Samsung’s clamshell phone with folding display Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G impressed with small but fine innovations in the test. Samsung has given the minimalist additional display almost 2 inches on the outside. The main display scores with great colors, very high brightness, and, for the first time for a Samsung foldable, also with a high refresh rate of 120 Hertz. The performance is fantastic – but the battery life is more than disappointing. The IPX8 certification is fascinating because Samsung has succeeded in making the Galaxy Flip 3 completely waterproof. The camera is better than its predecessor, but not at the high-end level for a long time. An introductory price of 1,050 euros is not a stick-out, but a contract makes the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G much more affordable.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G in the test: high-end smartphone for folding
The Flip 3 should actually be a Flip 2 – because until now there was only a Samsung folding smartphone with a horizontal bend in the display. But for Samsung, the third generation of foldable is entering the market with small but fine changes.
As usual, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 opens like a small laptop, or for the older ones among us: like a clamshell phone from more than 20 years ago. When folded, the Z Flip is smaller than many a wallet. When opened, it has a 6.7-inch OLED display – and is therefore almost as large as the current Samsung flagship, the Galaxy S21 Ultra. But since it has a four-millimeter narrower hip, it lies much better in the hand.
Like its predecessor, the Galaxy Z Flip, the Z Flip 3 should withstand two hundred thousand folding operations unscathed. Since the workmanship is first class and the folding runs like clockwork, we hardly dare to doubt it. And yes, a guarantee of 200,000 times is more than sufficient. With around 100 folding processes per day, the equivalent of around one folding process in ten minutes minus eight hours of sleep, the Z Flip 3 would last over 5 years.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3: 0.9 inches make the difference
When opened, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G with its 6.7-inch display is almost as big as the current top smartphones Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra or Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra. When folded, the real advantage of the device becomes apparent: It fits in almost any trouser pocket, handbag, fanny pack, jacket pocket, skirt pocket, or another type of bag. Because when closed, the smartphone is almost 1.7 centimeters thick as a thumb, but with 7.4 x 8.8 centimeters it is only the size of a palm; In terms of portability, this is a major plus point for the Samsung foldable compared to other smartphones with similar display size. When unfolded, it is twice as long and half as thick.
With the Galaxy Z Flip 3, the main screen can also be folded 90 degrees to the smallest laptop in the world. Samsung offers some additional tricks for this usage model. Among other things, images can be viewed in the gallery on the upper half of the screen, while the lower half can be used to swipe, zoom and select actions. If you watch YouTube videos, the upper half shows the video, while the lower half shows the video description and comments.
I like on YouTube, which still makes sense to a certain extent – for example, if you watch a tutorial or want to encourage the children to brush their teeth with a suitable video. However, viewing photos on only one half of the display is not really effective. The format is wrong and really efficient image editing is not possible in this mode.
It makes sense that the outer display has now grown from 1 to 1.9 inches and, thanks to the touchscreen function, can now finally also be used for interaction with the Android interface and no longer functions only as a standby display. It shows information such as the time, the weather report, the current battery level, and receive notifications. Other widgets can also be activated, such as a dictation function, calendar, music control from Spotify and Co., and Samsung Health. Notifications from various messengers such as Threema, Signal, and Co. are easy to read and pictures are also displayed as a small preview. Even emails can be quickly scanned with the small display – and then, if necessary, the smartphone can be opened for an answer.
In contrast to the Z Fold 3, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is not a smartphone for productive work. When closed, it is limited to the essentials – notifications and appointment reminders, so that you can go into details if necessary (open). Intentionally or unintentionally, Samsung also brings the aspect of ” digital wellbeing ” into play with the Z Flip 3 , i.e. the conscious reduction in smartphone consumption. When closed, every notification can be read quickly and easily – so you unlock your smartphone less often and don’t get lost in the never-ending TikTok or Instagram feed as often.
Finally a contemporary 120 Hertz display
When you unfold the smartphone and the 6.7-inch OLED screen shines, you immediately notice: Despite the large display, the foldable can be grasped surprisingly well with one hand, which is due to the very elongated form factor. With a 22: 9 aspect ratio, it is so narrow that even movies (typically in 21: 9 format) are shown on the display on the side with black borders. Such a flattering form factor is currently only available in Sony’s Xperia series .
The Full HD Plus resolution (2,640 x 1,080 pixels) is sufficient for everyday use and ensures a pixel density of 425 ppi. The maximum brightness of the panel is also impressive. Because in bright ambient light, the screen turns up to 850 candelas per square meter. A good value – even though the in-house competition from the S21 series comes in at more than 1,000 candelas. The contrast in ambient light is also quite low at 36 to 1 compared to the predecessor and sister models of the Galaxy S21 series.
Nevertheless, the reading of screen contents is guaranteed under almost all lighting conditions. Combined with over 150 percent coverage of the standard RGB color space, complete DCI-P3 color space, and an almost perfect white point, the display is really fun.
The user only has to get used to the clearly noticeable and visible fold in the middle of the screen. Although it is hardly noticeable in most of the content – only when playing Pokémon Go does it permanently disturb, for example when throwing a perfect curved Pokéball. As befits a smartphone in this price range, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 also offers a fast refresh rate of 120 Hertz. This ensures a pleasantly fluid and sharp display when scrolling and web browsing. If you want to save the battery, you should control the display at 60 Hz.
The mini display becomes a camera viewfinder
The dual-camera setup has improved significantly compared to its predecessor and is made up as follows:
12-megapixel wide-angle sensor with a bright f / 1.8 aperture
12-megapixel ultra wide-angle sensor with f / 2.2 aperture
Front camera (selfies) with 10-megapixel sensor with an f / 2.4 aperture
The photos are good, very detailed, and are more than okay under daylight conditions (expert rating 1.8 (good)), even if the system sharpened a bit. Unfortunately, the images lose their quality in low light (expert rating 3.2 (satisfactory)). Flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S21 series, Xiaomi, and Co. are worlds better here. Because in low light there is a lack of sharpness and detail levels, but the Galaxy Z Flip 3 offers an astonishingly good image stabilizer. Because the photos from the freehand are at the same level as taken from a tripod. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 cannot be used for zoom recordings because there is no Tele sensor with optical magnification.
You could use the front camera for selfies, but we don’t recommend that. The photos are ok – but the selfie quality is almost unbeatable with the main camera setup. To do this, either press the power button twice when it is closed, which starts the camera. The central section of the camera viewfinder appears in the mini display, and pressing the volume button triggers the recording. Or you can simply activate the mini display as a viewfinder in the unfolded mode and use the entire filter and setting potential of the main camera. In this mode, the mini display viewfinder can also be used for video recordings – a very cool feature. At best, you can record videos in UHD resolution at up to 60 frames per second.
Strong but energy-hungry Snapdragon 888 processor
While Samsung relies on either a Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm or its in-house Exynos chips for its Galaxy S flagships, depending on the location, the South Koreans sell the Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G worldwide with a Snapdragon CPU. While the Snapdragon 888 is the best Qualcomm has to offer, it is unfortunately also the most energy-hungry. The performance is great: The eight-core reaches a clock frequency of up to 2.84 gigahertz – that’s extremely fast. Only devices like the current iPhones deliver more graphics performance. The SoC (System-on-a-Chip) is supported by a generous eight GB of RAM, which in combination leads to consistently smooth operation. Our elaborately designed test PDF loads the Galaxy Z Flip 3 completely in around 2,
Mobile gaming is also no problem with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G.
The two-part battery offers a total capacity of 3,300 mAh and only lasted 8 hours and 41 minutes in our online runtime test. A test page including a built-in video is updated every three minutes via Deutsche Telekom’s LTE network. The measurement takes place in the display landscape format, the display always remains active and is set to a brightness of 200 cd / m². The brightness value corresponds to the average user behavior. In the case of the Galaxy Z Flip 3, we output the value with the main display folded out. We have set its repetition frequency to 60 Hz.
Not an intoxicating value – but it turns out to be not that bad in everyday life. Because of the mini display, which shows all kinds of important information and notifications, you use the large display less – which in the end results in a battery life of almost 1.5 days. Then the Galaxy Z Flip 3 has to be connected to a power supply unit – which is no longer included in the scope of delivery – for a long 2 hours and 15 minutes. Wireless charging is also supported.
Good equipment and a little cheaper, but still expensive
Many aspects of the features of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G are identical to those of other current flagship smartphones:
The latest Bluetooth 5.1 and NFC are on board, as is a USB-C port (3.1), which can be used to connect wired headphones via an adapter. The matching adapter is not included in the scope of delivery.
Of the built-in 128 GB internal memory, around 104.3 GB were still available after setup, but this cannot be expanded.
Furthermore, the device supports all common LTE bands in Germany, as well as WLAN-ax alias Wifi 6. 5G is also on board. In dual SIM mode, however, you can only combine a 5G tariff with a 4G tariff.
Dual SIM using nano-SIM and eSIM
The Flip 3 can be unlocked biometrically via a fingerprint sensor on the side or face recognition.
A power supply unit is no longer included in the scope of delivery.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G is waterproof (IPX8 certified).