If you want the most stylish, best performing smartphone in 2021, my immediate recommendation for you is the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3. But if you still want to know more in depth on Galaxy Z Flip3, then read this article as I will uncovered the experience of using the Flip3 for 2 weeks. So let’s get onto the flip phone now.
Design – Improved looks with better materials to provide long-lasting durability
Out of the box, the Flip3 is a compact and slim device. It’s easy to grip and put into your pocket and bags. The Flip3’s body is made from Armour Aluminum, like the Fold3, providing 10% better protection when compared to previous model. The hinge mechanism is largely the same as the previous model but has small upgrade to provide improved Flex mode. The small bit updates for the device does feel more solid and confident to use when compared reviewing the original Flip model.
But the most significant and much needed updated for the device is IPX8 rating which means the Flip3 can hang out in 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. However, try to avoid dusty area because this device doesn’t have any dust protection rating.
On the left of the device, you got sim card slot, while on the right, you have volume rocker and power button/fingerprint scanner. On top, there is a mic hole while at the bottom, you have two mics hole, USB Type-C port and the speaker grill. As this a premium foldable, the buttons here feels solid and tactile when clicked. The aluminum sides will follow your device motif colour even on the USB Type-C port and antenna lines which looks stylish.
The cover on the Flip3 received a newly redesigned two tone colour. This new design gives the phone an iconic look. The device is available in four colour choice, Phantom Black, Cream, Green and the review unit here, Lavender. There is another 3 special colours which is only available via https://www.samsung.com/my/smartphones/galaxy-z-flip3-5g/buy/, Gray, White and Pink.
However, I only find one minor gripe for the Flip3 design which it is a slippery device because of the glossy glass. I would highly advise you that do not put the phone on the edge if you’re not planning to get a case for it.
Performance – Great for productivity, gaming and entertainment
The Flip3 in Malaysia is powered by the Snapdragon 888 chipset is good enough for your daily productivity, gaming and entertainment. You can play most modern mobile gaming title at max settings however, I encountered a weird issue for Genshin Impact where it doesn’t look 60 fps (maybe running around 30fps and below) when I set to high settings with 60 fps turned on. Hopefully, there is a software update for it.
Because of the solid performance on the device, you can multitask with 3 apps (Split-view and floating app) and use the Flex mode. Flex mode allow users to quickly choose from Quick Panel, Screenshots, Brightness, and Volume. It doesn’t have the trackpad option like Flex mode for Gallery app which I think a missed out feature right out of the box. By the way, you can forced certain apps to use Flex mode by going to Flex mode panel on Labs at your Settings. Flex mode is also useful if you plan to use the device on a flat surface.
Overall, Flip3 is really punches above its weight considering the device is so compact yet delivering solid performance.
Display – A welcomed (slightly) larger cover screen and 120hz refresh rate on the foldable display
For the Flip3, there is two ways of using it, via the cover display or the foldable display. Starting off with the cover screen, this time Samsung has elected put a 1.9-inch Super AMOLED display which has a 512 x 260 resolution. The cover screen is bright for indoor and outdoor and quite responsive for your daily usage.
Honestly, I do feel Samsung should have put a much larger cover screen but the 1.9-inch display works fine for quickly looking at your notifications, control widgets, adjust the brightness and volume, use Samsung Pay and check your phone status. The cover screen also work for the camera which we will talk more about on the camera section. The cover screen also allows users to put custom image or GIF file as their background.
Heading to the foldable display, it is using the 6.7-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X with 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. The foldable display is capable deliver an excellent immersive viewing experience. Also thanks to the fast refresh rate, scrolling around on the device is smooth like butter. There is a new protective PET film for the main screen that’s said to be 80% stronger than previous model applied right out of the box so be careful not to peel that off.
Speakers – Immersive stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos!
So, the Flip3 has a stereo speaker setup (one bottom firing speaker and earpiece act as second speaker). The speaker sound quite good as there’s a balanced bass on the the audio and it’s pretty loud too. If you want better audio experience, turn on the Dolby Atmos and you can have an amazing immersive audio experience. There is Dolby Atmos for gaming as well for gamers to enjoy better audio experience during their gaming session. However, do take note the Dolby Atmos and Dolby Atmos for gaming options need to be turned on manually out of the box in the Settings.
Battery – Needs a larger battery and faster charging speed
The Flip3 still uses the same 3,300 mAh battery which performs slightly below average for daily usage. Once you start to play game or trying to record 4K videos, you will notice the battery drain really quick. If you’re planning to have heavy usage on the device at outdoor, you really need a powerbank.
The charging speed for the Flip3 is 15W Fast charging is not really fast than the competition in the premium smartphone line. At the very least a 25W charging speed is the minimum for a premium device. You can expect the device to take more than an hour from 0 to 100% fully charge.
On the camera department, you get a 12MP main camera and 12MP ultra wide camera for your rear camera while a 10MP front camera will handle your selfie photos and videos. A new update for the rear cameras lens as it is using the latest Super Clear Glass with Gorilla Glass with DX (like Fold3).
Like the screen, the camera can be used in two ways, Quick Shot or normal camera (phone in candy bar shape). Start with Quick Shot, you can activate it when the phone is flip close and double press the power button. Quick Shot will output in square format only and there is no option to change it. The good thing for the square format is good for your Instagram uploads. My only gripe for Quick Shot is the lack of setting or adjustment for photos and videos. Also, I noticed Quick Shot don’t handle well when you’re moving as photos will be blurry especially during low light conditions.
For photography, the cameras on the Flip3 works superbly in bright daylight shots. The rear cameras (main and ultrawide) benefited from the Super Clear Glass with Gorilla Glass with DX as pictures looked bright and crisp detail. You can do zooming but it is in digital and 10x is max. Zoom shots are best to kept at 4-5x zoom as anything beyond that is quite unusable.
The selfie camera performs good in broad daylight shots but with the option to use the cover screen with the rear cameras, you may prefer to shoot your selfies with the rear cameras.
In low light condition, I would suggest to use the Night mode or flash for all three cameras to get nice low light condition shots.
Portrait shots on the Flip3 looks great for the main camera and front camera. You can manually adjust the blur effect intensity and the edge detection is quite good though not 100% accurate.
For videos, the Flip3 can shoot up to 4K 60fps videos on the main and front camera but the ultrawide camera maxed out at 4K 30fps. Video quality is quite good especially during broad daylight for all the cameras. For low light condition video, the main camera still perform ok with slight noise. The ultrawide and selfie camera video will appear a bit more noisier and softer details during low light conditions.
Something new for the Flip3 is Auto-Framing video. This mode will use the ultrawide mode to detect the subject and automatically frame to the subject. This mode can be use at bright daylight or low light condition (although is better to use at good lighting condition for better auto framing.
Other video modes are Pro video mode for those who want to shoot 24fps cinematic videos and manually adjust the camera setting, Director’s View to record video on the front and main video, Super Slow-Mo, Slow Motion, Hyperlapse and Portrait Video.
You also can use Flex mode with the camera app which allows to act like tripod or like me, hold it like a camcorder.
Final verdict – The modern flip/foldable phone you should get right now
The Galaxy Z Flip3 in Malaysia is priced at RM3,999 for the 8GB RAM with 128GB internal storage and RM4,199 for the 8GB RAM with 256GB internal storage. Highly recommend to go for the 256GB variant as you can’t expand the memory storage.
You really can’t go wrong with the Flip3 as it packs the performance, style, camera and functionality for the user. While the battery department is a bit lacking, however, if you’re willing to overcome it with a powerbank, then you will definitely enjoy using the Flip3 for a long time. Hence, this is the reason why I said if you want the most stylish, best performing smartphone in 2021, I would highly recommend the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 and start flip to the future with it.
*This review is made possible thanks to Samsung Malaysia providing a loan review unit for content purposes. However, no payment is involved hence there is no final approval nor creative input by Samsung for the article and video. Everything commented on the video and article is based two weeks of usage and might differ with future software updates.