I love funky smartphone devices. I was a huge slider fan with the Palm Pre. I still enjoy the feel of an old-school QWERTY from BlackBerry. So, when Samsung started the folding movement I’ve been intrigued from day one.

I recently got a chance to review the Galaxy Fold 3 and came away impressed. Well, our friends at AT&T allowed me the same preview opportunity with its sibling, the Samsung Galaxy Flip 3 5G. Let’s get into the full review.

Design

Samsung has been iterating the foldable form-factor for years now, and the Flip 3 (I’ll be dropping the 5G moniker for the remainder of this review). This phone feels and looks just as premium as any other entry in the Galaxy lineup. The combination of glass and metal truly feels like this is a legit smartphone like any other.

Internally, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is powered by the latest 888 5G from Qualcomm and 8GB of RAM. As the name suggests, this Flip is the first generation with a 5G modem. Packed inside is 3,300mAh worth of endurance with the battery.

The main attraction of the hardware is the folding screen and hinge. The hinge feels tight and opens with just the right amount of resistance. It never feels flimsy or that it will break down after extended use.

The main matte screen is 6.7″ flexible display set at 120Hz. You can see the crease in the display but it quickly fades away after a few hours of use. You also get a secondary 1.5″ display on the outside of the Flip 3 while the device is shut.

Rounding out the spec sheet, Samsung offers onboard storage in both 128GB and 256GB options. The company has also updated the water resistance rating to IPX8 which should allow you a little more extreme conditions than the previous editions, but you still don’t want to take it swimming.

Cameras

There are three total cameras on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. You have standard and wide-angle 12MP shooters on the rear of the phone. Much like the Z Fold 3, these take good photos in both standard and widescreen despite the sensors being nowhere near the quality of the Galaxy S21 series.

In good to moderate lighting, you can take more than acceptable photos. As that degrades, so do the results. None are bad, but the Flip 3 has a premium price, and the main cameras seem to be the biggest compromise.

On the interior display, you get a 10MP selfie-cam that is also serviceable. It is a cutout style notch sensor, so it performs better than the under-display offering on the Galaxy Z Fold 3. You should have no problem snapping Instagram-worthy shots.

Daily use

New form factors lead to hopefully new usage cases. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 has been a bit of a rollercoaster. I found my initial reaction was that this is the future of general smartphones. You can easily fold this up and throw it in your pocket.

However, as I entered weeks two and three of my testing period, I found myself struggling with that enthusiasm. The Flip 3 does fold up and in theory, takes up less space, but it doesn’t make it less bulky. While close you are essentially carrying two 4.2″ phones stacked on top of one another in your pocket.

Think of it like your Dad’s giant wallet stuffed with old checks, receipts, and cash. While it carries all the essentials you need in a smartphone, it just colors the mass a different color. Instead of a long, slim slab you now have a small brick.

Speaking of a long, slim slab, when the Z Flip 3 is “open” this phone is very tall. Like strikingly tall. Its physical footprint is over a full inch longer than any other phone I have in my home.

But my biggest usage hangup might be that I have to open it. Yes, I know that’s the point, but the novelty of having to do that every time I needed to interact with the Flip 3 wears you down fast. I quickly missed the ability to just pull my phone out and with a single fingerprint scan be ready to go.

I should also mention the secondary display doesn’t do a lot. Other than showing the time and date, it doesn’t offer much functionality. You can’t really interact with notifications or respond to messages.

Software is on par with the rest of the Galaxy lineup and I won’t go too in-depth with One UI other than I like it more than any other iteration of Samsung’s version of Android. You do get some of the foldable specific tweaks like multi-app views and the split view in YouTube where uses the fold as a standing orientation to watch videos.

Battery life

Other than the cameras, this is the other big constraint of the Samsung Galax Z Flip 3. It’s an engineering marvel, but the sheer thinness of the Flip limited the battery capacity to just 3,300mAh.

I can get through most days, but I have had more anxiety making it through my evenings than any other recent phone I’ve used. If you tax it much past general use, you may have to recharge during your day. Long movie sessions or poor network areas will max it out quickly.

Thankfully, Samsung has included both wireless charging and USB-C quick charge. With the wired connection, you can get to 50% in around 30 minutes and a full charge in 95 minutes. This at least gives you a reprieve from the lack of battery capacity when needed.

Conclusion

Samsung has nailed the hardware and concept of this series in the Galaxy Z Flip 3. The look and feel of this device are great while bringing its cutting-edge form factor to consumers. I just don’t know that it’s a one-to-one replacement for the modern smartphone.

There are just enough compromises and drawbacks that make it hard to recommend unless you just want the ability to fold a phone. The Z Flip 3 doesn’t hold the same value add as its larger sibling.

If you are a potential buyer who still wants this device, you can snag it from your local AT&T right now. The cost is subject to current discounts and promotions if leasing, but the full price will set you back $1,000.

Purchase the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 from AT&T

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I experienced an issue with my Z Flip where bubbles developed under the glass, making the crease highly visible. Hot and humid weather seems to be the root cause that others have experienced. While the phone is under warranty, parts are not available at the local UBreakIfix and Best Buy and Samsung requires the phone to be shipped back to their facility for repairs between the shipping and repair time, I could be without my phone for 2 – 3 weeks. In this day an age, that is not acceptable. Samsung should ship replacements for warranty repairs.

  2. I also believed samsung could have found a way to put a bigger battery in this phone and better storage options but here is my experience.
    2 month into having the phone and I learned to live with the battery life and half par camera and CLICK!!! My phone turned off just like I removed the battery . The only way it will stay running is to keep it hooked up to a charger . The instant you unplug it it turns off .
    ” samsung care” you say ? Yes… I have that and as of 12-15-2021 I have since filed my claim 31 days ago and STILL do not have a replacement. Their excuse ? They simply don’t have any phones to send . So their next option is to pay me what I paid for the phone. So, I’m thinking I’m not happy about it but ok . I ask ” how long will it take for me to receive the check ” and I’m given yet ANOTHER list of things I have to send in to get THAT ball rolling( it took over 10 days to get everything submitted “properly ” for them to accept the claim “and it would be another 10-14 days before I got the check . I also have to send my phone in before they will send the check ,which means I will loose everything on my phone because it’s not here to transfer my stuff . They said ” use Google to upload ” well, that would be ok but they only offer 100gig clouds and I have more than that in just pictures and videos .

    So then I think , I will just order a new phone and when it gets here and I can transfer everything, THEN I will start the process of getting my check and sending the broken phone in, right ???? Well , no .. because as of today, the 256g version won’t ship until January 10th . Now , I have been a samsung fanboy since day 1. I love their high end products and have always pushed anyone who asked to them but I find this experience to be compete bull***T !!! Samsung offered to fix the phone under warranty but that I was also told would take 10-14 days to get back AND I still loose all my stuff . Did I mention this is a business phone !!!! I even went out and bought a cheap prepay samsung to put my Sim card in so my customers can still get me and that thing was like having dial-Up internet and a computer from the early 90’s .. I actually just smashed it because I got so frustrated just trying to run simple business functions like text and email …
    SO,here I am with battery pack hooked to a still new phone ( which now the port is wearing out so when it gets a bad connection , my phone shuts off and it takes me about 3 minuits to get it back on … just for it to happen again ) . I have insurance I paid for that can’t/ won’t replace my phone . I can order a new one and pray this one lasts 3 more weeks until it gets here or ….. buy a competitors phone and never ever look back again . Samsungs response? ” we can give you $100 off your purchase if you do decide to buy another phone, but it will still be January 10th before it ships ”

    I don’t know about you but , this doesn’t sound like samsung , I’m disgusted, pi$$Ed , frustrated and in disbelief.

  3. I have had this phone for 3 days now and so far Im enjoying it. Its different and i like to be different. The battery life is atrocious but i have a charger at home and i judt purchased one for the car so I wont have to worry about battery life to much. Im also still within my 14 day period to exchange it if i need to. And if I exchange it ill get the Pixel 6 Pro instead. By like I said, I really enjoy this one so I hope it works out.

  4. My phone is samsung z flip 3 my problem is after update my phone the music ans other apps on my cover screen not working…

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