Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 Review: It’s so good, I bought two

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 Review: It’s so good, I bought two

When Samsung launched the original Galaxy Fold back in 2019, I fell in love immediately. It redefined the entire way I thought about smartphones and technology. Instead of just slab phones, the original Fold showed that phones could be so much more, and a year later, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 followed this trend with a host of upgrades.

XDA Best Award
In the meantime, Samsung launched arguably its most important foldable. The original Galaxy Z Flip heralded the launch of the Galaxy Z foldables branding, the revamped hinge that’s the ancestor to the hideaway hinge found on both the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3, and the idea that foldables were for more than just power users; that they could be used by regular users as well.

With the Galaxy Z Flip 3, there are a few welcome improvements. The biggest improvement, however, is not hardware or software — it’s the price. When a phone receives universal praise despite some shortcomings, it’s clear that it’s a winner. This is what you get with the Galaxy Z Flip 3: a $999 product that’s one of the most enjoyable phones ever made and a smartphone that changes the expectations around the perceived value of the phone you’re buying. Here’s why the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is a phone that everyone should consider buying, and a few reasons it might not be perfect for you.

    Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
    The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the first foldable that feels like it was made for the mainstream. At a starting price of $999, it's redefining what is expected from all smartphones, and there are plenty of offers to reduce the price further. This is such a great experience, I ended up buying two for myself, and plan to buy two more for my mother and sister.

      Features:

      Pros:

      Cons:

Welcome to our new review format, where we present the main conclusions on the first page and go deeper in individual sections on subsequent pages. I used the Galaxy Z Flip 3 for over two weeks as Samsung sent over a review sample. It was running on the AT&T network, which has some signal strength issues in my areas of use, possibly impacting battery life.


This is Page 1 of our Galaxy Z Flip 3 review. You can navigate to other parts of this review using the links below:

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Specifications

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Specifications

SpecificationSamsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Build
  • Corning Gorilla Glass Victus on the outer screen and back panel
  • Armor Aluminum frame
  • IPX8 water resistance
Dimensions & Weight
  • Folded: 67.1 x 158.2 x 16 ~14.4mm
  • Unfolded: 128.1 x 158.2 x 6.4mm
  • 271g
Display
  • Outer display:
    • 6.2-inch HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X
    • 2268 x 832; 387 PPI
    • 120Hz adaptive refresh rate
  • Inner display:
    • 7.6-inch QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X
    • 2208 x 1786; 374 PPI
    • 120Hz adaptive refresh rate
SoC
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
    • 1x Kryo 680 (ARM Cortex X1-based) Prime core @ 2.84GHz
    • 3x Kryo 680 (ARM Cortex A78-based) Performance cores @ 2.4GHz
    • 4x Kryo 680 (ARM Cortex A55-based) Efficiency cores @ 1.8GHz
  •  Adreno 660 GPU
RAM & Storage
  • 12GB RAM
  • 256/512GB UFS 3.1 storage
Battery & Charging
  • 4,400mAh dual-cell battery
  • 25W fast charging support
  • 10W wireless charging support
  • 4.5W reverse wireless charging
  • Charger not included
Security
  • Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
  • AI face recognition
Rear Camera(s)
  • Primary: 12MP, f/1.8, Dual Pixel AF, OIS
  • Ultra-wide: 12MP, f/2.2, 123° FoV
  • Telephoto: 12MP, f/2.4, PDAF, Dual OIS, 2x optical zoom, 10x digital zoom
Front Camera(s)
  • Outer camera: 10MP, f/2.2
  • Inner camera: 4MP, f/1.8, under-display sensor
Port(s)USB Type-C
Audio
  • Stereo speakers
  • Dolby Atmos
Connectivity
  • 4X4 MIMO, 7CA, LAA, LTE Cat.20
  • SA/NSA 5G (Sub6/mmWave)
  • Wi-Fi 6E
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • NFC
SoftwareOne UI based on Android 11
Other FeaturesS Pen Fold Edition/S Pen Pro support
Colors
  • Phantom Black
  • Phantom Green
  • Phantom Silver

Galaxy Z Flip 3 Review Summary: Why I bought two

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, partially folded, in all four colors

The real magic of the Galaxy Z Flip 3 isn’t the hardware or the software — it’s the price. Samsung has managed to give you all the practical hardware you’d want from a mainstream flagship, including a Snapdragon 888 processor, 120Hz refresh rate in the phone, and two very capable cameras. But they’ve also added a folding display and kept the price at under $1,000. Not to mention, this is now IPX8 waterproof which means it can survive a brief downpour.

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 proves that foldables are ready for the mainstream

The starting price of $999 means the Galaxy Z Flip 3 can bring the cool factor to regular smartphone buyers at a price point that’s not prohibitively scary. A three-figure price tag means it’s affordable on a postpaid plan, or even if you’re buying it outright. However, that’s not all — there’s a lot of offers that reduce the price further. At its full asking price, it’s worth considering, but if you can snag a discount through trade-in or other offers, it’s better than most other devices in the US available at lower price points.

Take for example T-Mobile’s trade-in deals during the pre-order stage. I bought a refurbished Galaxy S9 on Amazon for $180 and traded that in for $1000 off the price tag of the Galaxy Z Flip 3 as part of a new line. Or AT&T’s promos direct through Samsung which basically give you $1000 off the Fold 3 or Flip 3 with eligible trade-in. Plus, Samsung allowed you to trade in up to 4 phones, and while values and the list of eligible devices grew smaller with each additional trade-in, you could still end up saving $1000. Samsung is plowing money into both making the Galaxy Z Flip 3 financially attractive and promoting it heavily across all marketing channels, and this could prove to be the winning strategy that makes foldables mainstream.

It’s certainly not the perfect phone, but the Galaxy Z Flip 3 proves that foldables are ready for the mainstream market. It has enough polish to be a great daily phone for most users, and the shortcomings it does have can mostly be fixed via software. Most importantly, it’s a compelling offering at its full asking price, but the offers this year are so good, it makes this phone an absolute steal.

Z Flip 3

In fact, this phone is so good that I placed my pre-order within 4 days of using it. Nearly two weeks later, I succumbed and pre-ordered a second in cream because the offers were so compelling, and I wanted to alternate between them. I had expected that I’d be tired of the Galaxy Z Flip 3 by now, and while there’s a slim chance that may still happen, I expect this is the one phone that I will use to read e-books, take out on social evenings, and use when I’m generally not in work mode. Not that it’s not capable of serving my work needs, but I prefer to have separate devices for work, and the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a better purchase if productivity is a must-have for you.

Clearly, I absolutely love this phone, and it’s a great fit for my needs, but should you buy the Galaxy Z Flip 3? That’s the real question, and the answer is yes and no. Here’s a summary of whether it’s right for you.

You should buy the Galaxy Z Flip 3 if…

There are many types of people who would love the Galaxy Z Flip 3. The phone is a perfect fit if you’re fashion-focused, find that phones are too large but still want a big display and if you want something light, friendly in hand, and a bit unique.

You should also buy the Galaxy Z Flip 3 if…

You want to stand out from the crowd

If you’re like me and you want to be the ice breaker or stand out amongst the crowd, get the Galaxy Z Flip 3. It’s guaranteed to get everyone talking, especially for the next year or two until foldables reach true launch velocity equivalent to a conventional glass slab smartphone. There’s a range of colors – I love the Lavender one, and the Pink one also looks great – and it’s effectively the digital version of wearing a pair of outlandish shoes, a bright shirt, or sporting a unique hairstyle; ultimately, these are all meant to help you stand out from the crowd.

You take a lot of selfies

If you love taking selfies, you’ll love the Galaxy Z Flip 3. Seriously, taking selfies is so much fun, and the Galaxy Z Flip 3 almost encourages you to take more. Plus, you have the full suite of camera features available for your selfie photos or videos which results in much better selfies in most lighting conditions.

You are an influencer

If you are a digital influencer, you’ll hate being called a digital influencer, but the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is a great device for you. If you like to take a lot of photos or videos to share on social or record a lot of vlogs, this is the phone you should buy. Samsung’s video prowess is strong here, and you’ll have the full suite of video features, including HDR, [email protected], and portrait video, while also having a phone that catches people’s attention about you and your work.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, folded, in all four colors

You should not buy the Galaxy Z Flip 3 if…

That said, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is not the perfect phone for some people. If your primary focus is on productivity, you don’t appreciate the camera, or you don’t see huge benefits from the size changes, you probably won’t get enough benefit out of the Galaxy Z Flip 3.

You should also not buy the Galaxy Z Flip 3 if…

Battery life is crucial for you

If you need all-day guaranteed battery life and can’t plug in to charge, skip the Galaxy Z Flip 3. It’s almost certain that the battery won’t be good enough for you, but if you’re able to carry a portable charger or spend enough time at a desk so you can top up as needed, you should consider it. Fast charging options are also limited, so keep these in mind.

Your camera’s zoom capabilities are important to you

If you take a lot of zoom photos, whether digital (or most likely telephoto), then you should probably also skip the Galaxy Z Flip 3. The digital zoom isn’t the greatest, there’s no dedicated telephoto lens, and you’ll likely end up feeling frustrated. Be sure the zoom is a must-have feature for you, though, as the wide and ultrawide cameras on the Galaxy Z Flip 3 result in great photos.

You want an overkill smartphone

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 focuses on practicality rather than packing in the most overkill set of features for the money. If you need all of the things and sundry in your smartphone, this flipping phone is not for you.


Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 Release Date and Pricing

Throughout this review, I’ll mention one very important number: $999. It’s one of the most attractive things about the Galaxy Z Flip 3 experience, and the first time a mainstream foldable has been priced under the $1,000 mark. At full price, it’s a great buy, but when heavily discounted like it has been, it’s an absolute steal.

There are two models of the Galaxy Z Flip 3 available: one with 128GB of storage that starts at $999 unlocked, and another with 256GB of storage that costs $50 more. During the pre-order stage, Samsung was heavily promoting the higher storage version; if you pre-ordered, you received $150 instant Samsung credit and could use part of that to upgrade to the higher storage variant for free.

A lot of tech enthusiasts can recall specific turning points in tech history, and this generation of foldables feels like one. The Galaxy Z Flip 3, in particular, feels like it could have the same impact as the Galaxy S3. That was Samsung’s third phone in the range and the one that really spurred the growth and subsequent dominance of the Galaxy S range. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 delivers on its potential, and it far outpaces anything else so far this year in the running for my phone of the year.

    Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
    The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the first foldable that feels like it was made for the mainstream. At a starting price of $999 it's redefining what is expected from all smartphones, and with several offers, you can save a lot! At $999, it’s a great purchase but at a lower price, it’s a steal that’ll change how you think about phones.

Now you’ve read the summary, read on to check out the detailed review.

Pages: 1 2 3

About author

Nirave Gondhia
Nirave Gondhia

Born and raised in the UK, Nirave has been in the mobile industry since the mid-2000s in a career that has spanned from working in retail to training staff and finally, tech publishing. Previously the Managing Editor of Android Authority, and the Editorial Director at Mobile Nations, he joined the XDA team as Chief Content Officer in early 2020. He loves mobile tech, smart home, and 5G, and alongside shaping the long-term strategy of XDA, he'll be helping the writing team with reviews and other content. You can follow him on Twitter here: https://www.twitter.com/nirave