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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G review: Living the flip life confidently

By Liu Hongzuo - 12 Sep 2021
Launch SRP: S$1398

Benchmark Performance, Battery, Conclusion

Benchmark Performance

Driving the new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G isn't a Samsung Exynos processor but a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 mobile chipset. We’ve already had time with several other flagship phones using this processor. So we've compared them against the Galaxy Z Flip3 in addition to Samsung's very own Galaxy S21+ powered by their Exynos chipset, which delivers similar performance to SD888 powered devices.

We’ve also included the first Z Flip for comparison. As an older device, it packs a flagship 2019 processor by Qualcomm. Finally, the Vivo X60 Pro is also included in our comparisons because it sits in the same price range as the Samsung foldable (or, shall we say...flippable? See what we did there?). 

Note: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G models pack 8GB RAM, with two storage variants offered: 128GB and 256GB (UFS 3.1). The variant used in our review comes with 128GB.

  Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G Vivo X60 Pro ASUS ZenFone 8 Xiaomi Mi 11 Oppo Find X3 Pro Samsung Galaxy S21+ Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
  Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G Vivo X60 Pro ASUS ZenFone 8 Xiaomi Mi 11 Oppo Find X3 Pro Samsung Galaxy S21+ Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
Launch SRP
  • From S$1398
  • From S$1199
  • From S$999
  • From S$999
  • From S$1599
  • From S$1498
  • From S$1898
  • From S$1998
Operating system
  • Android 11 (Samsung One UI)
  • Android 11 with Funtouch 11
  • Android 11 on ZenUI
  • Android 11 on MIUI 12
  • ColorOS 11.2, based on Android 11
  • Android 11 (One UI 3)
  • One UI, based on Android 10
  • Android 10 with Samsung One UI 2
Processor
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 870
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
  • Samsung Exynos 2100, 5nm octa-core (2.9GHz + 2.8GHz + 2.2GHz)
  • Samsung Exynos 990
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ (octa-core)
Built-in Memory
  • 8GB RAM
  • 12GB RAM
  • 8/16GB RAM (LPDDR5)
  • 8GB RAM (LPDDR5)
  • 12GB RAM
  • LPDDR5
  • 8GB (LPDDR5)
  • 12GB RAM
  • LPDDR5
  • 8GB RAM
Display
  • 6.7-inch Main Screen / 2,640 x 1,080 pixels (425 ppi) / Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity Flex / 120Hz adaptive refresh rate
  • 1.9-inch Cover Screen / 512 x 260 pixels (302 ppi) / Super AMOLED
  • 6.56-inch / 2,376 x 1,080 pixels (~398 ppi) / 120Hz refresh rate / HDR10+ / AMOLED Display
  • 5.9-inches 2,400 x 1,080 pixels (445 ppi) AMOLED, 20:9 ratio, 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10+, 1,100-nits brightness
  • 6.81-inches 3,200 x 1,440 pixels (515 ppi) AMOLED, 20:9 ratio, 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10+, 10-bit colour
  • 6.7-inch / 3,216 x 1,440 pixels (525 ppi) / 120Hz refresh rate / 240Hz touch sampling rate / AMOLED Display
  • 6.7-inch, Dynamic AMOLED 2X, Infinity-O
  • 2,400 x 1,080 pixels (394ppi)
  • 120Hz adaptive refresh rate
  • Eye Comfort Shield
  • 6.9-inch / 3,088 x 1,440 pixels (496 ppi) / 120Hz refresh rate / 240Hz touch sampling rate / HDR10+ / Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O Display
  • 6.7-inch / 2,636 x 1,080 pixels (425 ppi) / Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O Display
  • 1.1-inch Cover Display, 112 x 300 pixels
Camera
  • Rear:
  • 12MP main, f/1.8 aperture, 1.4μm pixel size, Dual Pixel, OIS
  • 12MP ultra-wide, f/2,2 aperture, 1.12μm pixel size
  • Front:
  • 10MP, f/2.4 aperture,1.22μm pixel size
  • Rear:
  • 48MP main camera, f/1.48, Gimbal Camera System 2.0
  • 13MP ultra-wide, f/2.2, 120° FOV
  • 13MP telephoto,f/2.46 2x optical zoom
  • Front:
  • 32MP main, f/2.45
  • Rear:
  • 64MP main, 1/1.7-inch sensor size, 0.8μm pixel size, 1.6μm with Quad Bayer, f/1.8, 4-axis OIS, 2x1 OCL PDAF
  • 12MP ultra-wide, 113° FOV, f/2.2, Dual PDAF, 4cm macro shooting
  • Front:
  • 12MP, 1.22μm pixel size, Dual PDAF
  • Rear:
  • 48 MP main, 1/1.33-inch sensor size, 0.8μm pixel size, 1.6μm 4-in-1 Super Pixel, f/1.85, OIS
  • 13MP ultra-wide, 123° FOV, f/2.4
  • 5MP telemacro, f/2.4
  • Front:
  • 20MP, 0.8μm pixel size, 1.6μm 4-in-1 Super Pixel, f/2.2
  • Rear:
  • 50MP, Sony IMX766 1/1.56-inch sensor size, f/1.8, All Pixel Omni-Directional PDAF, OIS
  • 50MP, Sony IMX766 1/1.56-inch sensor size, f/2.2, 110° FOV, 4cm Macro, All Pixel Omni-Directional PDAF
  • 13MP Telephoto, f/2.4, 5x Hybrid Zoom, 20x Digital Zoom
  • 3MP Microlens, 60x magnification, f/3.0
  • Front:
  • 32MP, f/2.4
  • Rear:
  • 12MP, f/1.8, wide-angle 1.8µm, Dual Pixel AF, OIS
  • 12MP, f/2.2, ultra-wide, 1.4µm, 120° FOV
  • 64MP, f/2.0, telephoto, 0.8µm, PDAF, 3x Hybrid Optic Zoom
  • Front:
  • 10MP, f/2.2, portrait, 1.22µm, Dual Pixel AF
  • Rear:
  • 12MP Ultra Wide Camera, 1.4μm pixel size, 120 ̊ FOV, f/2.2 aperture
  • 108MP Wide-Angle Camera with PDAF and OIS, 1.4μm, 79 ̊ FOV, f/1.8
  • 12MP Telephoto Camera, 1.0μm, 20 ̊ FOV, f/3.0
  • Laser Autofocus Sensor
  • 5x Optical Zoom
  • 50x Super Resolution Zoom
  • Front:
  • 10MP Selfie Camera with Dual Pixel AF, 1.22μm, 80 ̊ FOV, f/2.2
  • Rear: 12-megapixel f/1.5-2.4, 27mm wide, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS + 12-megapixel, f/2.2, 12mm ultrawide
  • Front: 10-megapixel, f/2.4, 26mm (wide)
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, 5G (NSA, SA, Sub6, mmWave), 4G (LTE Cat 20) , Bluetooth 5.1, MIMO (2x2), GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, NFC, USB-C
  • Up to Wi-Fi 6 (2.4GHz, 5GHz), Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, GPS, OTG, Type-C
  • Wi-Fi 6/6E (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, 2x2 MIMO), Bluetooth 5.2, L1+L5 GPS, L1 GLONASS, E1+E5a GALILEO, USB-C, NFC, 3.5mm audio jack
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, Bluetooth 5.2, L1+L5 GPS, G1 GLONASS, E1+E5a GALILEO, Beidou, USB-C, NFC
  • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4Ghz, 5.1Ghz, 5/8Ghz), Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot, Bluetooth 5.2, A-GPS, Beidou, Glonass, Galileo, GPS
  • LTE / 5G (NSA, SA, Sub6)
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot, Bluetooth 5.0, A2DP, LE
  • GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO
  • NFC
  • 5G (NSA, SA, mmWave), LTE (4x4 MIMO up to Cat 20), Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4GHz, 5GHz, MIMO), NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, Beidou, Glonass, Galileo, BeiDou, Ultra Wide Band
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 + 5GHz), 4G+ LTE Cat 18 (up to 1200Mbps), Bluetooth 5.0, MIMO (2x2), GPS, GLONASS, NFC, Screen Mirroring
Storage Type
  • 128GB internal storage
  • 256GB internal storage
  • UFS 3.1
  • 256GB internal storage
  • 256GB internal storage, UFS 3.1
  • 128/256GB internal storage, UFS 3.1
  • 256GB internal storage
  • UFS 3.0
  • 256GB
  • No microSD card slot
  • 256GB internal storage
  • 256GB internal storage
Battery
  • 3,300mAh
  • 15W Fast Charging
  • 10W Fast Wireless Charging
  • Wireless PowerShare
  • 4,200mAh
  • 33W FlashCharge
  • 4,000mAh
  • 33W wired fast-charging
  • 4,500mAh
  • 55W wired fast-charging
  • 50W wireless fast-charging
  • 10W reverse wireless charging
  • 4,500mAh
  • 65W SuperVOOC 2.0
  • 30W AirVOOC (wireless charging)
  • 4,800mAh
  • 25W Super Fast Charging
  • 15W Wireless Fast Charging
  • 4,500mAh
  • USB PD 3.0 Fast Charging, AFC, QC 2.0
  • Samsung Fast Wireless Charging 2.0 (15W)
  • 3,300mAh
  • Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging
  • Wireless charging
Dimensions
  • Unfolded: 166.0 x 72.2 x 6.9mm
  • Folded: 86.4 x 72.2 x 15.9 - 17.1mm
  • 158.58 x 73.24 x 7.69mm
  • (Shimmer Blue is 0.1mm thicker than Midnight Black)
  • 148 x 68.5 x 8.9mm
  • 164.3 x 74.6 x 8.06mm
  • 163.6 x 74.0 x 8.26mm
  • 75.6 x 161.5 x 7.8mm
  • 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1mm
  • Open: 167.3 x 73.6 x 7.2 mm
  • Folded: 87.4 x 73.6 x 17.3 mm
Weight
  • 183g
  • 179g
  • (Shimmer Blue is 2g heavier than Midnight Black)
  • 169g
  • 196g
  • 193g
  • 200g
  • 208g
  • 183g
Network:
  • 5G (NSA/SA), 4G, 3G

 

JetStream 2.0

JetStream 2 is a combination of a variety of JavaScript and Web Assembly benchmarks, including benchmarks that came before, like SunSpider and Octane. It primarily tests for a system’s and browser’s ability in delivering a good web experience. It runs a total of 64 subtests, each weighted equally, with multiple iterations, and takes the geometric mean to compute the overall score.

 

AnTuTu 

Note: As of 9th March 2020, all AnTuTu benchmarks were removed from the Google Play Store. This move likely arose from Google's attempts to relieve the Play Store of apps that violate their policies. AnTuTu is working with Google to restore their app listing. For this review, we used the APK file that was available on AnTuTu's website.

AnTuTu is an all-in-one benchmark that tests CPU, GPU, memory, and storage. The CPU benchmark evaluates both integer and floating-point performance, and the GPU tests assess 2D and 3D performance, the memory test measures available memory bandwidth and latency, and the storage tests gauge the read and write speeds of a device's flash memory.

 

Geekbench 5

Geekbench CPU is a cross-platform processor benchmark that tests both single-core and multi-core performance with workloads that simulate real-world usage. Geekbench 5 scores are calibrated against a baseline score of 1000, which is the score of an Intel Core i3-8100.

 

3DMark Sling Shot Extreme

3DMark Sling Shot is an advanced 3D graphics benchmark that tests the full range of OpenGL ES 3.1 and ES 3.0 API features, including multiple render targets, instanced rendering, uniform buffers and transform feedback. The test also includes impressive volumetric lighting and post-processing effects. The test's Unlimited mode ignores screen resolutions.

We’re also collecting scores with 3DMark’s new benchmark, Wild Life. Below are the test’s Unlimited Mode scores. The older Samsung Galaxy Z Flip predates this benchmark, and neither does 3DMark or HWZ have scores for that device.

 

Battery Life

Our standard battery test for mobile phones has the following parameters:

  • Looping a 720p video with screen brightness and volume at 100%
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
  • Constant data streaming through email and Twitter

The Galaxy Z Flip3 5G has a 3,300mAh battery capacity, and it clocked in just under 10 hours of continuous loops. While it’s improved from the first Z Flip, the battery is relatively short-lived next to other 2021 flagship devices. The phone consumes a significant part of its full charge under heavy, day-to-day use, but it shouldn’t be an issue if you remember to charge it once a day.

The phone also supports 15W fast-charging and 10W wireless charging, just like its Galaxy S and Galaxy Note counterparts. Our third-party 40W fast-charging wall plug saw the foldable taking 57 minutes to reach 50% charge, and 124 minutes to go from 0% to 100%.

Why did we use an unrelated charger? That’s because Samsung didn’t include a charging adapter in the box, much like how Galaxy S21 series devices also didn’t have one.  

 

Conclusion: Down the foldable rabbit hole you go

If you’ve been holding out on getting Samsung’s flagship flip-style foldable phone, the Galaxy Z Flip3 5G makes an amazing entry point into these handsets. It’s also a viable (maybe even seductive) candidate for users who want a new experience if they’re moving on from an older flagship smartphone. There's no denying there's a certain cool factor in having the most modern flip phone on the planet with an all-screen front greeting you when it's fully open and having it clammed away with a solid clasp (just like our experience with the first Galaxy Z Flip).

In most aspects, the Flip3 5G is worthy of its mainstream flagship status, with added creativity and functionality from its foldable main display. Our daily use also uncovered how Samsung made good on some of its durability promises, which we have mentioned in previous pages. At S$1,398 and S$1,498 respectively for the 128GB and 256GB models, these are familiar starting prices, making it competitive against many other flagship rivals, including the firm’s very own Galaxy S21 series handsets. Gone are the hefty starting prices, and that makes foldable (or in this case, flippable) phones a serious consideration if it suits your fashion, style and status.

Beyond checking the boxes with an improved Cover Screen, better main screen durability, IP-rated water resistance, and featuring a flagship processor, the foldable form factor confers plenty of benefits if you’re willing to learn and try.

Is a flip phone suitable for you?

Does a flip-style foldable really offer any practical advantage over conventional, single-slate phones? In our experience, it's a soft yes, but that really depends on how creative you are, the type of apps or features you use most, and whether you value having the main screen folded away when the device jostles about in your pocket or bag. Beyond practicality, the foldable display aspect gives a Z Flip3 5G a sense of finality unlike other conventional handsets - you know you are really done with a task (e-mailing, messaging, calling, etc.) when you close the shell and tuck the device away.

That said, the Galaxy Z Flip3 5G isn't without flaws - even if it's due to, we suspect, limitations that's not by Samsung's design. The crease that splits and runs along the main screen will always be visible unless Samsung develops an improved and more durable foldable display panel or find another "folding" method (or even a rollable screen) that makes the crease less obvious, if not eradicate it. Then there's the issue of battery life, which we reckon can be tolerated. Given the existing battery technology available today, Samsung perhaps can be commendable for still cramming in a 3,300mAh battery within a small footprint and deliver more battery life than its predecessor. Remember the Galaxy Note 7's exploding battery scandal that blighted Samsung? Well, something's got to give - and safety should be every smartphone's manufacturer's paramount priority.

But if we want to be utterly sore, perhaps our biggest pain point (and surely and easily fixed by Samsung for future products) is the exclusion of a capable fast-charging adapter. Come on, Samsung. Stop doing an Apple. While at that, it's also time to crank up the fast charging and wireless charging capability (as safely as possible) as the current rates feel a little long in the tooth compared to phone options coming out of China. Otherwise, we think that the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G is a commendable evolution of the two phones before it - it's a lot more accessible in pricing, has better durability and remains quite easily one of the most stylish phones around.

Want to know how to get your hands on one? Don’t forget to look at our pricing and availability details here to see what other promos Samsung offers with its cool foldable phone.

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8.5
  • Design 8.5
  • Features 8.5
  • User-Friendliness 8.5
  • Performance 8.5
  • Value 8.5
The Good
Significantly improved Cover Screen
Better Main Screen durability
True flagship-tier performance
IP-rated water resistance
Palatable price point
Commendable battery life for its form factor
The Bad
You would still need to use the phone with care
Main Screen crease still visible
Odd speaker balance
Only 1080p screen resolution
Average imaging quality
No telephoto lens
Charging adapter not included
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