Samsung Z Fold: it complied with my every wish for a few months and here's what I think

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Samsung Z Fold 3

A nice starting hand…

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Not very sensitive to high-tech smartphones, the Samsung Z Fold and its competitors from other brands which have similar functionality have nevertheless piqued my curiosity for a very simple reason and use: the game. A big fan of TCG (Trading Cards Games) in general and Magic in particular (the digital version of which is available on Android), I thought that being able to enjoy a large playing surface, but also avoiding having to squint to read the new text block of a promising card, was the Holy Grail. So I put on my best smile and my best manners before asking our national Laure if it was possible to, maybe, if it was conceivable and provided that it didn't bother anyone, to borrow the famous Z Fold 3 smartphone after its test, please, please, please. And that's how I was able to discover and use Samsung's folding smartphone in the long term.

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A familiar environment

As an Android fan since my first smartphones, the Z Fold 3's OS didn't surprise me. Better yet, in a few minutes, I was able to create a copy of my old phone on my new terminal thanks to an application: the adventure looked promising. And I must admit, the game on Z Fold 3 met all my expectations. The large screen surface didn't allow me to be more efficient, but I gained a lot in comfort, with one small drawback however. The vast majority of Android titles are not yet designed to be played on the screen of the open Z Fold 3. On many titles, we end up with areas not displayed, which can quickly become annoying. However, in my very personal case, even if the entire game area was not displayed, this did not affect my overall experience.

Samsung Z Fold 3

No problem with undisplayed area here.

If it is good to play Magic Arena that I used the Z Fold 3 the most, I also used it to watch some videos. Again, most of the production is calibrated to be played in a 16:9 vertical or horizontal format, which inevitably creates black bars on the sides or on the top and bottom of the main screen. Fortunately, this is not necessarily the case when browsing the Internet and the two panels of the internal screen are very comfortable to browse the Web; the photos are wider, the characters can also be larger and all without hindering navigation.

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You can also use your Z Fold 3 closed, but once again, the original screen format (24.5:9) requires some concessions in games or when watching videos, by agreeing to support some black bands. On the other hand, it is an ideal format for scrolling and browsing web pages, even if you sometimes need to have good eyes. Fortunately, using the Z Fold 3's camera does not suffer from these strange image formats. Indeed, in the application, you can choose the shooting ratio and the latter are therefore not conditioned by the size of the screen. If you gain in comfort when the smartphone is open, you still hesitate a little to unfold it to capture a snapshot (because of the lack of responsiveness) or when there is a bit of a crowd. Finally, I only took photos with the smartphone closed, but it is in open mode that I enjoyed the result.

Samsung Z Fold 3

Very present black bands.

Finally, the Z Fold 3 arouses curiosity, and it's always a little guilty pleasure to open the device in front of friends or family to let them enjoy a beautiful shot or video.

Old age is a shipwreck…

The first few months with the Samsung Z Fold passed in the most unspeakable joy, enjoying my favorite Android game on a beautiful screen, watching videos without having to squint and making one of my daughters-in-law rage in front of this high-end and folding phone, much nicer than the banal iPhone she has. Oh, not everything was rosy and I had to get used to the massive thickness of the device in my pocket. I also had to find an effective protective case for it, which is not easy on such a particular model. I also had to put aside my plans to use the Z Fold 3 as an e-reader. The format certainly lends itself very well to it, but the Dynamic Amoled 2X screen is clearly not made for this kind of use as it tires the eyes, especially when the ambient light is low, just before bedtime. And who doesn't like to devour a few good sheets before going to join Morpheus?

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Along the same lines, I've never been able to get used to the manual note-taking offered by the S-Pen. Oh, I did try to be a fool at a few press conferences I was able to attend by taking out the Z Fold 3 and its digital pen in front of a few colleagues who only had the antediluvian notebook/pen combo at their disposal for taking notes. Antediluvian, perhaps, but above all inimitable for its comfort and responsiveness: I discovered that taking notes with the S-Pen was totally different from using a classic pen or pencil and after a few long hours of deciphering almost cuneiform characters, I quickly went back to paper and ink. Let's clarify that I wasn't able to try the pen and the Samsung smartphone for drawing, being totally incapable of sketching anything, even with classic tools.

Samsung Z Fold 3

Do you own a Z Fold 3 or are you just happy to see me?

But these few pitfalls were ultimately nothing compared to the curse of screen protection. As you will have understood, we open and close our folding smartphone several times a day, an operation that is not without consequences on the protective film of the interior screen, which is supposed to prevent scratches and other accidents. This thin film tends to peel off at the fold, around the edges of the smartphone. And this is not anecdotal since this adventure happens to me regularly, about a year apart. So until today, I have had to change this famous protection twice; repairs carried out by the Samsung teams, who cannot therefore be accused of incompetence. Aggravating circumstance, it seems that I am not an isolated case. Indeed, our national Karl, the one we find behind the controllers of many Twitch lives and who also owns a Z Fold 3, suffers the same mishap. Please note that while the protection does not withstand the multiple openings and closings of the smartphone, the screen, on the other hand, is not affected at all. It is as beautiful as the first day; a certain consolation given that it is much more expensive to change a screen than to replace an entire screen, which is foldable at that.

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Samsung Z Fold 3

And this is how the contamination begins…

Another merciless witness of the passing of time, the battery of my Z Fold 3 seems to be showing signs of weakness. Without being able to give extremely precise figures, I noticed that its very comfortable autonomy had clearly decreased. But above all, it now tends to heat up significantly when it is in high demand, especially when the smartphone is looking for a network.

Satisfied, but not completely convinced

After these few months of use, what can I remember from my experience with the Z Fold 3? First of all, the “wow!” effect is definitely there and it still works just as well, even after getting used to its folding model. The simple fact of opening your smartphone like a book always has something a little magical about it. And in certain very specific circumstances, we must admit that taking advantage of a large screen is a real plus for playing games, watching videos, photos or even browsing the web and probably for drawing, if you can master the S-Pen. I am also thinking of spreadsheet users (Google Sheets in particular), who will find a powerful ally in folding smartphones.

On the other hand, for the applications I use the most, the big screen didn't necessarily seem very relevant to me and I did very well without it. Typically, it's useless for anything related to music streaming or podcasts. In a similar vein, messaging software (SMS, WhatsApp, Signal, Snapchat, etc.) or the phone application, quite simply, don't really gain in interest.

Could I go back to a classic smartphone? Without a doubt. I would of course miss the surprised and amused looks when I open my Z Fold in front of people who are even less savvy than me with smartphones. I will also miss my wild games on an XXL playing surface. However, at my humble level, I have not found any functionality or use that would inevitably lead me back to a folding smartphone…

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