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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 buyer's guide: Everything you need to know
When it comes to foldable phones, Samsung is tough to top. We’ve seen other OEMs dabble in the horizontal folding game, but only Motorola has dared to enter the clamshell arena. Despite Motorola Razr’s best efforts, the new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is firmly atop the throne with its upgraded chipset, external display, and so much more.
A simple look at how far this device has come since the original Galaxy Z Flip launch is like night and day. While Samsung had no problem establishing the concept, it proves that the third time is the charm with upgraded specs and a cleaner design than ever.
Now, let’s get into everything you’ve ever needed to know about the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 in our buying guide.
See also: The best foldable phones you can get
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 at a glance
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 launched alongside the Galaxy Z Fold 3 on August 11, 2021. These two devices served as the co-stars of Samsung’s all-virtual Galaxy Unpacked event, along with the Galaxy Watch 4 and the Galaxy Buds 2. Like other Galaxy Z Flip devices, this version features two forms — an unfolded one that functions as a standard smartphone and a folded one for easy carrying like a classic flip phone.
Samsung packed a 6.7-inch foldable Full HD+ display inside its latest Flip, now with a 120Hz display and 1,200 nits of peak brightness. However, the external display offers the most considerable difference this time around. Specifically, it has grown from 1.1-inches to 1.9-inches and now makes interacting with notifications far easier.
Although Samsung managed to pack upgrades into just about every inch of the Galaxy Z Flip 3, it’s the most affordable clamshell of the range. It kicks off at $999 / €999 / £949 for 128GB of storage, which is a massive saving over the original’s nearly $1,400 price tag.
Is the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 worth buying?
There still are not a ton of foldable phones out there, and the pickings get even slimmer if you want a clamshell-style device. As such, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 soars to the top of the list, and our own Eric Zeman had similar thoughts in his review. He toasted to the performance, the excellent build quality, and the much-improved displays as reasons to get your Flip on. It’s not all positive, though, as the battery life is a bit weak, as is the overall camera performance.
Even if other clamshell foldables were vying for the top spot, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 takes the cake on price and availability. It’s readily available throughout the United States and Europe in the 128GB and 256GB setups starting at just around $1,000.
We also have to mention Samsung’s commitment to software upgrades. The Korean giant promises four years of regular software updates and five years of security patches.
If you want a little bit more of a punch to your folding phone, don’t forget that Samsung launched its Galaxy Z Fold 3 this year, too. It’s eye-wateringly expensive at $1,800, but it’s a perfect example of Samsung going all-out. You’ll find a substantial 7.6-inch internal display, an under-display selfie camera, and up to 512GB of storage.
What reviewers are saying about the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
We’re pretty keen on the Galaxy Z Flip 3 here at Android Authority, and Eric’s review said as much. He gave the device our Recommended badge along with a 4/5 rating.
Read next: Galaxy Fold 3 second opinion
Overall, he liked the improved displays — especially the much larger and more practical external option. He also had high praise for the move to durable Armor Aluminum and Corning’s best Gorilla Glass Victus. Eric did acknowledge that the Z Flip 3 isn’t always in line with other $1,000 flagships, though it’s safe to chalk some of that up to the unique form factor.
We’re not the only ones with a lot to say about this foldable phone, here’s what other sites have had to say:
- David Lumb from Tech Radar: Lumb had very similar thoughts on the Galaxy Z Flip 3, granting it a matching 4/5 rating. He specifically praised the refined design and the new lower price. However, Lumb took issue with the lack of a telephoto lens and remarked that the external display is still not very useful.
- Jordan Palmer from Tom’s Guide: Palmer was slightly cooler to the Z Flip 3, dropping it ever so slightly to a 3.5/5 rating. Despite the score, Palmer’s impression was similar to our own. He brought attention to the 120Hz display and the improved IPX8 rating. Of course, Palmer also lamented the lack of a telephoto lens and the slow charging.
Overall, the top tech publications shared similar thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. It packs plenty of improvements, even if the device isn’t perfect. Make sure to keep that in mind as you inch toward your buying decision.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 specs
Samsung took major steps to update the exterior of the Galaxy Z Flip 3, but there are even more changes inside. While you can notice the larger external display right off the bat, here are some internal specs you might not have noticed:
|Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3|
- 1.9-inch AMOLED
- 512 x 260 resolution at 303ppi
- Gorilla Glass Victus
- 6.7-inch AMOLED
- 120Hz refresh rate
- 2,640 x 1,080 resolution at 425ppi
- Foldable display covering
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
128GB or 256GB
No expandable storage
15W wired charging
10W wireless charging
4.5W reverse wireless charging
No charger in box
- 12MP wide, 1.4μm, OIS, Dual Pixel AF, ƒ/1.8
- 12MP ultra-wide, FF, 1.12μm, ƒ/2.2
- 10MP, FF, 1.22μm, ƒ/2.4
Dolby Atmos support
No 3.5mm headphone port
Single nano-SIM tray
Side-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor
Dimensions and weight
- 72.2 x 86.4 x 17.1mm (measured at hinge)
- 72.2 x 166.0 x 6.9mm
Global: Cream, green, black, lavender
Samsung only: White, pink, gray
Samsung’s tiny cover display gets a kick
The older generations of Galaxy Z Flip packed a tiny 1.1-inch external strip that wasn’t good for much more than checking the time or watching a notification breeze past. Now those days are behind us, as the Galaxy Z Flip 3 comes sporting a 1.9-inch Super AMOLED panel.
While it’s still not massive, the new display offers heaps of extra functionality thanks to new swipe gestures. You’ll also rely on the panel as your always-on display, though it only shows the time if your device is locked. Once you unlock it via the fingerprint reader, you can tap into a whole host of widgets.
You can bring up Samsung Pay to make purchases or tap into your brightness and volume levels. If you keep going, you’ll find weather, alarm, calendar, Samsung Health, and even more to choose from. The cover display also allows you to read through text messages and emails, but you’ll have to open your phone if you want to respond.
The external display packs a brand-new punch thanks to plenty of widget options.
Finally, you can use the cover display to check out a preview of your images if you’re snapping selfies or lining up a family portrait. It’s not the cleanest preview, but it beats taking a blind snap and checking afterward every single time. You can even swipe between the standard and wide-angle cameras for the perfect view.
Samsung is doubling down on durability
Samsung’s original Galaxy Z Fold launch was a mess — review units broke at alarming rates, and dust and debris found their way beneath the displays, seemingly without issue. Luckily, we’ve come a long way since those early days.
The latest Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 packs a stout IPX8 rating against water, which means that it can be submerged in up to 1.5-meters of water for 30 minutes and still function. Unfortunately, the X in that IP rating means that the Galaxy Z Flip 3 carries no protection against dust or other small particles.
We were able to ask Samsung about its new IP ratings regarding both the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Galaxy Z Fold 3, and they were able to clarify that water and dust can actually enter the phone. While that might sound scary, there are protections in place to keep moisture away from critical components, thus earning the 8 rating. However, the fact that dust can enter prevents the phone from earning an additional digit. Samsung is confident that its updated design should keep dirt at bay regardless.
Is the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 camera good?
Samsung didn’t spice up its Galaxy Z Flip 3 hardware with any significant changes from the original Galaxy Z Flip. While the cameras aren’t bad, it’s a touch disappointing not to see a bit more.
You’ll find a familiar pair of 12MP lenses on the outside of the device, with an f/1.8 standard lens and an f/2.2 ultrawide lens. Samsung claims to have protected the lenses with tougher, clearer glass, which is at least something. As for the selfie shooter, you’re looking at a 10MP f/2.4 option.
Samsung’s camera app is also unchanged, which means that it matches the Galaxy S21 series and Galaxy Z Fold 3 down to the last detail. You get core shooting modes like photo, video, portrait, and Single Take, along with secondary modes including night mode and slow motion. The controls are clean, and it’s easy to tap into advanced features like the external display preview.
Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 3 performs admirably across the board in various situations, even if the quality isn’t perfect. Here’s a full gallery of results:
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 generally zooms with a digital crop, with the ultrawide lens handling everything at 0.5x. The primary lens takes over for the rest of the action, offering usable quality up to about 4x zoom, but pretty much defeating the point of capturing anything beyond that. Here are a few of the varied zooms:
The selfies you can capture are decent as well, regardless of which camera you prefer. Edge detection and background blur are solid, and the 10MP selfie camera comes ready for regular shots or portraits. Of course, you can always toggle into wide-angle selfies to include more friends or add more of a background. However, edge detection tended to suffer, and I noticed certain shots looking less realistic.
Here are some camera samples:
How is the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3’s battery life?
Along with the cameras, Samsung kept the same battery setup from the previous Galaxy Z Flip. Unfortunately, the small 3,300mAh battery is the one major flaw that keeps the Galaxy Z Flip 3 back from true greatness.
Eric noted in his review that the battery could last all day while used sparingly. Specifically, he said, you’ll have to rely on the always-on display for notifications far more than opening the display itself. In his testing, Eric managed just four hours of screen on time with adaptive 120Hz enabled — a far shout from the six hours we’ve come to expect in flagships.
He also noted that the charging performance is relatively slow, especially for a $1,000 device. You’re stuck with just 15W wired charging, which can get you back to 100% in about an hour and 40 minutes. On the wireless side, the Z Flip 3 is capable of just 10W and tends to take more than two hours to recharge.
How is the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3’s performance?
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 relies on Qualcomm’s powerful Snapdragon 888 chipset to keep the lights on, and overall, it delivers. It ran perfectly in Eric’s testing, and apps would open in the blink of an eye. Transitions are smooth, and nothing seemed to slow down the fun. Whether you choose the 128GB or 256GB storage model, all versions pack 8GB of RAM, which is plenty for everyday usage.
No matter what we put it through, the Snapdragon 888 hummed along at top speed.
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 also put up a solid performance in benchmark tests, matching the Z Fold 3 on CPU scores. It even beat the Galaxy S21 in our homegrown Speedtest G benchmark with a time of one minute and 18 seconds. Samsung was even sure to include the latest wireless specs, such as sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G, as well as Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.
Phone software and updates
Samsung supports an impressive three years of system updates for all of its new Android flagships. Even better, it also promises four years of security updates for select new devices, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 included. The phone ships with Android 11 in the box, but Samsung launched the One UI 4 rollout in early December. It packs plenty of new customization features in line with Android 12’s Material You. Beyond that, you can certainly expect Android 13, Android 14, and Android 15 to land on the foldable.
There’s always a slight chance that Samsung will feel generous and not count the current Android 12 update towards the three-year total. This would, of course, mean that the Galaxy Z Flip 3 might even see Android 15 down the road.
Either way, Samsung has been setting the pace for Android updates for a few years now. Whether it’s system updates or security patches, you’ll have no problem finding support.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 vs Galaxy Z Flip 5G: What’s new?
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 offers plenty of changes from the original Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Flip 5G. It may be expensive to upgrade to the latest generation, but many improvements show their value immediately. Here are just a few of the biggest ones:
- Durability: The new Galaxy Z Flip 3 packs an IPX8 rating for water resistance and a Gorilla Glass Victus display. Neither of the older models comes IP rated, and they rely on Gorilla Glass 6 instead.
- Displays: Samsung’s latest foldable boosts the external display by nearly an inch, jumping from 1.1-inches to 1.9. It offers far more room for practical use, and the internal display now offers a 120Hz refresh rate and up to 1,200 nits of brightness.
- Processing power: You’ll find the Snapdragon 888 at home on the Galaxy Z Flip 3. This is compared to the older Snapdragon 865 on the Galaxy Z Flip 5G and the Snapdragon 855+ on the original device.
- Storage options: There is now a more affordable version that packs 128GB of storage compared to the 256GB on both older models. You can pick up a 256GB model for an extra fee.
- Price: You can now get your hands on a foldable phone for a cool $1,000. This is an impressive cut of nearly $400 from the original Galaxy Z Flip, which leaves you plenty of money for accessories.
What are some good Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 alternatives?
Samsung has the foldable market trapped within its clutches, especially here in the United States. If you have your heart set on a folding device, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a way outside of the Galaxy. To show you what we mean, here are just a few alternatives for you:
- Motorola Razr 5G ($1,399): The Razr is your only other option for a clamshell-style foldable phone. It beat Samsung to the punch with a large external display, though it’s quite old by now since it launched in 2020. Motorola’s nostalgia-inducing Razr also ships with a 2,800mAh battery and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G chipset onboard.
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 ($1,799): This costly foldable shows just what Samsung can do. It packs a 6.2-inch external display with a 7.6-inch folding option on the inside and more storage than you can shake a stick at. Samsung even placed its first under-display selfie camera on the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G ($850): Last year’s edition of the Galaxy Z Flip is a solid alternative, especially now that you can get it for just $850. It packs the same battery and camera as the latest model, though you’ll have to settle for a weaker processor and less durable design overall.
Where to buy the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 (128GB): $999 / £949 / €999 / Rs. 84,999
- Samsung Galazy Z Flip 3 (256GB): $1,049 / £999 / €1,049 / Rs. 88,999
If you’ve decided that the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is right for you, now it’s time to make another choice — how much storage you need. The phone comes with either 128GB or 256GB, and you can choose from a rainbow of colors. Cream, green, lavender, and Phantom Black are the standard options, while Samsung also carries gray, white, and pink.
You can get yours from Samsung or various carriers below.
Right now, anyone who orders directly from Samsung gets four free months of YouTube Premium and six free months of SiriusXM streaming. Carriers are also offering great deals, knocking off as much as $800 from the price of the phone for those who trade in their old device.
Samsung’s latest clamshell foldable is IPX8 rated, which means it can be submerged in up to 1.5m of water for up to 30 minutes. However, there are no claims about dust resistance.
No, Samsung still has not brought a headphone jack to any foldable devices.
The device packs a single nano-SIM tray, which also supports eSIM functionality.
No, Samsung did not include a microSD slot on its latest foldable phones.
Yes, the device supports both Sub6 and mmWave 5G with its Snapdragon 888 chip.
In his review, Eric says the crease is still plainly visible with the screen on or off, and it’s easy to locate by feel, too.