When Samsung first launched the Galaxy Z Fold series, I wasn’t really sure it would be comfortable to use. But my guess turned out to be wrong, what I felt was the opposite when I used the Galaxy Z Fold 3 for everyday.
The large screen of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is very satisfying when I use it while still or sitting. When I need to move I can make it compact thanks to its folding screen technology.
The third generation of the Galaxy Z Fold series also brings various updates such as an under-screen camera and S Pen support and is sold at a cheaper price than its predecessor.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 looks thick and tall when it’s in folded mode. Coupled with the narrow width, this cellphone gives the impression of being tall, even though for today it is still a high standard.
When the phone is opened, the size becomes wider like a mini tablet and not too thick like when folded mode. Galaxy Z Fold 3 also feels heavy which weighs up to 271 grams.
If the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is seen as a cellphone only, then you can say this is a very heavy and thick cellphone. But when viewed as a mixture of mobile phones and tablets, this falls light and compact.
At the center of the back of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 there is a large hinge with Samsung text engraved. This hinge is strong enough to withstand the folds of the phone at various degrees of inclination. It is so strong that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 can be opened half full without wobbling the hinge.
Samsung uses Aluminum Armor material for the frame of this cellphone which is claimed to be able to better protect the internal hinges. As far as I use it, I don’t find any problems when my Galaxy Z Fold 3 is opened and closed many times.
On the sides of the phone there is a stereo speaker grille, dual SIM card slots, volume buttons, power button which is also a fingerprint scanner, USB-C, and a microphone array. While on the back there is a camera protrusion area.
In Indonesia there are three color variants of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 provided and the one I use is Phantom Green. This green color actually looks very dark and close to black.
Unlike the previous Galaxy Z Fold, this latest generation is IPX8 certified which means it is resistant to being immersed in fresh water as deep as 1.5 meters for 30 minutes but this does not include dust resistance.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 has two screens, namely the main screen measuring 7.6 “with a resolution of 2208 x 1768 pixels and a 6.2” cover screen with a resolution of 2268 x 832 pixels. Both use Dynamic AMOLED 2X technology and an adaptive refresh rate of 120Hz.
The most obvious difference between these two screens apart from the size is that on the cover screen there is a camera hole at the top while on the main screen there is no camera hole.
Actually there is a camera embedded on the main screen of the Galaxy Z Fold 3, but this is hidden under the screen. When the camera is used, the screen area on the camera will be turned off so that the camera can capture images.
This technology, although it looks sophisticated, is unfortunately still immature on the Galaxy Z Fold 3. The main screen area that is embedded with the camera looks cracked compared to other screen areas. This problem is more pronounced when the screen is displaying a bright color such as white.
The indentation on the main screen of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is also still visible. Luckily the more I use this phone my eyes seem to notice the imperfections in the curved area of the screen and the camera under the screen.
The display quality of the two screens themselves is very good and bright as I would expect from a premium smartphone from Samsung. Plus the 120Hz adaptive refresh rate on both screens of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 makes the animations that appear look very smooth.
Playing games, watching movies, and using everyday applications are very satisfying on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 thanks to the large main screen, not narrow like a normal cellphone.
Performance and Features
On the performance side, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is able to run various types of applications smoothly including games. I can play popular games like PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends smoothly on high graphics settings.
This is not separated from the use of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset and 12GB of RAM. The internal storage capacity provided is large enough, namely 256GB or 512GB depending on the variant used. But it should be noted that Samsung does not provide a microSD slot in this cellphone.
The large screen and fast performance on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 are accompanied by blaring stereo speakers. Plus there is a Dolby Atmos feature to make the resulting sound more immersive.
Taking advantage of its large screen size, Samsung has adapted some of the apps on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 with unique features. For example, in the default camera application, the interface can be set to standard mode or preview mode which can take pictures and see the results.
Samsung also provides a feature to force applications that are not compatible with the main screen size of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 such as Instagram to take advantage of the entire screen area.
The negative effect of this feature is that certain views on Instagram such as the Story section will look cut at the top and bottom.
If you want to multitask to open several applications at once on one screen, Samsung provides a feature to make this easier through Edge Panels that can be pinned on the screen.
The Edge Panels feature is actually available on other Samsung phones but this is the first time I’ve felt the benefits. It’s just as easy as dragging apps from the side of the phone to display up to 4 apps at once.
But I think it’s optimal to just open two applications because if you have more than that the screen looks too crowded. This feature is useful when, for example, I want to book a hotel on Traveloka while looking at reviews on TripAdvisor.
One new feature brought by the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the S Pen support on the main screen. This makes the Galaxy Z Fold 3 even more useful for productivity.
Utilizing the wide screen makes writing matters more comfortable than the Galaxy Note series or Galaxy S21 Ultra, which have relatively smaller screens.
Unfortunately, because the Galaxy Z Fold 3 uses a folding screen technology, it needs a special S Pen to scribble on the screen which is sold separately. The size of the S Pen is large enough so that it feels natural when pinched by fingers to write.
There are two types of S Pen for the Galaxy Z Fold 3, namely the standard version and the Pro version. The Pro version is equipped with Bluetooth for more features like those found in the latest Galaxy Note series.
Galaxy Z Fold 3 provides 3 rear cameras consisting of a 12MP wide-angle camera, 12 MP ultra wide, and 12MP telephoto. In addition, there is also a 12MP selfie camera on the front of the phone and a 4MP camera below the main screen.
The shots of the three rear cameras are quite good although not as good as the Galaxy S21 series which is cheaper. If you want a Samsung phone with the best camera, don’t expect from the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and it’s better to use the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
The telephoto camera on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 can perform optical zoom of 2x and digital zoom of up to 10x. Unfortunately, at 10x digital zoom the photos are blurry and not good. In my experience 4x digital zoom is the optimal limit where the photos still look quite decent.
At night the main camera is still capable of producing good photos in auto mode but not for the ultra wide camera. As usual there is a night mode in the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s default camera application to produce brighter and sharper photos at night.
The selfie camera located on the cover screen of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 can take good pictures of my face. The problem is the camera below the main screen. The photos look blurry and not good. In addition, the camera does not have additional features such as portrait and night mode.
The bottom camera on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 seems more suitable for video calling purposes when the cellphone is in open mode, not for selfie photos.
Seeing the large screen and the battery capacity of only 4,400mAh, I was actually quite impressed with the battery life of the Galaxy Z Fold 3. I can usually use this phone more than a day with a screen on time of around 4 hours for my daily use and more using the main screen.
However, if this cellphone is used continuously non-stop, the battery life becomes less than satisfactory. On testing via the PC Mark application with the adaptive refresh rate setting, 50% brightness, 100% battery, and using the main screen the resulting score was 6 hours 44 minutes. The same test with a refresh rate of 60Hz the result is 7 hours 21 minutes.
It takes about 1 hour 30 minutes to charge the Galaxy Z Fold 3 battery using a Samsung charger with 25W fast charging technology. Samsung unfortunately does not provide a built-in charger head in the sales box for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 so it needs to be purchased separately.
In addition to supporting 25W fast charging via cable, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 can also be charged wirelessly with 10W of power and can also wirelessly charge other devices with 4.5W of power.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is arguably an engineering marvel. When Android phones first entered Indonesia, I didn’t expect the technology to be this sophisticated where the screen can be folded and the camera is placed under the screen.
I am amazed by what Samsung has achieved in this Galaxy Z Fold 3 even though there are still various shortcomings. The combination of a large but compact screen, S Pen, and capable performance makes the Galaxy Z Fold 3 very satisfying to use for various needs.
Plus the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is sold at a price that is quite much cheaper than its predecessor but with more sophisticated technology. The difference in price is almost 9 million rupiah.
Maybe in the next few generations Samsung can fix the shortcomings of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 such as eliminating screen folds, a more perfect screen display in the camera area below the screen, and a more capable camera like the one found in the Galaxy S series.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is arguably a marvel of engineering technology even though there are still various shortcomings. The combination of a large but compact screen, S Pen, and capable performance makes the Galaxy Z Fold 3 very satisfying to use for various needs.
- S Pen Support
- The price is cheaper than its predecessor
- Easy multitasking features
- Thick when folded
- The camera under the screen doesn’t have a good photo