Samsung’s original foldable design is back, but will it be third time lucky for idiosyncratic smartphone, or is it three strikes and out?
What we love — Durable design, powerful performance, and a superb screen
The first Galaxy Fold had a troubled launch due to its fragile nature, but this version sees a more robust design than ever, with an inner screen that is now apparently “80% tougher” than previous iterations, along with an IPX8 water resistance rating, a strong aluminium casing, and scratchproof Gorilla Glass Victus on the external screen.
The screens are a pleasure to watch content on, both employing a super smooth 120Hz refresh rate, striking levels of contrast, and HDR that really makes colours pop. Equipped with a Snapdragon 888 chipset, it can handle even the most demanding tasks with aplomb, delivering 5G connectivity and packing 12GB of RAM to boot.
What we don’t like — Apps are not well optimised, and it’s still extremely expensive
While the device’s unique form factor is surely the biggest attraction to potential buyers, offering a smartphone-like screen on the front and a tablet screen on the interior, there are still a couple of drawbacks to its implementation. The external screen is very narrow and therefore a bit strange to get used to while the internal one is square-shaped unlike a typical tablet, so apps are still not especially well optimised for this pathbreaking design. Another downside is that the underscreen cameras and crease down the middle of the screen are both visible, somewhat spoiling the effect.
Battery life is just adequate for a day’s moderate usage, and the cameras underperform compared to the Samsung Galaxy S21 — but you’ll have to pay significantly more for the Fold, which starts at the prestige price of £1,599.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the company’s most accomplished foldable device yet, thanks to significant improvements in its build quality and upgrades to the internals and the display. However, the atypical aspect ratio and the off-putting price mean that most customers are probably best off buying a phone and a seaparate tablet rather than this idiosyncratic hybrid.