Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 review: A stunning foldable Review

Samsung released two previous Z Flip models, but the second one really only added 5G to the first model. I’ve been spending my time and money with the Galaxy Fold and then the Z Fold 2, but never had the chance to even see a Z Flip model in person. Thankfully, Samsung sent a new Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G for a month, and I’m excited to try out a different foldable form factor.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G and Z Flip 5G eval units are both Phantom Black and arrived at the same time. To be honest, I’m having a bit more fun and can see practical applications for the Z Flip 5G and have been second guessing my decision to pre-order a Z Fold 3 since the two phones arrived yesterday. At the $999.99 price point, $800 less than the Z Fold 3, I plan to start my focused review with this device as I may switch up my pre-order plan.

Also: Best foldable phone 2021: Samsung leads the pack

The Z Flip 3 arrived in a small box with minimal contents. There is no charger in the box, just a USB-C charging cable and the device.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 specifications

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
  • Main display: 6.7 inches, 2640 x 1080 pixels resolution, Dynamic AMOLED Infinity Flex with adaptive 120Hz refresh rate
  • Cover display: 1.9-inches, 260 x512 pixels resolution, Super AMOLED
  • Operating system: Android 11
  • RAM: 8GB LPDDR5
  • Storage: 128GB internal storage (256GB available) UFS3.1
  • Cameras: 12MP f/1.8 wide-angle camera and 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera. 10MP f/2.2 cover camera. 10MP selfie camera.
  • Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n/ac/ax WiFi, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS/Galileo/GLONASS/Beidou, NFC, UWB
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Light Sensor
  • Water resistance: IPX8 rating
  • Battery: 3300 mAh non-removable with fast wireless charging. Wireless PowerShare is also available.
  • Dimensions (folded): 86.4 x 72.2 x 17.1mm and 183 grams
  • Dimensions (open): 166.0 x 72.2 x 6.9mm
  • Colors: Cream, Green, Lavender, Phantom Black, Gray, White, Pink

Samsung is obviously having a lot of fun with the Z Flip 3 by offering a wide assortment of colors, some of which are limited Samsung.com exclusives.

Also: Best Samsung phone 2021: Which one should you buy?

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Hardware

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Since I’ve never held a Samsung Flip series phone before, I cannot comment on personal experiences on the improvements that Samsung made to this version of the device. I’ll start by saying it is incredibly well made with a matte finish on the outside of the phone, a glossy strip for the outer cover display that also houses the two rear cameras, and a superb hinge along the spine with the name Samsung etched in the hinge.

We’ve never seen one of these in the Miller household so I showed both phones around and all were most impressed with the Z Flip 3. It’s almost exactly the size of my palm and I plan to carry this compact phone around everywhere over the next week or two.

Grabbing the top and then flipping it open, what a satisfying feeling that is, reveals the lovely Dynamic OLED foldable display. Like the Z Fold 3, there is a crease in the display in way of the hinge area, but it is not that noticeable, and from my experiences with past Folds, you get used to it and barely see it when the display is on.

Samsung has a nearly perfect side button that serves as the power button and capacitive fingerprint sensor. The Dolby stereo speakers sound great while listening to audio and watching movies.

The two-camera setup on the back is pretty traditional and doesn’t have the flair we saw on the S21 series. The front cover display is adjacent to the cameras, but I don’t think it is activated when the phone is flipped open.

Software

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G launches with Android 11 and Samsung One UI 3.1.1. The 1 July 20201 monthly Android security update is present on our review unit.

The software on the Z Flip 3 appears to be similar to what we see on the S21 series with a fairly standard Samsung Android experience. I need to explore the cover display functionality and dive into what unique foldable software elements are present in this form factor. The camera has some unique Flex Mode functions, but I’m also curious about things such as video conferencing with Google Duo or Teams.

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As I was putting the finishing touches on this first look article, I went ahead and ordered myself a white 256GB Z Flip 3, so then I can decide which of the two orders remain in place as I continue to explore both the Z Flip 3 and the Z Fold 3.

Also: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3: How to pre-order and find the best deal

The Z Flip 3 width feels great in the hand and is one of the narrower phones I’ve used in a while. I thought that may impact my ability to use it, but even watching a movie in landscape is a great experience. We’ll see how the keyboard holds up on a device of this size over time.

I plan to explore the cameras, the use cases for the Flip, and much more in my in-depth review so please let me know if there is anything specific you want tested.