Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 long-term review

GSMArena Team, 9 May 2022.

Design, handling, build quality

If you ignore the original Flip and Flip 5G, as well as Motorola's not very popular but recent Razr experiments, the Galaxy Flip3 isn't directly comparable to anything else on the market. It's a foldable phone, but it looks nothing like a Fold3 or a Mi Mix Fold, or an Oppo Find N. When unfolded, it almost kind of looks like a 'normal' phone, but the hinge and the thinness definitely give away its folding nature.

Samsung Galaxy Flip3 long-term review

So, in a smartphone world saturated with lookalike designs, this is unique, and thus will stand out from the crowd instantly - especially when folded. It will be a conversation starter with your non-techie friends, it will get a lot of looks in bars, basically, it's hard to ignore. Contributing to that are some of its color versions, but definitely not ours: it's called Cream, and the name is accurate. It doesn't offend anyone, it's not 'shouty', it just... is. Then again, this phone doesn't need a bombastic color to be noticed, so we're fine with it. For lack of a better word, it is different, since there aren't really a lot of 'cream' phones out there. White? Sure. But this isn't quite white.

Samsung Galaxy Flip3 long-term review

Anyway, the glass panels seem sturdy enough, and the metal frame too. That frame also has an excellent-feeling matte finish that, unfortunately, makes it incredibly slippery - this is among the slipperiest frames we've ever handled on a phone. And since the rest of the device is rather slippery, too, opening it without feeling like you'll drop it becomes a challenge. One we eventually learned to rise to every time, but it did take a few days of being very careful initially, and then we only ever used both hands to open the precious little Flip3 up. That's the price you pay for going naked; in contrast, things are much better with a case on its back (and, most importantly, on its sides).

In the end, all of the precautions paid off, as we never dropped the Flip3 during our time with it for this long-term review. We would definitely not recommend this phone to the clumsiest of people, though. Its shape when closed, paired with the aforementioned slipperiness, makes it one of the easiest phones to drop among all we've handled.

Samsung Galaxy Flip3 long-term review

The weight is fine; it doesn't feel hollow and too light, nor does it feel too heavy, at least for this reviewer. Handling when open is great owing to the thinness, but you still need to be a tad careful with the slipperiness. It's easily doable if you cup your hand underneath it, though, so that even if it slides down somewhat, it only 'falls' in your palm. Closing it is much easier than opening it since you have a lot more phone to grip.

Build quality is as outstanding as you'd expect from the price point, although the nature of foldable displays today still means they need to have a plastic screen protector on top, which inevitably looks cheap, but we'll get more into that in the Display section of this review. From the front, if you can ignore the crease running through the middle of the screen and that screen protector, this looks just like any other smartphone out there: almost the entire surface is taken up by the display, with a small centered hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera on top. It's still a great, modern look, accentuated by the intriguing presence of that crease, which signifies that despite how it may look from this angle, the Flip3 is no ordinary smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy Flip3 long-term review

If you look at the back while unfolded, the design (apart from the obviousness of it being a two-part affair here) is very clean and minimal, with no branding, and a tastefully executed black 'window' housing the cameras and external screen. It's one of the cleanest looks on any phone ever, and we dig it a lot, although we can't say we usually sit it on its screen to look at it like this - nor that you should. But this gives you an idea of what other people see when they're across from you, and you're using the phone.


The Galaxy Z Flip3's hinge is what makes all of the foldable magic possible, and it's... fine, but honestly rather underwhelming when compared to the Oppo Find N's, which we've also recently reviewed long-term. This hinge here does have the ability to customize angles, so it's not always a 100% folded or 100% unfolded affair, and we appreciate that, but when the phone is fully unfolded, its two sides aren't actually fully aligned; there's still the tiniest amount of angle between them. That's disconcerting.

Samsung Galaxy Flip3 long-term review

You probably won't see this unless you go looking for it, but what you are more likely to notice is how flimsy the hinge feels, and the fact that, when opened, the phone doesn't actually give off a monolith vibe - it still seems like it's made out of two separate parts. Which it is, but again, compared to what the Find N feels like when unfolded, this seems kind of last-generation. And in a way, it is, having launched months before Oppo's device, so perhaps we should cut it some slack in this regard.

Samsung Galaxy Flip3 long-term review

The same could go for the fact that this is far from a "zero gap" hinge. When closed, the two parts of the phone aren't parallel, and there's a very visible, very obvious gap that makes it take a weird triangular shape. We, of course, knew this going into this review, but it's still irksome day-to-day and gives the device the feel of a beta testing product, not a finished one. Not to mention that dust can easily get into that gap and thus onto the inner screen, which due to its flexibility, isn't the most sturdy, to begin with. We hope Samsung can improve things this year with the next Flip, as competitors from China have seemingly already fixed the hinge gap problem for their devices.

Vibration motor

The Galaxy Z Flip3's vibration motor is excellent, reminding us of the ones the company used to fit in its flagship line of slab devices before the S22 line. It's got a lot of 'oomph' and depth in how it feels, but it's also loud on a table or any other hard surface, so in that scenario, you'll hear the vibrations too. Some people hate this; we love it and decry the switch to a different type of motor for the S22 line, one you can still feel very well but not hear almost at all.

Compared to the motor in the S21 Ultra or Note20 Ultra, for example, this one subjectively feels equally loud but not exactly as tight, which we assume has to do with space constraints due to the insane thinness of the phone that Samsung was designing for. Still, it's a very good vibration motor that beats most others on the market right now, and in a foldable phone no less!

Vibration settings - Samsung Galaxy Flip3 long-term review Vibration settings - Samsung Galaxy Flip3 long-term review Vibration settings - Samsung Galaxy Flip3 long-term review
Vibration settings

While vibrations aren't used throughout One UI as much as they are in other skins, you still get a bunch of options for how the phone will vibrate, separated for incoming calls and notifications, as well as intensity sliders for both of those as well as touch interactions.


The Flip3 has Samsung's usual pairing of a downward-firing speaker with the earpiece pulling double-duty as the secondary channel, and like in all of the company's recent flagship-tier devices, this setup is impressive. These speakers aren't the best in terms of bass, but they are among the loudest we've ever heard, up there with other Samsung top-tier devices. The first time you take them all the way to the maximum volume, you'll be shocked, especially if you're coming from an Android device that isn't a Samsung flagship.

We very much liked these and used them a lot for listening to podcasts - as they seem to be tuned best for dealing with voices, music sounds fine but needs a Bluetooth speaker, really. That said, on the maximum volume level, they do sometimes distort slightly. This wasn't really a problem for us, as even the second-highest volume setting notch was loud enough, but it's something to keep in mind nevertheless.

Samsung Galaxy Flip3 long-term review

Also, as impressed as we were with this phone's speakers, the speakerphone function was incredibly disappointing. Not for us, mind you - the speakers being great means we heard the people we were talking to very clearly and loudly. But they didn't hear us great; there were a lot of issues with the mics in speakerphone mode, not picking up our voice very well, but managing to pick up a lot of random noises around us.

We've tried speakerphone calls with multiple people in normal calls and WhatsApp calls and tried holding the phone closer or further away from us, with the same results. If you constantly use the speakerphone function, this is probably not the phone for you unless you want to annoy every person you're speaking to and make them constantly ask what you just said. Just to give a point of comparison here - with a few notable exceptions, mid-range devices do generally have even worse speakerphone capabilities in terms of mic quality, but we were comparing the Flip3 in our minds to other similarly priced handsets.

Fingerprint sensor

The Galaxy Z Flip3's fingerprint sensor is side-mounted and, as such, is of the 'traditional' capacitive variety. It's built into the power button, and it works outstandingly well, achieving first-try recognition rates of almost 100%. Seriously, in our entire time with this phone we only remember not being able to unlock it on the first try about 10 times. That's out of many thousands of unlocks, so it's an extremely good result. In fact, we'd wager this is the best side-mounted sensor we've ever used, out of all devices we've reviewed long-term.

The only downside is its position, which is way too high. We get why the sensor is there - because of constraints springing from the fact that this device is foldable, and also antenna positioning for best reception results. That makes sense. But at the end of the day, the position of the sensor is just wrong for most people, and like us, you'll end up constantly thinking it's lower than it is (because that's where it should be), placing your finger on the frame in that spot, waiting a second till nothing happens, then realizing that you need to go higher, and then finally reaching the sensor and unlocking the phone.

Samsung Galaxy Flip3 long-term review

By the end of our time with the Flip3, we only did this a few times per day, but the first week was brutal. Do you eventually get used to this? Sure. Should you have to, though? Arguably, no. Perhaps the Flip4 can improve ergonomic design in this respect.

Interestingly, you can use the fingerprint sensor to access notifications. The setting is off by default, but if you turn it on you can swipe downwards on the sensor to bring up the notification pane, and this can prove really useful when out and about since it prevents you from having to try and reach the top of the screen on what is a pretty 'tall' device.

Biometrics settings - Samsung Galaxy Flip3 long-term review Biometrics settings - Samsung Galaxy Flip3 long-term review Biometrics settings - Samsung Galaxy Flip3 long-term review Biometrics settings - Samsung Galaxy Flip3 long-term review Biometrics settings - Samsung Galaxy Flip3 long-term review Biometrics settings - Samsung Galaxy Flip3 long-term review
Biometrics settings

We tried this feature and definitely saw its benefits but eventually had to turn it off because merely holding the device would trigger it a lot when we didn't want it to. It's an interesting idea, though, and we hope the implementation will get better at ignoring semi-swipes that clearly weren't intended. This is definitely something other Android device makers should look into for their phones with side-mounted fingerprint scanners (looking at you, Xiaomi).

As you'd expect, face unlocking is present too, but we saw no point in using it since the fingerprint sensor is so good. Face unlocking is also much less secure, but if you end up really hating the fingerprint scanner's position, you can turn it on and double tap to wake the screen and restore your sanity that way. You do you.

Reader comments

  • Anonymous
  • 13 Apr 2023
  • XBx

The fold cannot be protected thus the screen gets damages and ink spills . It cost over £370 to replace the screen and its likely to happen again ..

  • Linzi
  • 02 Nov 2022
  • gKa

Couldn't take screen shots after approx 8 months of owning the phone. Then massive dark line across the fold line. Wouldn't switch off. Then completely black screen, lost all my photos & everything else. Been sent to service provider &a...

  • .
  • 17 Oct 2022
  • g%Q

Amazing phone but I Wouldn't Recommend it for people Who are clumsy this phone is pretty easy to Break its a huge upgrade from The flip 1 and 2 the battery life last for about the hole day I'd give it a 8/10 The back screen is pret...