The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G is here. It’s cheaper, more durable, and now supports the S Pen.
If there’s one big takeaway from the launch of the Galaxy Z Fold 3, it’s that its price has gone down. From last year’s Galaxy Z Fold2 launch price of US$ 2000, the new Galaxy Z Fold3 starts at $1800.
I know, it’s still a lot of money to pay for a smartphone. But it’s a good indication that this bleeding edge tech will one day find its way to more affordable price points.
Where’s the camera?
Of course there’s more to the story. From a tech innovation standpoint you’ll most enjoy two things: One, when opened up, at first glance the Z Fold3 doesn’t seem to have a punch hole for its selfie camera. But if you look closely there’s one hidden underneath the display. This is the first time we’re seeing an under display camera on a Samsung device ever.
How this works is basically there are a few missing pixels that are covered by the display’s pixels and AI fills in those missing pixels for you to create a complete image.
On paper, the specs of this camera are inferior to last year’s model. But given that there’s still a selfie camera up front. It shouldn’t be much of an issue. Unless you video call a lot.
I don’t know for sure how much better or worse this camera is. But I’m glad it’s there. And can’t think of a better device to implement this technology on.
That way when you use a Fold 3 in tablet mode. you get a fully uninterrupted experience which really is the dream regardless of what device you’re using.
More on what you can do with the Fold 3’s big display later. But first the other big feature is one that we all knew was inevitable. This device now supports the S-Pen.
Samsung is announcing two new pen models alongside the Z Fold3. Both are designed with a self retracting nib so that no matter how hard you press — a sharp tip is not gonna drill into the flexible display.
The first one called the S Pen Fold Edition is made specifically for and will only work with the Z Fold 3. Just like the S Pen that debuted with the Galaxy 21 Series, it doesn’t have a battery and Bluetooth. But does all the basic stuff like taking notes, which to be honest, is all you really need. You can buy the S Pen Fold Edition separately for US$ 49.99 or with a case that has a little slot to store the S-Pen Fold Edition. That’s US$ 79.99.
Then there’s the S-Pen Pro which retails for US$ 99.99. It’s backwards compatible with all Samsung devices that support the S Pen. But also with Bluetooth, so all those wand-like air gestures are supported too. And it’s got on board memory, so you can copy from one Samsung device. And paste it to another.
Both S Pens will deliver 9ms of latency which is the fastest in the industry. At par with the Note 20 Ultra and the iPad Pro. This just means that there’s going to be hardly any visible delay from drawing a stroke and that stroke appearing on screen.
Z Fold2 vs Z Fold3
At first glance, there’s nothing intrinsically different between the Z Fold2 and Z Fold3. Of course, the Z Fold3 comes in three new colors: Phantom Green, Phantom Silver, and Phantom Black. Definitely eyeing the green one.
The black one is cool too! An improvement over last year offering a matter back vs the black Z Fold2’s glossy finish which I immediately covered up with a leather case. Its’ Gorilla Glass Victus on both sides by the way.
The Z Fold3 is also roughly the same size as the Z Fold2, but in the hands it feels thinner and lighter. When folded shut, you’ll notice the gap between both displays isn’t as big as last year. But it’s still not as small as the Mate X2.
Samsung says the hinge mechanism is the same, but they’ve reduced its size so it doesn’t protrude from the phone so much. Hence the smaller gap and its slimmer appearance.
It’s also made from a new material. Samsung is calling Armor Aluminum that is 10 percent more durable than on the Z Fold2. Durable in terms of picking up bumps and scratches.
By the way, if you’re wondering if Samsung is also going to offer a special built-to-order custom colored hinge — like my blue hinged fold 2 — the answer is no.
And while we’re on the topic of durability, for the first time ever on a foldable device– the Galaxy Z Fold3 is IPX8 Water and Dust Resistant. Samsung says water can still get into the device, but they’ve made sure to give its insides a water resistant layer.
That said — I still wouldn’t recommend submerging the phone in water or taking it swimming. Or doing underwater photography.
Both the cover display and the inner display on the Z Fold 3 are still the same size as on the Fold 2. So, outside you get a 6.2-inch Cover Display. And when unfolded to tablet mode, a 7.6” Main Display
Two important changes though: Both screens now have a 120Hz panel. So you get buttery smooth scrolling no matter how you choose to use your phone.
More importantly, and this will address a pain point of early adopters, the plastic top layer of the display that sits above the UTG display panel is made of a completely different kind of plastic that is more stretchable. Samsung says it’s 80 percent more durable.
They’re promising 200,000 folds or about over 100 folds a day for five years. This, of course, is not something that one can verify over a short review but make sure you follow me on Instagram and Twitter so you get update as I periodically will update my reviews with real world notes there.
One of my problems with folding devices is that Android isn’t optimized for these unconventional form factors. Thankfully Samsung has taken things into their own hands.
They amde tweaks to the user experience and working with third party app developers so that more apps take advantage of the extra screen real estate. Apps like Netflix and Spotify, Google’s roster of apps like YouTube, Gmail and Chrome, and work apps like Slack, Zoom and Microsoft Word just to name a few.
For example if you’re on YouTube. You can prop your phone and have a video play on one half of the display and have the flex mode panel appear on the bottom that gives you easy access to brightness and volume controls. As well as an easy screenshot button.
When you’re using the camera — which we’ll talk about in a bit. Dual Preview lets the person you’re taking photos off see a preview of the shot while you’re taking it. And now this applies to all the other camera modes too. So, for example, its easier for them to interact with an AR Doodle.
Capture View mode lets you compose and take shots. While also previewing shots you’ve already taken at the same time — over here on the left side. Just better use of the screen real estate.
Remember Edge Panel — that contains shortcuts to frequently used apps and app pairs? You can now pin it to the side of your screen and have it work like a Windows Dock.
There’s also a more intuitive way to drag and drop between open apps in split screen view. And if all else fails you can turn on the Labs Feature that lets you Optimize almost any app. Settings > Advanced Features > Labs.
Galaxy Z Fold3 Cameras
On the camera front nothing has changed from last year. On paper, the Z Fold3 has the same camera system. But thanks to software improvements, photos theoretically should be better. Basically all the camera improvements that came to the S21 Series make it here.
On its back side there’s a 12MP Ultra Wide Camera (12MP / 1.12um / F2.2), a 12 MP Wide Camera (12MP / 1.8um / F1.8 OIS, Dual Pixel), and a 12MP Telephoto Camera with 2x Zoom. (12MP / 1.0um / F.2.4 / OIS 2x Zoom)
Aesthetically the camera bump isn’t as big either.
I know you’ll want to see samples so make sure you’re subscribed to this YouTube Channel and have Notifications turned on so you get to see our upcoming review video first.
Inside there’s a 4MP Under Display Camera (4MP 2.0um F/1.8), and up front a 10MP Cover Camera.
Z Fold3 Specs
As to be expected the, Galaxy Z Fold3 is powered by Qualcomm’s top of the line Snapdragon Processor SD888 here in the US. And Exynos elsewhere in the world. It comes with only one RAM offering — 12GB. Here in the US you can get it with either 256GB or 512GB storage options.
One area where you’ll notice a discrepancy of last year looking better than this year is in terms of battery capacity. This year’s model has a 4400mAh battery which is 100 less than last year. Samsung says this was to accommodate the slightly smaller profile And that with the 5nm chip, they expect battery life to be the same.
Speaking of, like all of Samsung’s top of the line phones this year, there will be no charge in the box. The phone supports Samsung’s 25W USB-C Charger. There’s also one eSIM and one Nano SIM and a fingerprint sensor still on side of device.
Price and availability
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Huawei nova 8i: Huawei’s awesome SUPER midranger
An awesome midrange comeback
Midrange smartphones have been the middle ground for people who want the premium of a higher end smartphone but don’t want to burn their pockets. Huawei gives in to this demand and claims the title of midrange king as they dethrone all other midrangers with their new nova 8 series — the nova 8 and nova 8i.
Here, we’ll put the spotlight on the Huawei nova 8i.
Build and design
Inheriting the Huawei P Series’ signature stylish aesthetic, the Huawei nova 8i has a fancy and premium design. It is slim, sleek, and has exquisite curved edges, which makes it really easy to grip.
Checking out its back, you’ll definitely notice the quad camera setup that’s surprisingly not bulky at all. It also has a noticeable resemblance with the Huawei Mate 30. But we’ll talk more about the cameras later on.
What also caught our attention is the gradient finish of this Moonlight Silver variant that we have which is absolutely stunning.
The Huawei nova 8i has an edgeless 6.67-inch display with ultra-narrow bezels around it. This results in an immersive viewing experience for browsing your social media pages or watching your favorite music videos.
The Huawei nova 8i also sports full HD+ resolution and DCI-P3 color gamut, giving us that rich and vibrant color reproduction. Once again, Huawei taps on Tuv Rheinland for certification on low blue light emittance to ensure eye comfort for long hours of work and play. It also has a natural tone feature which automatically adjusts the colors on the display depending on your surroundings.
Just as you would expect from a midrange phone, gaming is also something you can do with the nova 8i. With its 180Hz touch sampling rate, your favorite mobile games feel very responsive, making the gaming experience really enjoyable.
When you’re deep into gaming, the last thing you want is to be interrupted by a call or message. Well, you don’t have to worry about that since the Huawei nova 8i has a gaming assistant. You can enable settings so you won’t be disrupted and you can indulge yourself fully to the game.
But the experience is not the only thing that’s fast with the nova 8i. The 66W Huawei SuperCharge can juice up this phone up to 68 percent in just 20 minutes and can fully charge it in just 38 minutes. You can literally stare at your phone as your battery indicator rises.
Here’s where the fun part starts. Cameras: 64MP f/1.9 main, 8MP f/2.4 ultra-wide, 2MP f/2.4 macro, 2MP f/2.4 depth, 16MP f/2.0 selfie.
The nova 8i has a quad camera setup with a 64MP main camera which uses a big 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor. It means its camera sensor has the ability to let in more light. This results to a cleaner image and better low light performance.
And we’re telling you, this sensor is not messing around.
It lets you capture the highest resolution images you could probably ever need. Different from the usual software upscaled images typically seen on an ordinary smartphone. This gives you the capability to zoom in and crop your captured image yet still maintain a tremendous amount of details.
With the powerful cameras that the nova 8i has, you can definitely maximize its features to create your content whether just for leisure, a passion project, or social media content for your business.
EMUI and multitasking
As for its software, the Huawei nova 8i runs on EMUI 11 bringing in a bunch of convenient features that boosts your efficiency. For one, if you’re someone who loves multitasking, the multi-window feature is perfect as it lets you operate multiple apps on your screen.
Speaking of apps, Huawei’s app gallery is loaded with great ones from top shopping apps like Shopee and Lazada, to the most trending ones like TikTok.
And if in case you’re having trouble finding the app for you, Petal Search has got you covered. Just type in the app or whatever it is you’re looking for and Petal Search looks it up for you on different sources making sure you get the absolute best results.
Taking screenshots has never been this easy. You can do so by just swiping down using three fingers.
And for security, a new safe sharing feature has been included on the nova 8i. We now get the option to delete information of your phone and other details before sharing your photos or screenshots.
nova 8i — easy to recommend
Jam packed with features, the nova 8i just enables you to do so much. From capturing great photos and videos to having a seamless gaming and online experience, the nova 8i is an easy phone to recommend. At its price point, it is truly worthy of its crown.
This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Huawei Philippines.
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Gold: Unboxing and Hands-on
How “gold” smartphones should look like
Last year, the new gold colorway of the iPhone 12 Pro series got so popular that our gold iPhone 12 Pro unboxing made rounds online and even appeared on YouTube’s trending list.
This year, it might still be someone’s desire — the classic gold slab you’ve been wanting to own.
Lo and behold! Here’s the unboxing and hands-on of the Gold iPhone 13 Pro you don’t want to miss out!
Enjoy that gold goodness now that we’re uploading in 4K.
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