Samsung revealed the Galaxy Z Fold 2 alongside the Note 20 during an event in August 2020, followed by full details at the beginning of September 2020, so we’re coming up to a year since the last Fold device, which should mean a refresh is due.
There have been plenty of rumours surrounding the Galaxy Z Fold 3. This feature rounds up everything we have heard so far about the foldable, including what features we might see, when it is expected to be released, and what it might look like.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 vs Fold: What’s the difference?
Release date and price
3 August 2021 reveal?On sale 27 August 2021?Likely around £1800/$2000
The original Galaxy Fold was revealed at Mobile World Congress 2019, followed by a “fixed” model at Berlin consumer electronics show IFA in 2019. The second-generation device was then revealed in September 2020, so there isn’t a pattern for the Galaxy Z Fold as there is with Samsung’s other devices.
Previous rumours claimed the Galaxy Z Fold 3 could appear in June 2021 – and with Mobile World Congress scheduled to start on 28 June 2021, it seemed plausible. Now, however, more rumours are suggesting that it will be an August reveal date, putting the end of the summer as a strong contender for launch.
The latest reports claim Samsung will have an Unpacked event on 3 August for the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3, followed by an on-sale date of 27 August. There’s no new Note device expected in 2021 – as the Z Fold 3 looks to take over S Pen stylus duties instead for this year.
In terms of price, we’d expect it to sit within the same region as the Galaxy Z Fold 2, which costs £1799 in the UK and $1999 in the US. So if you’re after Samsung’s next folding flagship, it might be time to start saving.
Vertical foldArmor Frame?IP ratingS Pen compatibility
We are expecting the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 to adopt the same book-style vertical fold as the original Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Z Fold 2, reserving the horizontal fold for the Galaxy Z Flip series. We also expect to see the hinge offering multiple angles again. This has all but been confirmed in a pictures leak on Twitter, courtesy of Evan Blass (AKA @evleaks).
As per previous rumours suggesting the Z Fold 3 will be compatible with the S Pen – just like the Galaxy S21 Ultra – the above image helps cement that reality.
This could see a slot built into the device like the Note, or it could just mean the S Pen will work if bought separately, again just like the S21 Ultra. S Pen compatibility rumours surfaced before the Galaxy Z Fold 2 was revealed too, but it was thought the folding display couldn’t accommodate the pressures the stylus would exert, which Samsung has apparently now overcome.
A patent had surfaced, showing S Pen use on a folding phone – looking a lot like the original Galaxy Fold. There’s also leaked images showing a slightly smaller gap between the two halves of the folding screen – and those images also show an under-display front camera too.
Another patent suggests the Z Fold 3 – or a future Z Fold device – could opt for gesture controls instead of buttons, and users will be able to customise the gestures and actions.
There was some discussion regarding waterproofing before the Z Fold 2 arrived, but sources suggest that the Z Fold 3 could get an IP rating – but the level remains unknown.
Samsung has also filed a trademark for the expression Armor Frame. It’s being speculated that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 might be the first beneficiary of a new design or material to strengthen the frame of the phone. This could also be part of the reason the phone is rumoured to be thicker, but with a smaller battery capacity than its predecessor.
External and internal 120Hz refresh rate on internal likely
We’d expect the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 to have a large flexible display inside, as well as an external display when folded, just as the previous models have done.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 has a 7.6-inch main display that has a 120Hz refresh rate, coupled with a 6.2-inch exterior display. There is a punch hole camera on the front, though there have been a couple of rumours indicating the Z Fold 3 may have an under-display camera, which might allow for a larger external display than the Z Fold 2.
It’s also claimed the main display will be 7.55-inches instead of 7.59-inches, and the cover display will be 6.21-inches instead of 6.23-inches.
Hardware and specs
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 likelyExynos with AMD GPU?12GB RAM/256GB storage5G connectivity
Expect flagship hardware under the hood of the Galaxy Z Fold 3. No rumours have suggested what exact specs we might see on the Z Fold 3 but it could be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 under the hood, along with a good amount of RAM – probably at least 12GB – and at least 256GB of storage. Alternatively, Samsung could use Exynos with an AMD GPU – which the company is said to be working on.
As mentioned: battery capacity is claimed to be slightly smaller than the Galaxy Z Fold 2, but the same as the original Fold, at 4380mAh. This may seem peculair, given the phone is thought to be thicker, but that thickness must to be accommodate additional tech – be that pressure sensitivity layers, better screen management, or the Armor Frame, as discussed.
In terms of connectivity, both the original Fold and the Z Fold 2 were 5G enabled, so we would expect the same for the Z Fold 3.
Punch-hole frontUnder-display camera?Triple rear camera unit – same sensors as Z Fold 2?
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 has a triple rear camera and a dual 10-megapixel punch-hole front camera. The rear camera is made up of a 12-megapixel main camera, 12-megapixel telephoto sensor, and 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera.
There’s rumour that this triple rear camera system may not change that much from second- to third-generation device. This may be due to space constraints and therefore limitations on whether larger sensors and lenses can sensibly be used in the phone’s design. The leaked image above shows a similar rear camera arrangement – albeit more ‘disguised’ within the body, protruding less from the body than in the earlier devices.
However, the big news is the Z Fold 3 is all but confirmed to host an under-display camera – or ‘UPC’ (Under Panel Camera), as Samsung has trademarked this technology. Leaked images on Twitter also show the apparent Z Fold 3 with this UPC.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 rumours: What’s happened so far?
Here are the rumours surrounding the Galaxy Z Fold 3 so far.
25 June 2021: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, Z Flip 3 pictures leak
Here’s a first look at the next-gen foldables in pictures.
22 June 2021: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Flip 3 tipped for 3 August reveal
New report says Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 will be revealed at an Unpacked event on 3 August. Mass production said to have started.
15 June 2021: Leak points to new release date for Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 3
Report claims the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Galaxy Z Fold 3 will ship from 27 August.
9 June 2021: ‘Confirmed’: Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 to feature under-display camera
“Can confirm: Fold 3 has an under display camera,” reads the Tweet by Max Winebach, a freelance writer for Android Police with a strong track record.
25 May 2021: Will Galaxy Z Fold 3 ditch buttons for gestures? Maybe, patents hints
The World Intellectual Property Organisation granted Samsung a patent (via LetsGo Digital) for “Galaxy Z Fold Squeeze Gesture.” It suggests Samsung could swap buttons for gestures in the Z Fold 3 and choose which gestures perform certain tasks.
11 May 2021: Samsung eyeing an August Unpacked event to launch Fold 3, Flip 3 and Galaxy S21 FE
Sources claim Samsung is considering an August Unpacked event to reveal three devices, including the Z Fold 3, Z Flip 3 and the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE.
3 May 2021: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 3 fully revealed in leaked images
Twitter user @TheGalox_ tweeted some images of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 showing an under-display camera, smaller gap between the two folds and a triple camera. The phone will reportedly be available in black, silver, and green colours, and a beige colour was also noted.
19 April 2021: Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 will have an IP rating
Sources talking to SamMobile have revealed that the Galaxy Fold 3 will have an IP rating.
18 April 2021: Samsung trademarks Armor Frame
Samsung has applied for a trademark of the term Armor Frame, declaring that it applies to smartphones. It might be applied to a new design or material on the Galaxy Fold 3.
13 April 2021: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 could have a smaller battery and ‘zero bezels’
Korean news site The Elec claims the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 will have a smaller battery capacity than the Z Fold 2, as well as a smaller main screen with zero bezels.
8 April 2021: Patent shows S Pen use on a Folding phone
An uncovered patent shows off stylus use on an folding phone, suggesting this remains a long-term ambition for Samsung.
24 February 2021: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 will support S Pen, report says
A report from Korean news outlet ET News, claimed Samsung has “succeeded in implementing the pen function for foldable phones with high technical difficulty” and it will be coming to the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
23 February 2021: Samsung’s June reveal of its GPU developed with AMD might be just in time for the Galaxy Z Fold 3
A reliable leaker of Samsung information suggested that there will be a showcase of the Samsung-AMD GPU in June, which might be just in time to see it launch in the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
17 February 2021: Galaxy Z Fold 3 leak suggests under-display camera is coming
Ice Universe claimed the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is “very likely” to implement an under-display front camera.
Galaxy Z Fold3 is still very likely to adopt UPC pic.twitter.com/DD6TMPLlM0
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) February 15, 2021
8 February 2021: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 could launch in July
Leaker Ice Universe claimed the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy Z Flip 2/3 could launch in July – which would put the launch of the next foldable devices in the middle of the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note launches.
1 February 2021: Samsung Display developing rollable and slidable displays
Samsung Display is said to be looking at developing slidable and rollable displays in a bid to cement its leadership in the foldable displaymarket.
15 January 2021: Samsung is bringing S Pen support to other product categories
Samsung confirmed the expansion of the S Pen support to the Galaxy S21 Ultra wasn’t a one off: “We’ve made the bold decision to expand the S Pen experience to Galaxy S21 Ultra, and plan to expand the S Pen experience across additional device categories in the future.” That sounds unequivocally like we can expect to see S Pen support more widely.
In the short term, that means that the next iteration of the Galaxy Fold could well work with it.
24 December 2020: Displays to reduce for Galaxy Z Fold 3
According to leaker Ross Young, who has a good track record, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will see slightly reduced displays in order ro accommodate the S Pen rumoured to be coming to the device.
My Xmas leaks – Galaxy Fold 3 – main display shrinks from 7.59″ to 7.55″. Cover display goes from 6.23″ to 6.21″. Need more space for S Pen. Galaxy Z Flip 3/Flip Lite – grows slightly from 6.67″ to 6.70″. 120Hz and LTPO on the Z Flip 3.
— Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) December 24, 2020
23 November 2020: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 could be scheduled for June 2021, with S Pen support
Ajou News reported that the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 would arrive in June 2021, coupled with S Pen support. An under-display camera was also mentioned in the report.
7 October 2020: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 could have light up hinge
LetsGoDigital reported that Samsung had filed a patent titled “Galaxy Z Fold with Light Indicator” in March 2019, granted in Ocotber 2020. The site made a number of mock up renders suggesting what the Galaxy Z Fold 3 could look like if it adopted the technology in the patent.