The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is shaping up to be the most significant foldable to date based on current rumors suggesting several sought-after updates and a tantalizing price drop could be on the way.
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
While both the original Galaxy Fold and the Galaxy Z Fold 2 were released in mid-September, most rumors suggest that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will be arriving slightly earlier with most projecting a July or August reveal. It’s important to remember that the original Galaxy Fold was supposed to launch in April of 2019; its eventual September release followed the drastic hinge redesign, which muddied the waters of the development timeline for these phones.
The August prediction has the most weight behind it with support from South Korean site Yonhap and the oft-reliable leaker Jon Prosser who specifically indicated August 27. Another Korean site, The Elec, has stuck to July as its prediction. While this would be a break from Samsung’s typical September announcement, the (at least) temporary death of the Galaxy Note could allow the company to push things. That might be a boon for Samsung as releasing further ahead of the iPhone 13 can’t be a bad thing.
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 rumored 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 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
Design rumors regarding the Galaxy Z Fold 3 have been conflicting with some suggesting that the interior and exterior displays will both be smaller than those of the Galaxy Z Fold 2, while others have 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.
Turning to Korean tech site TheElec once again, a report from an OLED research firm indicated that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 would feature a 7-inch interior display with a 4-inch exterior display. That’s not a huge change on the inside; the current model has a 7.6-inch main panel. It would, however, be a massive decrease to the currently 6.2-inch exterior display. It’s hard to credit this as plausible as it would be even smaller than the Galaxy Fold’s 4.6-inch exterior display, which was one of the major criticisms of that device.
A more recent leak from @chuvn8888 indicated that the main display would increase to 7.7 inches while the exterior display shrunken to 5.4 inches. Even this would seem drastic for the exterior display unless there is a significant change to the screen ratio to avoid the considerable bezels that would exist with the current chassis.
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. Perhaps an overall reduction to the form factor could explain this, but that’s purely speculative.
Regardless of the size of the displays, one feature that seems to be universally agreed upon now is an under-display camera on the Galaxy Z Fold 3. If the exterior display is smaller than the current model this might take some sting out of that change with no hole-punch or notch to distract. @UniverseIce also indicates that a slight mosaic pattern is visible where the camera is located, so isn’t completely undetectable.
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.
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.
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. Other 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 two months. 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 would expect to see the Snapdragon 888 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 the Galaxy Z Fold has been the biggest problem as $2,000 is too expensive for the mainstream audience to spend on a phone 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.