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While preparing for my recent trip to Comic Con London this past weekend, it occurred to me that using a foldable like the Galaxy Z Fold3 could come in handy. Using multiple apps side by side, taking selfies with Flex mode, and using the large display as an event map made the Fold3 the perfect companion for a convention like this. I’ve never used a foldable phone before, so this experiment had a secondary objective: Would I be converted into a foldable fan?
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 at Comic Con: Going to the event
Deciding to live life on the edge, I used a Mophie Snap Adapter to use my phone with MagSafe accessories, particularly my car mount. I admit I was nervous at first, given the size and weight of the Fold3 when it unfolded, but it worked well. Having a larger canvas to see upcoming turns, especially in the middle of London, was invaluable in the morning rush hour traffic. My S21 Ultra would’ve been fine for navigating to Comic Con, but the Fold3 made the experience smoother.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 at Comic Con: Getting into the event
To get into Comic Con, I had to scan two QR codes — my Covid Pass from the NHS app and my ticket itself. I noticed this process took a little longer for some of those around me. Switching between the two apps slowed things down, but so did the NHS app’s tendency to restart every time you switch to another app.
On the Fold3, this wasn’t an issue. I had both codes on the screen simultaneously, and getting scanned in was a quick and easy process. I know that saving a few seconds compared to a regular phone doesn’t sound like much, but every second counts when thousands of people want to rush inside.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 at Comic Con: Inside the convention
Once inside, the Fold3 continued to impress. Using the Comic Con app to plot a route to the nearest Transformers vendor was a breeze, as was checking what time the Loki panel would start.
The Fold3 really came into its own once we stopped shopping and started taking photos with cosplayers. This phone received a lot of criticism for its cameras at launch, and rightfully so. Despite being incredibly expensive, the camera hardware is run of the mill when compared to something like an S21 Ultra or Pixel 6 Pro.
That doesn’t make the cameras bad, though, and they worked well for me. Using the cover display to take selfies with the main 12MP sensor leads to better photos than I’d have gotten from the selfie camera. That’s not to say the front shooter (on the cover screen) is bad, but there was no reason to use it when Flex mode made the rear cameras so accessible.
The Fold3 was good at taking photos for other people, again thanks to the cover screen. With the phone unfolded, I can control the cameras using the large foldable display while having the outer display show a preview for the people I was photographing. Letting the photo subjects see how they looked in frame saved a lot of time because they could tell me if they were happy with how the photo looked before I even took it.
It wasn’t all perfect, though, as the Fold3 really let me down at the Loki panel. 2x zoom just wasn’t enough to get decent photos of the panelists, which was disappointing to someone accustomed to the excellent zoom capabilities of the S21 Ultra. I didn’t even try to take any photos with the Fold3 in this scenario, but thankfully the S21 was in my other pocket to save the day. Overall, I’d say people are right to be disappointed with these cameras. They’re not awful, and Flex mode makes them fun to use, but my S21 Ultra would’ve taken higher quality photos.
Battery life was good for the duration of the event as well. The phone was wirelessly charging for the journey there, so I had 100% at the start of the convention. I put the phone in power-saving mode, limiting the screens to 60Hz, disabling 5G, and limiting CPU power to 70%. I always do that for events like this, regardless of the phone I’m using. I don’t want to worry about charging when I’m having a good time, after all.
And I didn’t need to worry. By 4 PM, the Fold3 still had around 65% left, and that’s not far off of what I’d expect from my S21 Ultra. Although my S21 is an Exynos model, and this Fold3 has a Snapdragon 888, so perhaps I have lower expectations than other people.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 at Comic Con: Conclusion
Using a foldable for an event like Comic Con was a lot of fun. The larger display, coupled with features like Flex mode, made getting things done easier, especially when entering the event and taking selfies with the other patrons. Does that mean the Fold3 is the convention king, and nothing else comes close? No. The last time I was at Comic Con, I was using a Galaxy S10+, which performed admirably.
In this context, the inherent advantages a Foldable has are just bonuses, and you shouldn’t be basing your buying decisions on how well a phone performs during an event you’ll only attend once a year. Having said that, my experience with the Fold3 so far has fully converted me.
At the time of writing, I’ve had this Z Fold3 for just over a week, and I’m ready to throw my S21 Ultra in a drawer and never look at it again. Using it at Comic Con was great, and I can honestly say I enjoyed using it there more than I would another phone. But what fully convinced me was using it day-to-day before and after the convention.
Having a phone when I need it and a tablet when I want it has completely changed how I use my devices. Last week I had to book an appointment for my home insurance to inspect a broken piece of furniture. Using Gmail for my policy number, Calendar to check my availability, and the dialer to navigate the hold menus was so much easier than the alternative. I’d have been app-switching like crazy if I’d been using a conventional phone. When you’re completing tasks like this, the Fold3 just feels more civilized.
That theme has continued during my time with the phone, as I find myself using the Fold3 over other devices I own. My 2020 iPad Pro used to see heavy use every day as my photo editor, productivity machine, drawing pad, and bedtime eBook. In the week I’ve been using the Fold3, I’ve only touched the iPad once, which was to edit the photos for this article. I just don’t feel the need to pick it up and use it anymore.
If Samsung can improve battery life and add better zoom cameras to the Z Fold4, I see no reason to pick anything else other than price. When that happens, I’ll find it hard to buy anything else.
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