Samsung Galaxy Z Review

Samsung had their foldy event today, which means I get to show you the phones that I got to play with behind the scenes a little bit before they came out, which is, as we expected, two folding phones. So we’ve got the Galaxy Z Fold 3 with a better cover screen, more durable folding glass, S Pen support. It’s got an under display selfie camera. I made an entire separate hands-on video with this phone. It’ll be the first link below that Like button, definitely check it out. It’s really nice. But then also, there’s this guy, the Z Flip 3. And while honestly, this feels like a less surprising, pretty modest update comparably, of all the folding phones, this is actually the one that I feel like I’m most likely to start recommending to regular people. They’ve made a lot of good calls here. So the Z Flip and Z Flip 5G have been out for a little bit. What were people asking for from a new flipping phone? So, a better, bigger cover screen, a high refresh rate main screen, and lower the price a little bit. Okay, check, check, and kind of, check. So let’s just start with the price. The Flip 3 is going to start at 999, which is its lowest-ever price. It’s the lowest price of any of their folding phones. But, the baseline version of it now has 128 gigs of storage, where the previous flips all had higher prices, but they all started at 256. So, they’ve made a lower-priced version, thus having a lowest ever price, but you can see how they’ve sort of turned that narrative a little bit. I still think 999 is pretty clutch though. Because, while it is definitely still expensive, it’s now in line with some other regular flagship smartphones people are going to be considering buying. It just happens to be the one that’s folding in half. So, I’m happy to see this lower price. But, the inside screen, the folding display, which is still the same size and aspect ratio, is also now 120 hertz, which is great. Everything is now benefiting from being super smooth, and you can always turn that down to 60 hertz if you want to. Literally feels like the iPhone will be the last flagship to go high refresh rate, but that’s a conversation for another day. And all of this is wrapped in a design refresh that includes a larger and more functional cover display. Going from that tiny 1.1-inch screen from before to a 1.9-inch cover screen. Now it’s not quite the huge 2.7-inch screen on the Razer, but this is a much bigger window, and it makes a huge difference. So, by default, it’s still just going to be showing you the time, which is the same as before, cool. Plus you get the battery and the date. But now, swiping over to those different widgets and quick actions is way more functional and comfortable now. It’s not that tiny postage stamp-sized screen. You’ve got music controls, alarms, timers, and they’re now an actually usable size. And so this is the stuff you don’t always want to have to open the phone to get to. But the most important thing is notifications. So if you swipe to the left of the time, you get all the notifications on your phone, and yes, you can read more than one and you can actually swipe to dismiss individual notifications, and you can actually manage them properly from the outside display. That is beautiful. So you can, of course, dive into the settings and customize a little more of what happens on this outside screen. Samsung’s built a bunch of neat time animations, so if you want a little more color or if you want to keep it clean or maybe you want multiple clocks for different time zones, there’s a lot to play with here. And then you can even add or subtract widgets you don’t use. So I know I’d probably add in the Weather widget and the Calendar for myself. And you can reorder them. All of that is great, and you always know what to expect when you swipe. So overall, that’s a pretty big usability improvement for the outside screen on the Flip. Of course, it can still be your camera viewfinder when taking photos with the primary dual cameras. It still shows you the phone number or the name of whoever’s calling you. All that good stuff is still here, just bigger. And I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of liking this new dual tone design. Honestly, if you didn’t have any logos on it, like if you just told a younger version of me that this was a folding Pixel, I probably would have believed you. It kind of looks like the aesthetic from that Panda Pixel 2. But the sides are a little bit flatter too, which definitely helps with modernizing it a bit, and it feels good in the hand. Plus, the new hinge is improved again, and it’s improved to the point where the whole phone is now IPX8 water resistant, which is pretty sweet. That means you can dunk the phone in water, drop it in a puddle, or spill something on it momentarily, and it’ll be fine, which is cool. Now IPX8 does not mean dust-resistant. Unfortunately, this stuff that usually ends up plaguing folding phones, like the grit and stuff that gets in the hinge, can still make it through there, so it’s not certified to block that stuff out. But, it’s cool to see a watertight seal. But also, they tossed in some better speakers this time. So, the original Flips just had this one not that great speaker at the bottom and the earpiece. Now, Flip 3 actually gets a much improved speaker in the same spot, and they’re Dolby Atmos stereo speakers now. So, new Gorilla Glass Victus on the back, same fingerprint reader on the power button. This is nice. This is a nice package. This is a really nice folding phone design in 2021. Now this doesn’t go as far into the high end as the Fold 3, so it doesn’t have S Pen support, even though it does have 30% stronger screen protector on the inside folding glass. And it also doesn’t have the under display selfie camera, it still has the hole punch. But, as far as the most reasonable folding phone put together so far in 2021, I mean this one, I think this one takes the crown. It has the flagship specs, Snapdragon 888 and eight gigs of RAM. It has flagship cameras, a standard and an ultra-wide. The battery is the same size as last year, so that could be the only concern now that we just got high refresh rate. But then putting this all in a nicely designed water resistant refresh at 999, to me, this has serious potential. And even if this doesn’t turn out to be the one that a lot of people start buying, the trajectory is pretty good of getting down that price and making it as close to a regular phone as possible. But, all that being said, I still have to test this phone. I’m going to be reviewing it very soon, so make sure you subscribe to see that if you haven’t already. And of course, check out the Fold 3, ’cause you might be into that bigger, more high-end, more interesting look.

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