The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 may be the most significant foldable to date based on the rumors suggesting several sought-after updates and a tantalizing price drop.
Last year’s Galaxy Z Fold 2 was a revelation. The original Galaxy Fold was an amazing engineering feat, but the small exterior display, significant interior notch, and well-documented durability concerns left you feeling like you were paying $2,000 to beta test prototype hardware. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 changed nearly all of that; its refined design fit nicely alongside Samsung’s best phones, and while durability concerns weren’t entirely resolved, they were considerably diminished. However, that $2,000 price tag remained a significant hurdle for shoppers.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 may put all of the pieces together and deliver a foldable for a broader audience. We’ve gathered every leak and rumor along with our research to bring you everything you need to know about the Galaxy Z Fold 3, including the expected release date, pricing, design, specs and more.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 release date
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 will arrive at the Galaxy Unpacked event on August 11, Samsung confirmed this in an editorial from Dr. TM Roh, President & Head of Mobile Communications Business. Along with confirming that the third generation Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip were coming at the event it also confirmed some of the other rumors that we’ll be addressing.
This comes as no surprise as many had pointed to this date previously including prolific leaker Evan Blass (@evleaks), who also released 360-degree renders of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and other devices expected at the event. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 won’t be the only device at that event, here’s our look at everything that Samsung could announce at Unpacked 2021.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 price
There are several rumors to be excited about with the Galaxy Z Fold 3, but the biggest is a potential price drop from the roughly $2,000 price of the Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Z Fold 2.
There was plenty of speculation about a price drop early on, even before an alleged leak from SamMobile claimed the Galaxy Z Fold 3 along with the Galaxy Z Flip 3 would see a roughly 20% price drop. That would mean a $1,600 starting price for the Galaxy Z Fold 3. While still pricier than even the top-tier iPhone 12 Pro Max or Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, it would be within roughly 10% of them rather than a 50% upcharge for the folding display.
We would love to see additional support for this rumored price drop leak. Samsung permanently cut the price of the Galaxy Z Fold 2 to $1,799 back in April, which wouldn’t normally be notable for a Samsung phone, but the Galaxy Z Fold 2 had almost never gone on sale. Dropping the Galaxy Z Fold 3 even further would follow the pattern we saw from Samsung with the Galaxy S21 lineup this year when those prices dropped across the board by $200, a roughly 16-20% price decline, respectively.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 design
Early design rumors regarding the Galaxy Z Fold 3 were conflicting with some suggesting that the interior and exterior displays would be smaller than those of the Galaxy Z Fold 2, while others indicated it could get a smaller exterior display while increasing the size of the interior display. It’s possible that the confusion is sparked by the existence of a Galaxy Z Fold Lite (or Galaxy Z Fold FE) which has also been rumored to arrive this year as a more budget-friendly version of the foldable similar to the Galaxy S20 FE.
Regardless of whether that is the case, it appears none of these rumors applied to the Galaxy Z Fold 3 as numerous renders from @evleaks and @OnLeaks have shown the design to be largely unchanged from the Galaxy Z Fold 2 with the exception of the camera array and slightly more rounded edges. A likely final series of leaked images from @evleaks appear to be Samsung marketing materials for the event.
Absent a point of reference in the images it is impossible to say whether the screen sizes have changed slightly, but there isn’t a drastic alteration to either. The prolific and oft-accurate leaker @UniverseIce said his sources point to a weight decrease for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 to 9.49 ounces from 9.9 ounces.
The under-display camera on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is on display in the leaked marketing images with that slight mosaic pattern we’d heard about previously. It is unquestionably less distracting than an actual hole-punch camera, but it isn’t invisible.
Two final rumored design updates to the Galaxy Z Fold 3 aren’t visible, but could be among the most impactful changes. The first is the addition of an IP rating for water and dust resistance. SamMobile was the first to report this, and while there are no specifics on what that rating will be, any added durability would go a long way to reassuring foldable customers that a light rain shouldn’t have them ducking indoors to avoid destroying their phone. In the previously referenced editorial from Samsung the company did confirm “enhanced durability,” but offered no specifics.
Second is the introduction of S Pen support; TheElec originally reported that this would not be the same S Pen found in the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra but a completely new design. This is due to the softer display on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and the thickness of the display needed for the EMR (Electro-Magnetic Resonance) digitizer method used on the Note to date. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 may instead use an AES (Active Electrostatic Solution) that would require a larger battery-powered S Pen, similar to what we see with the Apple Pencil. While Samsung again hasn’t offered specifics, they have confirmed the new S Pen for foldables.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 cameras
Camera rumors for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 have been considerably less frequent than the other specs apart from the aforementioned under-display camera for the exterior display. Rumors range from a near-identical triple camera array with 12MP wide-angle, ultra-wide and telephoto lenses like last year, to a partnership with Olympus yielding some new sensor.
While the latter would be interesting, we haven’t heard anything official on such a partnership yet, so it seems unlikely that it could already be producing hardware for a phone that we expect to arrive within the next month. Looking at the recent Hasselblad partnership with OnePlus, leaks revealed it weeks before the announcement and the integration was merely software-based for this year.
That camera rumor originated from leaker Yogesh and they indicated that the Olympus partnership could either be first seen in a “special edition Fold” or in the Galaxy S22; the latter seems more likely given the timelines involved.
While we would expect to see Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus level camera performance from the Galaxy Z Fold 3, anything more is likely overreaching, particularly given the price drop rumors.
Galaxy Z Fold3 looks like this pic.twitter.com/We7n9GBGFAMay 4, 2021
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 performance
We expect to see the Snapdragon 888 or Snapdragon 888 Plus processor and the Exynos 2100 (for international versions) in the Galaxy Z Fold 3, but that may not be the case. The lone rumor on this comes from @UniverseIce who claims that the processor has internally been referred to as “the Top secret.” That would be an odd way to refer to either of these well-known processors.
If it isn’t one of those processors, credible speculation is that this could be the debut of the Samsung and AMD Exynos processor with RDNA 2 architecture. This would be an interesting move from Samsung; the chip will be the first to bring ray tracing and variable rate shading to smartphones. While we expect this to be held for the Galaxy S22, it’s possible that Samsung will roll it out in the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and, combined with the S Pen support, cement it as a flagship beyond its foldable form factor.
Samsung will likely stick to the 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage found in the Galaxy Z Fold 2 if the pricing rumors are true. However, there have been no specific rumors regarding these specs yet.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 outlook
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 felt like a multi-generational leap from the original Galaxy Fold and we aren’t expecting that again with the Galaxy Z Fold 3. However, it appears that Samsung might address some of the fundamental reasons why foldables aren’t catching on with the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Pricing has been the biggest challenge with the Galaxy Z Fold as $2,000 is too expensive for a mainstream audience no matter how great or unique it is. A 20% price drop would go a long way to solving this. Durability is the next biggest concern and the combination of an IP rating on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 along with the lack of widespread reports of durability issues with the Galaxy Z Fold 2 should be enough to sway more buyers.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 isn’t going to unseat any of the traditional flagships in sales, but if the pricing and durability rumors are correct, then it has a chance to be the first foldable to offer mainstream appeal. Galaxy Unpacked is coming up quickly on August 11, so we’ll have all of the answers soon enough.