Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 test: a jewel of technology, and that's all

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After the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and its clamshell format, we tested the Galaxy Z Fold 3, the foldable smartphone that turns into a tablet. Check out our full review.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a jewel of technology, and fold that's all

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 in brief

  • Galaxy Z Fold 3 is more durable and waterproof (not dustproof)
  • The external screen offers a 120 Hz refresh rate
  • The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the first smartphone to embed a photo sensor under the screen
  • Its price is down (-200 €)

Galaxy Z Fold3 at the best price Base price: 1,799 €

Test Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: a jewel of technology, and that's all

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a jewel of technology, and folding that's all

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a gem of technology, and that's all folds

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Samsung continues its crazy adventure in the world of foldable smartphones. After a first almost conceptual test with the Fold, the Korean tries to improve its copy from year to year.

With the Fold 2, it marked a first turning point. This model drew the outlines of what was expected of a folding smartphone. Nevertheless, it was still too fragile and suffered from some crippling flaws in view of its very high price.

Is Samsung's third attempt the right one? The manufacturer announces a whole lot of new features promising to correct the weaknesses of previous generations. The Z Fold 3 wins waterproof certification, a stronger screen or even a reworked hinge. By the way, its price drops below the fateful bar of 2000 euros. Enough to democratize a model hitherto reserved for a wealthy and/or passionate public? Answer in our full test.

Summary

  • The Galaxy Z Fold 3 in a nutshell
  • < li class="ez-toc-page-1 ez-toc-heading-level-2">What does the Galaxy Z Fold 3 improve on, design-wise?

  • The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is compatible with the S-Pen
  • What is the screen of the Galaxy Z Fold worth 3 ?
  • The almost invisible under-screen sensor
  • Who is the Galaxy Z Fold 3 really for?
  • What is Galaxy Z Fold 3 Flex Mode?
  • Does the Galaxy Z Fold 3 have good battery life?
  • What is the Android version when buying the Galaxy Z Fold 3?
  • What is the price of the Galaxy Z Fold 3?
  • < li class="ez-toc-page-1 ez-toc-heading-level-2">Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: the foldable smartphone you've been dreaming of?

What 8217;does the Galaxy Z Fold 3 improve on the design side?

At first glance, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 looks a lot like its predecessor. Same concept, same format, same punched screen on the front, same folding system. Still, Samsung has made a lot of changes to its new star.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 test: a jewel of technology, and fold-that's all

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a jewel of technology, and that's all folds

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< img class="aligncenter" src="/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/test-samsung-galaxy-z-fold-3-a-gem-of-technology-and-fold-thats-all-200b46c. jpg" alt="Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a gem of technology, and that's all" />

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a gem of technology, and fold that's all

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The manufacturer has mainly worked on the robustness of the device, the main fear of consumers with these models. For the first time, Samsung's foldable smartphones are IPX8 certified ensuring they are water resistant (up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes in fresh water), but not dustproof. This precision is important since it will be risky to take your precious item with you to a beach or a construction site for example.

Always with the aim of strengthening the phone, Samsung has reworked the hinge. More resistant, it can withstand 200,000 opening-closing cyclesi.e. the equivalent of 100 manipulations per day for 5 years. Finally, the external screen as well as the back cover are covered with Corning's Gorilla Victus protective glass, the most resistant at the moment.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a gem of technology, and that's all folds

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a jewel of technology, and that's all folds

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Test : a jewel of technology, and that's all fold

© Presse-citron

Inside, Samsung has reinforced its screen with a plastic rendering that is still a little cheap. The manufacturer announces that the panel is 80% more resistant than that of the Z Fold 2. Enough to drive out the old demons of the first Fold of the name? Without a doubt. In any case, we never felt this feeling of fragility that the first Fold left us.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a jewel of technology, and that's all fold

© Presse-citron

In passing, the manufacturer has put its star on a diet for his new tour. The Z Fold 3 is thinner(6.4 mm open, 14.4 mm closed) and lighter (271 g against 282 g for the Z Fold 2). If it is still not forgotten in a pocket, but its weight is a little closer to that of a large classic smartphone. The Galaxy S21 Ultra, for example, weighs 230 g. This is still 40 g more, some will say. On a daily basis, it's hard to feel a difference, especially since the Z Fold 3 has the advantage of being narrower.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is compatible with the S-Pen

< p>Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a gem of technology, and that's all

Will the Galaxy Z Fold replace the Note range? © Presse-citron.net

While we were writing this test, we know a posteriori that Samsung was preparing the end of the Galaxy Note range. The executives of Samsung France, however, assured at the time of the release of the smartphone that this would not be the case. However, like the Galaxy S21 Ultra, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 comes with a stylus, main (not to say unique) point differentiating this family.

The S-Pen Fold Edition is not supplied with the foldable smartphone and will cost 50 euros extra ( 100 euros for the more precise S-Pen Pro with remote control). For this price, you have an imposing stylus comparable to those accompanying the manufacturer's tablets, with its case. It has no fixing system (not even magnetic) which means it has to be transported separately. We have seen more practical.

To be able to transport the S-Pen, it is therefore recommended to acquire the hull with integrated S-Pen for the modest sum of 80 euros. After spending 1800 euros, the pill is struggling to pass.

Especially since the large size of this S-Pen Fold version testifies to an inconsistency in Samsung's strategy. The strength of the Note was to embed the S-Pen directly in their chassis, something impossible with the Z Fold 3. Samsung cites technical reasons that we can understand. Still, the alternative solutions offered by the manufacturer lack relevance.

Thus, we had very little taste of the S-Pen Fold Edition on the move. First of all, its large size does not make it particularly comfortable. Then, having to carry it separately increases the risk of loss. This accessory is therefore especially useful in the office or at home, a shame for a mobile device.

This is all the more unfortunate that the format of the Z Fold 3 is the logical continuation of the Note range. You can take notes, draw or even edit photos with much more comfort. So there is still a little work for Samsung to convince Note worshipers. Except that we know since 2022 that the brand has in fact put everything that made Notes Notes in the S22 Ultra. To see if in 2023 with the release of the Z Fold 4 Samsung will also give the range some “Notes” additional nobility.

What is the screen of the Galaxy Z Fold 3  worth?

You don't change a winning team, even if the confrontation looks difficult. By opting for a foldable smartphone with two screens, Samsung would almost be looking for trouble.

In order to ensure continuity between the smartphone experience and the tablet experience, the Korean must deliver two screens with almost similar characteristics. However, the external screen is based on a classic 6.2-inch AMOLED panel, the internal screen on an AMOLED Infinity Flex technology of 7.6″ with sensor housed under the slab (see box).

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 test: a jewel of technology, and fold-that's all

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a gem of technology, and that's all folds

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For To offer such a smooth experience on both screens, Samsung has replaced the Z Fold 2's 60Hz external panel with 120Hz. Above all, the engineers worked on continuity in terms of colorimetry, contrasts and brightness. The result? Simply stunning.

The two screens of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 are marvels.The external screen naturally imposes itself as an interface for consultation or rapid interactions. But the real star of the Z Fold 3 is the interior screen. Although the crease is noticeable (especially with dark colors), it is quickly forgotten as the display quality is impressive. Whether it's productivity or multimedia, you never get tired of this giant screen that you can slip into your pocket in a jiffy.

Because that's where the essence of the Fold 3. Faced with a display comfort like this, should we perceive it as a smartphone that unfolds to become a tablet or a tablet that folds up to become a smartphone? Samsung insists that this is a phone first and foremost. But, based on our experience, we will lean more towards the second hypothesis.

The sensor under the screen is almost invisible

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a jewel of technology, and that's all fold

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Samsung is therefore the first manufacturer to market a smartphone equipped with a photo sensor under the screen. The objective could not be simpler: to have a front sensor while enjoying a total screen. Samsung France is clear on this point: it does not claim to make the punch completely invisible but to camouflage it as much as possible.

In this sense, the bet is successful. After a short time of accommodation, the sensor under the screen quickly becomes imperceptible. Whether you are playing, working or watching a video, the display covers the entire inner screen. A treat.

However, the youth of technology shows its limits with fixed images. On plain backgrounds (especially black or white), there is a small grid of pixels at the level of the punch. A small defect that we will quickly forget but that we must highlight in all impartiality.

On the other hand, it will be difficult to miss the catastrophic photo qualitydelivered by this sensor. Samsung has obviously not found a way to compensate for the weak light entering this sensor of only 4 Mpxl. The shots obtained are close to the quality of an HD webcam. Suffice to say that we very quickly turn away from this sensor to return to the most classic punch positioned on the external screen. So there is still a bit of work to do.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 test: a jewel of technology, and fold-that's all

Who is the Galaxy Z Fold 3 really for?

The unique format of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 raises questions. Is it a smartphone? A tablet? A computer? In reality, it can be all three at the same time.

Let's quickly go over the pompous technical characteristics. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 has everything you expect from an ultra high-end smartphone, namely a state-of-the-art chip (Snapdragon 888), lots of RAM (12 GB) and significant storage (256 or 512 GB). Enough to provide the power needed for all uses, from the most basic (web, social networks, messaging) to the most demanding (photo editing, editing, gaming).

Above all (and unlike its brother), the Z Fold 3 does not heat up which allows prolonged use of resource-intensive applications.

Folded, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is therefore a high-end smartphone with everything what is expected of it. Unfolded, it turns into a small tablet and becomes a formidable productivity tool.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 test: a jewel of technology, and fold it is all

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Beyond the wonder at each switch from smartphone mode to tablet mode, it is the optimizations offered by Samsung that completely change everyday use. If the Z Flip 3 is a foldable smartphone that we will adopt for style, the Z Fold 3, it fully exploits the potential of this screen technology and anticipates our future uses.

This transformation takes place through a few adjustments that make all the difference. With such a screen diagonal, multi-windowing takes on its full meaning. In this new version, Samsung offers to divide the screen into 4, for the most connected among us. Even better, we can pin the small sidebar for quick access to open applications. A sort of macOS-style Dock. Well done.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a gem of technology, and fold that's all

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When it comes to productivity, the Z Fold 3 has no equal on the market. Reading an article, editing a spreadsheet, writing a note, replying to a message, browsing social networks, everything takes on another dimension thanks to the big screen. To try it is to adopt it.

Of course, not everything is perfect. Some applications, for example, do not switch directly to full format once the screen is open. This is the case, for example, of Instagram, which leaves two wide bands around the vertical format calibrated for classic smartphones. But Samsung, still very clever, offers to force the full screen display.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a jewel of technology, and fold-up

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a jewel of technology, and that's all folds

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A once your tasks are finished, simply close the smartphone to put it back to sleep. However, if you want to switch from smartphone mode to tablet mode and vice versa, it is possible to configure it in the settings application by application.

Lastly, Samsung DeX integration(available for a few years on the brand's high-end models) makes it possible to transform the Galaxy Z Fold 3 into a desktop PC. To do this, simply connect it wired or wirelessly to a monitor. An interface suitable for keyboard-mouse use then appears.

These adaptations combined with the format of the Z Fold 3 make it a three-in-one device. What relativize the price of the beast? A little.

What is Galaxy Z Fold 3 Flex Mode?

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a jewel of technology, and that's all fold

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Like the Z Flip 3, the Z Fold 3 has the Flex mode function.Behind this name hides a small originality specific to Samsung's foldable smartphones. This feature allows you to take full advantage of this screen technology by adapting the display to folding.

More simply, when the two parts of the screen are folded at 90° (like a mini computer ), the display changes. On Youtube, the video is displayed on the vertical screen, the comments and suggestions on the horizontal screen. Ditto with the Camera application which adapts when the smartphone is in the same configuration.

Flex mode therefore provides undeniable comfort in multimedia use. However, we regret that the compatible applications are so few. No Netflix, Prime Video or Twitch. No compatibility either with games from the Play Store or music applications.

Fortunately, Samsung has more than one trick up its sleeve. In Settings, it is possible to force the display in Flex mode application by application. On Spotify, this is materialized by the display of the playlist on the vertical screen and the control buttons on the horizontal face.

A nice pirouette which proves to be effective most of the time even if we would prefer that more developers optimize their applications.

Galaxy Z Fold3 at the best price Base price: 1,799 €

Test Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: a jewel of technology, and fold that's all

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 test: a jewel of technology, and fold that's all

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Does the Galaxy Z Fold 3 have good battery life?

Samsung engineers definitely seem to be experiencing some difficulties in optimizing the autonomy of foldable smartphones. On this ground,the Z Fold 3 cannot console us for the disappointment of the Z Flip 3.

If the biggest model manages to do a little better than his brother, he is far from inviting himself to the table of marathon runners. Count on a big day of maximum use for versatile use. The most connected will go through the recharge box at the start of the evening, all depending greatly on how often you use the big screen.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a gem of technology, and that's all folds

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One could fear this (very) average autonomy when reading the technical sheet. Samsung has reduced the size of the battery compared to the previous generation (4400 mAh against 4500 mAh), integrated a more powerful processor and above all equipped the front screen with an adaptive refresh rate of 120 Hz. for the eyes, less for the battery.

We have tried to improve the whole thing by reducing the frequency to 60 Hz. This sacrifice only saves one or two hours of autonomy per day. Not very relevant.

We could have consoled ourselves with an ultra-efficient charging system as Xiaomi, realme or Oppo know how to do. Unfortunately, the Z Fold 3 only supports a maximum charge of 25W, far too little for a model of this range. Count 1h30 for a full charge, a duration far removed from the 30 minutes shown in hand by the competition. For 1800 euros, we expected much more.

What is the Android version when you buy the Galaxy Z Fold 3 ?

Like its little brother, the Z Fold 3 was initially sold with Android 11 and the One UI overlay here in version 3.1.1with the security update of July 1, 2021. We therefore find everything that makes the strength of Samsung's overlay, namely an interface that is both simple and highly customizable as well as optimization for one-handed use. However, note that since this test, Samsung has offered several major updates to the smartphone. In early 2023, Android 13 and OneUI 5 are both available on the model.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 test: a jewel of technology, and fold-that's all

© Presse-citron

On the photo side, Samsung is scratching a little on production costs and selling off its stocks of < strong>sensors designed for the Galaxy S10 generation. In addition to the 4 Mpxl sensor under the inner screen, there is a 10 Mpxl front sensor (f/2.2 lens aperture) on the external screen.

On the back of the device, Samsung therefore opts for optics that we know well: a wide-angle (f/1.8), an ultra wide-angle (f/2.2), a telephoto lens with 2x (f/2.4) all accompanied by a 12 Mpxl sensor.

We will therefore not dwell on the photographic talents of the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Without reaching the level of an S20 or an S21 Ultra, Samsung's most expensive smartphone is effective in all circumstances.

Well helped by the image processing algorithms, it produces more striking shots than the Galaxy S10 in its time. Both wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle are formidable in good light conditions. The telephoto lens can produce very convincing 2x (optical), 4x (hybrid) or 10x (digital) zoom shots.

The Z Fold 3 does well in low light. Without reaching the level of an S21 Ultra, it produces shots of very good quality. We especially highlight his talent for capturing portraits, undoubtedly his best asset.

Finally, like most high-end Korean smartphones, the Z Fold 3 is particularly good at video.

Test Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: a jewel of technology, and fold that's all

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a gem of technology, and that's all folds

Test Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: a jewel of technology, and ply that's all


Test Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: a jewel of technology, and fold c is all

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a gem of technology, and fold that's all


< p>Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a gem of technology, and that's all

Ultra wide-angle

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a gem of technology, and fold that's all

Wide-angle

 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 test: a jewel of technology, and that's all fold

2x zoom

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a gem of technology, and that's all folds

4x zoom

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 test: a jewel of technology, and that's all folds

10x zoom

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a gem of technology, and that's all folds

Sensor under the screen

Samsung Galaxy Test Z Fold 3: a jewel of technology, and that's all fold

External front sensor

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a gem of technology, and that's all folds

Portrait mode with external front sensor

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a jewel of technology, and that's all fold

Portrait mode

What is the price of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 ?

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 was available when it was released at a price of 1,799 euros for the 256 version GB and 1,899 euros for the 512 GB model. However, it is rather around 700 euros at the start of 2023. The model is available in three colors: Phantom Black, Phantom Green and Phantom Silver.

Like the Z Flip 3, the Z Fold 3 is much more accessible than its predecessor. And even if it remains the most expensive model on the market today, this price drop (-200 euros) marks the beginning of the democratization of the foldable smartphone.

For comparison, the iPhone 12 Pro Max in the 256 GB version already costs a whopping 1,379 euros. In the same family, the Galaxy S21 Ultra with the same storage capacity is marketed at 1,199 euros.

Galaxy Z Fold3 at the best price Base price: €1,799

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a jewel of technology, and fold-that's all

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Cdiscount -32% €1,219 See the offer

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a jewel of technology, and that's all folds

Rueducommerce -31% €1,239 See the offer

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a jewel of technology, and that's all

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Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: the foldable smartphone you've been dreaming of?

The first Fold is only three years old. And yet, Samsung's advancements in design are nothing short of mind-blowing. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 corrects almost all the flaws of previous generations. More resistant, more powerful, it even has the luxury of inaugurating the first sensor under a screen. Samsung has also adjusted other features such as the arrival of the 120 Hz refresh rate on the external display.

The manufacturer also understood that the foldable smartphone would not impose itself on the market if it was not able to revolutionize the perception of the genre. With this amazing pocket-sized tablet format and various software enhancements, Samsung can create an unprecedented synthesis between smartphone, tablets and personal computer. And to make the purchase of this device a substitute for the separate purchase of these three devices. A bit like Apple, which in its day succeeded in convincing many of its customers to buy an iPhone, rather than a cell phone, an iPod and a personal computer.

If it is clear that Samsung still has work to do (especially on the side of the software part and the support of the format by the developers), the main lines are drawn. Therefore, the price of 1800 euros must be understood as a sign of the innovation that this new type of format represents. And the future is already here: if you use cloud services like Google Drive a lot in your work, you can do almost everything from this device on a daily basis. What lighten what you always have to take with you when you have to meet a client, for example, or go to an event.

It remains to be seen whether the format is already ready for the general public. And that is arguably the most difficult question to answer. Because in a sense, Samsung has managed to correct most of the faults that were blamed on previous generations of Galaxy Fold. The product is significantly more durable. But it still has, in addition to the somewhat perfectible software overlay, another handicap: its autonomy is still a bit tight. Indeed one would expect from such a device an interstellar endurance – especially since notebooks like the latest MacBook M1 are already beating all autonomy records.

To really improve this point, Samsung may have to roll out other innovations after creating arguably the first foldable smartphone that is even remotely durable. Making progress around the chip's energy consumption, in particular, seems to be the manufacturer's next challenge. As for potential customers of the Z Fold 3, they can now have a taste of the future in their hands. You just have to be aware of the limits which are still those of the product before buying.

Galaxy Z Fold 3

1799€

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: a jewel of technology, and folds that's all

8.7

Design and screen

9.5/10

Performance and interface

9.5/10

Autonomy and recharging

7.0/10

< h3>Camera

8.5/10

Techno-price ratio

9.0/10

We love

  • Exemplary design and finishes
  • More robust and waterproof
  • Gorgeous screens (camera under the screen almost invisible)
  • Extensive features and good camera
  • Price reduced by 200€

We like less

  • Autonomy too short
  • Recharge too slow
  • Photo quality of the sensor under the catastrophic screen
  • S-Pen optional and without fixing/storage point
  • Price still very high ve
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