The next top-tier foldable phone – the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 – is almost certainly nearing release, and we’re expecting to hear about the next-gen handset at a launch event scheduled for August 11.
The Fold 3 follows on from the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, which was officially released in September 2020 and which crucially improved on the original Galaxy Fold’s durability issues and got a much bigger front screen. So what’s left to improve?
Other phones coming soon
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
Foldables are in their early days, and they’re still working out the issues of folding displays, battery life, and multi-screen software. Given how bulky they are, future foldables might be slimmer, lighter, and less cumbersome to use one-handed.
Samsung could be making many of these general improvements, but the rumor mill has suggested several more specific upgrades the Z Fold 3 could implement – including, at long last, an S Pen stylus. Given we’re also expecting a Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, more productivity-focused features make sense for the Z Fold 3, especially since we’re hearing that Samsung probably won’t release a Note phone in 2021.
Here’s all the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 leaks and rumors we’ve heard, along with what we want to see out of Samsung’s next flagship foldable.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 will have its own set of wild cases, and possibly launch with an S Pen Pro that won’t damage its foldable display.
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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: cut to the chase
- What is it? Samsung’s next big folding phone
- When is it out? August 11, 2021… probably
- What will it cost? Expect $1,999 / £1,799 / AU$2,999 and up
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 release date and price
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 will almost certainly be announced on August 11. Samsung is hosting an Unpacked event on that date, and while it hasn’t confirmed what devices we’ll see a lot of rumors suggest it’ll include the Z Fold 3.
As for when the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will go on sale, sources have pointed to August 27 for that. If this phone is revealed on August 11, that date would make sense.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 cost a whopping $1,999 / £1,799 / AU$2,999, so expect a high price for the Z Fold 3, especially as there’s been a suggestion that it will be very expensive.
That said, SamMobile suggests that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 could be up to 20% cheaper than it predecessor, meaning the price might be more like $1,600 / £1,440 / AU$2,400. We’ve also since heard elsewhere that the price might be slightly lower than the Z Fold 2’s.
More recently we’ve heard that it could cost around $1,745 / £1,255 / AU$2,330, which while still a lot would be significantly cheaper. The most recent price leak meanwhile puts it at €1673.21 (roughly $1,970 / £1,439 / AU$2,680) for 256GB of storage and €1777.47 (around $2,095 / £1,529 / AU$2,849) for 512GB of storage.
A leaker claims that it might also come with a Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 thrown in if you pre-order.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 rumors and leaks
What do we know about the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3? Quite a lot, and that’s mostly down to leaks and rumors. Here’s the full picture about the upcoming phone so far.
Design and display
Leaked marketing materials have shown what the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 might look like, and they show three cameras on the back, and list it as coming in black, silver, green and beige shades – though a more recent leak suggests the beige shade has been renamed to ‘cream’.
The marketing materials also mention both the S Pen and an under-display camera, and the source of these images additionally claims that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will have flat aluminum sides and be protected by Gorilla Glass Victus.
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We’ve also now seen clearer leaked images of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, from two different sources. Some of these images can be seen below.
They show a phone in black, navy and pink shades, with a triple-lens camera on the back, a punch-hole camera on the cover screen, and likely an under-display camera on the front.
While we’d take these with a pinch of salt, we reckon the design is probably more or less accurate, especially as they line up with each other and other leaks.
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A third leak has also now shown off the same design, as well as mentioning that the phone will apparently have a 7.5-inch AMOLED 120Hz foldable screen, a 6.2-inch cover display, and dimensions of 158.1 x 64.8 x 14.5mm when folded, and 158.1 x 128.1 x 6.6mm when unfolded.
And we’ve even now seen 360-degree GIFs showing the phone from a variety of angles, one of which you can see below. This comes from a reputable source and matches what we’ve seen elsewhere, so it’s almost certainly accurate.
pic.twitter.com/8A4jTffvFJJuly 10, 2021
Elsewhere, we’ve heard that there might be two Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 models. The source doesn’t say what’s different about them, but claims that they’ll both support 5G. We have however heard of a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold Lite, so they might be talking about that.
It’s possible that one of these Galaxy Z Fold 3s could sport a smaller outer screen. At a supposed 5.4-inches, it would be significantly smaller than the outer display on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 (6.23-inches) so we’re more than a little skeptical. However, a smaller screen could hint again at a cheaper Lite model.
That said, another source has since echoed claims of a smaller outer display, adding that this would be to leave room for an S Pen slot, which seems believable.
The standard model might also get a slight reduction in size though, with a report claiming it will have a 7.5-inch main screen (down from 7.6 inches on the Z Fold 2), and a 6.2-inch cover display.
Elsewhere we’ve heard that the Z Fold 3 might be around 13g lighter than the Z Fold 2 (making it roughly 269g), which would make sense if the battery was smaller as has been rumored (more on which below). We’ve also heard that it might have an IP rating – meaning some amount of water and dust resistance.
It could have a stronger screen than its predecessor too, with one report saying the ultra-thin glass (UTG) display would be twice as thick as on the Z Fold 2, and a more recent one saying that – along with the Galaxy Z Flip 3 – it would have the strongest foldable screen of any phone this year.
Could the Z Fold 3 also come with a super-strong outer frame, perhaps made of titanium or carbon? The fact that Samsung just applied to register the trademark ‘Armor Frame’ suggests that it might. Even if it doesn’t, we’ve recently seen some product photos for Z Fold 3 cases showing off the foldable’s design.
In more unlikely possibilities, according to a patent (shown below), Samsung is working on a foldable without any physical, protruding buttons – input is handled by gestures, swipes and capacitive buttons built into the casing. Whether this technology is going to be ready for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 remains to be seen.
Camera and battery
One feature the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 might get is an in-screen camera, something we’ve heard several times now from a variety of sources, which also say that it’s likely to be the first Samsung phone to have one. A Samsung official has reportedly even said as much now – though the feature may apparently not make it if it degrades the screen or photo quality.
Speaking of photo quality, don’t get your hopes up – a recent leak suggests that the three cameras on board the Z Fold 3 will be very similar to those on the Z Fold 2, apart from that one embedded in the screen.
Indeed, that source has since followed up that claim with a list of cameras that sound almost completely identical to those on the Z Fold 2. That includes a 12MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide, and a 12MP telephoto, offering 2x optical zoom, plus a 10MP cover camera. The only listed difference is a 16MP selfie camera on the foldable screen – and it’s this one that’s apparently under the display.
The same megapixel counts have been mentioned by another source too, though they didn’t specify what purpose each lens serves, while elsewhere we’ve heard again that the camera hardware will largely be the same as on the Galaxy Z Fold 2.
As for the battery, a report points to a slightly smaller 4,380mAh battery (down from 4,500mAh on the Z Fold 2).
A battery for a phone believed to be the Galaxy Z Fold 3 has also now been certified, and it comes in at an even smaller 4,275mAh. Also in battery news, a 25W charger has been certified for the phone, suggesting that’s the highest charging speed you’ll get.
Specs and features
One of the biggest features we’ve heard about is support for the S Pen – the same stylus in the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 family and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus – that a patent suggests is coming in a future Samsung foldable phone, which could refer to the Z Fold 3.
This S Pen compatibility has also been teased by Samsung itself, strongly leading credence to the idea that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will work with the company’s styli. But the foldable might launch instead with the S Pen Pro, which Samsung teased before the S21 Ultra’s launch and hasn’t mentioned since, as a Bluetooth-enabled stylus that won’t damage the Z Fold 3’s display.
Another report supports the reasoning that an S Pen may come to the Z Fold 3, while also suggesting some display changes that may need to be made to get stylus functionality. First, Samsung may switch screen technologies from electromagnetic resonance (EMR) to active electrostatic solution (AES) to better register stylus input; and second, that the ultra thin glass (UTG) may be twice as thick as on the Z Fold 2, from 30 micrometers to 60 micrometers.
That said, while S Pen support is likely, a slot for the stylus is looking less so, with a source suggesting that Samsung will instead sell a case with an S Pen slot. It’s worth noting that at least one other source has said the phone might have a dedicated slot though, so we’re unsure what’s right here.
There’s also a rumor that the Z Fold series will combine with the Note series to make a single productivity-focused phone line, ultimately condensing Samsung’s annual flagships to just the S- series and the stylus-packing foldable Z Fold line. A Samsung official has reportedly said similar, saying that the Z Fold 3 will get a stylus while the Note range will be discontinued.
This would be sad news for Note fans – though the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has launched with stylus support anyway for folks who won’t want to wait for a foldable.
We’ve also heard that – unsurprisingly – the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 could have at least 256GB of storage and run Android 11 overlaid with Samsung’s One UI 3.5, though one source says there could also be a 512GB model.
Continuing the specs rumors, one reliable source says that the foldable phone is going to come running a “top secret” chipset – which makes us think it won’t be the Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100, which aren’t secret at all. That said, the same source has since said that actually it probably will have the Snapdragon 888.
We’ve also heard from multiple other sources that the Snapdragon 888 will be used, so this seems likely. The same sources also mention 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 could help you monitor your health too, as a patent suggests it might have both an ECG and a blood pressure monitor.
And rounding out the rumors is a fun one: a patent suggests a future foldable phone will get a light strip on its hinge. Inscribed hinges are so Galaxy Z Fold 2, we want RGB on our Z Fold 3.
What we want to see
What do we want to see Samsung bring to its next big foldable phone? We’ve put together a few improvements we’d like to see Samsung introduce on the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
1. More onboard storage
The Z Fold 2 is a powerful phone with the best specs on the market – aside from its storage. With a maximum 256GB and no tray for a microSD card to expand its space, users had no choice but to deal with it.
Even giving the option for a 512GB or 1TB storage option would be acceptable, with a microSD slot ideal, but 256GB feels criminal for a device that’s supposed to be so central to your personal and professional lives.
2. Easier one-handed use
The Z Fold 2 is an impressive phone, but they really need two hands to use properly – even when closed and using the 6.2-inch external screen, its 16.8mm thickness, about twice that of most other phones, is tough to use one-handed.
Unfolded is a whole different story, of course, since it’s even more difficult to manhandle a 7.6-inch display with one hand. But it would be nice to have an easier way to pry open the device without needing both hands.
3. Better cameras
The Z Fold 2 has a decent spread of cameras, but it misses out on the powerful shooters on Samsung’s other phones. The trio of rear 12MP cameras (main, ultra-wide, telephoto) don’t measure up to the Samsung S20 Ultra’s 108MP main and 48MP 4x optical telephoto lenses, which combine for their stunning 100x Space Zoom capability. More of that in the Z Fold 3, please.
4. Better multi-screen capabilities
If there’s one thing we’ve seen with 2020’s wilder phones, it’s inspiring new features. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, for instance, let you keep the phone open at an angle to, say, voice chat without needing to prop the phone up. Or the LG Wing 5G, which allows you to record video from the front and rear cameras at the same time.
We’d love to see some inventive uses of both the display and the six (!) cameras in the Z Fold 2, especially if the Z Fold 3 ends up packing more shooters.
5. Longer battery life
Despite being around twice the size of a typical smartphone, the Z Fold 2 has a 4,500mAh battery, which has been surpassed by even budget phones like the Moto G8 Power and its 5,000mAh battery.
With the extra screen and 5G connectivity, a bigger battery would certainly be welcome, or at the very least, faster charging times than the 25W max in the Z Fold 2.
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