Smartphones are now an extension of your personality – it’s why I might gravitate towards a blue colour device while you might prefer the subtlety of black. But there are those who will stretch this further and argue that smartphones are fashion statements. Time and again, there are devices like the Moto RAZR in the 2000s or super luxury offerings from brands like Vertu in the past that consumers buy to make a statement. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 3 might well be the next device to join that list – become a part of popular culture, and by doing so also make the strongest case for a foldable smartphone yet.
In terms of steep learning curves, Samsung didn’t take too long to fix the initial kinks in the first gen Galaxy Fold, it’s first foldable that debuted in 2019. While that device is more likely to be slipped into a formal jacket, the Z Flip, Samsung’s clamshell style foldable is likely to find its way into tight jeans and slinky clutch purses. I still remember my first brush with the first-gen Z Flip in 2020, I was convinced that Samsung was on to something if only……. Samsung has filled those blanks with the Z Flip 3. Finally, there’s a foldable device that doesn’t just look good on Instagram but one that you might consider buying and using. For starters, Samsung has driven down the launch price by 25K, now putting this phone in the same ballpark as mid-level iPhones or its own range of premium S21 devices. But that’s not the only reason the Z Flip 3 is on our radar.
One of the initial cribs about foldable smartphones was their flimsy, almost ‘touch me not’ build. The Z Flip 3 is now IPX8 certified, you could dunk it in the pool but it’s not quite ready for salty ocean waves yet. Samsung still urges caution (the device is not dust proof) but you can certainly breathe easy. That’s not the only practical design enhancement. The cover display is now a larger 1.9-inch Super AMOLED display (260 x 512 pixels). From notifications to music controls to your calendar, there’s a bunch of widgets you can add to this screen, allowing you to quickly ‘flip’ through without opening the display.
You will forget that’s it’s a foldable once you flip it open. The crease at the centre of the device is easier to ignore now – I barely noticed it while gaming or catching videos. It also feels great in your hand with a heft of under 190 grams. The primary 6.7-inch AMOLED 2X (2640 x 1080 pixels) display is crisper and smoother thanks to a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s fun to catch videos – thanks to the folding form, it doesn’t need a back support. It’s this foldable form that also makes photography fun allowing you to go completely handsfree as you snap those selfies on a good hair day.
The rear cam combines two 12MP lenses that includes an ultra-wide lens. It’s not a step-up from last year’s Z Flip; expect a similar performance as the Galaxy S21. Images are sharp even in lowlight while the 10MP selfie shooter won’t let you down too. Given the flip option, you can also use the primary lens for selfies. Just don’t expect the same camera performance as Samsung’s best smartphone camera – the S21 Ultra. You will also have to temper your expectations around the battery. It’s a 3300 mAh battery that lasted a whole day as long as I didn’t push it hard. It should work for most average users; I believe a lighter device is a better trade-off than a clunky device with a heavy-duty battery.
Samsung has kitted the Z Flip 3 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor and 8GB of RAM (we tested the 128GB internal storage variant, there’s also a 256GB option). This is one of the key upgrades over its predecessor and it won’t disappoint your need for speed. It notched a similar score as the Samsung Galaxy S21+ (3421 / multi-core) in our Geekbench benchmark test. Ultimately, this is not a smartphone to be judged on its processor or the camera specs. This one’s all about the user experience. If you have the budget for a flagship smartphone and have been sitting on the fence (like most of us have) as far as foldables go, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G might be the device that will make you flip!
The Samsung Galaxy Flip 3 5G starts at Rs 84,999 and is available in Phantom Black and Cream. Samsung is currently offering a Rs 7,000 cashback with HDFC cards.
Views expressed by the author are personal