Should you buy… the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3? – The Irish News

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Samsung’s push to make foldable phones mainstream has never looked so achievable, thanks to the updates that can be found on the Galaxy Z Flip3.
The smaller folding device of the 2021 line-up, the Flip is the modern twist on the early-2000s clamshell flip phones.
So how does it measure up?
– Design
On first impressions, of the two foldable phones Samsung recently released, the Galaxy Z Flip3 looks the more likely to become a mainstream hit going forward.
The clamshell form factor means you have the “oh wow” moment of opening it up to show people the flexible screen, but you don’t have the downside of a big, bulky device straining at your pocket – as is the case with the larger Fold3.
Folded up, the Flip3 is smaller than the average wallet and thinner too and feels lighter than rival smartphones, but then matches them when opened with that big, bright main screen that measures in at 6.7in (the same size as an iPhone Pro Max model).
The actual phone casing remains very premium too, with an all-glass back nicely split by the stylish metal hinge when the Flip is folded.
In a crucial upgrade on the previous Flip, the cover screen on the outside of the device is now a much larger 1.9in – four times larger than before – and is fully interactive so users can control their music as well as interact with and scroll through notifications. You can even customise this screen in a similar fashion to the faces of a smartwatch, making the experience a little more personal.
Opened up, that main screen comes with a 120Hz refresh rate too, meaning that scrolling is as smooth as can be and it works very well as a gaming device too.
In terms of displays then, the Flip3 is a big step forward and offers just as good an experience as any rival flagship device, but with that added bonus of being able to fold it up and tuck it away.
– Experience
If you buy a folding phone, you’re going to want to use it, and the Flip3 does a fine job of making the most of that flexible screen.
As well as opening the device up fully, it can be sat in a Flex mode – imagine the angle you open a laptop to.
And in this mode, a number of apps have been updated to work in this mode, as have several core features of the phone, with several of both offering a better user experience as a result.
Video calling for example can now be done more easily hands-free, with users able to simply sit the phone in front of them and talk, rather than being forced to precariously balance the device or lean it up somewhere.
The same set-up can also be used to film longer videos – including time-lapses, while apps such as YouTube also support the Flex mode, with videos being centred in the top half of the screen and the ability to scroll the rest of the page and do other things in the app in the lower half.
There is a noticeably wider selection of apps that support this set-up on the new Flip, showing that app developers are clearly coming around to the idea of foldables as well.
It means that in terms of user experience, the Flip3 feels like a substantial step forward in terms of providing a unique experience, with far more apps and features that help it stand out against regular, flat smartphones.
That’s the key difference with this device compared with previous ones – you no longer have to sacrifice almost any features or functionality in order to use a foldable in exactly the same way you would a “normal” smartphone. And you get all the already mentioned benefits.
But it isn’t all plain sailing for the Flip.
The camera remains solid but not spectacular and lacks the sharpness of true high-end smartphone cameras today, particularly when using zoom, although that bar is set high these days, and the Flip3 is more than capable as a casual photography device.
– Verdict
So, is the future foldable? On this evidence, it could very well be – the Galaxy Z Flip3 is the best, most accessible folding device Samsung has made so far, in a form factor it has now honed to make it refreshingly compact and yet still with a large enough screen to do anything with.
At £949 it is also noticeably cheaper than its predecessor, a clear sign that foldable tech is becoming more affordable and although it’s still hardly a bargain, it isn’t the super-premium pricing that has so far been a signature of folding phones and will rightly tempt a few more people with their eye on a unique upgrade opportunity.
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