The third generation of Samsung folding phones is out and on paper, it is the best foldable phablet on the planet.
It has flagship specs, a bleeding-edge hinge mechanism and, of course, an edge-to-edge foldable display.
Besides, now that Samsung's Note series is seemingly looking for an exit, the signature S Pen is compatible with the newer Samsung flagships, including the Z Fold3.
With top-tier specs, good hardware, gorgeous display that folds, a tablet sized screen and Note's signature S Pen – clearly, this phone-tablet or phablet, is an easy recommendation, right?
Well, considering what is expected from the Fold and what this third-gen foldable is actually capable of delivering, recommending it to anyone is not going to be easy.
When you look at the specs sheet, it is nothing out of the ordinary - 5G-supported Snapdragon 888, 12GB RAM, and 256 to 512GB ROM – like every other high-end flagship.
But it has one thing that no other phone has – a big foldable display that turns a regular-sized phone into a tablet.
Sure, the hinge mechanism of the foldable is better than the previous two generations. There are fewer moving parts and the pieces inside are more compact.
Besides, to ensure an IPX8 rating, each moving part of the hinge is coated with a plastic layer, making the device water-proof. So accidental slips in the sink or splashes of water is nothing to worry about.
However, Z Fold3 is not dustproof; sand and other particles can get stuck in the hinge or even get inside and compromise the hinge integrity.
As for the cameras, it has, hands down, one of the best-looking camera arrays in any Samsung phone. The image processing, as you would expect, is also of Samsung flagship quality.
Even though the main rear camera array has three 12 MP cameras with different focal lengths, the Z Fold3 takes photos like Samsung's current camera champ S21 Ultra. The 10 MP cover camera also produces high-quality photos.
However, their 4 MP front camera, hidden under the pixelated display, takes a hit in photo quality.
We applaud Samsung for trying something experimental and it almost worked, but at the cost of image quality.
But there is no doubt the 10 MP cover camera on the smaller front display will be most people's front camera.
As for the phone's highlight, it is the screen. Fold3 has two regular-sized Dynamic AMOLED screens merged into one phablet size display with a whopping 7.6-inch dimension, making it the biggest screen on any mainstream phone.
And it is not even about the size only. Its screen-to-body ratio is usually unheard of in high-end flagships, mainly due to the lack of a notch or hole-punch cutout, thanks to the pixelated front camera cowering under the display.
This practically edge-to-edge display has a flagship staple dynamic refresh rate that fluctuates between 60 to 120 Hz.
Even though 120 Hz is pretty common in flagship models, this high refresh rate actually throws the battery under the bus.
The phone has three displays in total: One in the front and two inside merged into one.
The inner display practically consumes double the power compared to Google Pixel 6, iPhone 13 or even Samsung's Flagship S21 Ultra.
Besides, Samsung themselves decided to trim the battery on this power-hungry model.
From Fold2's 4500 mAh, the newer Z Fold came down with a slightly trimmed 4400 mAh capacity, capping the screen on time to 4.5 hours in tests.
This 4.5-hour is not attractive to phone enthusiasts who can easily get a top-tier flagship with almost double the screen on time at a much lower price.
Even though the top protecting layer on top of the incredibly durable Gorilla Glass Victus is 30% harder than the previous gen, it is still soft and folds when closed.
And if you are wondering about Fold's infamous crease – yes, it is there although barely noticeable while using.
As for the single front screen, it is incredibly handy for calls, texts and casual browsing.
But creative tasks are better suited for the bigger screen inside, especially with the Samsung DeX support that allows virtually seamless integration with Windows PCs.
Besides, Samsung's exclusive Flex Mode makes the UI and some optimised apps flexibly adapt to the screen, regardless of the angle on the big inner display.
However, app developers are yet to catch up to Samsung's peculiar screen ratio on the unfolded tablet display.
As a result, there are plenty of unoptimised apps on the Play store. But Samsung has a fix for that too – forced fit using the settings.
Clearly, this phone is for someone who wants to take advantage of the phablet-size big display for creative work or visual content consumption and do not mind putting the phone on a charger occasionally in the middle of the day.
The specs of Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G
CPU type: Octa-Core
CPU speed: 2.84GHz, 2.4GHz, 1.8GHz
Display size: 7.6 inch
Main display: Dynamic AMOLED, 2208 x 1768 (QXGA+)
Main camera (Rear): 12.0 MP + 12.0 MP + 12.0 MP
Cover camera: 10 MP
Under display front camera: 4 MP
RAM: 12 GB
ROM: 256 GB and 512 GB
Colours: Phantom Black, Phantom Green and Phantom Silver
With taxes, carrier charges and importer's cut, the price for Fold3 starts somewhere around Tk1,50,000.
Where to buy:
The phone is available nationwide in select authorised Samsung stores and independent importers like Dazzle and Gadget & Gear.