Samsung rolls out tougher foldable devices

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 now supports the S Pen.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 now supports the S Pen.

Dubai - Galaxy Z Fold3, Flip3 aim to bring foldables further into mainstream, with former now supporting S Pen

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3, like the Fold3, is 80 per cent more durable than its predecessor.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3, like the Fold3, is 80 per cent more durable than its predecessor.

Alvin Cabral

Published: Wed 11 Aug 2021, 6:04 PM

Last updated: Wed 11 Aug 2021, 6:47 PM

Samsung Electronics on Wednesday introduced its latest line-up of devices, bannered by the latest iterations of its foldable smartphones, as it continues to double down on its strategy of helping bring this category further mainstream.

The world's biggest smartphone maker unveiled the Galaxy Z Fold3 and Z Flip3 at its traditional Unpacked event for the second half of the year, with further emphasis of productivity and pleasure — bigger and compact, at the same time — anywhere and anytime.

The previous generations of the South Korean tech giant's foldables have been well-received, particularly last year's Fold2, which saw a significant jump in consumer interest as soon as pre-orders began.

“Samsung is once again redefining the possibilities with foldable smartphones that empower users with the flexibility and versatility needed for today’s fast-paced world,” Dr T.M. Roh, president and head of Samsung's mobile communications business, said in a statement.

“These devices equip consumers with technologies that unlock new ways to maximise and enjoy every moment with an ecosystem built on openness and innovation.”

While the Fold3 retains the aesthetics of its predecessor, Samsung made some key improvements on the durability front: The device now features Armor Aluminium and Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, making it 80 per cent tougher than the Fold2.

The same durability features are also found on the Flip3. Both smartphones also retain the 200,000-fold test guarantee, as verified by certification company Bureau Veritas.

And with an IPX8 rating, the Fold3 and Flip3 have become the world’s first foldables with water resistance.

"For the new foldable series, we had a big mission: Durability, so that our customer can use them with peace of mind for every day extended use... we started from scratch to make the impossible possible," Dr Won-Joon Choi, executive vice-president and head of the flagship product R&D team of Samsung's mobile communications business, said in a media briefing.

He credited the water-resistance feature to an "innovative" sealing design made in-house.

The cameras remain practically the same on the Fold3, a triple-lens main camera plus one each on the cover and main screen, but with a rejig on the last one: It now features an under-display camera, meaning its main display — still at 7.6 inches — has no cut-out and has a true full-screen view. The cover screen has also been retained at 6.2 inches.

But perhaps the biggest addition to the Fold3 is its compatibility with the S Pen, something that was unique to the Note series until it was introduced to the S21 earlier this year. Two S Pens are available: The Fold Edition, dedicated to the Fold3, and the Pro, which works across all S Pen-enabled devices.

This also means all stylus features from the Note will be carried over to the Fold3. Samsung has not officially said that it will be ending the Note series altogether — considering that August is the traditional Note launch and it has now incorporated the S Pen into both the S and Fold line-ups — so the door remains wide open for it to return in some form.

The Flip3's main display, meanwhile, also remains at 6.7 inches, and it also retains its camera systems. It's cover screen, however, is now up from 1.1 inches at 1.9 inches, and has an easy selfie function with two taps on the side button and another on the display.

Both the Fold3 and Flip3 also feature a so-called flex mode that lets it rest on its base, turning the bottom part into a control panel while content is viewed at the top without the need to hold them.

"With the new Galaxy Z series, we’re bringing foldable innovations to more consumers and by breaking down the barriers of entry with prices starting from $999," Bryan Choi, executive vice-president and head of the mobile communications business' strategic marketing, said in a media briefing ahead of Unpacked.

"Foldable smartphones are set to become the new standard in mobile devices as the category turns mainstream... we can drive record high demand for foldables, inviting more consumers to enjoy the new way of using a smartphone."

Samsung also introduced the Galaxy Watch4 and Galaxy Buds2. The timepiece now features a BIA (bioelectrical impedance analysis) sensor for body composition, and is now powered by the now-Samsung-made Wear OS. Samsung and Google in May had agreed on merging their Tizen and Wear operating systems.

The Buds2, meanwhile, has enhanced active noise cancellation and ambient sound modes, plus a new deep neural network feature.

Local prices and pre-order and launch dates for the UAE will be announced shortly.


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