Samsung has made significant improvements to its ground-breaking flagship foldable smartphone

The design for smartphones has remained somewhat the same for a very long time. It seemed that innovation in the smartphone space was waning. Then in 2019, Samsung decided to swing for the fences and launched the Galaxy Fold, an actual folding smartphone. It couldn’t have come at a better time, as Counterpoint Research predicts the foldable smartphone market in 2021 will grow three time more compared to last year.

Admittedly, I’m a sceptic when it comes to foldable phones. Samsung’s first two iterations of the device left something to be desired, but the third time is the charm because the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the best premium foldable device on the market. Let me explain.

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Built Tough

Foldable smartphones are notoriously delicate. Unlike conventional smartphones, foldable devices have moving parts, so the risk of critical damage is more severe on these devices. Fortunately, Samsung has made some improvements in this department.

Impressively, the Z Fold 3 is now IPX8 water-resistant. This means the phone can be submerged in 1m of water without any fear of leakage. Curiously, it does not feature any form of dust resistance. So while this means it is perfectly safe to use the Z Fold 3 by the pool side, it is not advisable to take it out to the beach.

Adding to that, the phone’s rear exterior is covered in what Samsung calls armour aluminium that is supposedly tougher than the previous version. Then there's the 6.2-inch Gorilla Glass Victus cover display that protects against drops and scratches. More importantly, the 7.6-inch main display now has an improved protective layer that feels more like glass than a plastic sheet.

It’s a good thing Samsung has built the Z Fold 3 tougher before it feels a little slippery in hand when using it without a case. I almost dropped the phone on several occasions, but I would strongly advise getting a protective cover for it, especially considering how expensive it costs.

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A Bigger Screen with Multitasking

When it comes to getting work done on the go, the Z Fold 3 has plenty of tricks up its sleeve, and we aren’t just talking about its larger screen. Internally, it's got all the bells and whistles you would come to expect of a flagship device with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, 12GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage. Essentially, it is a powerful smartphone that stands among the best.

The added benefit of all that additional screen real estate is not lost on Samsung. They have refined the software experience so that it is relatively easy to set up and run three apps at once. For example, if you are researching a topic to write about, you can fire up the web browser to one side while having Microsoft Word opened and have Spotify running in the third window to listen to some music.

It also comes with Samsung’s DeX mode, which lets you connect the Z Fold 3 to a big monitor and use it like a computer. Granted, this feature is commonly found on most of Samsung’s high-end smartphones, but it is still a welcomed addition.

The biggest new feature, however, is S Pen stylus support. With no Galaxy Note device this year, it brings the excellent note-taking capability to the foldable space. However, even if you have an old Galaxy Note device, you will need to invest in a brand new S Pen stylus designed specifically for the Z Fold 3.

See also: 5 Ways To Improve Your Typing Speed And Accuracy On Any Smartphone

An All-Around Excellent Camera

When it comes to taking photos, the Z Fold 3 offers plenty of options. There are relatively few phones on the market that endowed with five cameras. Like its predecessor, it comes with a trio of 12-Megapixel cameras on the rear: a wide-angle, ultra-wide and telephoto camera (offering 2x optical zoom). Admittedly, the Z Fold 3’s cameras won’t beat Samsung’s other flagship model, the Galaxy S21 Ultra, which was introduced earlier this year.

That being said, the rear cameras are very competent shooters and do deliver good quality photos under most conditions, even in low light thanks to its Night Mode.The only area it lacks is a long-range zoom, but if you don’t often snap faraway subjects, this should not be an issue.

 

It should, however, be said that the new Under Display Camera is not great. It is only 4-megapixel and the images it snaps are blur and washed out. Still, it's perfectly fine for taking video calls. But if you really want a selfie, use the 10-Megapixel front camera or utilise the cover display as a viewfinder, and take some remarkable looking selfie photo with the main three cameras.

Endlessly Entertaining

The main benefit of having a foldable smartphone is the massive internal screen you get when you unfold it. While it is great for working and multitasking with up to three apps, what if you want to unwind and relax? 

The Z Fold 3’s main screen is mostly changed from the previous model. It retains the same size, offers a smooth 120Hz refresh rate and supports HDR 10 plus content. But Samsung has improved the screen’s brightness with a new technology that offers 1,200 nits of peak brightness, rated to be 30 per cent brighter than the Z Fold 2, and making it easier to view while outdoors.

It's also worth noting that the long narrow cover display has received an upgrade to 120Hz too, making the experience consistent across the board.

It goes without saying that the crease is present and noticeable when you view it from certain angles. That being said, it is practically invisible when you look at it straight on. Personally, I enjoyed watching movies, TV shows and even playing games on the Z Fold 3. It is truly an experience that is unlike any other phone I’ve used to date.

Besides watching media, the Z Fold 3 is an excellent device to catch up on some reading. I downloaded the Kindle app, spent some time reading Dune and came away impressed at just how natural it felt reading an e-book just as if it were real paperback. Even better, the deep blacks of the AMOLED screen makes reading at night comfortable.

Conclusion

Priced from RM6,699, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is one of the most premium phones on the cutting edge of technology. You are looking at improved durability on top of being water-resistant, as well as improved software that makes multitasking with several apps a breeze. Also, if you’re looking to fill a Galaxy Note size hole in your heart, the Z Fold 3 fits perfectly, thanks to its S Pen support.

If you already own a Galaxy Fold 2, the differences and improvements on this model doesn’t really warrant the upgrade. However, if you are looking to upgrade your smartphone, the Z Fold 3 is worth checking out.

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