Living with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3

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For the past couple of weeks I have used the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G as my primary phone and was a little surprised at how useful I found it. Unlike its big brother, the Galaxy Z Fold3, it doesn’t try to be a phone and tablet in one device. Instead, the Flip3 focuses on convenience, in that it folds in half, so it can fit better in certain pockets or bags. You can “open it” to use it like a regular slab-style smartphone, in a way that is reminiscent of the flip phones that predated the iPhone.

When folded, the Flip3 measures 2.83 x 3.38 x 0.67 inches, which, as you would expect, is about twice as thick, but only about half the length of a phone. traditional. When you open it, the length drops to 6.53 inches, while the thickness decreases to 0.27 inches. It weighs 6.45 ounces. I have found the folded phone to fit better in some of my pockets than a full size phone. That’s the big selling point here.

When opened, you see a 6.7 inch screen with 2640 x 1080 pixels in a 22: 9 configuration. Like the Galaxy S21 series, it offers the 120Hz adaptive refresh rate of recent Samsung phones. The AMOLED screen looked bright enough and was very readable in direct sunlight. If the screen is very bright you can see a little crease in the middle, but it’s dim and I was quickly able to ignore it. Samsung claims that this generation of foldable phones has a more durable display than previous versions. I did not notice any problem.

When closed, there is a small exterior display that tells you the time, date and battery level; and lets you see your notifications by swiping, so you can decide if you want to open it. This screen measures 1.9 inches, with 512 x 260 pixels, which is larger than the cover screen of last year’s version of the Flip. However, this screen is not as bright, so it was more difficult to read in direct sunlight.

You can also have the phone folded in half, in what Samsung calls “Flex mode,” where the bottom is flat and the top half is vertical. It worked well in some apps, like watching YouTube at the top with the controls at the bottom; and that’s not bad for videoconferencing. But in general, I haven’t found multitasking to work much differently from other Samsung flagship phones (other than the Fold, with its larger screen).

The Flip3 has two 12-megapixel rear cameras, one f / 1.8 main camera with optical image stabilization and the other an f / 2.2 ultra-wide camera. I thought the images I got were pretty good – they looked crisp, but didn’t quite have the color accuracy I’ve seen on other Samsung or Apple phones lately. Note that unlike the Galaxy S21 or Fold3, there is no telephoto lens, at a time when most phones at this price point have an optical zoom.

It has the features I’ve come to expect on Galaxy phones now, such as the useful “One Take” option which takes a variety of photos at the same time, and the “Director’s View” on video, which allows you to preview images from all cameras.

The 10-megapixel f / 2.4 front camera, which passes through a hole in the interior display, looked good for selfies or video calls. I didn’t find the Flip form factor to be as good as the Fold for video calling, but this is one area where “flexible mode” really helped, because when the phone is seated you get the video angle you want.

When the Flip3 is closed, you can use the best main cameras to take selfies, with a viewfinder appearing on the front screen. It’s a cool feature, but one that I didn’t find myself using a lot.

The Flip3 comes with Android 11 and Samsung’s One UI 3.1.1 skin. You can multitask, but I didn’t find it as useful on this sizable screen, as opposed to the larger Fold or Galaxy S series canvas when used in DeX mode, where it does. works much like a laptop. I was a little disappointed that the Flip does not support DeX. It also doesn’t have the S stylus support of the bigger phone.

There are other important characteristics. Unlike previous Flip phones, this one is rated IPX8, which means it’s water resistant, but not dust or sand resistant. For unlocking, the power button includes a fingerprint sensor which worked well.

The version of the Z Flip 5G I tested worked on AT&T, and I got download speeds ranging from 50 to 73 Mbps and upload speeds between 5 and 30 Mbps on 5G, while on LTE, which is even more common, I have seen varying download speeds from 7 to 286 Mbps and upload speeds between 5 and 30 Mbps. It’s not as fast as what I’ve seen in recent testing with a Verizon phone, but it might just depend on where I was testing – obviously, no place I’ve been to. had mmWave coverage. As with all 5G devices, you don’t get much of a speed boost today; here’s to hope for more 5G coverage and applications in the future.

The model I used had a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, with a cluster of Kryo 680 processors (one ARM Cortex-X1, three A78s and four A55s) and Adreno 660 graphics, and a theoretical speed of 2.84 GHz, as well as a built-in Snapdragon X60 5G modem, and with 8 GB of memory and 128 GB of storage. It looked a lot like other newer phones from Samsung (which have the same processor), which is eye-catching for most things. I found the battery life to be good for the way I used the phone, but not as strong as on the Fold or the Galaxy S21.

In short, this generation of foldable phones, both the Flip3 and Fold3, make foldable phones a reasonable choice instead of just a tech gadget.

With a list price of $ 999 for the 128GB model I tested, the Galaxy Z Flip3 offers a nice set of tradeoffs. On the one hand, you’re giving up a bit in terms of the camera and battery life. But on the ‘flip’ side, you get a really nice foldable design, a phone that slips more easily into some pockets and purses, and something that really stands out.

Here is the full review of PCMag.

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