots of battery power by keeping it at 60Hz. But that’s just me. When I’m playing games however, I will bump it back up to 120Hz.
For normal social media, emails, daily app routines with the Galaxy Z Flip3 is more than great. It’s phenomenal. The Galaxy Z Flip3 is powered by the all powerful Snapdragon 888 (5nm), coupled with an 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage space. The unit I’m using has 128GB of space but I still have ample space even after installing a few storage hungry games and apps. I do feel that smartphones of 2021 and beyond should start with 128GB of storage as the basic amount. 64GB seems too small nowadays. I have a feeling that 2 years from now I’ll be saying the same thing about 128GB of space.
The Galaxy Z Flip3 comes with Android 11 and OneUI 3.1.1 pre-installed. Will we see an upgrade to Android 12 and OneUI 3.2 on the Galaxy Z Flip3? I really hope so. Rumours have it that Samsung is planning for that upgrade by the end of the year or early next year. Android 12 will be the next big upgrade for Android and is said to be slicker, more stable and simplified. It’s nothing new as some phones have already received the Android 12 Beta update and it looks great. I just hope it will come to the Galaxy family soon.
Using the Galaxy Z Flip3 is very pleasing. Samsung’s selling point for the Z Flip3 is not for it’s technology or the power that comes with it, but more on the fashion statement, beauty and style. So it is safe to say, for me, that this phone is a head turner. I have had people staring at the phone while I’m using it.
The moment I flip it open, they know this is the new Z Flip3. It’s easy to tell the difference between the first two Z Flip and Z Flip 5G because of the large AMOLED display next to the cameras. And also the Z Flip3 looks way better. People near me just give that astounded look with a gentle wow expression on their faces – and that made me smile. Yup, Samsung made a point on their wow factor here.
With the secondary external AMOLED display, you can quickly glance on your notifications, weather forecast, notes, calendar events, music control and more. There are other widgets that you can include on the external display. It is very useful. Incoming calls will appear on the external screen so you can know who’s calling without flipping it open. And you can customize the external display to your liking or add your own graphic to match your mood. Cool stuff.
There are 7 colour options for the Galaxy Z Flip3. Each has its own colour profile. The colours are Phantom Black, Green, Lavender, Cream, White, Pink and Gray. I personally like the Green colour variant and Black being my next colour option. The unit that I receive is the Phantom Black. To be honest, the black looks really sleek. The Lavender, Cream and Pink may appeal more towards the ladies. It has a softer colour tone and looks really elegant.
Now for the performance of the new Galaxy Z Flip3, we shall literally dive into the games that I play on a daily basis. The only odd thing when using the Flip3 for gaming is that the display feels short and elongated. It has a screen ratio of 22:9 which in layman’s terms means it’s “tall and narrow”. So viewing the phone in landscape orientation will make it look wider horizontally, but shorter vertically. Looks odd, but this is the way.
I installed PUBG Mobile (duh) and this time I’ve included Call of Duty Mobile as well. Those are the two graphic heavy games that I will play to push the Galaxy Z Flip3’s limit to the edge. And the thing is, the Z Flip3 is not meant to be a gaming phone. But the Snapdragon 888 inside made it a possible candidate.
As usual, for a flagship phone like this I would set the graphic to the highest possible settings for both games. And of course, I will also use the 120Hz refresh rate for a smoother gaming experience. And the Galaxy Z Flip3 delivers awesome graphics and smoothness in gameplay. I have experienced this with the previously reviewed Galaxy Tab S7+, to which I’ve said that the highest tier of the Snapdragon 800 series are best for gaming, and now it is also proven by the Galaxy Z Flip3.
Graphics rendering for PUBG Mobile is one of the smoothest I’ve seen on any Galaxy phones (my S21 has Exynos 2100 and renders well too). Perhaps the graphics rendered so well that I felt dizzy after a few games because the movements are very fast and fluid, thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate. The responsiveness on the touches are very precise. But, having a crease in the middle of the screen gives a slight bump when swiping my thumb over it. Nothing bad, just odd.
Call of Duty Mobile does really well too. Same high graphics settings were used and I can see incredible details of the in-game environments, including the characters as well. Colours, shadows and anti-aliasing worked really well and rendered quickly. Who would have thought that the elegant and fashionable Galaxy Z Flip3 can be a mean gaming phone. On the downside however, the phone will get a little heat emitting near the top of the phone, usually near the camera area. The heat can be felt on touch, it’s not that hot but after some long gaming sessions, it will get a little uncomfortable.
Again, it’s not meant for gaming but it can be. I had a great time playing games on it, but only for a short period of time. Games like Angry Birds or Genshin Impact may feel better on the Galaxy Z Flip3 instead.
And don’t get me started on the audio. The stereo speakers sounded incredible. It will give you the full surround sound when playing games, watching movies or listening to music. The Galaxy Z Flip3 comes with Dolby Atmos (just like any other Galaxy flagships) and is best paired with the Galaxy Bud Pro to fully experience the best in sound. But I will usually listen with the stereo speakers because it’s loud and solid. I just prefer it that way. I’ll use the Buds Pro when I want to chill and relax by myself or commute in the LRT.
The Galaxy Z Flip3 is also rated IPX8 water resistant but be mindful that the X in the IP rating means that it is not dust proof. You can submerge the Z Flip3 in 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes but you can’t throw it in the sand at the beach or get it trapped in your vacuum cleaner’s dust bag. It’s just waterproof, not dustproof.
But rest assured that you will love using the Galaxy Z Flip3, especially for photography and videos.
In this review, I will only show a little bit of what I have captured and I will only review the overall photography quality of the Galaxy Z Flip3, not much on the technical details. I will not give a full photo write up or comments yet because I will have a separate article to review just the camera performance and photography. So be sure to check back this website for my full review on Galaxy Z Flip3 photography performance.
Now, the Galaxy Z Flip3 comes with a dual camera setup at the back and a single selfie camera on the front display. The rear cameras are using 12 MP, f/1.8, 27mm (wide) with OIS and a 12 MP, f/2.2 (ultrawide) camera. Both cameras are 12 MP and you must be wondering how these two will perform. The selfie camera is a 10 MP, f/2.4, 26mm wide angle setup. The main camera setup is able to shoot 4K video at 30/60fps, 1080p at 60/240fps, 720p at 960fps and comes with HDR10+, while the selfie camera is able to shoot 4K video at 30fps.
I am quite surprised at the camera performance of the Galaxy Z Flip3. It managed to capture many awesome shots thus far and I am pleased with the results. Some low light photos turned out great and the HDR worked really well to give a good balance between the shadows and highlights. Portrait shots are good too, with the focal point of the subject is sharp and the bokeh background is smooth.
There are more settings that I have not fully tested so I will let that be tested in my upcoming Z Flip3 photography review. But in the meantime, have a look at some of the shots that I’ve managed to capture with the Galaxy Z Flip3 right up to this moment. Even my best buddy didn’t want to miss testing out the Galaxy Z Flip3 selfie camera.
The best feature of the Galaxy Z Flip3’s camera is the ability to shoot photos or videos without holding the phone. We are in the era of live streaming and TikTok. And the younger generations are getting into live streaming by the dozens. The designers of the Z Flip3 know this. And they have created the Z Flip3 to suit the younger generation’s needs.
To do this, a user can fold the phone halfway to activate the half and half page for the camera use. This way, they can have the top half of the phone in a vertical position and the bottom half acts as a base to keep the phone in a usable position. This helps when a user is shooting a video or photo while being alone, like taking selfie shots. I even use this method to have a video call with my wife or friends. It’s so convenient and easy. This is one feature that I think everyone would love to have. I know for sure we’re going to see more live broadcasts by anyone who is using this Galaxy Z Flip3.
You can also make use of the external AMOLED display as a secondary camera display so that you can utilize the main camera for selfies and group photos. Of course, the photos will turn out way better because it’s using the main camera to get the shots you want.
There are many other things that you can do with the Galaxy Z Flip3 camera. But I will elaborate more on that in my upcoming Z Flip3 camera full review. So wait for it.
With all that being said, I believe that the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 is more of a fashion statement and user lifestyle kind of device. It is made for those who seek style and function in one device. It is a head turner for sure. And I have my own personal experience when it comes to that. The phone is making a bold statement to anyone who is looking, like “Hey, I’m the flip phone they’re talking about”.
I love the Galaxy Z Flip3. It’s compact and slim, tall and narrow, bold and beautiful. Black is more of my colour. But the other 6 available colours are equally stunning. It is not meant for gaming, but that doesn’t stop it from being a superb gaming device.
If you’re looking for a change in your lifestyle, the Galaxy Z Flip3 is your best upgrade at the moment. The flipping action is very addictive. I don’t remember how many times I have flipped it open and close. After a while, I tend to fold my other phone as well and I think I may have bent that other phone a little bit. That is how the Flip3 has changed me. I’m so used to it by now that I’m folding every other phone I’m using. Don’t laugh, it’s true.
The overall performance when it comes to my daily usage has been wonderful. It can do anything and everything that I throw at it without any glitches. Multitasking is smooth. Movie moments are great with the Dolby Atmos stereo speakers. Photography is fun as well and the photos turned out great. And best of all, people do stare. A little boost on my ego that’s for sure.
The Galaxy Z Flip3 is now on sale at Samsung Malaysia’s official website and there will be free goodies too. Head over to Samsung’s online store to get one now.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 Specifications
- SoC: Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 5G (5 nm), Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 680 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 680 & 4×1.80 GHz Kryo 680)
- GPU: Adreno 660
- OS: Android 11, One UI 3.1.1
- Memory: 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM
Foldable Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1200 nits (peak)
6.7 inches, 101.5 cm2 (~84.7% screen-to-body ratio)
1080 x 2640 pixels (~426 ppi density)
Super AMOLED, 1.9 inches, 260 x 512 pixels
- Battery: Li-Po 3300 mAh, non-removable
12 MP, f/1.8, 27mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
12 MP, f/2.2, 123˚ (ultrawide), 1.12µm
- Selfie Camera: 10 MP, f/2.4, 26mm (wide), 1.22µm
- Sensors: Fingerprint (side-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, Samsung Pay (Visa, MasterCard certified)
- Colours: Phantom Black, Green, Lavender, Cream, White, Pink, Gray