[Test] Galaxy Z Fold 3: the foldable smartphone is entering the age of reason

Samsung wants to believe that the foldable smartphone is the future of the sector, proof of this is the perseverance of the manufacturer which is already in its third generation of Fold and its second generation of Flip. the Galaxy z fold 3 comes after a second gen which was mainly a huge fix for the many failures of the first version of Fold (fragility of the hinge, interface poorly adapted to the screen). Samsung promises us this time that the Fold will not be content to be a smartphone with the foldable screen in addition and all the rest (or almost) less compared to “conventional” smartphones: even more solid, interface largely redesigned for the format, and above all, the compatibility with the stylus S-Pen, legacy of Galaxy note (or the late Galaxy Note if we are to believe the insistent rumors). The Fold is therefore revealed on paper like a smartphone premium in all points, especially since it is in fine for Samsung to justify a fairly heavy bill. So is it finally the age of reason for the Fold? Our answer :

A design that is always unbalanced

The technology does not yet allow all the miracles: out of its case, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 still remains a small brick 1.6 cm thick (closed). On this point, the Z Fold 3 does not really stand out from its predecessor, and we must not kid ourselves, this brick aspect, reinforced by a weight of 270 grams, is likely to scare away all those who are well used to have a fairly thin and relatively light mobile in their proximity.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Official Deplie and S Pen
Admittedly, the hinges seem even more solid (obviously a good point), but that Samsung has not progressed one iota in terms of design poses a bit of a question, especially since we know that some competitors are working on sliding screen smartphones, necessarily much thinner.

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A real little brick …

A very qualitative external screen

Unsurprisingly, we find the large 6.2-inch external screen in a very elongated format. the form factor of the device makes this screen particularly practical when it is arranged horizontally, the second part of the smartphone allowing it to be placed in a “tent” world. For 16: 9 movies, it’s even an ideal format, but it works just as well with video conferences. The quality of this AMOLED panel is also excellent: the colors are sharp, the contrast infinite, and it is just a shame that the HP that accompanies it is not of the same level of overall quality. These, which are also used when displaying the large foldable internal screen, provide a sound rendering that really lacks punch and spatiality.

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We always distinguish the central fold corresponding to the area of ​​the hinge

A foldable slab with limited progress

The internal panel, therefore foldable, displays a diagonal of 7.6 inches. The area corresponding to the central hinge is still clearly visible, just as the area devoted to the photo sensor located under the panel is clearly visible. Given the visibility of this cam under the screen and the really low quality of the selfies (necessarily heavily impacted by sensor placement) we really wonder if Samsung would not have done better to stay here on the screen at ” punch “. Fortunately, the 16 Mpx sensor placed at the top of the external screen allows you to make video correctly (but therefore without a large screen). We also note that the plastic coating makes the slab extremely sensitive to reflection, and as much to say that in broad daylight, it is not always Byzantium.

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In “tent” mode, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is very practical for watching a movie in 16: 9 format.

The S-Pen: the big plus

Good point on the other hand, foldable smartphone no longer rhymes with “embeddable” smartphone. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is indeed IPX8 certified. This means that you should not dive with it, but if it falls into the duck pond, it can come out in working order. Another good point, compatibility with the S-Pen stylus (well do we want to say …). The stylus is impeccably recognized in compatible applications, with no particularly noticeable latency (in fact a little, but barely). Small black point, this stylus cannot be stored in the device (unlike the Galaxy Note) and is not delivered as standard with the smartphone (+ 50 euros on an already expensive note).

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The camera under the screen is unfortunately clearly visible

The foldable display and stylus compatibility clearly brings the Fold 3 closer to a mini tablet. Ideal for taking notes on the fly, reading digital books, watching movies or even consulting professional documents. We find neither more nor less the qualities specific to the tablet, but a tablet that we could store at will in the pocket;).

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The internal slab covered with its protective coating is extremely prone to reflections

Top performance with the new One UI functions

On the performance side, the Snapdragon Snapdragon 888 supported by 12 GB of RAM does the job correctly in terms of the interface, but there are still some jerks on some 3D games (Genshin Impact for example). It remains generally fluid, and the few new features of the One UI interface – display of preinstalled apps on two columns, display in Flex mode for videos not compatible with the tablet format, tools for the stylus – work without moving an eyelash . The storage capacity, of 256 or 512 GB depending on the model, should be sufficient for most uses. On the network side, the mobile is 4G, 5G, and VoLTE compatible.

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Very correct photos … but no more

The photo is not really the main argument of a foldable smartphone, but it should be noted that the three 12 megapixel sensors of the Z Fold 3 are doing with the honors, even if we find a little through usual manufacturer’s colorimetric, with blue skies … too blue or greens that sometimes tend to turn purple (and vice versa). The shots are well detailed, the x2 optical zoom (OIS stabilized) gives good results, and the apertures from f / 1.8 to f / 2.4 ensure fairly great versatility as well as decent shots in low light. If one is looking for a camera first and foremost, the Z Fold 3 is certainly not the best choice, but what it does, it does well.

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The blues are always too blue

Endurance is not his strong point

Autonomy is not the strong point of the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Our test device barely held the day in constant use. Allow around ten hours of battery life with the screen unfolded, and a little over 12 hours with the external screen (smartphone closed). We are far from the 15 to 20 hours of most current high-end flagships, even if it is not poor. The complete recharge takes place in 1h30 (25W).

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Official

Conclusion:

The main merit of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is to bring the foldable smartphone into the age of reason. The device is not free from flaws – a bit weak battery life, unbalanced design, not very exciting photo part, unreachable stylus and not great value for money – but we no longer notice anything that is eliminatory. The structural weakness of the first models is definitely a thing of the past, the interface is finally up to the task, and overall, the proposal holds up. There remains this price of 1800 euros which always seems too high in view of the characteristics offered. The foldable screen is not everything, and does not by itself justify such price increases. That being said, we are dealing with a high-level foldable smartphone … but which lacks something to excite us more …

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