Even as the smartphone industry continuously innovates and improves on their foldable technology, I have always found myself being particularly skeptical of the increasing trend. While I may like the idea of a throwback clamshell phone, the concept has always been a bit hard to accept, especially with the increasing sizes of smartphone displays today.
Though I may be a loyal non-foldable user, I was intrigued by the new features of the latest Samsung Z Flip3 and jumped at the opportunity to give the device a try. It was odd having to swap out my familiar brick model for a foldable one, but its nifty features definitely made up for it. Here’s our review of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 after spending a few weeks with it.
BIGGER COVER SCREEN TO IMPROVE USER EXPERIENCE
When I first held the Z Flip3, I was able to immediately tell the difference between this and its predecessor; the obvious change is its bigger outer display and the rear camera’s position. When folded into its clamshell mode, the Z Flip3 gave me an even sturdier grip, thanks to its larger hinge, which made me less worried about its fragility as a whole — especially when I slip the phone into my pocket or bag.
Alongside the durable Gorilla Glass Victus back, the Z Flip3 also comes with an IPX8 rating for water resistance, which came in handy for me since I like leaving my phone on the table where it is vulnerable to food spillage.
As mentioned previously, what would probably be counted as the focus of the upgrade is the larger cover screen on the rear which now has the ability to show more than just a single line of text (as it did with the original Z Flip). Instead of having to extend the phone to full length, I am now able to see notifications at a glance, including message replies. The cover screen also makes it easier to pay on-the-go with Samsung Pay and but take quick selfies or videos with Quick Shot.
Though I am not one who particularly enjoys taking selfies, the handy feature activated easily when I wanted to take a quick photo with my family during an outing together. I was able to switch in between modes and lenses, all on the cover screen, even ensuring I had space to capture everyone in the photo using the wide and ultra-wide lenses.
Another feature that I felt worth mentioning was the flexibility in wallpaper display that allows for GIFs to be used instead of just a still photo as my chosen image. The only downside to it is that the GIF wallpaper does not seem to be the primary default that activates when I lift the phone so I found myself having to tap it multiple times just to see it move.
SELFIE PHONE FIRST
As it is dubbed as a selfie-friendly phone, the Z Flip3 does not have a pro camera system like other models. Instead, the rear cameras do not come with a telephoto camera but only a 12MP f/1.8 Dual Pixel Main Camera with Optimal Image Stabilisation (OIS), and a 12MP f/2.2 Ultra-Wide Camera. However, this does not mean that the phone is not able to take good-quality photos. I actually found that the Z Flip3 was still able to take decent-looking photos with favourable colour balance during the day, just not distant subjects that require zoom.
Since selfies are the focal point of the phone, it hits all the marks for an enjoyable selfie experience. From the 10MP f/2.4 front-facing camera to its nifty hands-free features, the Z Flip3 makes it incredibly easy to take nice selfies without all the fuss and that awkward hand angle.
The key bonus of having the Z Flip3 is the ability to have the phone sit half-folded on the table, all ready to take a perfectly angled selfie or to engage in a video call with friends. With this angle, I was also able to use Dual Preview to easily edit my photos with the image on the top half of the screen and the editing tools on the bottom half of the screen — definitely beats having to hold my phone with both hands while I attempt to edit my photos.
ALL-ROUND GOOD USER EXPERIENCE
When unfolded, the Z Flip3 provides a 6.7-inch Full HD Plus display which has been improved on, with a 120Hz refresh rate that makes for smoother browsing and on-the-go gaming. As I tried the phone before Apple’s anticipated iOS 15 upgrade, I found the Z Flip3 to be running at an optimum speed that kept up with my browsing of image-heavy articles as well as my binge-watching of the Korean drama, The Penthouse: War in Life.
The clamshell build of the phone also improved the overall experience for me because instead of having to find something to prop up the phone, I was able to sit it on its own. While it may seem like a dealbreaker for some since the viewing screen will inevitably be smaller than in a landscape mode, the ease of not having to ensure it does not fall over, takes the cake for me.
Although the Z Flip3 does give the phone an all-around good user experience, a major concern for me is its battery life. When compared with other non-foldable phones, the Z Flip3’s battery is not the best and has a tendency to drain over the course of a day.
This meant that my Z Flip3 rarely lasted till the second day and it became a bit of a hassle to charge it almost every day; as compared to my iPhone which was able to last a little bit into the next day. The lack of a charger in the box (as part of Samsung’s sustainability commitment) could also be a little troublesome for those without extra adapters lying around as charging the phone can only be done through a computer.
CLOSER LOOK AT THE SAMSUNG GALAXY ZFLIP3 SPECS
IS THE SAMSUNG GALAXY ZFLIP3 WORTH ITS PRICE?
Honestly, for a foldable phone with a decent amount of nifty features almost comparable with other flagship phones, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 is definitely worth its $1,398 price tag. Though it isn’t quite as affordable as some other phones in the market, it is the less costly model in comparison with new foldables such as the Samsung Z Fold3 (priced at $2,398) — which makes for a good choice especially for those who are looking to own a recently released foldable phone.
With that said, it should be reminded that the biggest perk of the Z Flip3 is the fact that it is foldable and operates as an ideal selfie phone. So if you are someone who is seeking more out of their smartphone, then the Z Flip3 may not be the one for you.
GALAXY FREE TRIAL
If you are undecided and not ready to invest in the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 just yet, here’s your chance to test the phone for a whole week at no extra cost. Here’s how you can do it.
Step 1: Book the Galaxy Free Trial with your details, choice appointment date, and the Samsung Experience Store or telco store to collect the device. Do note that if your chosen appointment date is full, you are able to select the Stock Alert option to be notified via email once there is an available loan device for you.
Step 2: Collect Your Device on your appointment date at the selected Samsung Experience Store or telco store.
Step 3: Enjoy your 7-day trial with 24/7 live support that you can access through the Samsung Members app.
Step 4: Return the device after 7 days to your selected Samsung Experience Store or telco store. If you’ve enjoyed the free trial and would like to purchase your own, you can do so at the same time to receive exclusive offers.
Samsung Z Flip3 retails from $1,398 in Cream, Green, Lavender, and Phantom Black. You can purchase the phone online through the Samsung Store, Shopee, Lazada, or offline at the Samsung Experience Stores.
For more information on the Samsung Z Flip3, click here.