Mobiles & Tablets

Flips and Folds and all else at Galaxy Unpacked

Mala Bhargava | Updated on August 12, 2021

Impressions of the updates to Samsung’s most innovative products

Samsung’s August 2021 Galaxy Unpacked brought updates to one of its most seductive products — that folding phone. The Z Fold2 is now the Z Fold3 and it’s been refined to the point where it’s advanced a great deal from the very first original Fold, which had various issues. ,

The Z Fold2 tackled the problem of the first vulnerable screen, the biggest caveat for a device, which otherwise caught the world’s interest. The Z Fold2 actually turned out to be a very well behaved device - one that survived drops, had a nice bright screen with a protective cover, good battery life, great sound, and a hinge that has given no trouble at all. The Z Fold3 seems to have improved on everything all around. The display has higher specs and better resolution, particularly a 120Hz refresh rate for the cover screen. That’s something to look forward to. The previous generation Fold hasn’t seemed to slow down at all, but to have it catch up in terms of ‘screen speed’ should improve the experience. The 6.2 inch cover screen now has Gorilla Glass Victus protection, which is reassuring as the cover screen is often laid down on a surface.

The Z Fold3 also means catching up on other hardware specs to be in line with other flagships, so it uses the Snapdragon 888 processor with 12GB RAM and 256GB/512GB of UFS 3.1 storage. One cannot but help be greedy and wish there was 16GB RAM for even faster multi-tasking, but one can’t have everything.

The Z Fold3 is actually thinner and lighter, but built stronger, including the hinge that can take on more folds and un-folds. The hinge has also been recessed further in. The crease on the unfolded screen is still there, but it would be interesting to see if it feels any different from the Z Fold2’s prominent one.

Very significantly, the Z Fold3 now supports the S-Pen, though it will have to be the S-Pen Pro, meant specifically for the Fold’s different screen surface. Although it can work with other phones that support it, S-Pen from previous phones like the Note can’t work on the Fold as that needs a more retractable tip. The square form factor of the Fold makes it seem just right to invite a pen to write something on it, specially with two apps open at the same time. Needless to say, the addition of the S-Pen support on this phone and the S21 Ultra makes the Galaxy Note quite redundant.

The new Fold is also water resistant at a rating of IPX8. In fact, it’s the first foldable water resistant phone, another feather in Samsung’s cap.

The other folding phone to make a reappearance is the Z Flip3,which is the smaller device that folds in half and flexes back all the way flat. This fashionable looking gadget has always looked like the lifestyle product it is — often equated to a piece of jewellery. This device also has many improvements, including a bigger and more usable cover screen.

Both phones are 5G, water resistant and come in new colours.

For the Galaxy Watch 4, Samsung collaborates with Google. Samsung is finally giving up the idea of going it alone with its own Tizen and will now use Google’s WearOS. The watch still follows the same design, including the wonderful rotating bezel (on the Classic) and it still retains some elements of the Tizen, but is now going to be able to open up to Android apps, which is a big deal both for Samsung and for WearOS, which has been rather neglected for some years. There is a Classic model which is more premium The focus for the watch is very much on health; it brings body composition measurements and a lot of sleep tracking features.

Samsung has also launched the next version of the Galaxy Buds, but it’s difficult to get a sense of what is really different (apart from plenty of new colours) until one can hear them.

Published on August 12, 2021

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