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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: An exercise in ambition

(Pocket-lint) – The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 was one of the few ‘wow’ devices to arrive in 2022. Not because it’s a huge advancement over its predecessor – as it’s really not – but because that massive foldable screen is probably unlike anything else you’ll have ever seen. It’s like staring into the future.

Key to that display is the under panel camera (UPC), which attempts to hide the selfie camera from view for an uninterrupted visual experience. It’s certainly representative of the Z Fold 3’s sheer ambition, despite not being entirely successful in its endeavours.

There are other tweaks in an attempt to make this third-gen device more enticing than ever before, too: the asking price, while still massive at £1599 / €1799 / $1799, isn’t as large as its predecessor at launch. Plus, there’s the addition of S Pen stylus support.

But is being ambitious truly enough to sell a foldable device over the current norm.

On the face of it, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 isn’t vastly different to the Z Fold 2 that came before it. Even still, though, it continues its position as the top dog of foldable phones. That massive folding display is a real eye-catcher, even if the under panel camera (UPC) isn’t always totally convincing.

That there’s been no price increase for the Z Fold 3 is a real statement of intent. It’s actually a lower asking price than when its predecessor first went on sale. Don’t get us wrong, though, it’s not cheap by any means, and so you’ve got to really want to invest in this ambitious idea, including the aspects that don’t feel quite ready.

Owning a folding device inevitably comes with its share of foibles – here, the screen reflections, central crease and the under-display camera are the obvious ones – but, for sheer show-off factor, the Z Fold 3 is an unbeatable piece of modern technology.

A lot can change in the months after any phone launch. The speed at which new iterations of products can arrive is breathtaking, after all. Since the Z Fold 3 was first launched, we’ve seen a number of companies release foldable phones. Honor released the Magic V, which is along the same lines as the Samsung but isn’t yet widely available.

The one that really stands out to us – however – is the Oppo Find N. While only available in China currently, it showed that Samsung’s approach to design wasn’t the only way to do a book-style foldable. It isn’t as narrow and long as the Samsung, offering a display on the front that is more useful for a lot of tasks.

Having a phone that’s actually great for one-handed use is a rarity in this day and age. So, whether you want to snap a quick photo, reply to a message or read an email, you can do it without having to use both hands.

Secondly – and more importantly – Samsung’s regular and speed software updates have been a breath of fresh air. It’s gone from being one of the worst at quickly rolling out updates and security patches to being among the best. Sometimes, it’s even beat Google’s Pixel to the punch. That robustness gives a feeling of security, knowing your device isn’t forgotten about within the first year.

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Ajmal Solangi is a Tech writer specializing in the intersection of tech and reviews. He likes tech news, mobile unboxing, reviews, gadgets, and more.

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