The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is Samsung's latest flagship foldable, and while it looks similar to the last generation Fold it actually packs some pretty major changes - for better and for worse.
The biggest are the move to an under-display selfie camera for the internal screen, giving you the option for selfies and video calls without a punch-hole or a notch - though it's not quite invisible. Throw in S Pen stylus support, waterproofing, and a significant reduction in price, and this begins to look like an awfully impressive phone.
Samsung has had the run of the foldable market so far, but with increased competition in China from Huawei and now Xiaomi, the Korean giant has a lot to prove with the Fold 3 to stay ahead of its rivals - read on to find out if it's managed.
When is the Galaxy Z Fold 3 release date?
Pre-orders kicked off from launch but in most markets, you're now able to buy the Z Fold 3, as of 27 August. Check out our 'Where to buy the new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3' feature for the latest deals on the company's best and brightest foldable yet.
In India, the wait is a little longer, with pre-orders not coming into effect until 24 August and the phone officially going on sale from 10 September.
We discussed the Z Fold 3 - along with all the other new products announced alongside it - in an episode of our weekly podcast Fast Charge, which you can watch right here:
Besides the products announced at this event, there are loads of other Samsung devices on the way. The Galaxy S21 FE was originally tipped to arrive at the same time, but has been delayed - it may launch alongside the expected Galaxy Tab S8 instead. And of course, there's the Galaxy S22 line ahead, but not until next year.
This is the time of year when we'd normally expect to see the Galaxy Note 21 launch too, but Samsung has scrapped this year's model so we're not expecting a new Note until next year instead.
There are more foldables on the way too. Previous rumours have also pointed to a more affordable Galaxy Z Fold FE, and two new foldable form factors possibly called the Z Fold S and Z Fold Scroll, but all of these are expected to further afield, if they launch at all.
How much does the Galaxy Z Fold 3 cost?
Despite packing in a few key upgrades, Samsung has clearly strived to keep prices down for this new generation of Z Fold, in an effort to make the phone more mainstream.
- 256GB: £1,599/US$1,799/€1,799/₹149,999
- 512GB: £1,699/US$1,899/€1,899/₹157,999
That's a £200/US$200 reduction from the £1,799/US$1,999 starting price for last year's Z Fold 2. It's not as sharp a price cut as Samsung managed for the new Z Flip 3, and definitely leaves this phone firmly in the 'ultra flagship' category, but it should still help make the new Fold more appealing.
There were pre-order bonuses too - in the UK, anyone who'd pre-ordered received one free year of Samsung Care+.
Orders before 30 September mean you're also eligible for an extra £250 on top of the trade-in value of an eligible older phone – from Samsung or other retailers – along with a free Samsung Galaxy Note Pack worth £79.99; featuring a Flip Case, S Pen, and 25W charger.
Check out our full guide to the best Galaxy Z Fold 3 deals for more savings in the UK and elsewhere.
What are the Galaxy Z Fold 3 specs?
Considering the huge jump in innovation between the first two Fold models, don’t go expecting the same sort of leap again.
Samsung managed to fix a number of elements on its second-generation device, including enlarging the small 4.6in front screen and improving durability - read our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold review to find out what we disliked about that first iteration.
The Fold 3 offers more subtle improvements and refinements to the design, along with a few specific new features and upgrades.
Here's one area where Samsung hasn't rocked the boat, keeping the Z Fold 3 design essentially the same outside of its cameras.
The rear camera module is now rounded - in contrast to the squared-off dominoes Samsung has used in other recent flagships - though the bigger change is the introduction of an internal under-display camera - more on that later.
Other than slightly slimming the hinge the phone is broadly the same size, but at 271g it is 11g lighter than the last version.
It comes in new colours too, with the choice of black, green, or silver finishes - the last of which is faintly iridescent, rather than standard silver.
There have actually been bigger changes to the phone's build quality than to its design. The new 'Armour Aluminium' frame is supposedly tougher than ever before, while Gorilla Glass Victus protects the outer display and Gorilla Glass DX coats the camera lenses.
In a first for a foldable, the phone also has an IPX8 rating. That signifies a high degree of water-resistance (the '8'), but that Samsung has not had the phone tested for dust or sand-resistance (the 'X').
Check out our 'What is an IP rating' feature for more info.
Samsung hasn't changed too much about the phone's two displays - with the obvious exception of that under-display camera on the inside.
The main, folding display remains at 7.6in, while the outer display is 6.2in. Both screens are AMOLED, and support 120Hz adaptive refresh rates.
The core specs are also mostly as expected, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 at the core of the handset.
It's accompanied by 12GB RAM, and either 256GB or 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage - no real change from last year.
Naturally, 5G is supported, though this year's model has had the upgrade to dual-SIM, and still supports eSIM in addition.
Battery and charging
Again, changes here are limited. The actual battery has had a slight reduction to 4400mAh - from 4500mAh, so it's likely a small enough drop that it won't seriously affect runtime.
Charging hasn't changed at all, with 25W wired charging and the same 10W wireless charging support.
As mentioned above, perhaps the biggest change in the Z Fold 3 is the under-display camera that's used on the folding screen.
This is intended to help solve the awkward placement of the inner camera, which sits on the centre of one side of the panel, making it oddly placed when the screen is fully open. The idea of this tech is that it will be less visible than the Z Fold 2's punch-hole camera, and thus give an uninterrupted display.
After seeing the effect in person, it's clearly not invisible, and in fact looks similar to the blocky under-display camera found on last year's ZTE Axon 20 5G - and much more obvious than the similar tech unveiled by Xiaomi this week in the Mi Mix 4.
The real question is how well the 4Mp lens actually takes photos, and that's difficult to assess after only taking a couple of quick sample selfies in my hands-on time, which I was not permitted to share here. Photos did seem to come out a little soft, but quality seemed good enough for video calls at least, and in theory, the more visible camera should be capable of better photo output than Xiaomi's stealthier alternative.
The saving grace, either way, is that the Fold also packs another selfie camera - the 10Mp, f/2.2 camera found in a punch-hole on the outer display.
You also get a triple rear camera setup that's very similar to the Fold 2, with three 12Mp lenses: an OIS-enabled main camera; an ultrawide; and a 2x zoom lens, now also bolstered by OIS.
S Pen support
Finally, as the Galaxy Note 21 won't launch at all, it's no surprise that the Fold 3 supports support Samsung's S Pen stylus, though only on the internal folding display.
It is supported similarly to the S21 Ultra, and won't physically slot into the phone, but will instead fit inside compatible cases for the foldable.
The Fold 3 will also only support two specific S Pens, both of which are new: the S Pen Fold Edition, and the S Pen Pro - if you try to pair another S Pen model the phone will warn you not to, and Samsung says you risk scratching the display.
Both supported S Pens feature a new retractable stylus tip that limits the amount of force applied to help protect the display from damage, which older S Pens lack.
Galaxy Z Fold 3 specs
Here are all of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 specs you need to know:
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
- 12GB DDR5 RAM
- 256/512GB UFS 3.1 storage
- 7.6in (2208 x 1768) 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED inner display
- 6.2in (2260 x 832) 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED outer display
- Rear camera:
- 12Mp, f/1.8 OIS main lens
- 12Mp, f/2.2 ultrawide
- 12Mp, f/2.4 OIS 2x zoom
- Selfie cameras:
- 10Mp, f/2.2 selfie camera
- 4Mp, f/1.8 under-display camera
- Gorilla Glass Victus
- Stereo speakers
- 4400mAh battery
- 25W wired charging
- 10W wireless charging
- 158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4 mm (unfolded), 158.2 x 67.1 x 16-14.4 mm (folded)