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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G review: No flipside to the Flip3

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G review: No flipside to the Flip3

Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5G is aesthetically appealing and functional. The 1.9-inch outer cover screen (when folded) is small but good enough to quickly glance through the notifications

Samsung Z Flip3's performance isn’t something to worry about Samsung Z Flip3's performance isn’t something to worry about

Price: Rs 84,999
Specs: 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X with 2640 x 1080 p resolution, 1.9-inch cover display with 260 x 512 p resolution, foldable – clamshell, Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, 8GB RAM, 128/256GB storage, WiFi, Bluetooth, 5G, 3300mAh battery, One UI running Android 11 OS, 183 grams
In the box: Flip 3 smartphone, Type-C cable
 
You might hear all kinds of reasons to justify purchasing a phone that folds into half the length of the normal smartphone with similar specs. Some might say I have very less space in my handbag, some might have smaller pockets on their jeans while others might try to give you a rational reason on how easy it is to carry and the benefits of having the secondary cover screen. But if you scratch the surface and look underneath, the real reason is quite simple -- it looks good and I want it.
 
To reach this stage, it took years of R&D, trial and error. While the concept of a foldable phone is simply amazing, mastering one that can be used as a daily device without damaging the screen in such a short span of time is no short of an achievement. But a foldable device at a price of a regular flagship is the real deal here.
 
Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5G is aesthetically appealing and functional. The 1.9-inch outer cover screen (when folded) is small but good enough to quickly glance through the notifications. This was convenient and increased my productivity – a quick look was enough at times and I was less tempted to open the Flip3. Samsung should have added some way to respond to the notifications from the outer cover screen instead of opening the app on the main screen – something similar to scribble or preset replies on the Apple Watch I use often.
 
I added some widgets to the outer cover, which were accessible with a swipe. For instance, I was able to play/pause music, start the timer, check the day’s schedule, start recording amongst others. Samsung has put a lot of thought into the smallest of things. The volume buttons switched functionality when the phone was flipped close. However, if you are an old-timer, just like me, and loved playing around with the yesteryear’s Moto Razr, you will be in for a disappointment. Fearing damaging the main 6.7-inch display, I couldn’t jolt close to this phone. While I was able to close it with just one hand, opening this clamshell required two hands or one hand and some surface – mostly because of the soft yet slippery built quality.
 
Once the clamshell is open, it is the regular smartphone inside. The main OLED screen is crisp and vibrant, and the 120Hz refresh rate makes scrolling super smooth. However, the main display isn’t a glass slab but has a soft finish. The crease, where the phone bends, is prominently visible, especially in apps with white background. A quick fix is to switch to the dark theme. But the crease didn’t bother me much. While I mostly used the Flip as a regular smartphone, its flexibility functionality comes in handy. Instead of holding the phone or placing it against the surface during video calls or streaming videos, I preferred keeping it at a 90-degree angle.

The foldable form factor is not just a gimmick but there are some practical use cases too. For starters, using it as a tripod to capture images. The top part of the screen was converted into the camera viewfinder and the other half had all the controls. After being used to big displays and recently reviewing the New Galaxy Z Fold 3, the viewfinder area felt a bit small but it still worked. Placing the phone on a table while capturing images was great as it eliminated accidental shakes. A great feature when capturing images in low light. Moving on to the camera quality, the images captured by the wide-angle and ultra-wide angle camera were vivacious yet over-saturated – easily attracting user attention. However, the telephoto lens is missing. And while capturing images using the rear camera, the small cover display also acted as a viewfinder, which can be activated with a tap on the screen. Also, even when the Z Flip3 was closed, double-pressing the power key launched the rear camera and the volume button clicked the image. But the outer-cover viewfinder showed a cropped frame, whereas the captured images had enough headroom.
 
The overall performance of the Z Flip3 isn’t something to worry about. I used it extensively – for gaming, browsing, imaging and documentation – but there wasn’t any lag or screen stuttering while playing games like Asphalt 9. After being used to smartphones with big batteries lasting me over a day, the one on the Z Flip3 just managed to last till dinner time.
 
A word of caution: The Z Flip 3 is water-resistant (IPX8 certified) but not dust resistant. So it should be kept safe and away from dust as it might end up damaging the hinge. Also, if you carry keys, money and coins in your pocket, be extra cautious that nothing comes between the screens.
 
Rationally, a phone with similar specifications is available for almost a similar price sans the foldable screen. But most of these purchases are beyond the rational and following what your heart desires. So if your pocket allows you a leeway of a few extra grands to own a device that can Flip open, then why not.

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