Samsung aims for the mainstream with sub £1,000 foldable phones

The South Korean giant has ditched the Note range for third-generation models of Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Flip handsets

Samsung aims to make foldable smartphones a mainstream success with the release of third-generation models of its Galaxy Z Fold and the Galaxy Z Flip at the expense of its Note range. 

Both devices will go on sale later in August, a date normally reserved for the more business-focused Note, which has not had an update since last year's Note 20 and will not be getting one this year. 

Instead, the South Korean giant has added more functions to its Galaxy Z Fold, which now includes higher refresh rates and support for the Note's famous S-Pen. The company has also changed the pricing for its new Galaxy Flip, taking it under £1,000 for the first time. 

Galaxy Z Fold 3

Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 3 with coffee

The first iteration of the Galaxy Fold had some teething problems with its display and the hinge technology, as well as an off-putting price tag. Samsung has included a new hinge design with both models, which it calls 'Armor Aluminium', but while the technical faults seem to be improving, the price of the third-generation fold is still quite excessive, starting at £1,599.

For that price, you have a slim handset that folds out into a massive 7.6in display with a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, HDR10+ and an 88.8% screen-to-body ratio. Of the two foldable devices launched, the Fold seems the most likely replacement for the Note range with its massive screen offering more business-orientated uses. The device will also support Samsung's S-Pen stylus, similar to the S21 Ultra, further suggesting that the Note range may have been retired for good.  

The rear of the device and the cover screen are protected by Corning's Gorilla Glass Victus, but the internal display is not - coated instead with a special protective film. This same setup is also used by the new Flip.

Galaxy Z Flip 3

The Galaxy Z Flip, folded and unfolded

The third generation of Galaxy Z Flip will be the first foldable-display smartphone to be launched with a price that's under £1,000. However, it is only just below that fee, with the 128GB version costing £949 and the 256GB model priced at £999. 

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The Flip is the more compact device, with a clamshell form factor that folds out to a more standard 22:9 aspect ratio with a 6.7in display. The cover display has also been enlarged from the previous model, and it now supports a wider variety of widgets for greater flexibility.

The new devices have been upgraded with features that made both the Galaxy S and Note ranges extremely popular; there's a 120Hz refresh rate, support for HDR10+, a 5nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset (which 5G enabled) and fast and wireless charging capabilities. Both also benefit from IPX8 water resistance for the first time, although there's no protection rating for dust ingress.

Both the Flip 3 and the Fold 3 are also missing some more 'premium' features normally associated with flagship Samsung devices. Neither has the top camera specs found on other Samsung handsets, with the Flip just sporting two 12MP lenses and a 10MP selfie camera. For comparison, last year's Galaxy Note 20 had a triple camera set up that included a 108MP lens.

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