The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is expected to debut at a Samsung Unpacked event next month, and we’ve already heard a lot about what the new foldable phone could offer. Rumored upgrades include an under-display camera for the large 7.5-inch interior display, a more robust design and of course a faster Snapdragon 888 processor.
But the biggest change could be Support for the S-Penwhich would mean a huge productivity boost for people who want to take notes, sketch documents, or annotate on a larger canvas. If you have a phone that transforms into a tablet, why not take advantage of the extended display?
An S Pen doesn’t necessarily make the Galaxy Z Fold 3 any more convincing than that, however Galaxy Z Fold 2, and even then, it largely depends on how it’s implemented. And speaking to various cell phone analysts, what Samsung is doing with the price this time around and demonstrating new use cases for foldable devices will have a lot more impact than an accessory.
Galaxy Z Fold 3: S Pen Pros and Cons
To be clear, S Pen support would be a welcome addition to the Galaxy Z Fold 3. It would be much easier to take notes, mark up presentations, and most importantly, sketch on a larger display in meetings. Yes, there is a huge difference between the 6.8 inch panel’s Galaxy S21 Ultra and a 7.5-inch screen on the Z Fold 3.
“A larger display size would mean more space for notes or a larger canvas for drawing,” said Avi Greengart, founder of Techsponential. “The S-Pen would fit perfectly with the Z Fold’s focus on productivity.”
In a way, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 could take the place Galaxy Note 21, which Samsung reportedly put on hold for this year. And if you’re asking more than $ 2,000 for a foldable phone, you can at least handle some of the features of a professional tablet or laptop better.
“The S Pen began as a the Tool for the bigger canvas if that bigger canvas was just the touch. It seems like a natural evolution for both the S Pen and the Z Fold 3 to bring it to the Z Fold 3, ”said Ramon Llamas, director of research at IDC. “Because as much as the Z Fold series is about content consumption, it is also about content production, and that’s where the S Pen comes in.”
But where is the S Pen going exactly? One reason the S Pen implementation on the S21 Ultra doesn’t work is because you need to buy a separate case to store the pen. There is no holster in the phone. And considering how big the S21 Ultra already is, it gets even bulkier when you add a case with an integrated slot.
Samsung could add a slot for the S Pen to the Galaxy Z Fold 3, but would have to make other compromises, such as a possibly smaller battery. Sure enough that Z Fold 3 supposedly has a smaller battery than the Galaxy Z Fold 2 (4,380 mAh vs. 4,500 mAh), but we don’t know why.
“If there is not a convenient place to store an accessory such as a pen, this item is easier to get lost and a deterrent for users who do not appreciate the pen as part of the offer,” said Tuong Nguyen, senior principal analyst at Gartner.
Galaxy Z Fold 3 Price: Can Samsung Lower It Enough?
While the S Pen support can certainly add to the overall appeal of the Galaxy Z Fold 3, it likely won’t be the tipping point for buyers considering a foldable phone. A more important consideration is price.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 started at $ 1,999 but has since fallen to $ 1,799. Anyway, that’s more than the price of two iPhone 12 Handsets.
The good news, according to at least one report, is that Samsung May Cut Galaxy Z Fold 3 Price By Up To 20%. This could be because Samsung realized some cost savings in the production of foldable panels.
“Foldables are naturally exciting,” said Greengart. “The challenge is to convince consumers that now is the time to buy a foldable device and that requires lower prices.”
There were also rumors that Samsung was one Galaxy Z Fold Lite Kind of product, something that has most of the benefits of foldable phones while taking away some of the frills. For example, a cheaper Z-Fold may not support the S Pen at all.
A lower price wouldn’t hurt, ”said Llamas. “Samsung could come up with a good / better / best line-up to extend its reach. It would be a question of which features to keep and which to remove. 5G vs 4G LTE variants? Screens with different resolutions? Different cameras? Remember, the changes need to be meaningful to the customers, and not just incremental or cosmetic changes.
Galaxy Z Fold 3: We need more than the wow factor
Now that the novelty for foldable phones is waning – at least among early adopters – Samsung needs to show that this category has real staying power. And to do that, for the Galaxy Z Fold 3, the company has to hammer home use cases that will make our everyday lives better.
“We have come to a point in the market where we place a very high value on value. Lowering the price of each device would make it more attractive, but it comes down to the value the product offers me, ”said Nguyen.
That means Samsung also needs to showcase more apps that take advantage of foldable displays, whether they work in multiple modes or make it easy for you to drag and drop content from one window to another. Or it could be games that use the bigger screen in new ways.
“In other words, with a pen or a foldable device, how is it worth spending money on my phone replacement?” Added Nguyen. “This was much more evident when the market shifted from feature phones to smartphones.”