Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G Review
Having a foldable phone is always so cool. It’s been depicted as high-end, trendy, and even sassy; but since it was modernized, the prices for foldable phones aren’t really easy to reach. And realistically, they weren’t convincing enough with the lack of an IP rating, inconsistent app compatibility, and some people just really see them as gimmicks.
Now since Samsung’s first Flip phone was released, the brand has been finding ways to further improve a flagship foldable smartphone that consumers can fully rely on and would actually prefer to buy. The Galaxy Z Flip3 5G could actually be just that for a starting price of PHP 52,990. I’ve been using it as a daily driver for some days now, and I might just flip for it. Keep on reading for our full review.
Design and Construction
Elegant, minimal, fashionable, and more durable. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip has been a head-turner since its first iteration, but this time, the Flip3 leans further on a sophisticated look with a two-tone folded front design. It flaunts an upgraded 1.9-inch Super AMOLED cover display, its two rear cameras, and an LED flash. The whole front and rear cover are protected with Gorilla Glass Victus, which is the toughest to date, while we get a layer of Gorilla Glass DX+ on the two camera lenses.
The unit we have is in the Cream color, while other tones available locally are Green, Lavender, and Phantom Black that we’ve seen in their S21 series. It looks good, but this Cream design is our top pick as it gives an impression of always looking clean and stylish. Additionally, we like how the whole rear design is not much of a fingerprint magnet, however, do note that it can be a lot slippery—that’s why it’s still best to put a case on.
We get a tough Aluminum Armor hinge that flows through the sides, and it sure works smoother than its predecessors. Samsung claims that this Galaxy Z Flip3 is 80% tougher than their previous models with that improved hinge, Gorilla Glass protection, and finally an IPX8 water resistance rating. This means that it can be submerged in water deeper than 1m for more than 30mins, but we sure don’t recommend that you try it on purpose. On the flip side though, we only get water-proofing here, so some dust or sand can still get in the way, especially between the gap when the phone is folded. But hey, these new layers of protection definitely give peace of mind, and props to Samsung for focusing on it even when they’re achieving a trimmed-down price tag.
The Galaxy Z Flip3 may seem too tall to grip when unfolded, and that’s simply because of its slim form factor. For reference, here’s what it looks like side-by-side with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Well, it’s still a large device but definitely pocketable when folded.
For buttons and ports, while it’s folded located on top is that signature Samsung branding on the hinge, while at the bottom are its USB Type-C port, three microphones, the downward-firing speaker, and some antenna bands.
Meanwhile, on the left side is the SIM card slot for 1 nano-SIM, but there’s also an eSIM support.
Then on the right is the power button that doubles as the fingerprint scanner, right beside the volume rocker that switches commands whenever the phone is folded. They’re all pretty tactile, yet can be hard to reach if you have small hands and the phone is unfolded.
Display and Multimedia
One of the top upgrades that the Z Flip3 has is its larger outer Super AMOLED screen that measures 1.9-inches. That’s 4x larger than its predecessor and it’s more useful too. Besides stylishly getting your notifications, the cover display has a few widgets such as music controls, weather, calendar, voice recorder, Samsung Health, and timer. Some of these were present in the old Z Flip models, but with a bigger front display like this, I find myself using it a lot, plus it reduces my screen time which is a good thing for me personally.
When you have an incoming call and the phone is folded, you can answer the call via the cover display and it will then automatically be on speakerphone. Yet probably, a sassy feature that we like is how you can drop calls by simply shutting the device close. It’s just fun.
You can customize the clock faces in the settings and you can even add your preferred image and clock text color. Now if you want to use the rear cameras for selfies while the phone is folded, then you can simply double click the power button to trigger the camera app. Doing a swipe-down gesture on the cover display allows you to use the ultrawide lens while swiping from the left or right will switch to video mode. By the way, this double press shortcut on the power button can be customized in the settings under the side key category.
When flipped open, the Galaxy Z Flip3 sports a 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity Flex Display with a buttery smooth 120Hz refresh rate option. Specifically, it has a resolution of 2640 x 1080px, a pixel density of 425ppi, and there’s also HDR10+ support. The bezels are a tad bit thinner when compared to the last generation model, but Samsung retained the same punch-hole front camera notch here.
The pre-installed screen protector on this longer display feels more like scrolling through a glass panel than a flexible one, and that’s good. Don’t you ever think of removing it though, coz there will be consequences. Anyways, surely there’s still a noticeable crease right in the middle of the screen, and it’s noticeable from different angles, except upfront when you’re watching videos or doing video calls. The point is unless you touch the display facing full front, the crease is not distracting at all. However, when navigating the UI, you can really touch through the crease, but it’s not that irritating since the display does give a glass feel.
From the get-go, this display is vibrant and dynamic. We get very good outdoor visibility but expect the viewing angle unmatched when the screen is half folded.
Then there’s that Adaptive 120Hz refresh rate on board that completely compliments the display quality. It’s great but if you want to save more battery life then you can toggle it to the standard 60Hz.
Audio-wise, sound come out from its down-firing loudspeaker and the earpiece. This dual-stereo setup actually provides clear and boosted sound that you can expect from flagship smartphones today. With the Dolby Atmos support, there’s very good sound balance and it doesn’t sound distorted when the volume is set to the highest.
Diving deeper into its cameras, the lenses are also similar to last year’s model with updated camera software. That’s a 12MP Dual Pixel main and a 12MP ultra-wide with still no telephoto lens available here. Meanwhile on its notch resides a 10MP front camera.
When it comes to quality, it doesn’t disappoint at all. With the main 12MP camera, we often get sharp and bold-looking colors that still maintain a natural look. There’s also a wide dynamic range and a slight bokeh effect even when you’re not using the portrait mode. You can digitally zoom in up to 10x, which isn’t that detailed when maxed out but it can still be handy in specific situations.
And then when we switch to its ultrawide lens, the color reproduction is almost similar to the main camera, however, it’s easy to spot a fisheye effect in most scenarios. Either way, we still use it a lot, especially when using the camera while the phone is folded.
Speaking of which, taking selfies with the cover screen is really fun and you can definitely expect professional-looking selfies. Although I do wish that the aspect ratio wasn’t locked at the square format.
Portrait shots on the other hand are excellent, especially under good lighting conditions. We get a smooth subject-background separation that you can edit in post for more effects.
As for night photography, when night mode is not in use, we get decent brightness, yet it looks quite grainy, and dark areas can look just black. But with night mode turned on, it surely shows big improvements in the photos’ details and brightness without looking too grainy or washed out. It can look unnatural at times so if you want just the right amount of boost, then you can use the main camera and make sure that you’re using the scene optimizer for a touch of AI.
Using its 10MP front camera provides natural-looking shots under ample lighting. The skin tone sometimes tends to alter, but most of the time, it worked fine. If you want some selfie uplift, then you can always take advantage of its beauty mode and filters.
For other features, there’s Samsung’s own Single Take mode, Food mode, Panorama, Pro, AR Doodle, Super Slow-Mo, Hyperlapse, and Director’s view.
Checking out videos, you can shoot up to 4k at 60fps, but the Super Steady stabilization is only usable for 1080p at 30fps. You can use the Pro Video though if you want more control for specific subjects and scenarios.
OS, UI, and Apps
Running the software department is Android 11 skinned with OneUI 3.5. It’s still a lot similar to OneUI 3.1, with the added exclusive flex features. I’m talking about the Flex mode which is a signature to Samsung’s foldable phones. This mode will automatically split your display into two 4-inch screens when it’s free-standing. So far, it fully supports a few native Samsung apps, but other apps can be used as well, as long as you allow them in the settings.
Do note that it’s not that optimized yet for most third-party apps, so oftentimes we get a tiny square monitor on top and a control center at the bottom. It would be awesome though if they made the lower part act like a trackpad, just as they did for the Gallery app. But nonetheless, it’s pretty cool for apps like YouTube, Netflix, and the camera app. Try using Flex mode when you’re lying down, just because it makes more sense. Other multitasking features include split-screen and pop-up view.
If you’re wondering about its Instagram optimization, well I didn’t encounter any problem when posting photos and videos. They don’t appear blurry or low quality at all.
There’s an app drawer option, as well as navigating with gestures or the three-way buttons. Whichever you prefer. And of course, being Samsung, there’s Bixby across the interface that you can control in the settings.
More in the settings, there are some quirky and useful features that you can take advantage of, including floating notifications, dark mode, hide apps, digital wellbeing & parental controls, visibility enhancements, hearing enhancements, and video call effects.
For storage, the Galaxy Z Flip3 is available with either 128GB or 256GB UFS 3.1. And what we have is a 128GB model, which leaves us with 100GB of usable space right out of the box.
Performance and Benchmarks
There’s a significant boost in performance with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor that’s paired with an Adreno 660 GPU and 8GB of RAM. It’s the same configuration that you can find in Samsung’s S21 series and hell, it is blazing.
Apps load quickly, multitasking is a breeze, and it can practically handle anything you throw at it without any stutters. As for gaming, the Game Launcher app automatically boosts the experience, and with the 120Hz refresh rate, playing heavy games is effortlessly immersive.
The only issue that we encountered is the heating on the top side of the display when using heavy apps for long periods of time. You can place a tough case on the phone so it’s less bothersome.
We ran it through our usual benchmark apps and here are the results we got:
• Antutu v9.1 – 693,803
• GeekBench 5 – 1,055 (Single-Core), 3,353 (Multi-Core)
• PC Mark 3.0 – 14,096
• 3D Mark – 4,933 (Wild Life), 29.5 Average frame rate
• Androbench – 1,638.48 MB/s (Read), 734.92 MB/s (Write)
For security, you can unlock the phone via face-unlock and the side-mounted fingerprint scanner. They’re both quick and reliable, but the fingerprint scanner might be hard to reach when the Flip3 is unfolded so we suggest registering more fingers.
Connectivity and Battery Life
Connectivity-wise, the Galaxy Z Flip3 got you covered with 5G, 4G LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS, and WiFi 6. Flagship smartphones nowadays have good connectivity, so no issues here.
So far, everything’s looking good right? But here’s the catch—the battery. Similar to last year’s Z Flip, we get a 3300mAh capacity which is small but quite acceptable given its unique build. However, the fact remains that this is a battery hog so in a day you’ll be needing to charge it at least once or twice.
When we ran it through the PCMark’s Work 3.0 Battery Test with the 120Hz refresh rate kept on, we yielded a score of 7 hours and 49 minutes. Meanwhile, in our standard video loop test wherein we loop a 1080p video under 50% brightness, 0% volume, 60Hz refresh rate, and airplane mode turned on, the Galaxy Z Flip3 got 14 hours and 4 minutes of playback.
It features 15W wired fast charging, 10W wireless charging, and 4.5W reverse wireless charging, which should all be convenient if you have the proper chargers. As most of you may already know, it doesn’t come with an adapter in the box, and the cable that comes with it is a USB-C-to-C type, so you’ll be needing a USB-PD adapter or a standard Type-C charger if you already have one. Charging takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes from 0-100% with a wired fast charger.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G is available in two variants: the 128GB model that’s priced at PHP 52,990, and the 256GB option that you can get for PHP 56,990.
Due to the Galaxy Z Flip’s history with pricing, most of us were expecting something higher than PHP 70,000. That’s why it was a “Wait, what?!” exciting moment to hear that it’s within 50k. It’s not much affordable, but it is now more reasonable, and it’s going to be a game-changer for future foldable smartphones.
All in all, this flipping phone checks a lot of boxes, including hype and status so it’s definitely a conversation starter and a head-turner. You get that flagship performance, stunning display, quirky features, tougher build, and deliverable cameras all in this fancy thing that you can discreetly keep in your pocket. But as I’ve mentioned, there’s a catch and it is in the battery. If you are to buy this phone, you should be ready to charge it at least once or twice a day or use a powerbank. Other than that, we’re loving it.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G specs:
1.9-inch Super AMOLED display 260 x 512, 302PPI
6.7-inch FHD+ (2640 x 1080) Dynamic AMOLED 2X (22:9) Infinity Flex Display, 425ppi
120Hz Adaptive refresh rate
Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC
128GB, 256GB UFS 3.1
• 12MP F1.8 Dual Pixel main
• 12MP F2.2 Ultra-wide
• Gorilla Glass DX
10MP F2.4 front camera
Nano SIM w/ e-SIM
5G, 4G LTE
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, Galileo
Fingerprint scanner (side)
IPX8 water resistance
OneUI 3.5 (Android 11)
86.4 x 72.2 x 17.1mm – 15.9mm (Folded)
166.0 x 72.2 x 6.9mm (Unfolded
Phantom Black, Cream, Green, Lavender