The Galaxy Z Flip 3, is now in its second iteration and the form factor harkens back to the days of the original flip phone and there’s none more iconic than the Motorola Razr which I reviewed here back in 2004. These phones are undeniably adorable but it took years of research and development for companies like Samsung to be able to create a phone with the same allure in an age of big-screen smartphones. The only real solution is to make a screen that can bend or fold over itself.
However, the technology still isn't perfect and compromises were made to make the Z Flip 3 somewhat affordable.
The Flip advantage
One of the distinct advantages of the Z Flip 3 is its compact size and pocketability. When closed you get a 1.9-inch cover screen that can display the time/date/battery, notifications and widgets for weather, playback control and things like timers. However, its small size means it’s fairly limited and after using the phone for a few weeks I realised that I didn’t use it all that often.
You can use it to take selfies from the rear cameras but the image is cropped so the framing requires some guesswork.
Open the folding display and you’ll be pleasantly greeted with a stunning 6.7-inch FHD OLED screen with a silky 120Hz display. It’s very tall and thin so it doesn’t feel as big as similar sized screens like the S21 Ultra (6.8-inch).
Its ultra-thin glass cover is also 80% more robust than the original model, while still softer and smoother to the touch than ordinary glass, allowing your fingers to slide over the surface as effortlessly as a typical phone.
There is still a crease where the screen folds that can be felt, but it is only visible when the screen is turned off and at certain angles. I found this does spoil the experience of scrolling through social feeds but you do get used to it.
One of the major updates to the Z Flip 3 is that it is way more robust and now comes with an IPX8 rating so it can be dunked in up to 1.5-metre of water for up to 30 minutes.
You also get the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage. However, what you don’t get is a microSD card slot — something that’s going the way of the headphone jack in phones.
The power button is located on the right edge and doubles up as a reliable and fast fingerprint sensor. You also get the option to unlike the phone with facial recognition.
The Z Flip 3 comes with a USB-C for charging but there’s no power adaptor in the box. Battery performance isn’t great but most users should still be able to get a day on a single charge with medium use. Heavy users will be reaching for the charger before the end of the day for a top-up.
The cameras consist of a 12MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide angle and a 10MP front-facing lens.
For a phone in this price bracket, you’re missing some high-end features such as the telephoto lens and the selfie camera is only average.
Overall, I was very happy with the results of the photos and video I took with the rear cameras but the ultra-wide lens is notably softer than the main. You get the same excellent camera modes found in the S21 series including Pro modes and Directors view.
I really enjoyed using the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and it’s a fantastic piece of engineering. The second iteration of the Z Flip series is a major improvement on the original. The form factor will appeal to those with small but deep pockets.
Unfortunately, for me at least, as satisfying as the technology is to use, personally, I would rather spend the money and a more traditional design without the compromises.
Available now €1,099