Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3

Cool factor 4/5
Usability 3/5
Value for money 3½/5

The Galaxy Z Flip3 is a statement phone that appeals to early adopters and those who want to be seen using it. It’s refreshing to use a phone that fits easily into a pocket. Nevertheless it is slippery and a cover is essential.

Its 6.7-inch display, with 120Hz refresh rate, is elongated at its 166mm height, which folds into a compact 86.4mm. But you need both hands to operate it.

For quick unlocking, I found the fingerprint reader more accurate than facial unlocking, which struggled in poor light.

The biggest concern about folding screens is durability, but Samsung has improved on this with a new protective layer that is 80% more durable than last year and is built with stronger materials. It carries an IPX8 water-resistance rating — for fresh water only, not the beach or pool.

When the screen is open, you can tell there is a crease in the middle, but you get used to it and hardly notice it in dark mode.

Samsung’s signature hideaway hinge allows the phone to be locked in multiple angles, known as flex mode.

This was introduced last year and is a convenient way to use the phone, especially for tuning into livestreams or video calls.

It features multiwindow support, giving you split-screen access with a third floating app. I preferred using YouTube and Twitter together and bringing up e-mail when this was needed.

A big improvement on the Flip3 over its predecessor is the 1.9-inch cover display. It supports notifications, Samsung Pay, accessing the camera and Samsung-only app widgets. I used it for notifications and contactless payments but would prefer third-party widget support.

The main dual rear 12MP cameras support wide angle and optical image stabilisation, 4K videos, director’s mode and other pro features. It has a 10MP selfie-cam, but when folded the rear cameras can be used for selfies and videos, which I preferred because of better quality.

It is powered by a Snapdragon 888 5G chip, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage and dual SIM capabilities through an eSIM slot. However, the 3300mAh battery feels small for everything you’d expect to do on it.

The Z Flip3 is by far the most exciting smartphone we’ve tested this year. At its R21,999 price point, it is expensive for most South Africans but also allows it to compete directly with other premium nonfolding phones.

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