Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, Flip 3 folding phones officially unveiled

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G
(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung has finally opened up on (and provided extensive specifications and images for) its third duo of foldable phones, namely the Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G and Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G.

Let's kick off with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G (main photo). It's the flagship "bookish" foldable, which Samsung says is "built for those who need the ultimate device to power their productivity and maximise every moment."

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G boasts an enhanced 6.2-in Dynamic AMOLED 2X cover screen with 120Hz refresh rate, which can show you messages and news without you even having to open the phone.  The large main screen – the same 7.6-in display ratio as the Galaxy Z Fold 2 but now featuring several enhancements – boasts the first ever under-display camera on a Galaxy smartphone.

That's right, this 4MP snapper looks like it's not there – because pixels are actually located over the lens. It may be a downgrade on the 10MP front camera found here in the previous iteration, but what it does boast is an undisrupted screen and viewing experience.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G

(Image credit: Samsung)

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G also marks the first time for Samsung to bring S Pen support to its foldable phones. In fact, you can now choose between two S Pen options for the Galaxy Z Fold 3: the S Pen Pro and the S Pen Fold Edition – both designed for the Z Fold 3. The main differences? The Pro is 6g heavier and boasts Bluetooth (for air-action support) and a switch (which makes the tip either retractable or static) for device switching; it can also be used with other Galaxy devices, such as the Galaxy Tab or Galaxy Book.

The S Pen Fold edition is, as the name suggests, purely for the Fold 3. It still boasts neat features such as the ability to pause a show or take a picture just by clicking the S Pen. Want to draw, write, or sign important documents on your smartphone? Now, Samsung says, you can…

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 with three apps open

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung has also improved the split view and updated and customised the settings menu on the Z Fold 3, to make better use of that double-screen real estate. By clicking the mini icon, you can now jump to other menus too; no more back and forth clicking, the broader part of the display is used while the smaller menu remains. 

Samsung promises that more tailored apps are coming to its foldable screen, thanks to expanded partnerships with firms such as Google and Microsoft. For all your other apps, you can turn to the new Labs feature in settings. This allows you to  tailor the size and location of the app window and use it simultaneously with other apps – it's all about facilitating your natural workflow (or a full-screen experience when scrolling Instagram).

The rear camera is an improved 12MP too, with a 10MP cover camera – and let's not forget the new super-clear glass to ensure a great shot. Dual Preview and Capture View have also been enhanced, to utilise screen space more effectively. 

The Z Fold 3 comes in a new matt finish, available in Phantom Black, Phantom Silver or Phantom Green. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G

(Image credit: Samsung)

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G, meanwhile (above, and below) is a clamshell-style phone for those who want to turn heads. The design has always been bold – but the cover screen is now larger and boasts greater functionality.

More durability, both inside and out, is the big claim across both of Samsung's latest foldable phone offerings. Both devices now feature an IPX8 rating – the world's highest water-resistance standard on a foldable smartphone – meaning that the devices can be submerged in fresh water up to 1.5 meters deep for up to 30 minutes and survive. 

The main screens on both devices also have a new protective film that is a claimed 80 per cent more durable than the previous iteration. The cover screens and rear glass now use the toughest Gorilla Glass Victus (which is a claimed 50 per cent stronger than Gorilla Glass 6), and the metal frame and hinges are now made from a new material Samsung is calling Armor Aluminium. The company says this is 10 per cent stronger than its predecessor – and, indeed, the strongest material ever used on a smartphone. 

The new Armor Aluminium also makes the phones thinner and lighter – 0.5mm more svelte and 11g lighter in the case of the Fold 3.

In terms of performance, both the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Fold 3 run the latest Snapdragon 5-nanometer AP and 5G connection, with upgraded stereo speakers and Dolby Atmos. 

The new Echo Square Display technology used in each smartphone boasts brighter screens – by about 29 per cent (which sounds resoundingly specific to us) and Samsung claims it is the firm's most immersive and advanced smartphone screen ever.

samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3's cover screen

(Image credit: Future)

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 comes in seven eye-catching colour choices, including Phantom Black, Green, Lavender and Cream.

While that 6.7-in screen (when unfolded) is the same size as the previous Flip 2, the device is now a shade thinner, thanks to that Armor Aluminium, and the AMOLED 2X display features a 120Hz refresh rate (up from 60Hz in the Z Flip) for snappy gaming. 

Samsung has redefined the Z Flip 3's camera. The cover screen now features a 12MP unit with wide and ultra-wide lenses, and the camera window is protected by Super Clear Glass with Gorilla Glass DX. You can snap a selfie on the go without opening your phone (and without fear of scratches) while the 10MP front camera is good for video calls. 

The Z Flip 3's redesigned cover screen should make it much easier to see and do more at a glance, too. It's now 1.9 inches, which is four times larger than the previous Galaxy Z Flips. This meana you can get up to four notifications and six widgets on screen, with the option of scrolling down to see more – all without flipping up your (flipping) phone. 

When the phone is partially folded, Samsung's new Flex Panel feature makes sure the apps look great. Set your phone on a table and Flex Panel will move your app to the top part of the screen, while shifting controls such as screen brightness and volume to the bottom half.  

And the newness extends to the pricing, too. Prices for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will start from £1599 / AU$2499 / €1799 while Galaxy Z Flip 3 will be available from £949 / AU$1499 / €1049 – relatively affordable for a Galaxy smartphone. 

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 will be available for pre-order beginning 11th August 2021. Devices will go on-sale on 27th August 2021. How will Samsung's third foldable phone duo perform under intense scrutiny? Watch this space...


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Becky has been a full-time staff writer at What Hi-Fi? since March 2019. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, she freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 20-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance is of course tethered to a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo, This is Cabaret and The Stage. When not writing, she dances, spins in the air, drinks coffee, watches football or surfs in Cornwall with her other half – a football writer whose talent knows no bounds.