At its Unpacked event, Samsung announced its most advanced handsets that have become synonymous with the trendiest mobile technology: folding phones. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 address two vastly different user profiles: the ultra-large display and the ultra-compact phone enthusiasts.

Both ends of the spectrum are made possible by folding display technologies pioneered by Samsung, then copied by literally everyone else, with little commercial success, I might add.

The two phones have many things in common, like much better durability, including water resistance during complete submersion (IPx8) and a glass back cover made of Gorilla Glass Victus, a very fancy tough material (but not impossible) to scratch and shatter.

Even the aluminum alloy of the chassis is 10% more durable, and that’s great to know, even if you won’t see any visible difference. The new hinge is a bit more discrete anyway, and it is as low-key as the current design and manufacturing technologies allow today.

"THE Z FOLD SERIES ALWAYS HAD THE POTENTIAL TO BE THE TOP PEN-ENABLED HANDSET"

Inside, the phones feature a super-fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC (+5G), and it looks like that’s the case worldwide. In the past, some regions had Samsung-made processors, but not this time. This choice ensures that users will get high-end performance levels, and it’s completely normal given the price points.

The Z Fold 3 is priced at $1,799, while the Z Flip 3 costs $999. It’s about $200 less than last year’s models, so it’s a positive evolution that we expect to continue as Samsung optimizes its production techniques and volume.

Galaxy Z Fold 3

Some things caught my attention about this handset. First, the support for Samsung’s S-Pen is fantastic and something that was highly anticipated. The higher the display size and the better the pen experience is (in theory), the Z Fold series always had the potential to be the top Pen-enabled handset. Now is the time to prove it.

Unfortunately, the pen is not garaged into the chassis due to lack of internal space and the pen’s large size (it’s comfortable). Also, the pen doesn’t work on the front display. Finally, it won’t be as performant as the Galaxy Note S-Pen but should be more than sufficient for basic sketching and note-taking.

From a distance, the chassis keeps the same design language as the Z Fold 2, but it is a bit lighter and thinner, with three color choices.

The selfie camera is now completely hidden under the screen. This new technology puts pressure on the selfie camera’s imaging performance but makes the primary display completely seamless. And since the phone folds open, you could use the front display and the rear camera for selfies as well, so it seems like a sensible choice.

The primary camera system isn’t as powerful as the Galaxy S21 Ultra and is more akin to the Galaxy S21 FE, which is still very good. We will take a closer look later and see what kind of CAMERA HW score this handset gets. Official Z Fold 3 page.

Galaxy Z Flip 3

The idea of Flip phones with Folding displays is a favorite among many consumers, even more so than the more prominent Z Fold, in my opinion.

So far, the relatively high prices of the first generations were the main barrier to adoption. Still, the popularity of this design could be massive, and I expect it to become exponentially popular as it becomes more affordable.

"THE POPULARITY OF THIS DESIGN COULD BE MASSIVE"

The new Galaxy Z Flip 3 is an incredibly compact smartphone but packs impressive computing power, including graphics computing power.

Paired with a good camera system, it means that you benefit from all the photo and video possibilities comparable to a Galaxy S21, but in a uniquely cool form factor.

Flip phones are ideal for people who want a super-compact phone when not in use and a powerful handset while in use. It’s incredibly agreeable to carry one of these in your pants pocket, and that’s a nice change from the super-large phones we’re used to.

Samsung made the outer screen larger, and users can now see more notifications and have more meaningful interactions with the closed phone. Upon opening it, you can access the full 6.7-inch 120 Hz AMOLED display.

Some of the accessories for the Z Flip 3 are cool, and the Ring Case is probably my favorite so far. Official Z Flip 3 page.

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