Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G review

GSMArena Team, 20 August 2021.

Introduction

Foldables for the masses, that's the direction where we're headed. Okay, maybe that's a bit of a stretch, but at $999/€1049 for the base version, the Galaxy Z Flip3 5G is the most affordable smartphone with a bendy display.

In addition to a lower price tag, the Flip3 comes with some meaningful improvements over the previous generation. Since we're on the topic of generations, the Flip3 is the third installment in the lineup, with the original Flip and the chipset refresh that was the Flip 5G almost making the 3 in the new model's name make sense.

Anyway, in no particular order, the upgrades include an IPX8 rating for water resistance (the 'X' means it's not rated to be dust-tight), a high-refresh rate on that glorious main Dynamic AMOLED 2X display (the Flip and Flip 5G were 60Hz), and a larger, more useful cover display. There's also the mandatory chipset upgrade that sees the Snapdragon 888 inside the new Flip.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G review

We're going to have to take the good with the bad, however, since there are areas where the new generation has stood still, and they are pretty important. It's mostly the cameras that give us pause. The rear setup is headlined by a small-ish 1/2.55" sensor that's a descendant of the one that came in the Galaxy S7 a good while back, the ultrawide has no autofocus, there's no telephoto of any sort. The selfie camera on the inside isn't overly impressive either, with a relatively dim lens and no AF either.

The 15W charging capability harks back to even more distant days, though one could argue you don't need much more with the smallish 3,300mAh battery - some consolation. The new model starts at 128GB of storage, as opposed to the 256GB-only approach of the previous generation - that probably helped with the price tag.

It may sound like more of a conclusion than an intro, but we just had to go over the key specs, and we've hardly made up our minds yet, writing these lines. Here are the numbers at a glance, before we get going.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G specs at a glance:

  • Body: 166.0x72.2x6.9mm, 183g; Plastic front, glass back (Gorilla Glass Victus), aluminum frame; IPX8 water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins).
  • Display: 6.70" Foldable Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1200 nits (peak), 1080x2640px resolution, 22:9 aspect ratio, 426ppi; Cover display:, Super AMOLED, 1.9 inches, 260 x 512 pixels.
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 5G (5 nm): Octa-core (1x2.84 GHz Kryo 680 & 3x2.42 GHz Kryo 680 & 4x1.80 GHz Kryo 680); Adreno 660.
  • Memory: 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM; UFS 3.1.
  • OS/Software: Android 11, One UI 3.1.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 12 MP, f/1.8, 27mm, 1/2.55", 1.4µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS; Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, f/2.2, 123˚, 1.12µm.
  • Front camera: 10 MP, f/2.4, 26mm (wide), 1.22µm.
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@60/240fps, 720p@960fps, HDR10+; Front camera: 4K@30fps.
  • Battery: 3300mAh; Fast charging 15W, Fast wireless charging 10W, Reverse wireless charging 4.5W.
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader (side-mounted); NFC; Samsung Pay (Visa, MasterCard certified).

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G unboxing

There's not a lot to unpack here. The Galaxy Z Flip3 arrives in a two-tone gray box that's half-height - so you know not to expect to find much inside. An oversized 'Z' alludes to the phone's name and its foldable nature.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G review

The Z Flip3 5G rests on top, face-up in its unfolded state. Underneath, there's a paper sleeve that holds a USB-C cable and SIM ejection pin, and that's it.

Pre-order bundles in some regions will include a 25W adapter, or a wireless charger, or Samsung store credit of various amounts, or buy-back discounts - in some places more than one of these at the same time to help sweeten the deal. In the very box, however, you only get the bare minimum.

Reader comments

I regret to buy this phone. It’s getting very hot during normal usage and battery timing is horrible.

  • Shariff

Wow the beautiful phone

  • Anonymous

typing this from my flip 3 and the review is mostly on point. the phone is kinda long which is nice but not for videos. the folding works pretty great but it doesnt make the phone more pocketable. basically its a bit of a gimmick. it is coo...