Samsung has become the first manufacturer to offer a folding mobile with a competitive price compared to ‘normal’ mobiles.
It is not something especially surprising, considering that the Korean company’s commitment to folding is already several years old. But it was in 2021 that Samsung engineers have really managed to refine these concepts.
We already saw it with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 , a mobile that was not really revolutionary compared to its predecessor, but that smoothed out many of the rough edges and eliminated most of the problems discovered by pioneering users who dared to buy one of the first foldable.
It is a normal mobile, only that it folds
But when I had the opportunity to get my hands on the new Samsung folding, the Z Fold 3 was not the one that surprised me the most; the cheapest, smallest and simplest model attracted me much more, and I immediately thought: “this mobile is going to hit it with young people and with Instagram users.”
Now that I have been able to test it for a few days, I reaffirm myself: this mobile is perfect for the current generation of users, and the best thing is that it achieves it by being a normal and current mobile . The Z Fold 3, with its large tablet screen, may be more spectacular and eye-catching; but as a mobile for everyday use, only the most enthusiastic will take advantage of it.
With the Z Flip 3, I don’t see any problem using this mobile on a daily basis; in fact, I consider it better than many alternatives in that regard. The key is that, when it’s open, you forget that the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is a foldable; It is a conventional mobile, with a screen with a 22: 9 ratio perhaps somewhat higher than usual, but nothing that we have not seen in the Sony Xperia, for example. The 6.7-inch size makes using the mobile with only one hand can be complicated, but nothing that we cannot get used to.
We also have a regular selfie camera; no under-screen camera technology like its ‘big brother’, but thanks to that, the image quality is far superior. The 10 MP sensor and f / 2.4 aperture does not seem like much, but the key is in Samsung’s algorithms, which clarify and add sharpness to the image.
The experience of use with the open mobile is identical to that of a Galaxy S21, and that is good. We have the same Samsung One UI layer on Android 11, the same versatility, the same speed and the same ease of use. Inside, a Snapdragon 888 makes sure we’re never short of the power we need, and the adaptive 120Hz refresh rate is the icing on the cake.
There are only two details that tell us that we are not facing a conventional mobile. The first is the edges; Although they are not thick, the problem is that they protrude , to avoid that the screen collides with itself when we close the device, and that is very noticeable to the touch. As the hinge area is also noticeable when we pass our finger close. They are things that are not in a normal mobile, and to which you will have to get used to.
Another detail that could be better in a “normal” mobile is the fingerprint reader, which is not integrated into the screen, surely for technical reasons; Instead we have it built into the power button, but at least it works great and it’s fast.
For the rest, this is a thin, light and beautiful mobile in the seven available colors. And this is where the interesting begins.
A mobile for the Instagram era
Of course, I mean that this is a folding mobile, which closes on itself to greatly reduce its size. Closed, this mobile is unique , capable of drawing the attention of everyone around you out of curiosity. It’s nice too, with Samsung choosing not to fill the back with logos and stick its name only on the hinge, where it remains hidden with the phone open.
The two-tone design is also very interesting, but the best thing is that it is not a design decision, but a functional one: the dark part is actually where the secondary screen is housed, which in this generation has increased in size to 1.9 inches . That exponentially increases its usefulness, and in fact, many functions of the mobile can already be used directly on this small screen.
The second screen is ideal for taking selfies . Take out the mobile, press the power button twice, and the screen will turn on, showing what the main cameras see; as both are better than the internal camera (12 MP main and f / 1.8 aperture and 12 MP wide angle and f / 2.2 aperture), the selfies are much better.
Just touch the screen, and a timer will appear; pose for the photo, and it will be saved. It is done. Taking selfies with this mobile is quick and instant, and you don’t have to open the main screen.
The secondary screen also serves to show the time and notifications and multimedia controls, but other than that, not much else. Samsung has not opened this screen to other developers and as a result, we can only use the widgets that Samsung has created.
That still closed, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 continues to give reasons to speak is something surprising; of course, sooner or later we have to open it. Doing that is simple, but requires both hands, and the hinge is somewhat stiff. It’s not like old phones that we could open with one finger; That makes taking a call a bit more laborious, but once you get used to it, it comes naturally.
That the hinge requires some force is necessary for one of the coolest ‘tricks’ of this mobile: we can leave it half open , thanks to the great distribution of weights that gives more security to the lower part. In this mode, we can see the screen more easily, and it allows us to use the webcam without having the phone in hand.
In this way, we can make video calls, leaving the mobile on the table, or record ourselves for our next success on TikTok. The camera interface is divided in two in this mode, showing the image at the top and the controls at the bottom, but there are not many other apps that take advantage of the folding screen in this way. It is not like the Galaxy Z Fold 3, which had experimental functions to adapt the apps to the larger screen size, but at least we do have functions such as the side taskbar.
Surprising and attractive at this price
The Samsung Galazy Z Flip 3 is an exceptional mobile, even if we completely ignore the fact that it is foldable. It’s as good as a Galaxy S21, and that familiarity is what makes it highly recommended; Here you will not find rare experiments, but the mobile that you really want to use every day, with several ‘pluses’, such as that it takes up so little space in the pocket when we close it or the possibilities of the secondary screen.
The second reason we would recommend this mobile is the price. After several years, Samsung has finally managed to approach the psychological barrier of 1,000 euros ; It has not yet knocked it down, staying at 1,059 euros, but never before have we seen such an advanced and complete folding for that price.
It is a figure that confronts it directly with the most desired mobiles, with the iPhone and yes, with the Samsung S21; but it does so with the advantages and the ‘wow effect’ of being a foldable. It is just what this technology needed to succeed: to offer the same as conventional mobiles, but with its own add-ons.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 may be the future of the Notes , but the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is more important: it may be the future of smartphones in general.