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Smartphones of 2022 - The Foldables

Smartphones of 2022 - The Foldables

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve taken a look at some flagship smartphones and some devices that present a lot of value. To wrap up our annual smartphone series, we are going to look at some of the most innovative—and expensive—devices on the market today. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G

When Samsung decided to start trying to make devices with OLED screens able to fold in half many people thought that it was a fad. The Galaxy Z Fold3 5G, however, is the first device that has people thinking that the technology that allows for such a device is just the beginning of an overall smartphone trend that will define the market in a few years. 

The Z Fold3 is built on a sturdy aluminum frame with Gorilla Glass Victus front and back. When folded up, the device has a 6.2-inch, Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 832 x 2,268px display and features a 120 hz refresh rate. Effectively they subsidized a remarkable feat of engineering with a mid-size smartphone screen so that users could do most everything they needed to from the outside of their phone. 

The Z Fold3 has flagship specifications that include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G chip, 12 GB of RAM, and 256 or 512 GB of onboard storage. The device can immediately be upgraded to Android 12 and Samsung’s One UI OS out of the box. Additionally, many applications are being designed to take advantage of the form factor, giving it enhanced value over time. 

For the camera, it features a 12 MP wide-angle lens with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), a 12 MP telephoto lens with 2x zoom and OIS, and a 12 MP ultra wide-angle lens. The front-facing camera on the large display is a 4 MP in-display wide-angle lens, while the cover camera is 10 MP wide-angle lens. Overall, the Z Fold3 is a modern marvel and is by far the most impressive folding device ever created up until this point. 

Unfortunately, the battery leaves a lot to be desired. It comes in at a paltry 4,400 mAh, but comes with 25 Watt fast charging to offset the disappointing 7.5 hour endurance rating. For security, there is a side-mounted fingerprint sensor. Other features include an iPX8 water resistance rating, Samsung’s DeX capability and 5G capability. 

The Galaxy Z Fold3 5G is available in Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, Phantom Green, Thom Browne Edition, and an exclusive Wooyoungmi Edition. As for the price, the Galaxy Z Fold3 costs nearly $2,000 from Samsung and most major cell carriers. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G
Body:  Aluminum Frame, Gorilla Glass Victus front and back, plastic large display
Display: Closed - 6.2-inch Super AMOLED 2X, 120 Hz,  832 x 2,268 (~374 ppi); Open - 7.6-inch Super AMOLED 2X, 120 Hz, 1768 x 2208
OS: Android 11; upgradable to Android 12, One UI 4.0
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Memory: 12 GB RAM; 256-to-512 GB onboard storage
Expandable Memory: No
Cameras: Rear - 12 MP, 26mm, OIS; 12 MP 52mm 2x optical zoom OIS; 12 MP 123º ultrawide. Front of device - 10 MP 26mm; Front of folded display - 4 MP under-display
Sounds: Stereo Sound
Battery (battery endurance rating): 4,400 mAh (7.5 hours)
Security: Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
Miscellaneous: Samsung DeX, IPX8 water resistant, 24W fast charging

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3

A lot of people wonder why companies aren’t coming out with foldable devices faster. Well Samsung has heard the call and has accompanied the revolutionary Z Fold3 5G with a device that brings back one of the most popular cellular phone form factors. The Z Flip3 is Samsung’s ingenious take on the flip phone.

Like all high-end Samsung devices, it is built on an aluminum frame, it has a plastic front and a back made from Gorilla Glass Victus. The screen, which is a massive 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display that comes in at 1,080 x 2,640 pixels and sports a 120 Hz refresh rate, is made from plastic, but folds in half for protection. On the outside of the device there is a 1.9-inch Super AMOLED screen for quick view of notifications, time and other quick view information. 

The device runs Android 11 (upgradable to Android 12 with Samsung’s One UI 4.0) on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 FG chip. It comes with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB or 258 GB of onboard storage. For security it has a side-mounted fingerprint sensor. 

The one part of the Z Flip3 that is somewhat lacking is the camera, since the form factor doesn’t allow for the gaudy flagship level lenses. It has a 12 MP wide-angle lens and a 12 MP ultrawide angle lens, so it’s not incapable, while the selfie camera is a 10 MP wide-angle lens. The battery is a small 3,300 mAh offering that comes in with a pretty low 69-hour endurance rating. It does sport 15W fast-charging, however, so it isn’t such a big deal.

Available in a litany of colors including Phantom Black, Green, Cream, Pink, Dream White and more, the Z Flip3 runs about $1,000 from your friendly neighborhood cell carrier or from Samsung directly. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3
Body: Aluminum frame, plastic front, Gorilla Glass Victus back
Display: 6.7-inch Foldable Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120 Hz, 1,080 x 2,640px
OS: Android 11; Upgradable to Android 12, Samsung One UI 4.0
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G
Memory: 8 GB RAM; 128 GB-to- 256 GB of onboard storage
Expandable Memory: No
Cameras: Rear - 12 MP 27mm OIS; 12 MP 123º; Front - 10 MP 26mm
Sounds: Stereo sound
Battery (battery endurance rating): 3,300 (69 hours)
Security: Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
Miscellaneous: IPX8 water resistant, 15 W fast charging

Microsoft Surface Duo 2

Microsoft Surface Duo 2 is their second attempt at a high-end productivity smartphone that runs Android 11. The first one, the Surface Duo, wasn’t a popular or even a good device, but the improvements that Microsoft has made should push this year’s model to be more successful. 

First of all, there is no outside display to speak of, which can get annoying for some users that pay $1,500 for the device. When open, there are effectively two 5.8-inch AMOLED panels that add up to a total of an 8.3-inch screen when it’s completely folded out as it functions with large bezels. The build quality is premium and one could see how additional app development could make this form factor extremely useful for productivity.   

The Surface Duo 2 runs Android 11 on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G chip and has 8 GB of RAM and can go up to 512 GB of onboard storage. It comes with a side-mounted fingerprint sensor for security. The battery of the Duo 2 is a 4,449 mAh power cell with available 23W fast charging. 

Unlike the first version of the device, Microsoft has added a full suite of cameras on this year's model The rear-mounted cameras have a 12 MP wide-angle lens with OIS, a 12 MP telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom and OIS and a 16 MP ultra wide-angle lens. The front-facing camera is a 12 MP wide-angle lens. 

Available in Glacier and Obsidian, the Microsoft Duo 2 is currently being sold for $1,500 online at microsoft.com and some other retailers.

Microsoft Surface Duo 2
Body: Plastic frame, Gorilla Glass Victus front and back
Display: 8.3-inch AMOLED, 90 hz, 1,832 x2,688 (~401 ppi)
OS: Android 11
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Memory: 8 GB RAM; 128-to-512 GB onboard storage
Expandable Memory: No
Cameras: Rear - 12 MP 27mm OIS; 12 MP 51mm telephoto 2x optical zoom OIS; 16 MP 13 mm; Front - 12 MP 24mm
Sounds: Stereo sound
Battery (battery endurance rating): 4,449 mAh
Security: Side-mounted fingerprint reader
Miscellaneous: Stylus support

Foldable OLED technology will undoubtedly lead to other manufacturers putting together phones with new form factors that will amaze even the most seasoned smartphone user. What do you think? Would you pay a premium price for one of these foldable smartphones or is the technology just too new for you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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