The first foldable smartphones made their respective debuts back in 2019, but they have always been somewhat…well, unattainable. Take the very first Samsung Galaxy Fold: retailing at an eye-watering RM8,388, it was certainly a niche smartphone.
But this year, Samsung is really pushing its foldable phones to the mainstream market, so much so that it is not even releasing a new Galaxy Note phone; a series that was already enjoying mainstream success. Instead, the South Korean company released two foldable smartphones: the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 and the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Though these two foldable phones are not dramatically different from their respective predecessors, they do have some meaningful changes that will help these two phones to (potentially) reach mainstream success. The most important change? Both of them are far more affordable than they used to be – well, relatively.
This is especially the case with the Galaxy Z Flip 3, as you’ve probably guessed from the title of this article. After all, retailing at only RM3,999 in Malaysia, this foldable phone is right in the same price range as Samsung’s “regular” flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S21 – it went for RM3,699 when it was first launched here.
In fact, compared to other markets, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is actually quite a bit more affordable in Malaysia. In the US market, for example, the Z Flip 3 starts at $999 there, which comes up to about RM4,235. Same thing in Singapore, where the foldable phone retails from S$1,398 (around RM4,350).
Affordability is one of the most important factors to help boost the mainstream appeal of foldable phones, and Samsung is taking the right step with the Galaxy Z Flip 3. Granted, RM3,999 is still a pretty high price tag, but that’s the going rate of noteworthy flagship smartphones in the market now.
To give this price point more context, let’s go through other smartphones in this price range. There’s the aforementioned Galaxy S21 (RM3,699), the Asus ROG Phone 5 (RM3,799 for the 256GB model), and even the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (RM4,299).
Of course, each of these flagship phones have their own selling points to justify their steep prices. But the same can be said of the Z Flip 3: it has a unique, foldable form factor with hardware you’d typically find on a flagship device at this price point.
Sure, the aforementioned flagship phones can outmatch the Galaxy Z Flip 3 in certain aspects – such as camera performance – but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the money. Take raw processing power: powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset, there’s no denying that the Z Flip 3 will be as fast as any 2021 flagship smartphone.
In terms of screen quality, the Z Flip 3 is packed with a 6.7-inch 1080p Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity Flex Display with a fast 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. Given that Samsung makes some of the best panels in the business, there’s no doubt that the Z Flip 3 has a high quality screen that will not lose out to other smartphones at this price point.
Okay, but what about durability? Now, it goes without saying that “regular” smartphones can take a beating better than the Galaxy Z Flip 3 with its foldable glass display, but Samsung has implemented some meaningful improvements to its durability. The protective layer on top of the foldable screen, for one, is said to be up to 80% more durable now.
Aside from that, thanks to the use of a new “Armor Titanium” material, the metal frame and hinge of the Z Flip 3 are also 10% tougher. Oh, did I mention that this phone has an IPX8 water resistance rating as well? Given that quite a number of flagship phones don’t even have any IP rating, this is definitely a win for the Z Flip 3.
With the feature set of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 in mind, along with its RM3,999 starting price – not too dear of a price tag, especially for a flagship-tier, foldable phone – I reckon it will be the first foldable smartphone many consumers will seriously consider to purchase.
That is an important first step for foldable phones (in general) to enjoy mainstream success. Samsung is really the first smartphone manufacturer to do this in earnest, and it’s doing a pretty good job by pricing the Z Flip 3 as competitively as it is in a price-sensitive market like Malaysia.
If you’re keen to pick up the Galaxy Z Flip 3, you can pre-order it from tomorrow onwards on 19 August until 21 September. To recap, the base 128GB model with 8GB of RAM retails at RM3,999, while the 256GB variant with the same amount of RAM costs RM4,199.