The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is on track to arrive this summer, with a wide range of upgrades slated for Samsung’s most powerful foldable phone. This includes S Pen support, so you can take notes on its large display.
Other Galaxy Z Fold 3 leaks point to a more durable design that will resist both water and dust. We’re also hearing that this could be the first Samsung phone with an under-display camera. This would result in a much more immersive viewing experience.
Here’s everything we’ve heard about the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, including the expected release date, specs and more.
Samsung Z Fold 3 news (Updated May 11)
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Release date
The latest word comes from a report in The Elec out of Korea, which claims the Galaxy Z Fold 2 will ship in July, along with the Galaxy Z Flip 3. That would be later than the rumored May launch but earlier than when Samsung typically holds its Unpacked event in the second half of the year.
Of course, Samsung could have different plans. With rumors claiming the Galaxy Z Fold 3 could replace the Galaxy Note as Samsung’s productivity-focused big-screen device, Korean publication Bloter reports that Samsung could start shipping the new foldable as soon as May. This seems hard to believe, though.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Price
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 costs a hefty $1,999, making it Samsung’s most expensive phone by far. We’re too early in the rumor cycle to hear much about the phone maker’s pricing plans for the Galaxy Z Fold 3, but barring any radical change of direction in what Samsung includes in this foldable phone, we’d expect the price to remain high.
Samsung may try another tack when it comes to offering a more affordable Galaxy Fold — come out with a lighter version that trades off on some features for a lower price. We had been hearing rumors about a Galaxy Fold Lite before the Galaxy Z Fold 2’s release, but that phone never materialized. And now it’s rumored that Samsung may have a cheaper Galaxy Z Fold lite lined up for early 2021.
A cheaper Galaxy Z Fold FE could also be in the works, at least if leaker Max Weinbach is to be believed. Tweeting the names of Samsung flagships he expects to see in 2021, Weinbach mentioned four different Galaxy S21 versions, sequels to the Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip… and a Galaxy Z Fold FE.
To that end, a report claims we’ll see two versions of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 — a full-featured version alongside a more affordable option. That same report from Korea’s ETNews says that Samsung will do the same thing the Galaxy Z Flip 2.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Design
We should see major design improvements to the Galaxy Z Fold 3, with The Elec claiming it will be the first Samsung phone to gain an under-display camera. That follows on from a tip from Ice Universe.
A separate leak that allegedly shows stills from a Samsung promo video for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 seems to confirm that an under-display camera is on the way. A new leak suggests this is also the case, though the phone will still have a hole-punch camera on the exterior display. It will also have a triple lens rear camera array.
An under-display camera is transparent most of the time, hiding behind the screen until it’s needed. Use the camera to snap a selfie, for example, and the camera lens would suddenly become visible on the display. (Think of it as a variation of the in-display fingerprint sensor, where the guidelines for the sensor only appear when you need to unlock your phone.)
The rumor mill seems torn on the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s dual displays. One report says that the Z Fold 3 will have a 7-inch interior display and a 4-inch exterior display. Those are both significantly smaller than the ones on the Z Fold 2, especially on the outside, and we’re going to have to wait and see how Samsung intends to justify that. However a separate rumor suggests that the phone will have a 5.4-inch exterior display and 7.7-inch interior display
Galaxy Z Fold 3 renders created by designer Ben Geskin and based on the latest leaks show what a Galaxy Z Fold 3 with an under-display camera might look like.
As for colors, SamMobile reports that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will come in black and green, though there may be additional options. The site also claims that the Z Fold 3 will feature some form of splash resistance to improve its survivability.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 durability
One leak has claimed the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 will come with an IP water and dust resistance rating. That should make it able to survive an accidental dunking and and dusty outside walks.
Samsung introduced a layer of Ultra Thin Glass to the Galaxy Z Fold 2, which made that phone stronger than its predecessor. Ice Universe expects the follow-up model to adopt a new version of the glass that’s a little bit thicker, further bolstering the phone’s design and making it less fragile.
Likewise, The Elec says that this thicker glass will enable S-Pen support without damaging the flexible glass screen. And a patent indicates that Samsung is testing out an “Armor frame” casing, with an eye toward using it on foldables like the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: S Pen
If the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is going to replace the Galaxy Note as Samsung’s productivity-focused device of choice, then it’s going to need an S Pen of its own. Ice Universe includes that among the likely features in a tweet on what to expect from the upcoming phone. The Elec also confirms that S Pen support is coming, as Samsung readies the Z Fold range as a solid Galaxy Note successor.
The current S Pen might not work with the Galaxy Fold’s display, necessitating a redesign, according to The Elec. That Korean publication reports that Samsung would shift away from the Electro Magnetic Resonance-based design in the current stylus to one that uses Active Electro Static (AES) technology. That approach is better suited to not damaging the screen on a foldable phone, which is softer than the glass used for traditional phones. It would also require the revamped S Pen to include its own battery.
However, a more recent support says Samsung will also be using a thicker flexible glass to protect the display from the pressure of the stylus. While this doesn’t discount the fact that the S-Pen’s tech may also change, it does mean Samsung is serious about offering stylus support and making sure it doesn’t cause any damage.
It’s unclear whether an S Pen would be too big to insert into the phone itself, but Let’s Go Digital has a render showing how a stylus could fit within a foldable phone. However, South Korean blog Naver suggests that Samsung has been unable to come up with a design in which the S Pen can slot into the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s frame, so it’s expected that you’ll need a case that can old the stylus, just like you do with the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Specs
We’ll have to wait for the rumor mill to provide us more details on Galaxy Z Fold 3 specs, but we can make some pretty good guesses about the future foldable based on what Samsung included in this year’s version.
Since the Galaxy Z Fold 2 runs on a Snapdragon 865 Plus, we can assume that the new version will feature whatever Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line mobile processing platform will be in the second half of the year. Right now, the Snapdragon 888 is the leading Qualcomm system-on-chip for Android phones, but the chip maker has also introduced the Snapdragon 870 5G as a more advanced version of the Snapdragon 865 Plus. Either chip could find its way into the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Leaker Ice Universe tweeted of a possible surprise in which the Z Fold 3 doesn’t use either the Snapdragon 888 or Samsung’s own Exynos 2100 chipsets, opting for another system-on-chip.
We’ll have to wait to see if Samsung packs in any more RAM than the 12GB found in the Galaxy Z Fold 2 or if storage expands beyond 256GB.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 battery and charging
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 uses a 4,500 mAh battery, which turned in a respective time on our battery test — a little more than 10 hours. While that’s slightly better than average, it’s especially impressive given the fact that the Galaxy Z Fold 2 has two screens to power plus 5G connectivity.
Of course, since we got that time by testing the phone with its display set to a 60Hz refresh rate and not the more demanding 120Hz rate, it would be a good idea for Samsung to figure out a way to include more battery in the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
However, it now seems like the Z Fold 3 will have a smaller 4,380 mAh battery, which will still be split across two cells. One possible reason is that Samsung is making room for an internal bay for the S Pen, just as its done in the past with the Galaxy Note series.
In terms of charging, it looks like you can expect the same 25W charging speed in the Z Fold 3 as in the Z Fold 2. This is according to the Chinese regulator 3C, which was picked up by GSMArena.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Cameras
One Galaxy Z Fold 3 rumor concerns a potential Samsung camera partnership with Olympus. According to several tweets from the leaker Yogesh, the two companies could team up for the cameras on forthcoming Samsung smartphones.
Yogesh suggested that a special-edition version of the Z Fold 3 could be the first place we’d see the fruits of this partnership, though it’s also possible that it will debut on the Galaxy S22 Ultra — if indeed the partnership is real.
A recent leak claims that the phone will come with a triple-lens rear camera, comprised of 3x telephoto, wide-angle, and ultrawide angle lenses. Each one is set to have 12MP resolution, and will record video in 4k 60fps.
There are also said to be two selfie cameras, including a 10MP hole-punch camera in the exterior display and a 16MP under-display camera on the interior foldable display.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: What we’d like to see
Samsung checked off many of our demands when it came out with the Galaxy Z Fold 2, just by making a more durable phone. So “more of the same, please” would certainly sum up the vast bulk of our requests. Still, if the company is serious about having its foldable phone take the place of the Galaxy Note, there are a few things Samsung should square away with the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
- More Multitasking features: Samsung’s off to a good start here, letting you run three apps at once and adding a Flex mode that turns different halves of the main display into control and viewing areas. We’d like to see more apps support Flex mode, and we hope Samsung can come up with ways that take advantage of the Fold’s extra screen space — ideally involving the S Pen if that’s truly coming to the Fold.
- Even better durability: We’re happy to hear that the Ultra Thin Glass is likely to be strengthened on the Galaxy Z Fold 3. We’d be even more ecstatic if Samsung figures out a way to give this phone some water resistance. The current Galaxy Fold offers nothing in this regard, which is a big miss on a $2,000 phone.
- A cheaper version: Foldable phones cost a lot — we get it. And there are some people who will be willing to pay top dollar for a truly polished foldable device. Still, if Samsung can find a way to shave some of the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s price down, we’d welcome that change. And a Galaxy Z Fold FE that lowers the price even more would take a great idea even further.