Samsung Introduces Cheaper, Durable Foldable Phones, But Turns Down the Full-Size Note
Samsung unveiled a third version of its flagship foldable phone at an overnight virtual “Unpack” event, featuring water resistance, a tougher screen, compatibility with a new version of the S-Pen stylus and a reduced price.
The Galaxy Z Fold3 features nearly identical displays to last year’s Fold2, including a slim display on the outer shell and a 7.6-inch tablet-like full screen when unfolded. But the panels now feature 120Hz refresh rates for smoother movement, unlike last year’s big screen, and the selfie camera on the main screen is now located under the screen and requires no visible notches or perforations.
The main trio of cameras is similar to last year’s as well, but the phone is a bit thinner and lighter overall. It also has an IPX8 water resistance rating and features tougher glass, which addresses two key concerns about the company’s previous folding devices.
The original Galaxy Fold was delayed a week before its launch as its complicated hinge design was shown to malfunction and puncture the device’s screen. This issue was eventually fixed and did not reappear on last year’s Fold2, but the lack of water resistance remained a concern for some.
Samsung’s August unboxing is usually when the company introduces a new version of its oversized Note phone, but none were found this year. However, the Fold3’s compatibility with a new version of the S-Pen would seem to position it as a replacement. The Fold3 starts at $ 2499, which is $ 500 less than the previous two Fold devices at launch.
Also on display at the event was the Galaxy Z Flip3, a successor to last year’s Flip (there was no Flip2), which is a more traditional sized slim phone that folds into a pocket cover. Like its big brother, the Flip3 is now waterproof, but it doesn’t have an under-screen camera for your selfie. However, it has a much larger notification screen when it is closed. It starts at $ 1,499, which is $ 700 less than last year and brings the device closer to the standard price tag of a smartphone.
Finally Samsung showed the Galaxy Watch4; the first portable device to feature the new operating system that it developed together with Google. The device clearly targets the market-leading Apple Watch, promising superior integration with Android phones and third-party apps compared to previous smartwatches, plus a full suite of fitness tracking software.