Why the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the perfect ‘regular’ smartphone

A few weeks ago, while waiting for a new review phone to arrive, I returned to Galaxy Z Fold 3. During that time, I used it with the screen closed more than open. At first, this may seem like an admission that foldable smartphones are exotic failures – but they are not. It is proof that foldable phones function normally in everyday general conditions. More importantly, it’s something that might help people still on the fence jump off the top into the waiting arms of a foldable device.

Folded, it’s a regular phone

The Galaxy Z Fold 3, locked, has a standard 6.2-inch AMOLED display, 2268 x 832 resolution, and a dynamic refresh rate of 120 Hz. Where it differs from other phones with similarly sized screens is in its overall dimensions. Its width is 67 mm, while the width is iPhone 13 With its 6.1 inch screen it is approximately 72mm wide. However, it is much longer at 158mm compared to the iPhone 13’s 146mm. Galaxy Z Fold 3 is tall and thin when folded. It is also clearly very thick. At its largest point, it has a diameter of 16mm – almost twice as thick as the iPhone 13 which is 8mm thick.

A man holding a Galaxy Z Fold 3 showing a browser window on the external monitor.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Although the Z Fold 3 looks very unusual at first, it’s something I’ve gotten used to after using the phone since launch. I quickly found out that the Fold 3 works just fine when it’s locked, which may conflict with some perceptions of the device. I turn the screen on when needed, not because I have to.

Google Discover looks fine when you move it from the home screen. Instagram formats perfectly (and better than you do on a tablet screen), like Twitter, Chrome, Teams, Outlook and WhatsApp. I can pull with one hand, but the length makes continuous one-handed use very difficult, as is the case with most modern phones with large screens. If this all sounds like what you’d do with a non-foldable phone, you get my point. After this initial adjustment period, the Z Fold 3 is normal phone.

When making calls, the rod-like dimensions mean there’s more to wait for. It’s also very secure in your hand, and the speaker is loud and clear. It’s also easy to fit the Fold 3 neatly to your ear, and I’ve shifted a lot less trying to find where the loudspeaker is than I normally would when using it. The fingerprint sensor in the power button is fast, to the point that I use it more than the face unlock system.

The unusual size and shape of the folded Galaxy Z Fold 3 can be off, but the more you use the phone, the less the problem becomes. It is a completely different experience from the original one Galaxy Foldwhich I roughly used with the screen unlocked.

Durable and well designed

If I’m using the more foldable Galaxy Z Fold 3, why bother owning an $1800 foldable phone? Over the past weeks, life has forced me to use the Z Fold 3 for more essential tasks — calls, messaging, and browsing the web — than usual. And the easy way to distinguish the fold 3 in it was pretty cool. After all, it won’t be surprising when you open the Z Fold 3 to watch videos, read or play a great game. this What is its purpose?.

Galaxy Z Fold 3 holding a man while playing a video on the open screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Livability in general is what people might not expect. Yes there is A period of adjustment is needed, but it’s not extreme, nor is it long and stretchy. I haven’t breastfed the Z Fold 3 either, and I have no concerns about its build quality or durability. It is not in a case, nor does it have any additional screen protection. I keep it in my pocket or bag and treat it like any other phone I own or review.

There are no scratches on the external screen or back panel, the outside of the hinge on my Phantom Silver version is unmarked, and the internal screen appears new. The crease is there, but I don’t notice it when the screen is active. The selfie camera at the bottom of the screen is so effectively hidden that I forgot it was there. Samsung made a big deal on the durability of the Z Fold 3And, so far, this is justified. For some context, my review Pixel 6 Pro Picked up scratches on the front and back within a few days of similar use, and the screen on iPhone 13 Pro Several light scratches collected over the past eight months.

Galaxy Z Fold 3 on a table, wallpaper appears on the external display.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The 3 fold joint has gotten softer over time, but that’s a good thing! Early on, he was so stiff, that there was little effort to start the movement. Now, however, it is quite likely. There are no disturbing sounds from the hinge when opening it, and closing it is a palpable pleasure. He maintains similar resistance throughout the movement, until the last moment when he pulls himself closed. There is no crackling, no clattering, and no evidence of any grinding from the hinge.

The only game in town

Complaints about Galaxy Z Fold 3 after about eight months? It’s expensive and heavy, and Google still hasn’t released a split version of its Gboard keyboard. Other than that, Samsung has kept software updates. My phone has OneUI 4.1 with Google’s May 2022 security patch, plus the latest update added some new camera features.

Camera performance has improved since launch as well. Although it does not contain Galaxy S22 Ultra Its full zoom capabilities, dynamic range, color reproduction, and often beautiful balance in its images mean many people won’t mind – especially if online sharing is the priority. You can see some examples taken over the past few weeks in the gallery above.

Samsung is still the only game in town if you want a foldable smartphone, but I don’t see much (any?) in the wild, suggesting that there are still barriers to adoption. The price is obviously the biggest that can be beat, but now that I’ve lived with the phone for such a long period of time, it has provided an experience that I just enjoy. If you have the budget, don’t think you’d compromise that much on a non-foldable phone. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is tough, capable, different and shocking Normal Folded or unfolded smartphone.

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