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
- USA — Starts at US$ 1799.99
- Philippines — Starts at PhP 87,990
- Singapore — Starts at SG$ 2,398
Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G — BUY here
Galaxy Fold 3 5G — BUY here
Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic — BUY here
Tab S7 FE — BUY here
Galaxy Buds 2– BUY here
Google Bard hands-on: Not much to worry about
Still has some work to do
Recently, Google made its upcoming AI chatbot available for testing. Bard, as it’s called, previewed Google’s progress in competing against other language learning models such as GPT-3.5. However, the company is keeping the ongoing test exclusive to Google One subscribers. Recently, we got access to the bot and tried it for ourselves. Here’s what we found:
Much like other chatbots, Bard allows users to input a prompt to get a response. No matter how detailed your prompt might be, the system will take only a few seconds to put out an answer.
Now, what can you ask Bard to do? Its uses range from writing copy to creative writing to just playing around. We tried asking for a simple sponsorship letter, the health benefits of ketchup, fan fiction, and a sonnet.
Compared to other chatbots, Bard does vary in quality. While simple tasks like sponsorship letters are decent and presentable, pieces that supposedly deal with facts are problematic. For example, when asked about the health benefits of ketchup, Bard claimed that the word “ketchup” came from the Malay word “ketchupas.” That word does not exist.
It also struggled with simple creative forms. When asked to write a haiku, Bard wrote a piece that failed to meet the 5-7-5 syllabic requirement for a haiku.
It does perform notably better when asked to mimic the style of shows and personalities. When asked to praise GadgetMatch in the style of Shaggy, we thought it was succinct enough to work.
Sometimes, it just flounders like a high schooler trying to rush through an essay’s requirements in the most lopsided way possible. Check out this ketchup-themed essay in the style of a 1970’s workout video. Props on getting the start right, but you can clearly see the point where the AI drops all pretense of a workout instructor and just narrates its ketchup spiel as quickly as possible. And then, of course, it forgets all about ketchup and goes back to being a workout instructor.
It also struggles with some abstract concepts. Despite knowing that we might be metaphysical beings with no bodies, Bard still suggested some workouts for our ethereal buns.
Sometimes, it admits its shortcomings, though. Sorry, Adam Sandler.
Also, Bard has no idea what to make of modern-day lingo. (If you’re like Bard, here’s a translation: “There’s a stinkbug on my hotdog. How do I get it off?”)
Bard has a long way to go. While it is already workable for simple writing tasks, it has some catching up to do if it wants to compete with GPT-3.5 and beyond. On the plus side, we don’t think human writers have to worry about chatbots just yet.
motorola rizr Hands-On
Hello Moto! from my rollable
If you’re an oldie (but goldie) gadget nerd, you would probably remember the stylish slider Motorola RIZR Z3 from 2006.
Fast forward this 2023, we might actually hear “Hello Moto” in this new form factor.
Originally unveiled at Lenovo Tech World ’22, motorola’s rollable concept made its way through the eyes of many at MWC 2023 in Barcelona, Spain.
Are you excited to see the future of smartphones with rollables?
Here’s our brief hands-on with motorola’s rollable concept A.K.A the moto rizr.
HONOR Magic5 Pro Hands-On
A closer look at the hardware
The HONOR Magic5 Pro opened to much fanfare at MWC 2023 in Barcelona, Spain and for good reason. This is HONOR’s first major release in front of a massive audience and is a follow up to the really solid Magic4 Pro smartphone. The Magic5 Pro doubles down on what made its predecessor great, and after a few days of Hands-On, we’re fans of its potential.
Box inclusions are par for the course: You get the Magic5 Pro, a jelly case, the usual documentation, a UBC-Cable, and the 66W SuperCharge adapter.
Unboxing the Power of Magic #HONORMagic5Pro #MWC2023 pic.twitter.com/rc5kTVSyRP
— GadgetMatch (@gadgetmatch) March 1, 2023
Specs and button placements
Let’s get the basics out of the way first. Here’s what the Magic5 Pro is like on paper:
- Processor — Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset
- OS — MagicOS 7.1 based on Android 13
- Graphics — Adreno 740 GPU
- Memory — 12GB DDR5X
- Storage — 512GB UFS4.0
- Display — 6.81-inch LTPO quad-curved floating screen, 2848 x 1312, 120Hz, 100% DCI-P3, 1800 nits peak brightness, HDR10+, TÜV Rheinland certified Low Blue Light
- Audio — Stereo system with dual speakers, DTS:X Ultra
- Security — Dual-TEE security system, NFC support, 3D face recognition, AI Privacy Call 2.0, fingerprint sensor
- Connectivity — USB Type-C, dual-SIM slots
- Wireless — Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.2
- Battery — 5,100mAh, 66W wired and 50W wireless SuperCharge
There’s no denying, that’s a 2023 flagship right there. But we’re gonna hold off on any real testing. HONOR told us that the unit we have still needs to receive a software update to fully have the device optimized. So, wait we shall.
Button placements are your usual affair.
At the bottom you’ll find: SIM Tray, USB-C port, speaker grilles.
On the right hand side are the volume rockers with the power button right below it.
Up front, you’ll see the pill-shaped cut-out on the left housing the 12MP (f/2.4) front camera and 3D depth camera.
Design and hand feel
The unit we got is the Classic Black one. The finish is glossy, it’s pretty slippery, and will definitely be home to fingerprints and smudges. Definitely use the included jelly case or buy one if you end up with this unit.
The Cyan variant has more of a frosted matte finish, but it isn’t that much better in the being-slippery department.
Despite measuring a massive 6.81 inches, the device is pretty easy to hold because the display and the back panel curves to the side. It’s also not significantly heavier than most other flagships in this form. The Galaxy S23 Ultra, in 2023 at least, still holds that heavyweight title.
Overall, it’s pretty comfortable to hold and use either with one hand or two hands. Recommendation is to use/buy a case. Our hope that the device becomes popular enough that many case-makers consider creating really good ones for it.
50MP Triple Camera
Prominently featured at the back is the camera module. It houses the crowning glory of the Magic5 Pro – its trifecta of 50MP cameras.
It’s an interesting look. The camera module protrudes but how the back panel goes up, curves, and blends with the camera module is reminiscent of the OPPO Find X3 Pro. But the camera placement is dead center instead of flushed to the left.
100X is also clearly visible in the middle of the camera module, showcasing its digital zoom capability. Here’s what those three cameras are packing:
- 50MP wide camera (f/1.6, 1/1.12-inch sensor)
- 50MP ultra-wide camera (f/2.0, 122 degrees field of view)
- 50MP Sony IMX858 telephoto camera (f/3.0, 3.5x optical zoom, 100x digital zoom)
HONOR is also bucking the trend of smartphone companies partnering with known camera brands (i.e. Xiaomi x Leica, OPPO/OnePlus x Hasselblad). HONOR Global CEO George Zhao spoke about this at a media interview during MWC 2023 in Barcelona.
HONOR Flip coming? @Honorglobal CEO George Zhao says it may come but can’t disclose when. #HONORMWC2023 #MWC2023 pic.twitter.com/fJCS1gjXD1
— rodneil (@rodneilquiteles) February 28, 2023
And it looks like, for now, they’re doing more than okay without any such partnership. DXOMARK has them at first place in camera rankings as of this writing.
The HONOR Magic5 Pro is with an all-new image engine called Millisecond Falcon Capture. It gives users the luxury to capture even the most complex scenes with remarkable clarity and ease.
Along with this algorithm are shooting modes like Super Night Capture and AI Motion Sensing Capture. For video shooters, the phone is capable of recording up to 4K videos at 60fps.
As mentioned earlier, the unit we have is still awaiting the official retail version of the software. Thus, we were advised to not extensively test the camera. But we couldn’t resist taking a few snaps while in Barcelona.
Here are a few sample photos, which already look pretty good, despite the software not being final yet.
Plenty of potential
If its predecessor is any indication, we’re pretty excited to fully test the HONOR Magic5 Pro. It’s undeniably a 2023 flagship on paper and is looking like a phone that can contend against the best of the best.
Its cameras, in particular, will be one to watch out for. HONOR packed some major features here that we can’t wait to try.
Price and availability details in Europe are here. Such details in other markets should be available soon.
Taking the HONOR X8a to Vietnam: Is it DSLR-like?
Can it take the heat?
OPPO Find X6 Pro Review: You’ll want this phone with 3 insane cameras
Great but there's a catch
Sony Walkman NW-ZX707 review: Return of the classic
For intermediates and experts
Samsung invites iPhone users to ‘install’ One UI
Crime Boss: Rockay City now available across Southeast Asia
Dell announces upgraded Latitude, Precision 2023 lineup
Netflix anime adaptation of Ōoku: The Inner Chambers coming in May
The MoGo 2 is a convenient projector you can take anywhere
motorola rizr Hands-On
ASUS ROG Flow X16 review: Great on its own
ASUS announces TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition, Zephyrus Duo 16
Counter-Strike 2 potentially ready for release soon
HONOR Magic5 Pro Hands-On
Computers2 weeks ago
Free Steam code awaits MSI RTX 40 series purchases
Gaming2 weeks ago
Netflix is working on a cloud gaming platform
Gaming2 weeks ago
The champ is here: WWE 2K23 now official
Laptops2 weeks ago
Logitech products now available in Watsons stores
Gaming2 weeks ago
Microsoft is planning an Xbox store for mobile
Gaming1 week ago
Ubisoft announces an AI writer for video games
Apps1 week ago
Are Roblox, MLBB, Call of Duty, Genshin Impact on AppGallery?
Gaming1 week ago
Counter-Strike 2 is official!