Is Samsung Trying To Impress Me?? - Galaxy Z Fold3 5G Early Look
- Samsung's Unpacked 2021 event is happening right now. We're gonna have it linked in the video description so you guys can check out all the big announcements. There's the new Galaxy Watch 4 series, Galaxy Buds 2, there's a new flip, but for me, the big one is the Galaxy Z Fold3 5G. This is their third generation flagship foldable, and if you're a long time viewer, you will know that I am absolutely jacked to get my hands on this thing. And an absolute first, I actually get to look at it early.
Although I only have a couple of hours to get through it in as much detail as possible before Unpacked is gonna go live. So without further ado, we are gonna rip this thing open and take this baby for as hard a test drive as I possibly can. Obviously one of the big highlights is the under screen camera. Okay, it's not turned on yet, but I'll show it to you in a sec.
Oh right, after I tell you about our sponsor, GlassWire. With GlassWire, you can instantly see your current and past network activity, detect malware and block badly behaving apps on your PC or Android device. Use offer code LINUS and get 25% off GlassWire at the link down below. (upbeat music) Conspicuously absent from the unboxing experience is an included charger. That's right, my friends. Just a cable and instructions for how to use either the single SIM or dual SIM tray, depending on what your phone has.
So if we're gonna criticize Apple for it, then we have to hold Samsung to the same standard. Though, to Samsung's credit, they do have some launch bundles with some pretty good value. Now I have a bit of a concern. I have not actually fired this up yet.
Jake prepped the device, and I don't see anything about this externally that would indicate that I actually got a new Fold. This looks- Oh no, oh, it's got a wider speaker grill here. Okay. Had a little, I had a little panic moment there. I thought maybe they put a Fold2 a Z Fold2 in the box, but no, you can see we've got a clearly different camera array.
And we ended up with the black version. Now the hinge, that was one of the biggest improvements from the first gen to the second gen, was the hinge was way more robust. This time, I'd say it's got, if anything, actually even a slightly tighter, springier feel to it, it feels even better. But the big improvement is that the hinge is now waterproof. Actually, I lied. Samsung gave up and decided that it was impossible to waterproof the hinge because of the moving parts, and I can see what they mean, but because they wanted to give the Galaxy Z Fold3 a waterproof rating of IPX8, they independently waterproofed the two separate parts of the phone.
Then they actually treated the internals of the hinge with both an anti-corrosive and lubricating agent to ensure that even if water does inevitably leak inside it, it will to operate. So let's go ahead, they rate it for one and a half hours, 30 meters down. So theoretically, everything should be fine. Wow, that is extremely dirty water. I probably should have washed out this container before I put it in there, but, I mean, should I go for gold? Should I fold it? Holy shnikeys. World's first waterproof foldable, ladies and gentlemen.
Okay, with its biggest challenge out of the way, let's dry it off and talk about the under screen camera. Wanna get the big questions answered first here, Andy. I mean, I didn't have to do the water demo first, but you know, I like to live dangerously, right? Okay. You too can get a great phone drying shirt, lttstore.com. All right.
So when you're watching classic shows, you're either stuck with a hole punch in your four-by-three content, or you've got a black bar and you're not making use of that giant screen that you paid so much for. I'm hoping that this will completely eliminate that problem. So let's go ahead and fire up some four-by-three content. There it is, yup. It goes right over top.
Interesting. So Samsung has taken a bit of a different approach than I might've expected with their hole punch camera. Like it doesn't have the full resolution of the display in front of it. Not even close. Come take a look at this. So they've actually got a much, much less dense matrix of pixels here. Can you see that, Andy? So you can actually clearly see through it, which actually makes sense, because that's exactly how the transparent Xiaomi TV also worked.
Where the pixel density was much lower, it was only 1080P, which by modern standards is pretty small for a 55 inch display, but that decrease in density allows it to be more see-through and it was more transparent one direction than the other, which is probably exactly how this one's arranged. So it's more transparent from the back, and then we see the lit pixels. Now I can spot it, obviously.
Like I can see it from this distance away, but what it isn't is nearly as distracting as a hole in the content. Off-axis, I can really see it, but when I look at it straight on, like if I'm just watching, I'm not gonna notice it. Especially with SDR content like this, where the resolution's pretty low anyway. That is a crazy big difference, especially when you consider that the screen's only a little bit bigger at 7.6 inches,
but that image, because we're not stuck with that stupid black bar, it's way bigger. Whatever, I'm jacked. I'll rewatch the whole "DuckTales" series now.
Of course, under screen cameras with good transparency have existed for some time now. The real question is how does that camera that's hiding in there perform? Now back when the Z Fold2 came out, I questioned the inclusion of this camera at all, 'cause I was like, well, if you want to take a selfie, you can use this one and just use the screen on the front. And if you don't want to take a selfie, then you should use the main camera. But there are lots of applications that do kind of require a camera on the screen that you're using. And one of Samsung's big focuses with this device was use cases like this.
So whether you're in a video conference and you've got all the participants down here and then you've got whatever you're presenting up here, or whether you are, I mean, really a video conference would be one of the main applications for that, you are going to need a front-facing camera. So let's go ahead and flip it around and see how it does. And it's not perfect. In fact, one of the weaknesses is immediately noticeable. Hold on, I'm gonna record video. So, okay, this is for sync so you guys can see what I'm talking about is you can actually see distortion.
So that purple glow is there, that's real. But this distortion from this light source is not something that I would expect to see on a normal selfie camera, and in fact, we're gonna use the old Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 to compare to it. So you can see, you can actually see the red, green, and blue pixels distorting this bright light source as it's coming in, and you can see the marked difference in sharpness between these two cameras. Of course, nobody's buying a phone with an under screen camera for, you know, the best in picture quality, but it is something that you guys should know. Okay, now let's put it in a situation that's a little bit more favorable, like here, where I don't have a particularly bright light source behind me and I'm kind of sitting at my desk using my phone as a, yeah, okay. Interesting.
Huh. Now that is cool. Samsung is clearly doing some kind of post-processing to increase the sharpness here and you could tell, it couldn't do it when it had that strong backlight, but now the difference in sharpness between these two cameras, not that much when I'm not in motion. When I hold still, you can see it kind of sharpens up. That's really cool. Huh.
Don't you love technology? I sure do. How much thinner is it? It is almost exactly the same. I wouldn't describe it as noticeable in day-to-day use, but they managed to get the external screen ever so slightly larger while also slightly reducing the width of the phone as a whole.
Man, it's barely noticeable though. Can you even tell? The one at the back should be a touch taller. - [Andy] Yeah, it's like slightly taller. - Not much. - Andy] Not much. One of the other things Samsung was really proud of was the grade of aluminum that they used on the device.
It does feel really nice to the touch, but one of the demos they did was they whacked it against a regular piece of aluminum and showed that only the regular raw aluminum was marked by that interaction. Unfortunately, they didn't compare it to any of the other hardened aluminum alloys that we know of. So I don't know, you know, how it compares to alloys because no one would use raw aluminum in a device like this.
Now let's talk about one of the other big upgrades. Both the Fold2 and Fold3 have 120 Hertz high refresh rate displays on the inside, but only the Fold3 has a 120 Hertz display on the outside. So if, like me, you find yourself using it inlike, well, they call it candy bar mode. In candy bar mode, a fair bit when you're just sort of quickly replying to a message or something like that, you're gonna get that nice responsive experience, regardless of which display you want to use. Man, this is something they've really improved since the original Fold a lot, the experience of going from the outside display to the inside one.
That's the more common use case where you'd have an app open, like here, let's say the Play Store, and you just go like this. Boom. Now we are in the folded experience. Now normally apps will close when you close it, but you probably noticed on my Fold2 that Plex continued playing that video earlier. That's because you can configure certain apps to stay running when you fold the device.
It just assumes that in most cases you're folding it up because you're ready to put it away, and you want the display to turn off. There's lots of things that just look, that just transition so much better, like here. Okay, so here we go. Let's transition. Boom.
Look at that. And Samsung talked a lot about partnerships and how they're optimizing apps for the Fold3 experience. So YouTube, for example, has apparently gotten an optimization where you can, do, do, do, go like this. Hey, there you go. You can watch on here while you scroll comments, because you want to subject yourself to that for whatever reason. Down on the bottom screen, and let's see, can we even reply? Look at that.
We can type our little reply. Hello. Now, if I bought a device like this, I really don't think that I would end up watching content like that very often. I'd be all about that big screen experience, but your mileage may vary.
One thing your mileage may vary about is whether you like Samsung's vivid display profile. Come on, guys. Look at mine and Riley's lips.
We look like we're wearing lipstick. Can you see that? Ridiculous. Let me get that fine tuned.
I realize we've gotten this far without really talking speeds and feeds. So in the US, it's gonna have a Snapdragon 888 processor, 12 gigs of RAM and 256 or 512 gigs of non-expandable storage. It's gonna have wireless charging, fast charging, but not like crazy, super fast charging. And then outside of the US, it's gonna have an Exynos 2100 processor. Now, according to some testing from GSMArena, they found that the Exynos and Snapdragon this generation are pretty close in terms of performance, but the Exynos variant does tend to thermal throttle faster and harder. So that's something that, unfortunately, I don't have enough hands-on time with it in order to test right now, but could be something to watch out for if you're outside of the US.
Other key specs, it's got a 4400 miliamp power battery, nano SIM slot, fingerprint sensor over here on the right, just like the Fold2, and of course, a whole whack ton of cameras. So on the back, we have three 12 megapixel shooters, a wide, an ultra wide, and a telephoto. Then on the cover, we have a 10 megapixel, and on the inside, that is just a four megapixel built into the display. So it's really intended for video conferencing where it's gonna end up destroyed by compression anyway, and not for, you know, taking the most, you know, beautiful duck face selfies. You know what I should try? I should try all the different cameras here. Oh, you can choose apps that will continue on your cover screen when you close your phone.
Look at that, it even prompts you to do that thing I was telling you about. Well, camera for one. Definitely Netflix and Plex. Choose a color tone for your selfie.
Natural, yeah. Oh, they have a little motion photo feature now, kind of like the iPhone. That's cool. I'm expecting this to be much better. Did I get it? Oh yeah, I got it.
I look ridiculous. Oh yeah, you can really tell on that under display one. Check this out, Andy.
So there's under display and there's not under display. That's a lot sharper. And that's the main shooter.
Now something they didn't talk about much in the briefing, actually really at all, now that I think about it, but that was a big difference from the Fold 1 to the Fold2 was screen brightness. It was really dim on the Fold 1 to the point that it was kind of difficult to use outside, and that's something that I'd like to see if they improved here. Oh, wow. That looks a lot better.
I'm surprised they aren't talking about this. Tres interesting. Let me make sure that both displays are actually set the same, 'cause right, this one's probably still in vivid mode.
Oh, this is cool. Right. Here's yet another large screen optimization that they've made. Even something as simple as the settings menu now has the sub menu over on one side. See that? So if you've got your, oh, I don't know, let's say display settings.
If I can find the bloody thing, there we go. Here it would just show it to you on the whole screen, and then you'd have to go back. Here you can just click through all these different menus and sub menus and then you can go ahead and play around with them in here. So let's go ahead and change screen mode to Natural.
There we go. Now they're actually looking very, very similar. It looks a little brighter to my eye, not a ton though. I wouldn't think.
Yeah, I can see why they wouldn't talk about it if it's that close. Another big feature, compatibility with the S Pen. Now there are two versions of the S Pen. There's the Fold edition and then there's the S Pen Pro and it looks like they've sent me the S Pen Pro, though they didn't have pictures of them in my pre-briefing materials, so I'm doing my best with it.
But given that the S Pen Pro has an integrated battery, and this has a type C port on the back for charging, I'm assuming that it's this one. By the way, as soon as I change it over to Natural, the color grading on this video looks fine, just fine. So thank you very much, Samsung, for at least just making it one click to go back to a proper screen mode.
Okay, only S Pens designed- Oh, interesting. Only S Pens designed for your Galaxy Fold. Other S Pens will damage the screen. Set it to Z Fold mode before using it on your Fold. Okay. So there's a little switch here.
Boop. Okay. Okay, and so that immediately starts just passively working. This is another perfect example of, I can definitely see the camera if I look for it, but if I'm not looking for it, I don't notice it. Hello. Wow, responsiveness is extremely high.
So extremely light strokes it does struggle with a little bit, but. Wow. Wow, my- I see why I never write anything. My penmanship, not the best, but. That is really responsive. Now, obviously people are gonna wanna know will an old S Pen work, so- (muttering) Oh, it yells at you.
It says no, no you may not. Okay. What if I have this one close and then I touch it with this one? No, it no likey. I think there's a writing to text thing here.
Let me try this, actually. Testing, okay, yeah, it works. Writing to text is a feature that they talked about a lot in the pre-briefing. I don't see it as useful for myself personally. I type extremely quickly using the onscreen keyboard, especially the excellent one that Samsung includes with a really well thought-out split. But for people who, you know, let's say, write in Chinese or Korean, where it can be a little bit more challenging to input text with a keyboard, it looks like a great feature.
It's just one that's not that applicable to me. So here's their split keyboard. You can use SwiftKey with the split keyboard. There are other third-party keyboards, but this was a case of a first-party keyboard actually not being important to me, so I ended up keeping it with the Z Fold2.
Let's see, I mean, this is kind of an interesting use case. So you can kinda, okay, I'm trying to write upside down. It's gonna be really confused. Type. It managed it.
(laughs) But that's kinda neat. - [Andy] Does the Fold3 come with a screen protector this time? - Okay, that's a complicated question to answer. So, the Fold2 came with a screen protector that made the screen feel really plasticky and unpleasant. And I actually removed it and did not end up being able to scratch it at all in my daily use of it.
So I was, But it does still have a protective layer on it, so it doesn't feel quite like glass because it's more of a plastic that has to fold, you know? The 3 does appear to have a bit of a ridge right at the edges. But what I will say about it is that it feels just as good to my finger as the raw Fold2. So I wouldn't recommend removing it. Here's why I need it.
This was another big partnership message for Samsung. So how they optimize the Spotify app for either their normal interface. So you go, your search is over here, your library is over here. Or, da da da da da, Fold interface.
So now if you're looking at your library or search or whatever else, that's over here, and then you've got Now Playing and you've got your media controls right accessible to your left thumb. Now, of course my biggest issue, and the reason that I have not been able to daily drive exclusively a Fold device up until now, is that the YouTube app has not been fully featured on previous Fold devices. So now is the moment of truth where I find out if I can switch to this thing by opening up YouTube.
Of course consumption, the consumption experience is excellent. But what about the creators? There's literally thousands of us, okay? Create. Okay, allow access, come on. Record and Go Live, is that it? Okay. That is not a good sign. Even on the older Fold2, when I click Create, I am allowed to post a community post.
But when we contrast that with what happens on my trusty Note9, I can upload a video, create a short, go live, add to my story, or create a post. I don't know how to communicate this more clearly. Samsung, Google, both of you, you have to fix this, especially with the rumored upcoming foldable Pixel device. I can't have such a dramatically different experience from one Android device to the next, when I click the same bloody button in an app. Three different behaviors for the same app.
No, no, no, no, no, no. Bad. And before 100 of you start bleeding at me that I need to, you know, do it in candy bar mode or something like that, let's try that, all right? No work. I mean, the truth is that I record most of my video clips on the iPhone that I keep in my back pocket anyway, but like, not being able to access basic functionality, like posting a community post from a device, I don't understand how Google considers this acceptable.
I don't understand why they don't just hurry up and validate this device. I don't know why Samsung considers it acceptable, especially because they have to know that a lot of the most influential reviewers out there, guys like MKBHD or Mr Whose The Boss, like if they had any hope whatsoever of convincing influencers like that to use this device, I mean, YouTube, right? It has to work for creators, right? But, there's other good stuff. Let's fire up some games, shall we? Now that is big screen mobile gaming. - [Andy] Wow. That is a whopping 2268 by 832. Like what? Oh my God, that is something else.
Now I'm never actually played COD Mobile before, so you'll have to forgive me, I don't even know how to run. This is pathetic. They've really nailed down the actual fold in the display. Like obviously, if I'm looking for it, it's like the under screen camera, right? Like I can find it.
But when you are just immersed in content like this, you're not gonna notice that. Oh, that's how you run. Okay, cool.
It's so big, like, it's like clicking on giant blown up enemies. Man, this thing makes even someone like me functional at this game. Aah! Nice. Okay, are these bots or something? 'Cause I'm pretty sure I'm not that good at this. Oh man. That, that is a different experience right there.
Yeah, it's pretty good. One thing I was surprised to see was Samsung encouraging users to dig into the Labs Features under Advanced Features here. So this allows you to have multi window for all apps. Like say for example, you wanted to shop on one side and then read reviews on another side.
Let me just open up another app here. Interesting, okay, I didn't get the shopping thing working immediately, but I found another thing where you can enable apps that don't natively support it for this viewing experience and check this out. Plex. So you've got your controls down here and your media playback there. And it just like worked. It was this flex mode, flex mode panel thing.
So you can just, you know, the phone app obviously supports it by default, but not everything does. This multi window for all apps thing. I want to figure out how you, how you multi window things. While I was figuring out the side-by-side view thing, I found the feature to just run any app in a little window like this on top of whatever else you're doing, so I've got the YouTube app running like that. You just go into your multitasking. Oh, okay, I guess it turns it into a bubble when you go into that, that is super cool.
So here's how we get rid of it, and then we go, oh yeah, okay, it's dead. Well, that's fine, let's do it with this one. So we just drag it here for pop-up view and then we can resize it, a little something like that, and we can just have our like, browser right over here or wherever the heck else it is that we want it. That's pretty neat. I will figure out this side-by-side thing.
Bloody hell, it's the same as the old one. So you swipe in from the side and then you can actually have pre-configured side-by-sides. Like, say for example, you wanted to watch a YouTube video while you're browsing the web, you could do that. Or could just grab YouTube and go. Um, hello? What did I click? Oh, shoot, I accidentally clicked that first one.
Okay, let's try that again. So I've got my web browser open. Boop. Doop, boop.
I don't know, maybe here. Ah, yeah, you know what? Let's go up top. There we go. We can go ahead and watch an LTT video up there while we're browsing lttstore.com down here.
We've got mouse pads in stock right now, guys. We've got these cool new retro GPU shirts, Linus plushies, underwear in stock. Look at all that good stuff we got there. Freaking fantastic. You can easily resize things if you're more into that sort of thing.
And I believe you just click here, yep. That's right, you can switch them around if you want to focus on your video for a little bit. There we go. And we can actually add additional items as well.
So let's go ahead and check, I don't know, let's do some messaging maybe on this side. Now, obviously our keyboard is gonna kind of complicate the experience a bit. But hey, at least the functionality is there even if 7.6 inches might be a little small for three apps. Another shopping or comparison related feature is the Chrome browser natively supports opening in a side-by-side window now, which is pretty cool. So let's just...
Here you go. Open a new window. So you can, you know, read reviews of the product or whatever while you're still looking at the entire catalog. Pretty, pretty sick. - [Andy] What if you rotate it? - That's a good question. Probably it will just keep doing what it's doing.
Yeah, just like that. - [Andy] That's cool. - Yeah. It's pretty thoughtful.
Man, how Gen Z am I right now? I can't even stop watching my YouTube video here for long enough to take some pictures. I don't even know what to take a picture of to be perfectly honest with you. I can tell immediately that it's over-saturating the blues a little bit. But that kind of is what it is. Samsung wouldn't be the only mobile camera maker to commit that particular sin.
I mean, this isn't the kind of phone that you buy for the best photography performance. You'd go for something like an S Series or a Note or something like that if you really wanted that. But it's not like it won't be perfectly functional. Now we're gonna turn things around and I'm gonna record the cameraman instead of the cameraman recording me.
It's like a Mexican standoff. Overall, it's doing a really good job of dynamically compensating for me pointing at something brighter versus something not so bright. I mean it'll be perfectly, perfectly acceptable in spite of the fact that you gotta remember in order to make this thing not ridiculously thick, right? Each half of the phone has to be thinner than a conventional phone, even a good phone. Like this is an iPhone 12 Pro. Oh yeah, it like, AI detected I was taking a picture of a vehicle, that's cute. And that puts us pretty much at conclusion time, except I actually just noticed something else really cool.
You can actually see, it does struggle a little bit, two Chrome windows. You can see the frame rate drops a little bit when it does that animation. But that is such a minor issue, and this thing is going to be in my pocket the second Samsung and Google get together and make the creation experience as good as everything else about this phone is. Then if you want one, it's gonna be a little bit trickier, because these puppies are going for $1799 starting at, and in Canada, around $2250.
So boy is it expensive. But it's a phone experience that's unlike anything else on the market quite frankly. This, yeah, it's just- It's awesome. So snappy, so snappy. And this video is brought to you by a classic sponsor, dbrand.
This is a little awkward though. Did dbrand send a skin? - [Andy] Nope, they just asked you to make one. - Oh, that's what this is for. Okay. I will make my own dbrand skin.
I mean, if they can do it, it couldn't be that hard. - Okay, what do you think in terms of color palette, Andy? This is very LTT themed. Is that intentional? Did you put this together for me? I knew I can count on you.
Precision fit here, they have the precision fit like robots, or some (beeps) I love how my show notes here say Linus shows an effed up result at the end, but what dbrand didn't see coming is that I'm gonna make it awesome. Dbrand wishes they could have this design. I call it orange gray bumblebee rainbow. (laughs) They wish they could name things as well as me. I mean, what? Swarm? Lame. Man, all that talk on their website, bwah, bwah, bwah.
we measure so many times. A four year old could do it. Now get out of here and get a real job, kid. Sticker salesmen, like who sits there in kindergarten and fills out the thing? You know, I want it to be a hockey player. Who goes I want to sell stickers on the internet? If you want this, but maybe it fits a little bit better and your phone still folds, go to dbrand.com/safety-scissors at the link down below.
They make skins for all kinds of stuff, not just the Z Fold3 once they can get their hands on it and get it all precision measured and make a skin for it. - [Andy] You taped the screen! - That's fine, I like the big screen anyway. Who needs the thinner little one? You know, this is why I wear pants with big pockets. Eh? What's up, Andy, now, son? Thanks for watching, guys. If you enjoyed this video, maybe check out my full review of the Fold2, which was having spent weeks with it instead of just a couple of hours.