Review – Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G

It is finally here, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G. This is probably the most well-received foldable device ever since the first generation Galaxy Fold, especially when Samsung has basically lowered the barrier of entry – the price. Now, there are more people who can afford to get their hands onto the bleeding edge of smartphones, a brand new category of devices that is a foldable phone.

I have spent the past two weeks with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 and I’m going to share my experience whether whom this device is made for.

Disclaimer: This is a real-life user experience sharing instead of specs comparison or benchmark competition. While the device is supplied by Samsung for testing purposes, this review will be unbiased and honest. We are independently owned and the opinion expressed here are our own.

Compact Foldable Design

When the first generation Galaxy Fold was introduced, Samsung was attempting to fit a tablet into your pocket. The Z Flip, on the other hand, is more like they’re trying to downsize the overall footprint of a smartphone into a smaller form factor when not in use. We need to keep this in mind because it plays a vital role when it comes to deciding if this is the smartphone for you.

The overall build quality is excellent and I’m very impressed with its overall design. The engineers in Samsung probably spent countless hours to perfect the manufacturing process. The colour I have chosen is Phantom Green which is not as boring as the Phantom Black but still has a character in it.

The folding mechanism is sturdy and secure which even first time users are commenting about how robust it feels when you’re folding and unfolding the device.

The power button and volume rocker are located on the right side. Compared with an under-screen fingerprint scanner, integrating a fingerprint scanner to the power button is way more practical and reliable.

IPX8 Water-Resistant

What really came as a surprise is its IPX8 rating for water resistance. I believe the Galaxy Z series is the first foldable to officially receive such a rating. While I won’t be encouraging you to bring the Z Fold and Z Flip to go for a snorkelling trip, but at least you can now rest assured to be around a pool party.

Unlike the first generation Z Flip, you can now angle however you want with the Z Flip3. Perfect if you’re using the Z Flip3 for video calls or selfie shots.

The biggest update we’re getting this year is the displays. First, the external display is now bigger and actually offers a slew of useful features instead of being a dumb information screen on the first generation Z Flip. You can even use the SamsungPay without having the need to unfold the phone.

There are widgets for quick information and actions. What I really hope to see is Samsung allowing third-party developers to deploy widgets for the front display.

The main display is now supporting a 120Hz high refresh rate. This is the most requested feature since a high refresh display is the norm, especially for Android devices. In case you have not tried it out yet, it is a whole new visual experience by simply upgrading from 60Hz to 120Hz. Even though some might say the navigational smoothness doesn’t really mean if the phone’s processing capability is fast, however, the perceived speed and fluidity will definitely improve your user experience.

Depending on your personal taste and whether if you’ve got the artists eye or not. The vibrant OLED panel generally is a great display for everyday usage. The new panel is brighter than before so you won’t have to struggle when using it under bright conditions.

As for the crease, it is still there. If you’re OCD about this, don’t buy a foldable. No matter how much Samsung has improved the screen and the folding mechanism, the surface is still flexible and you will need to treat it with care. Just like how the IPX8 rating shows this phone is not dust-resistant.

Camera

The camera is awesome. It is not just in terms of the photo quality and the post-processing. What I mean is the user experience, in terms of how Samsung has properly implemented a great selfie feature with the external display. Just like many other phones, double pressing the power button will turn on the camera and the camera preview will be shown on the external display. Swiping the screen allows you to change between the two different camera angle and switch between photo and video mode.

In other words, if you like to take selfies, you will definitely enjoy the convenience the phone has brought to you. As you can utilise the high-quality main camera and take awesome looking photos with previews.

Battery Life

The battery life is decent at best. There are plenty of people who commented how 3300mAh is unacceptable for modern smartphones. I can understand that especially when this phone comes equipped with a 120Hz display.  Frankly speaking, I think Samsung has done an excellent job at optimising and maximising that battery. Then again, no one is able to overcome the law of physics. There’s only that much of charge it can carry in that small capacity. While the phone can still last me a day from morning till I reach home, it won’t be able to last until I go to bed. If only if Samsung pushes it further with 3800mAh.

What really grinds my gears is the 15W “fast charging” feature that comes with this phone. I don’t understand the reasoning behind this decision at all. Samsung flagship devices have been using 25W all these while and they have decided to drop it from the Galaxy Z Flip3 which is supposed to be part of its flagship gang. When I’m so used to the Galaxy S20+’s fast charging, 15W feels like taking forever to charge.

Conclusion

After spending 2 weeks with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3, I can see how the Z Flip series is part of the foldable revolution. Samsung’s decision to lower the barrier of entry is not just proving that foldables can be affordable, but from a business perspective, it is a much needed strategy to push forward this whole new smart device category. While there is a group of power users who demand more in a smaller form factor, we must not forget about a certain group of users who just wanted a smaller phone. This is especially attractive for female users who struggle to fit some of their phones into their handbags or clutch bags.

If you’re in the market looking for a small and compact device, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 is an excellent option to consider. I think this is not just an attractive phone for females but younger generations who love to explore new devices and form factor. The official retail price of RM3999 is a great entry point and I think Samsung will continue to improve the Galaxy Z series.