The most important thing to know about the Z Fold and Z Flip are that they’re very good. With the exception of poor battery life, which is a very real problem with the Flip, and a terrible software experience, which is still a real problem on the Fold, Samsung gets just about everything else right.
As for those two issues, that’s the trade-off involved when you make a phone fold in half. In the case of the Flip, it’s because it has the smallest battery of any flagship smartphone.
The terrible software experience on the Fold is definitely better than previous versions, but the biggest problem is that it runs Android, which doesn’t know what to do on a hybrid smartphone/tablet. Android is great on a phone, and terrible on a tablet. When you combine the two, it’s… exactly what you think, which is to say, meh.
I mean, it’s fine, but it isn’t great.
As for the other things you care about when you buy a smartphone, meaning the cameras, the Fold 3 has okay cameras. The Flip 3, less so, but again, you have to make sacrifices if the thing you care about the most is that your candy bar-shaped phone can fold smaller to fit in your pocket. At some point, it’s just physics.
Speaking of physics, the displays on both of these devices are very good, if you can get past the crease in the middle. That’s another unavoidable compromise, but in the case of the Flip 3, it actually seems less noticeable. Scrolling past it doesn’t seem to be as obnoxious as having it down the middle of your content.
Again, if you’re buying either of these phones, it isn’t because they have amazing cameras or the world’s most amazing displays. If that’s a priority, get an iPhone 12 Pro Max or a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. Or, save a bit of money and wait for the Google Pixel 6.
Maybe the most interesting thing is that Samsung managed to squeeze the Flip 3 into a sub-$1000 price point. The Fold 3 will still set you back at least $1800, but the fact that both devices not only exist, but are actually good, means that foldable smartphones might be a thing real people actually buy.