The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is currently still available for pre-order in Malaysia – with some neat freebies too – and if you’re not sure if the foldable phone is for you, then this hands-on (and unboxing) may help you decide. Compared to its predecessor, the Z Flip 3 brings a few upgrades that make it a more practical foldable phone.
So then, without further ado, let’s see what this RM3,999 “modern flip phone” has to offer, along with what you get in the box.
Just like the Galaxy S21 series, the Z Flip 3 comes in a very slim box. Yes, just as you’ve suspected, there is no charger bundled with this foldable phone. There is, however, a USB-C to USB-C cable in the box, along with (naturally) a rather nice-looking SIM card ejector pin.
As for the Z Flip 3 itself, it is covered in a plastic wrapping unfolded in the box. Remove the plastic cover from the device and…that’s basically the unboxing experience. Next, let’s start setting up this foldable phone.
As you start setting up the Galaxy Z Flip 3, you’ll see the disclaimer above. Basically, it’s about taking care of the foldable display. Even though the protective layer on top of the foldable glass screen is said to be up to 80% more durable now – not to mention the fact that it’s also IPX8 water-resistant – Samsung clearly wants consumers to still be careful with it.
Speaking of which, I absolutely love how the Z Flip 3’s foldable screen feels to the touch. Compared to the original Z Flip, this new, more durable protective layer on top of the glass display does not feel “rubbery” at all. In fact, it feels quite nice and smooth, almost like a proper glass screen – almost.
The hinge of the Z Flip 3 is improved too. It still feels very secure and robust, and when I fully unfold the phone, I can feel the display “locking” into place now. There’s no audible click or anything, but it does feel as if the screen is fully unfolded, which I really like. This is in stark contrast to the first Z Flip; that one did not have any feedback whatsoever.
What about the display quality of the Galaxy Z Flip 3? Well, as expected from a Samsung-made panel, it’s great. The 6.7-inch 1080p Dynamic AMOLED 2X display looks stunning with bright, vibrant colours, and the fast 120Hz adaptive refresh rate makes every single motion on the screen look extra smooth.
I’m quite a fan of the 22:9 aspect ratio of this display too. Thanks to the tall, narrow nature of this panel, I can comfortably navigate through the phone with only one hand. Even if the unusually tall screen makes it difficult to reach for the top of the display, I’d say it’s worth the trade-off for easier one-handed use.
There’s also the larger, more practical cover screen of the Galaxy Z Flip 3. Now that the 1.9-inch 512 x 260 Super AMOLED panel can show more detailed notifications and widgets, I can sift through my messages first before deciding to unfold the phone.
Honestly, however, I’m not entirely sold on the practicality of the cover screen yet. I’ll have to spend more time with the phone first to see if I’ll find it useful or not, but I do have to admit: it’s a nice design element.
When it comes to performance, there’s no denying that the Z Flip 3 is a fast high-end device. After all, it’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset, which is found in the majority of other 2021 flagship smartphones. It feels fast and zippy, there’s no noticeable slowdown at all, and I can multitask seamlessly with this phone.
Last but certainly not least is the camera performance of the Galaxy Z Flip 3. Even though the dual camera system (12MP primary + 12MP ultra-wide angle) is not a super sophisticated setup, it does feel very capable. Judge for yourself with these sample shots:
Regardless of the lighting situation, the Z Flip 3 can take some great shots. It does have a tendency to oversaturate colours – as with all Samsung phones – but this does result in a more flattering-looking image. Plus, the camera interface does not feel sluggish at all, which makes for a pleasant shooting experience.
Of course, it would’ve been great if the Z Flip 3 had a telephoto sensor too, but at least there’s an ultra-wide angle shooter. I’d argue most folks will find more use out of this particular camera than a zoom lens. I mean, it’s cool that a phone can do up to 100x zoom now, but in terms of sheer practicality, I’d still take an ultra-wide angle sensor.
As far as initial impressions go, I am very impressed with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. It feels great – especially the new protective layer on top of the screen – it is eye-catching, and most of all, it sports a unique form factor that will grab attention. It’s a modern take on a flip phone; what’s not to love?
On top of that, with a RM3,999 starting price, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 really is the most accessible foldable phone yet. I’ll be putting it through its paces in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for our full review of the Z Flip 3!