Samsung is rolling out the latest edition of its big-screen foldable smartphone, the Android-powered Galaxy Z Fold3 5G. Phew, that’s a long name.
The phone — which is available for pre-order Aug. 11 and goes on sale Aug. 29 for $1,799 — is the company’s most advanced yet, and gets a number of welcome upgrades including a water-resistant design, slimmer body, and an under-display selfie camera.
Like the newly introduced Z Flip3, the Z Fold3’s 7.6-inch display is now 80% more durable. The original Z Flip and Z Fold’s screens were so fragile Samsung included labels in the phones’ boxes warning users not to press too hard on their displays. The Z Fold3’s improved screen durability is especially important, as Samsung has made the phone compatible with the company’s S Pen stylus.
Now you’ll be able to write directly on the Fold3’s display to take notes, draw, and navigate between apps. Unfortunately, there’s no place to store the S Pen on the Fold3. For that, you’ll need a special cover case for the phone.
Samsung is offering both a special S Pen Pro and S Pen Fold Edition. The Pro features built-in Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to use remote and gesture controls and improved grip, while the fold lacks Bluetooth connectivity and has a more compact design.
Samsung has also worked with developers including Microsoft (MSFT), Spotify (SPOT), and YouTube (GOOG, GOOGL) to ensure that apps work well with the Fold3’s foldable display. You can now drag and drop apps to pair them and run them side-by-side on the Fold3’s main panel. You can also put the phone down on your table and open it vertically, moving your app to the top of the screen, and navigation and control options to the bottom portion.
Rather than a notch that houses the Fold3’s selfie camera, Samsung has put the camera behind the screen itself, ensuring that it doesn’t take away from the overall viewing area. It’s a slick feature, and one that’s sure to come to more models across Samsung’s product lines.
With the Fold3 closed, you’re able to use its 6.2-inch cover display, which now sports a 120-Hz refresh rate for smoother scrolling across apps. Samsung has also placed a cover camera on the front panel, though it’s not hidden behind the screen.
Around back, you get three cameras: an ultra-wide angle lens, a wide-angle lens, and a telephoto lens.
Inside, the Fold3 gets Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 processor, 12GB of RAM, and your choice of 256GB or 512GB of RAM.
The Galaxy Z Fold3 5G’s price is going to be its biggest sticking point for consumers. $1,799 is still a lot for a smartphone, and will ensure that the Fold3 is less of a mainstream product than the $999 Z Flip3 5G. That price will also prevent the Fold3 from becoming a true competitor to something like Apple’s iPhone, which range in starting price from $699 to $1,099.
Still, it’s important that Samsung is continuing to refine its foldable phone lines, and provide consumers with more use options. It also doesn’t hurt that getting a new design out there will likely help drive better sales for Samsung in the long run as people seek out a device that’s more than just a flat screen.
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