Galaxy Z Fold 3 rumors at a glance
• August 11 launch date
• S Pen support
• Possible 16MP under-display camera
• Triple rear cameras, hole punch front-facing camera in phone mode
• Snapdragon 888 SoC and 12GB – 16GB of RAM
• A 4,380mAh battery split between two cells; 25W charging
• Three colors: black, green, and white
Get ready to feast your eyes upon the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 in just a few weeks. Samsung has not only set an August date for its next Galaxy Unpacked event, it’s confirmed that the focus will be on new foldable phones. In the case of the Galaxy Z Fold update, we’re expecting it to feature S Pen support and a faster processor. Samsung could even drop the price on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 from the lofty heights of its predecessors.
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 July 27)
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Release date
Samsung says it’s holding a Galaxy Unpacked event on August 11. A little while after setting the date for that event, Samsung confirmed that new versions of its foldable phones will be the focus of the event. (As if the “Get Ready to Unfold” slogan on the even’t invitation wasn’t clue enough.)
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Price
A report from SamMobile claims the Galaxy Z Fold 3 could see a launch price that’s 20% less than the Galaxy Z Fold 2. That would be $200 off or as cheap as $1,599. However, this has been the only such report thus far.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 debuted a hefty $1,999, making it Samsung’s most expensive phone by far, even after a permanent price cut to $1,799.
A separate blog post out of South Korea claims that the the Z Fold 3 will cost between 1.9 million and 1.99 million won, which works out somewhere between $1,660 and $1,750.
Another reported leak has the Galaxy Z Fold 3 pegged to cost €1,676 and €1,781 for 256GB or 512GB models respectively. Converting Euros to dollars directly isn’t an accurate way to get U.S. pricing given the way tax is handled in Europe, but roughly those figures convert to $1,974 and $2,098, which is pretty close to the price tag of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2.
Perhaps Samsung could develop a cheaper Galaxy Z Fold FE, 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 new version of the Galaxy Z Flip, which has also seen its price drop to an even lower $1,199.
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. Adding to the confusion, Sammobile has claimed that the cover and interior displays on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will measure 6.23 and 7.55 inches. That’s a wide range of rumored screen sizes.
Whatever design changes Samsung makes, the new version is expected to be lighter than its predecessor. Leaker Ice Universe tweeted that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 should weigh 269 grams (9.48 ounces). The Galaxy Z Fold 2 tipped the scales at 282 grams (9.9 ounces).
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.
A recent Samsung patent describing a foldable phone without physical buttons has fueled speculation that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 could be that device. We’d caution against assuming that means there will be no buttons on Samsung’s upcoming phone. First, patents don’t always reflect a company’s plans for its phones. Secondly, even if this patent does, it could be a while before we see it implemented on an actual phone.
As for Galaxy Z Fold 3 colors, SamMobile reports that the phone 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.
Further updates have surfaced recently, with 91mobiles showing off what it claims to be renders obtained from industry sources. These renders look like other images of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 that we’ve seen before. The site claims the phone will come in black, green, and white.
91mobiles also claims that there is a hole punch selfie cam on the outside of the phone and that the fingerprint sensor will be in the volume rocker.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 durability
Speaking of durability, another leak also claims 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. This supposed leak, pun intended, was given more credence by another that has claimed the Galaxy Z Fold could get an IPX8 rating.
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. And Samsung’s removed any doubt, by confirming that a foldable-friendly version of the S Pen is part of its plans.
But will the S Pen be included with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 or only be offered as an option accessory? It doesn’t look good for the former, as leaker Isahn Agerwal claims there’s no slot for the S Pen in the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s final design. Presumably that means the stylus will be an optional accessory as it is for 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.
In the spring, leaker Ice Universe tweeted of a possible surprise in which the Z Fold 3 wouldn’t use either the Snapdragon 888 or Samsung’s own Exynos 2100 chipsets, opting for another system-on-chip. However, since then, SamMobile spotted a post on Geekbench which featured the Galaxy Z Fold 3 powered by a Snapdragon 888 processor and 12GB of RAM. That’s a little bit of surprise given that Qualcomm has just announced an improved version of that chipset, the Snapdragon 888 Plus.
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 wired 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. However, FCC certification documents suggest the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will support 9W wireless charging, a drop from the 11W support found in the Galaxy Z Fold 2.
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. However, more recently, leakers predict the rear cameras on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will be the same as what the Galaxy Z Fold 2 features — a trio of 12MP cameras, with the telephoto lens capable of a 2x zoom.
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.
A recent leak spotted by GSM Arena suggests that the ultrawide camera, one of the trio of 12MP shooters, will have phase detection autofocus (PDAF).
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Software
Whenever the Galaxy Z Fold ships, it will certainly do so before Android 12 ships. That’s no matter, as Samsung will eventually upgrade the new foldable to the updated operating system from Google, probably around the end of the year.
More significant software news could come from a leak that shows off a new interface for Samsung’s foldable phones. The so-called Split UI interface adjusts what you see based on the orientation of the phone and whether its screen is fully open.
In addition to the interface adapting to the status of the screen, users will be able to customize what they see with Split UI and even alter the size of different sections with a slide. The leak suggests that Split UI will debut in the Galaxy Z Fold 3 before debuting in other Samsung foldables.
To that end, Samsung has indicated it’s in talks with more Android app makers to make sure their software takes advantage of the features in its next foldables.
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. The news of a Split UI look is an encouraging step.
- 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 phone that debuted at around $2,000.
- 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.