A week has passed since Samsung announced its latest foldable smartphone models - the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, and the Galaxy Z Fold 3. While sharing the same foldable DNA, these devices have different target audiences. In this article, we focus on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 and explore how different it really is from its predecessor - the first generation Galaxy Z Flip - and whether it makes sense for you to upgrade in case you already happen to own a Galaxy Z Flip from last year.
- What happened to Galaxy Z Flip 2?
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 vs Galaxy Z Flip: Key differences explained
- Comparative spec sheet
- Conclusion: Should you upgrade?
Before we start, it is important to note how Samsung has silently skipped the ‘Galaxy Z Flip 2’ moniker for the phone and jumped straight to the ‘Galaxy Z Flip 3’ branding. This, apparently, was done so that both of Samsung’s foldable product lines (Fold series and Flip series) reach parity in terms of their numbering.
This change ensures that the Galaxy Z Fold 3, and the Galaxy Z Flip 3 will be remembered as devices that were released in the same year - and more importantly - avoid confusion.
Also read: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review
Interestingly, this is not the first time Samsung has done something of this sort. In 2016, Samsung skipped the Note 6 moniker and announced the Galaxy Note 7 instead to align it better with the Galaxy S6 lineup. It’s a different thing that this change did not prevent the Galaxy Note 7’s battery issues and the subsequent product recall.
Because the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 launched a year after the ‘original’ Flip was announced, it is, naturally, an upgrade over its predecessor. Let’s find out in the sections below as to where the differences between the two lie, and how significant of an upgrade these changes are.
The first major upgrade to Samsung’s 2021 foldable smartphone lineup is support for water ingress protection. Both the devices - the Galaxy Z Flip 3, and the Galaxy Z Fold 3 - happen to be IPX8 rated. This also makes them the first foldable devices from the company to support water resistance.
This is a huge upgrade over the Galaxy Z Flip from 2020 which did not support any sort of ingress protection. Do note, however, that the Galaxy Z Flip is only IPX8 rated and not IP68 rated. This means it will still be susceptible to dust particles and accumulation. Keep this in mind in case you are exposed to dusty environments on a frequent basis.
Thanks to the foldable form factor, you have to contend with two displays on the Galaxy Z Flip lineup. There is virtually no change to the primary display on the Flip 3 and it more or less retains the foldable, 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED panel with FHD+ resolution we saw on the original 2020 Fold.
The display resolution is slightly higher now at 2640 x 1080 pixels, as opposed to 2636 x 1080 pixels on the older model. The most noticeable change,according to us, would be the higher refresh rate. The Galaxy Z Flip 3’s primary display supports 120Hz as opposed to the 60Hz panel on the outgoing model.
The primary display is also claimed to be much better protected now and gets a protective film that prevents scratches and other damage from happening. In fact, Samsung now claims it is 80% more durable compared to older foldable displays.
The major change comes to the external display which, at 1.9 inches, is now four times bigger than the one we saw last year. This opens up several new use cases that were simply not possible on the outgoing model. For example, the new Galaxy Z Flip 3 allows you to scroll through notifications, use it as a step counter, and even control music playback without the need to open the main display.
Oh, and in case you were worried about durability, the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s cover display and router panels are protected by Corning Gorilla Glass Victus.
The camera setup on the 2021 Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is near identical to the ones we saw last year. It retains the dual camera setup at the rear that consists of a twin 12MP sensors for wide angle and ultra wide angle shots. At the front - inside the flip, rather - the phone retains the 10MP sensor housed within a center punch hole.
The only upgrade to the camera seems to be the fact that the Flip 3’s rear camera array is now protected by Corning's new Gorilla Glass DX glass composite cover. This coating supposedly prevents scratches and the lens flares.
Simply put, if you already own a Galaxy Z Flip, an upgrade to the Flip 3 doesn’t make sense if you’re looking for improvements in this aspect.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 vs. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
|Galaxy Z Flip 3||Galaxy Z Flip|
|Main Display||6.7-inch, Dynamic AMOLED, FHD+, 2640x1080 pixels||
6.7-inch, Dynamic AMOLED, FHD+, 2636x1080 pixels
|Cover Display||1.9-inch, AMOLED, 512x206 pixels||1.1-inch, AMOLED, 300x112 pixels|
|Dimensions||Folded: 72.2x86x171.1mm, Unfolded: 72.2x166x6.9mm||Folded: 73.6x87.4x15.4mm, Unfolded: 73.6x167.3x6.9mm|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5nm 64-bit octa-core||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 (7nm 64-bit octa-core)|
|Main Cameras||12MP wide + 12MP ultra-wide||
12MP wide + 12MP ultra-wide
|Software||Android 11, One UI||
Android 10, One UI
|Price (USD)||$999 (128GB, $1050 (256GB)||Launch price: $1380|
As outlined in the introductory lines of this article, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is a better version of the Galaxy Z Flip with a bunch of new feature additions while also being cheaper by almost $400. In the US, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 starts at $999 for the 128GB variant. The 256GB variant is only slightly dearer at $1050. This is a significant reduction in price compared to last year’s Galaxy Flip that started at $1380 in the US.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is a definite improvement over the 2020 Galaxy Z Flip in several areas. And we will definitely recommend getting this year's model in case you were looking to upgrade from a non-foldable smartphone to a foldable device this year. The lower price tag is yet another reason to go for the Flip 3.
But what if you already happen to own last year’s Flip? Should you upgrade?
The answer to this question depends on how important the new features on the Flip 3 are to you. For example, we recommend you upgrade in case you really want the IPX8 rating, the 120Hz main display, and the overall better performance offered by the Snapdragon 888 SoC.
If you can live without these, the older Galaxy Z Flip is still a great device since the camera performance and battery life/capacity are near identical. Perhaps, it’s best if you wait and watch what Samsung brings for you next year?