Samsung makes the Galaxy Fold 3 5G and Galaxy Flip 3 5G official – here’s what you need to know

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We’ve been expecting Samsung to announce new folding smartphones — the Galaxy Fold 3 and the Galaxy Flip 3 have turned up online in several ways in the last few months. At today’s Unpacked, the South Korean company made both of its 5G foldables official.

Now that they’re official, here’s what you need to know about them both. As expected, the S Pen has been tweaked for use with the more fragile folding screens. But Samsung’s going to announce a new Galaxy Note anyway, right? Right?

A more durable Galaxy Fold 3 5G 

One of the biggest criticisms of Samsung’s (or any) folding smartphone is that they’re fragile. Samsung’s hoping to change your ideas on that front, by using something called Armour Aluminium for the phone’s chassis, along with Gorilla Glass Victus for the cover display. Plus, for the first time, Samsung’s thrown in an IPX8 water resistance rating. It means the Fold 3 can survive a dunk of up to 1 metre, but you’ll notice that there’s no dust rating there. It’s a folding smartphone and there are going to be gaps.

But there are no gaps in the hardware itself. The Galaxy Fold 3‘s main display is a 7.6in Infinity Flex display, with a res of 2,208 x 1,768 and a 120Hz refresh rate, that we can’t wait to get our hands on. Even if it’s only to poke and prod it. The cover screen is a 6.2in AMOLED ( 2,268 x 832) that runs at 120Hz with a peak brightness of 1500 nits. There’s a 5nm Snapdragon 888 5G processor inside, as well as 12GB of RAM. Users will nab either 256GB or 512GB of storage, though we’re not sure if both handsets will turn up in South Africa. In the back is a 4,400mAh battery, with support for wired 25W fast-charging and 10W wireless.

There are a load of cameras inside this device, including Samsung’s first under-display selfie shooter — a 4MP f/1.8 sensor below the main screen. The cover screen has a 10MP f/2.2 selfie shooter and the rear sports a triple camera array, with three 12MP lenses (one f/2.2 ultra-wide, an f/1.8 wide-angle with OIS and an f/2.4 telephoto) doing duty. The main camera has 2x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom. It should do well, but other Samsung cameras will likely perform better.

Samsung hopes you’ll flip over the Galaxy Flip 3 5G

The company’s Flip series of smartphones so far has been a little less serious than the main Fold lineup, but the Galaxy Flip 3 5G has been made a little less… silly. Unfolded, you’re looking at a 6.7in 2,640 x 1,080 Infinity Flex AMOLED display, with the same performance as the Fold 3. So expect peak brightness of 1200 nits and a 120Hz refresh rate. The cover display is a 1.9in Super AMOLED with a mere 260 x 512 resolution, but we’ll reserve judgement for when we play with it.

The camera tech across both folding devices is similar. The Flip 3 has the same 10MP front-facing selfie cam as the Fold 3, but only features a dual 12MP camera array on the back-end. The f/2.2 ultra-wide and f/1.8 wide-angle (with OIS) seen in the Fold 3 are doing duty here.

Inside, there’s the same 5nm Snapdragon 888 5G, but only 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage. There’s a smaller 3,300mAh battery running the show and support for 15W wired fast-charging and 10W wireless charging. Like the Fold 3, it also includes 4.5W reverse-wireless charging and an IPX8 waterproof rating.

Overall, it feels like a more traditional smartphone experience — in case you want a folding phone but aren’t really sure if you want to properly commit to the bit. Oh, yes, and the Galaxy Buds 2? Yeah, that early unboxing spilled pretty much all the beans. Except these aren’t beans, they’re kinda… bulky?

Pre-orders for both the Galaxy Fold 3 and Galaxy Flip 3 in South Africa open on 1 September, according to the local website. But you can register your interest now — so you can pre-order your pre-order, we guess?  There’s a R1,000 Samsung online store voucher with purchase (Ts and Cs apply), a Try and Buy program that could net you another R4,000 voucher, as well as a trade-in program available for those who sign up early. Now, if we can just get that pricing…

Local pricing for the Galaxy Fold 3, if you’re not buying it on a contract (which will actually feature some decent starting prices here at home ), will be R38,000 — which… isn’t cheap, but it’s not R50k. If you want a Galaxy Flip 3, prepare to spend R22,000. Pre-orders nab a set of Galaxy Buds 2 and a Samsung SmartTag, and the devices launch in SA from 17 September.

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Brett writes for Stuff's digital platform and edits Stuff's print magazine, in between reading science fiction and every Batman comic he can get his hands on.

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