On August 11, 2021, Samsung announced the third-generation Galaxy Z Fold foldable smartphone – Galaxy Z Fold 3. It is technically the fourth iteration of the Galaxy Z Fold, since the original Galaxy Fold got released twice. But it is the most refined foldable smartphone from Samsung to date.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the most premium flagship smartphone in Samsung’s lineup, for now. With Samsung opting not to release a Galaxy Note smartphone this year. It’s between this and the Galaxy S21 series.
With the new Galaxy Z Fold 3, Samsung didn’t redesign it that much, but instead introduced a bunch of relatively iterative changes. Making it more durable, water-resistant, and just an all-around better phone for everyday use.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Galaxy Z Fold 3, before you buy one for yourself.
When does the Galaxy Z Fold 3 come out?
Pre-orders for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 start on August 11. And it will be released on August 27.
Those that pre-order the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will get a $200 Samsung Credit for use on cases, and other products. As well as an additional year of Samsung Care+ for free when you buy three years.
How much does it cost?
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the cheapest “Fold” smartphone yet, with a starting price of $1,799. That’s $200 cheaper than the previous generation.
That price is for the 256GB model, and it goes up from there, with a 512GB model also being available.
Samsung was able to lower costs on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 this time around, as parts for the phone are starting to get cheaper. With the original Galaxy Fold, parts were quite expensive, as they were new, and not being manufactured at scale. However, now, Samsung has been able to lower these costs, as foldables are starting to sell quite a bit. Not just from Samsung, but other manufacturers as well. Not to mention the prices for parts like the 5G modem, and even the batteries have gotten cheaper. And Samsung is able to pass that on down to the consumer.
Part of the reason why Samsung is passing this savings down to the consumer, is to get more people buying foldables. As Samsung does want to corner this new market. And releasing something like the Galaxy Z Fold 3 at a price that more people can afford, will help them with that.
With the Galaxy Z Fold 3 at $1,799, it still sounds expensive. But remember, you’re essentially getting a tablet and smartphone in one device.
What kind of trade-in offers are available?
Samsung always has some pretty sweet trade-in offers for its new phones. You can trade-in your current smartphone for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and get up to $800 off. That brings the price down to just $28 per month for 36 months on the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Keep in mind that carriers may also have their own trade-in offers and other promotions that you can use, and actually might turn out to be better. SO it’s a good idea to shop around.
Where can I buy the Galaxy Z Fold 3?
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 will be available everywhere that Samsung phones are currently sold. These include:
- Best Buy
If you purchase the Galaxy Z Fold 3 through a carrier, you can get even more promotions added onto your purchase. Instead of just what Samsung is offering.
You will be able to finance it through every carrier and Samsung.com. But you won’t be able to through Best Buy, unless you buy it on a carrier through Best Buy. Basically, if you are buying it unlocked, at Best Buy, you can’t finance it.
Can I get an unlocked Galaxy Z Fold 3?
Yes, you can get the Galaxy Z Fold 3 unlocked. Samsung.com and Best Buy will both sell the Galaxy Z Fold 3 unlocked, and it can be used on any US carrier – AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon – as well as MVNO’s that run on those networks.
What colors does it come in?
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is going to come in some rather tame colors this time around. There’s only three colors available: Phantom Green, Phantom Black and Phantom Silver.
You will not be able to get customized hinges for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 this time around. Like users were able to do with the Galaxy Z Fold 2 last year. This is likely being done to streamline the manufacturing process. Whereas with the customized hinges last year, those had to be made when the user orders the device.
What are the specs of the Galaxy Z Fold 3?
The specs here are basically what you would expect for a flagship smartphone from Samsung in the later half of 2021. You can see the full spec sheet below, and compare it to the Galaxy Z Fold 2 as well. To see what kind of changes Samsung made year-over-year.
|Galaxy Z Fold 3||Galaxy Z Fold 2|
|Display||7.6″ Dynamic AMOLED 2X,|
Infinity Flex Display (2208×1768)
6.7″ Dynamic AMOLED 2X (2,268×832)
|7.6″ Dynamic AMOLED 2X,|
Infinity Flex Display (2208×1768)
6.7″ HD+ Super AMOLED (2,268×832)
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865|
|RAM/Storage||12GB with 256GB or 512GB||12GB with 256GB or 512GB|
[Under Display Camera]
|Audio||Stereo Speakers, Dolby Atmos||Stereo Speakers, Dolby Atmos|
|Authentication||Fingerprint sensor (side), Facial recognition||Fingerprint sensor (side), Facial recognition|
|Dimensions||Folded: 67.1 x 158.2 x 16.0 (hinge) – 14mm (sagging)|
Unfolded: 128.1 x 158.2 x 6.4mm
|Folded: 68.0 x 159.2 x 16.8mm (hinge) – 13.8mm (Sagging)|
Unfolded: 128.2 x 159.2 x 6.9mm (Frame) – 6mm (Screen)
|Software||Android 11, One UI 3.5||Android 10, One UI 2.5|
What new features were announced for the Galaxy Z Fold 3?
As foldables are still relatively new, Samsung continues to optimize the software for foldables, as well as adding new features. To help users take advantage of both the Cover Display and the Main Display’s different screen sizes and aspect ratios. Here’s some of the bigger features announced for the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Ability to customize aspect ratios
For most, this feature won’t sound like a big deal, but those that have used the Galaxy Z Fold 2 will know this is huge.
In the Samsung Labs portion of the Settings, Samsung will allow you to set custom aspect ratios for different apps. This means that apps like Instagram can be forced to display in a 16:9 window or something similar. Instead of the nearly 4:3 aspect ratio that the main display currently uses.
Keep in mind that this is an experimental feature, so it may not work 100% right out of the box. But it is something that Samsung will continue to work on and improve over the coming months and years.
There’s a new drag-and-drop feature on the Galaxy Z Fold 3, which allows you to move apps around on the screen as you see fit. This is particularly useful on the Galaxy Z Fold 3, since it has that awkward aspect ratio that almost no apps were built for.
Improvements to the taskbar
Samsung has also made some improvements to the Edge Panel on the Galaxy Z Fold 3. It now works more like a taskbar. So it can be pinned like a Windows 10 taskbar on the side of your phone. This allows you to quickly access your top apps or app pairs and open them even quicker.
These improvements also work with Flex Mode. Allowing you to use the Taskbar in Flex mode to open app pairs across Flex Mode. So you can be on a video call through Google Meet and then write an email in Gmail on the other side of the screen.
Samsung heard us all, and has added S-Pen support to the Galaxy Z Fold 3. As we’ve talked about already, that means some changes to the S-Pen had to be made. Like auto-retracting the tip, and other things. But that also unlocks some cool new features for the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
There’s not really any new S-Pen features here, perse, they are just new to the Galaxy Z Fold 3. So you are able to take notes, do some drawing and even grab portions of the screen for a screenshot.
This year, Samsung is offering two different S-Pen experiences. There is the S-Pen Pro which is your Bluetooth S-Pen that we had with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra last year. And there is the S-Pen Fold Edition, which is your usual stylus, but also a bit smaller. Neither of these will fit in the phone, so you will need to buy a case with the S-Pen unfortunately, for these.
But that makes the Galaxy Z Fold 3 a whole lot more productive for those that need to get some work done on the go.
Should I buy the Galaxy Z Fold 3 now or wait?
As always, we recommend waiting for the reviews to come out about any new phone before buying it. Especially if it is a very new concept like the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Sure this is the fourth iteration of the Fold, but it’s still a new form factor and could have issues. Nevermind the price of the Galaxy Z Fold 3. That’s a lot of money to spend on something that may not turn out to be what you want.
Looking back at the Galaxy Z Fold 2, we may not see a major discount on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 in the first few months after it is available. So if you’re waiting for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 to get cheaper, you may be waiting a little while. And the pre-order promotions that Samsung and the carriers are offering, are quite good.