The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is coming this summer, with a wide range of updates planned for Samsung’s most powerful foldable phone. This includes support for S Pen so you can take notes on the big screen.
Other leaks of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 point to a more durable design that can withstand both water and dust. We also heard that this could be the first Samsung phone with an under-screen camera. This would result in a much more immersive viewing experience.
Here’s everything we’ve heard about the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, including its expected release date, specs, and more.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Release Date
Of course, the rumor that the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 would be released in May has not materialized. Instead, the second half of the year is a more likely target, especially with reports that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will take over from the Galaxy Note as Samsung’s big launch later this year.
A report from The Elec of Korea states that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will be released in July along with the Galaxy Z Flip 3. That would be before its August launch when Samsung normally holds its second-half event, and a month later. or so before the release of the Galaxy Z Fold 2 a year ago.
More recently, another Korean publication reported that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 would debut at an August event where the Galaxy S21 FE would join the two foldable ones. Whatever the exact date, it looks like foldable phones will be in the spotlight this summer. And with production reportedly beginning on the Galaxy Z Fold 3, Samsung’s foldable look is well on its way to a summer debut.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Price
A report from SamMobile says the Galaxy Z Fold 3 may have a 20% lower launch price than the Galaxy Z Fold 2. That would cost $200 or as cheap as $1,599. However, this was the only report of its kind to date.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 debuted for $1,999, making it by far Samsung’s most expensive phone, even after a permanent price cut to $1,799.
Perhaps Samsung could develop a cheaper Galaxy Z Fold FE, at least if we believe Max Weinbach’s leak. Weinbach tweeted the names of Samsung’s flagships he hopes to see in 2021, mentioning four different versions of the Galaxy S21, sequels to the Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip… and a Galaxy Z Fold FE.
To that end, a report states that we will see two versions of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 – a full version alongside a more affordable option. The same Korean ETNews report says Samsung will do the same as the new version of the Galaxy Z Flip, the price of which also dropped to $1,199 even lower.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Design
We should see big improvements in the design of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, with Elec claiming it will be the first Samsung phone to get an under-display camera. This in response to a tip from Ice Universe.
A separate leak that supposedly shows photos from a Samsung promotional video for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 seems to confirm that a camera below the display is on the way. A new leak suggests that this is also the case, although the phone still has an external display camera. It will also have a set of three-lens cameras on the back.
A camera below the screen is usually transparent and hides behind the screen until needed. Use the camera to take a selfie, for example, and the camera lens would suddenly become visible on the screen. (Think of this as a variant of the in-display fingerprint sensor, with the sensor guidelines only appearing when you need to unlock your phone.)
The rumor seems to be torn about the dual screens of the Galaxy Z Fold 3. A report says that the Z Fold 3 will have a 7-inch internal display and a 4-inch external display. Both are significantly smaller than the Z Fold 2’s, especially on the outside, and we’ll have to wait and see how Samsung wants to justify this. However, another rumor suggests that the phone will have a 5.4-inch external display and a 7.7-inch internal display.
Whatever changes to Samsung’s design, the new version is expected to be lighter than its predecessor. Leaker Ice Universe tweeted that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 should weigh 269 grams. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 weighed 282 grams (9.9 ounces).
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 renderings created by designer Ben Geskin and based on the latest leaks show what a Galaxy Z Fold 3 with a camera below the display might look like.
A recent Samsung patent describing a foldable phone without physical buttons has fueled speculation that the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 could be such a device. We caution against assuming that means there will be no buttons on the next Samsung phone. First, patents don’t always reflect the company’s plans for its phones. Second, even if this patent does, it might be a while before we see it implemented on a real phone.
As for the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 colors, SamMobile reports that the phone will come in black and green, although there may be additional options. The website also claims that the Z Fold 3 will have some form of splash resistance to improve survivability.
Durability of Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Speaking of durability, another leak also claims that the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 comes with an IP rating for water and dust resistance. This should enable you to survive accidental dives and dusty outdoor walks.
Samsung introduced an ultra-thin glass layer on the Galaxy Z Fold 2, making this phone stronger than its predecessor. Ice Universe expects the next model to use a new version of slightly thicker glass, further improving the phone’s design and making it less fragile.
Likewise, The Elec says this thicker glass allows for S-Pen support without damaging the flexible glass screen. And a patent indicates that Samsung is testing an “Armor frame” case, to use it in a foldable case like the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: S Pen
If the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is going to replace the Galaxy Note as Samsung’s productivity-focused device, it needs its own S Pen. Ice Universe is including this as one of the likely features in a tweet about what to expect from the next phone. Elec also confirms support for the S Pen is coming as Samsung prepares the Z Fold lineup as a solid successor to the Galaxy Note.
The current S Pen may not work with the Galaxy Fold’s screen, requiring a new design, according to The Elec. This Korean publication reports that Samsung would switch from the electromagnetic resonance-based design of the current pen to one that uses Active Electro-Static (AES) technology. This approach is best suited to avoid damaging the screen of a foldable phone, which is softer than the glass used for traditional phones. It would also require the refreshed S Pen to have its own battery.
More recent support, however, says Samsung will also use thicker flexible glass to protect the screen from stylus pressure. While this doesn’t rule out that the S-Pen’s technology may also change, it does mean that Samsung takes pen support seriously and makes sure it doesn’t cause any damage.
Galaxy Z Fold 3 Concept
It’s not clear if an S Pen would be too big to fit in the phone itself, but Let’s Go Digital has a rendering that shows how a pen fits into a foldable phone. However, South Korean blog Naver suggests that Samsung has failed to come up with a design that would fit the S Pen into the structure of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, so it’s to be expected that you’ll need a case that will hold the pen, just like with the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Specifications
We’ll have to wait for the rumor to give us more details on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 specs, but we can make some good guesses about the foldable future based on what Samsung has included in this year’s version.
Since the Galaxy Z Fold 2 runs on a Snapdragon 865 Plus, we can assume that the new version will feature one of Qualcomm’s best mobile processing platforms in the second half of the year. Right now, Snapdragon 888 is Qualcomm’s leading system-on-chip for Android phones, but the chipmaker also introduced the Snapdragon 870 5G as a more advanced version of the Snapdragon 865 Plus. Any chip can be plugged into the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Leaker Ice Universe tweeted about a possible surprise that the Z Fold 3 uses neither the Snapdragon 888 nor Samsung’s own Exynos 2100 chipsets, opting for a different system-on-chip.
We’ll have to wait and see if Samsung packs in more RAM than the 12GB in the Galaxy Z Fold 2 or if the storage goes beyond 256GB.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 battery and charging
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 uses a 4,500 mAh battery, which ran around at one point in our battery test – just over 10 hours. While this is slightly better than average, it’s especially impressive given that the Galaxy Z Fold 2 has dual screens for more 5G connectivity.
Since we got that time by testing the phone with the screen set to a 60Hz refresh rate instead of the more demanding 120Hz refresh rate, it would be a good idea for Samsung to find a way to add more battery power to the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Now, though, it looks like the Z Fold 3 will get a smaller 4,380 mAh battery, which will be split into two more cells. One possible reason is that Samsung is making room for an internal bay for the S Pen, just like in the past with the Galaxy Note series.
In terms of charging, it seems that you can expect the same 25W charging speed on the Z Fold 3 and Z Fold 2. This is in line with the Chinese regulator 3C, which has been chosen by the GSMArena.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Cameras
A rumor about the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is about a possible collaboration between Samsung cameras and Olympus. According to several tweets from leaker Yogesh, the two companies could work together for the cameras of upcoming Samsung smartphones.
Yogesh suggested a special edition version of the Z Fold 3 could be the first place we’d see the fruits of this partnership, though it’s also possible it will debut on the Galaxy S22 Ultra – if the partnership is indeed real.
A recent leak claims that the phone will come with a triple-lens rear camera consisting of 3x telephoto, wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle lenses. Each is set to a resolution of 12 MP and records video at 4k 60 fps. More recently, however, leaks predict that the rear cameras of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will be the same as those of the Galaxy Z Fold 2 – a trio of 12MP cameras, with a telephoto lens capable of 2x zoom.
It is also said to have two selfie cameras, including a 10MP hole camera on the external display and a 16MP camera below the display on the internal folding display.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Software
Whether the Galaxy Z Fold arrives in July or August, it’s sure to make it before the release of Android 12. It doesn’t matter, as Samsung will eventually upgrade the new fold to Google’s updated OS, probably by the end of the year.
More important software news may come from a leak with a new interface for Samsung’s foldable phones. The so-called Split UI interface adjusts what you see based on the orientation of the phone and whether the screen is fully open.
In addition to the interface that adapts to the screen state, users can customize what they see with Split UI and even resize different sections with a slide. The leak suggests that Split UI will debut on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 before debuting on another foldable Samsung.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: What We Would Like To See
Samsung surpassed many of our demands when it launched the Galaxy Z Fold 2 simply by making a more durable phone. So “more of the same, please” would certainly sum up the vast majority of our requests. But if the company really wants its foldable phone instead of the Galaxy Note, there are a few things Samsung needs to address with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.
More multitasking features:
Samsung started here, letting you run three apps at once and adding a Flex mode that turns different halves of the main screen into control and display areas. We’d love to see more apps that support Flex Mode and hope Samsung can come up with ways that take advantage of the extra space on the Fold screen – preferably with the S Pen if that actually happens. The news of a visual Split UI is an encouraging step.
Even Better Durability:
We’re happy to hear that Ultra-Thin Glass will likely be beefed up on the Galaxy Z Fold 3. We’d be even more ecstatic if Samsung found a way to give this phone some water resistance. The current Galaxy Fold offers nothing in that regard, which is a major flaw on a phone that debuted for around $2,000.
A cheaper version:
Foldable phones cost a lot – we understand that. And some people will be willing to pay dearly for a truly polished folding device. But if Samsung can find a way to lower the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 price a bit, we’d welcome that change. And a Galaxy Z Fold FE that cuts the price even further would take a great idea even further.