The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the most important foldable yet

For the same price as an iPhone 12 Pro, a Galaxy S21 Plus, or a OnePlus 9 Pro, you can buy a foldable phone.

That’s the first time you’ve been able to say that about a folding phone’s starting price. Samsung’s new Galaxy Z Flip 3, announced today at Unpacked, is the first foldable to be priced below $1,000. Granted, the device’s cost is $999.99, but it’s still a much easier barrier to entry for anyone who’s been hesitant to a foldable smartphone.

This factor alone makes the Z Flip 3 the most important foldable yet. Samsung’s newest clamshell is as affordable as many other popular flagships on the market, which could help propel the adoption rate of smartphones that fold in half. Of course, it’ll have to actually be a good phone, and it looks like it will be if history is any indication.

I say that because a lot of the Z Flip 3 is similar to the Z Flip 5G from last year. You obviously get the normal round of improvements like a new chip and updated cameras, but a majority of the device will feel familiar to anyone who’s used a Z Flip in the past.

Of course, there is one glaring exterior upgrade that could help convince people to buy the phone: the cover screen. Samsung has increased the size of the cover screen from 1.1-inches to 1.9-inches which makes it much more useful than before. You can read notifications, view widgets, and even use it as a camera shutter. Its main purpose is to tell you the time, but it’s nice that the company was able to add some functionality.

When you open the Z Flip 3, you’ll find a 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with a 2640×1080 resolution. The device also boasts a 120Hz refresh rate (something previous Z Flips lacked) and 1200 nits of peak brightness. It’s still very tall, of course, thanks to its 22:9 aspect ratio. There’s also a standard hole-punch selfie camera instead of an under-screen camera like on the Z Fold 3.

Speaking of being underneath things (sorry for the terrible segway, everyone), under the hood of the Z Flip 3 you’ll find a Snapdragon 888. It’s paired with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage. You also get a 3,300mAh battery like the previous Z Flip, and I’m not sure if that’ll be enough. There’s a faster refresh rate on the screen and improved 5G support which could draw more power. I suppose we’ll have to wait to find out.

Of course, both wireless charging and reverse wireless charging are onboard, as is fast wired charging at 15W.

On the back, Samsung keeps the same camera hardware as the Z Flip 5G on the Z Flip 3. There’s a set of 12MP sensors, with one being a standard f/1.8 lens and the other an ultra-wide 123-degree f/2.2 lens. You get up to 10x digital zoom, HDR10+ video recording, tracking autofocus, and all the other camera tricks you’re used to on Samsung phones. The selfie camera, meanwhile, weighs in at 10MP.

Samsung has also improved the software of the Z Flip 3 with new features like a Flex Mode Panel which will make apps “better and easier to use” with the awkward form factor. You also get stereo speakers powered by Dolby Atmos.

Overall, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 seems like the phone that has the potential to launch foldables into the mainstream. Whether that will happen remains to be seen, but I remain optimistic. I’m very interested in checking this device out for myself and seeing what it’s capable of for a thousand bucks.

Samsung will launch the Z Flip 3 on August 27th. Preorders are now live with some hefty trade-in offers in tow. A bunch of colors will be offered like Cream, Green, Lavender, and Phantom Black. Samsung’s also launch three exclusive colors you can only get from its website: Gray, White, and Pink.