Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs Galaxy Watch Active 2: It’s time for One UI Watch

Technology

XDA Developers 15 August, 2021 - 06:00am 36 views

What time is the Samsung Unpacked event 2021?

Samsung held Galaxy Unpacked on Wednesday 11 August 2021 at 10am ET. Pocket-lint.comSamsung Galaxy Unpacked event: All the announcements that matter

Sign in to the XDA Developers Forums

Add swipe gestures to any Android, no root

Make your phone easier to use with one hand, no root

The best way to access XDA on your phone

A sweet, feature-filled launcher with a beautiful UX.

XDA’s official marketplace for buying and selling tech

Samsung has announced the Galaxy Watch 4, and with it, Samsung is folding the “Active” moniker back into the main lineup. Compared to the Galaxy Watch Active 2, its spiritual predecessor, there are some big improvements. These come from both the software and hardware sides of things, and it’s kind of a big deal, not just for Samsung but for the broader Android ecosystem as well.

It’s got more RAM, more storage, a better processor, and a lower starting price. But not only that, there’s an entirely new operating system being used. Samsung is finally ditching Tizen in its smartwatches.

The new Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic have Samsung’s own Exynos W920 processor. It’s the first 5nm processor to go in a Galaxy watch. It definitely beats out the dual-core Exynos 9110 that was found in the Galaxy Watch Active 2. There’s no surprise there though. A newer processor is undoubtedly going to be a faster processor.

RAM is the same 1.5GB, but storage has been bumped up from 4GB on the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 to 16GB on the Galaxy Watch 4. That battery is bigger too at 361mAh for the 44mm model, although the smaller model’s battery size is the same. The smaller one is actually 0.1g lighter though, while the bigger one is 0.3g heavier, something literally no one will care about because you won’t be able to tell the difference of 0.3g or 0.1g.

Indeed, everything is a bit better on the Galaxy Watch 4 than it is on the Galaxy Watch Active 2. It has a better processor, four times as much storage, and a bigger battery. While that covers the standard “feels faster”, let’s talk about things you can actually see and feel.

The screen has a higher resolution on the Galaxy Watch 4. It’s 450 x 450 on a 1.36-inch screen with the larger model (44mm or 46mm case depending on the one you choose) and a 396 x 396 1.19-inch display on the smaller one (40mm or 42mm). That gives it a 330ppi pixel density on either one, which is much higher than on the Galaxy Watch Active 2, which has a 360 x 360 screen on either a 1.4 or 1.2-inch size. In other words, things look sharper and prettier on the Galaxy Watch 4.

The Galaxy Watch 4 also has a new Samsung BioActive Sensor, which is a three-in-one sensor that detects heart rate (PPG), ECG, and bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). The Korean firm says the new sensor is groundbreaking, and indeed, it’s impressive.

Back at Google I/O, the company announced that it was rebuilding Wear OS, a much-needed improvement to a smartwatch OS that hasn’t had any meaningful changes in a very long time. One thing it promised was a unified platform that combines Google Wear OS and Tizen, the OS that’s been used on Samsung smartwatches.

We’re getting a taste of that new unified platform with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. It uses what Samsung is calling One UI Watch, and it’s meant to provide the best of both worlds. Those worlds, of course, are Google services and Samsung services.

Those Google services include apps from the Google Play Store. Indeed, with the Galaxy Watch 4, you get access to the ecosystem of Wear OS apps, rather than just the Tizen apps available for the Galaxy Watch Active 2. You also get Google Maps, and whatever else you’re missing. But it still works well with your Samsung phone, syncing your settings and such. It’s really meant to be the best of both worlds. But as a side note, the Galaxy Watch 4 does not work with devices that do not have GMS (Google Mobile Services), which means you can’t even pair it with an Apple iPhone or a Huawei device. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 remains compatible with Android and iOS, so there’s wider compatibility.

The question of which one you should buy is always a tricky one, but that’s especially true of smartwatches. The answer is the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, due to the much better hardware, and the software that has been tremendously improved. However, many smartwatch users go for deals. If this is your first smartwatch, you might not see the benefit of spending extra on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.

Here’s the deal though. Newer products are better than older ones, except in those rare cases where companies make dumb mistakes, such as no compatibility on non-GMS devices. With the newer product, you’ll also get better support. Indeed, don’t expect any new features to arrive on the Galaxy Watch Active 2, considering One UI Watch is the new thing moving forward.

Ultimately, Samsung has some of the best watches that can be paired with most Android phones. The newer Watch 4 does not work with iOS, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll want to see how it compares to an Apple Watch. The Galaxy Watch 4, and especially the One UI Watch software, just takes the Android experience to another level.

If you decide to grab one, make sure to check out the different bands that are available.

Receive the freshest Android & development news right in your inbox!

XDA Developers was founded by developers, for developers. It is now a valuable resource for people who want to make the most of their mobile devices, from customizing the look and feel to adding new functionality.

Read full article at XDA Developers

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Galaxy Buds: what’s new with Samsung’s entry-level wireless earbuds?

TechRadar 16 August, 2021 - 10:06am

Should you upgrade your original Galaxy Buds?

Picking up where the original Samsung Galaxy Buds left off, the Galaxy Buds 2 are an entry-level pair of in-ear headphones that come with active noise cancellation, improved audio, and a stylish design. 

In spite of those improvements, they’re no more expensive than their predecessors, making them an attractive option for anyone who wants to take a chance on Samsung’s AirPods rivals. 

If you’re wondering whether to upgrade from the original Galaxy Buds or thinking of swapping your regular in-ear headphones for a pair of noise-cancelling earbuds, here’s everything you need to know about Samsung’s latest model and how they compare to their predecessors.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 will be available to buy from August 27 for $149.99 / £139.99 / AU$219. They cost as much as the original Samsung Galaxy Buds did when they launched back in 2019 (except for Australia, where the new Buds are considerably cheaper). 

Now that they’ve been usurped by a newer model, you can find the original Galaxy Buds for much less than their RRP. In fact, we’ve seen prices drop as low as $80 / £65 / AU$120 recently, and you can bet they’ll drop lower over Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

Saying that, we doubt Samsung will continue to make the older Galaxy Buds. So, if you want to snap up the originals with a steep discount, you’ll probably need to act quickly. 

Samsung has made a few design changes when it comes to the newer Galaxy Buds 2; the company has done away with the triangular housings seen on the original Galaxy Buds, in favor of a smoother, pebble-like shape. 

According to Samsung, the new Galaxy Buds 2 are 15% smaller and 20% lighter than their predecessors, and that makes them easier to wear for long periods of time. The downside of them being a bit smaller is that they’re a little harder to handle and can slip out of their case and your ears more easily. 

The color options you get are different, too. The Galaxy Buds 2 come in Lavender, Olive, White, and Graphite. However, it’s worth noting that the Buds themselves and the inside of the case will have a distinctive color but the outside of the case won’t – it will always be white.

Meanwhile, the original Galaxy Buds are available in black, yellow, and a pearlescent white color. We think the muted color options for the newer Galaxy Buds are a little more stylish, but that’s a matter of personal preference. 

Both models come with touch sensitive controls, though we think Samsung’s refined this feature over the years, resulting in the Galaxy Buds 2 being more responsive and registered our touch more accurately. 

They also both come with a range of silicone eartips in the box, so you should be able to find a comfortable fit – the original Galaxy Buds also came with small earfins to keep them securely in your ears, but Samsung has since done away with that feature.

Disappointingly, Samsung hasn’t improved the water resistance of the Galaxy Buds. Both models come with an IPX2 rating, but that won’t protect your buds from much more than a little sweat or very light rain. 

Thankfully, Samsung has made some improvements to the audio performance of its entry-level wireless earbuds. 

While the original Galaxy Buds featured one dynamic driver, the Galaxy Buds 2 come with a separate tweeter and a woofer, which has given them a wider, clearer soundstage than their predecessors. 

The way the Galaxy Buds 2 have been tuned means that the bass, mids, and highs sound really powerful – although you don’t get the sub-bass or the very highest frequencies, so don’t expect chest-thumping bass or exquisite detail.

Still, they sound much better than the original Galaxy Buds, which we found to be a little unbalanced, with recessed mids compared to the very prominent bass. (We should note that we didn’t hate the sound of the Galaxy Buds – we just didn’t love it, either.)

Both models support SBC and AAC codecs, as well as Samsung’s proprietary Scalable Codec if you’re connected to a Samsung device. The latter enables noticeably improved audio quality over the basic SBC codec and makes either model a solid pick for Galaxy phone owners – for everyone else, you’re stuck with fairly lossy codecs.

If you want your wireless earbuds to come with active noise cancellation, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are an easy choice – the original Galaxy Buds don’t support this feature at all. 

However, the noise cancellation provided by the Buds 2 isn’t the best on the market, even if we are pleased to see it come with Samsung’s entry-level earbuds. 

With music playing and ANC turned on, you probably won’t be able to hear someone talking to you in the same room, but you’d hear any loud noise coming from outside your home. Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are fine to use if you want to tune out background office noise, but we wouldn’t recommend them for long flights or particularly busy job sites. 

If you want to tap into your surroundings, you can hold either earbud’s touch-sensitive housing to switch to the ambient mode, which will pump environmental noise into the buds – handy if you want to quickly order a coffee without taking your buds out.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 come with a 29-hour combined battery life if you use them with the active noise cancellation turned off. Turn this on, and you’re looking at 20 hours – that’s five hours from the earbuds themselves with a further 15 provided by the charging case.

That’s not a class-leading battery life by any means (wireless earbuds like the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus offer double that amount), but it’s much better than the original Galaxy Buds, which offered a measly 13 hours of playback. 

Both models support wireless charging, as well as the ability to top up their charging cases via their USB-C ports. 

They’re also both controllable via the Galaxy Wearable app, where you can adjust the EQ settings, customize the touch controls, and see how much battery life your buds have left. The app can also help you locate your lost buds, and if you have the Galaxy Buds 2, you can carry out a test to make sure your buds fit your ears correctly. 

Disappointingly, many of these features are only available on the Android version of the app. The iOS version hasn’t been updated yet and that means customization is impossible until it receives an update.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are better than their predecessors in pretty much every way. They sound better, come with a longer battery life, look more stylish, and boast active noise cancellation – a feature you don’t always find in entry-level wireless earbuds. 

If you have the original Galaxy Buds and are thinking of upgrading, we’d definitely recommend switching to the Galaxy Buds 2. 

However, there is one instance we’d recommend buying the older Galaxy Buds – and that’s if you can find them with a really big discount. We’ve already seen some great Galaxy Buds deals in recent weeks, and prices are likely to drop even further over Black Friday in November. 

Still, you’d be getting a fairly outdated pair of earbuds, and there are plenty of brilliant budget earbuds out there that’ll get your more for your money – check out the Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 or the EarFun Air Pro if you want to keep costs down without sacrificing audio quality. 

Thank you for signing up to TechRadar. You will receive a verification email shortly.

There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.

© Future Publishing Limited Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA. All rights reserved. England and Wales company registration number 2008885.

Samsung hopes buyers will flip over its latest foldable phones

Executive Traveller 15 August, 2021 - 05:00pm

Samsung’s lineup of consumer devices for the latter half of the year positions its new Galaxy Z Flip 3 as a direct rival to Apple’s upcoming iPhone release.

The 5G-capable, Android-powered device dramatically lowers the entry price for the foldables category, coming in at $1,499 after its predecessor had cost $2,149 at launch.

Flanked by a new Galaxy Z Fold 3 costing $2,499, a Galaxy Watch 4 at $399 and Galaxy Buds 2 at $219, the Flip 3 will be Samsung’s star attraction. All of Samsung’s new devices go on sale in Australia on September 10.

With the company omitting its usual mid-year launch of a Galaxy Note device, the larger Fold 3 will be capable of using a stylus, effectively supplanting the Note’s position in the company’s premium range.

Samsung committed to “a full-scale flagship marketing” blitz for its foldables this year during its most recent earnings call.

The company has invested heavily in developing the flexible displays, custom-designed hinges and other adaptations required to produce durable foldable gadgets, and with its third generation it’s seeking to capitalize on that advantage.

“The market demand for foldable smartphones is growing exponentially,” Samsung said in a statement, citing analyst forecasts projecting a tripling of sales to 6.5 million units.

“Samsung will be the leading and foremost provider, driving the market demand. We anticipate this generation of foldables will be our best-selling yet.”

Samsung is hoping to steal a march on the competition by popularizing a device category that’s been plagued by technical problems and consumer ambivalence given the high price tags.

The world’s largest smartphone maker is under pressure not just from Apple but also increasingly sophisticated Chinese rivals from Xiaomi to Oppo, particularly in parts of Europe and India. On Tuesday, Xiaomi Chief Executive Officer Lei Jun declared his intention to overtake Samsung within three years.

The clamshell-like Galaxy Flip 3 has a 6.7-inch display on its interior and a 1.9-inch screen on its outside cover.

Its size, weight, processor, memory and wireless specs are all in line with mainstream flagship devices; the only compromise to accommodate its design is the relatively smaller 3,300mAh battery.

The book-like Galaxy Fold 3 expands the inner display to 7.6 inches, has a full-size 6.2-inch panel on the exterior and fits a larger battery.

Both are now certified for water resistance, a first among foldable phones, according to Samsung. The Fold 3 also has an under-display selfie camera, hiding it when not in use and eradicating the display cutout, or notch, typically required.

Its new S Pen Pro accessory extends the Galaxy Note’s stylus capabilities to a new form factor.

“While we can’t disclose the upcoming models, we can confirm that Samsung is committed to expanding the Note experience across our Galaxy ecosystem moving forward,” the company said.

Beyond the new smartphones, Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch 4 series will be the first to feature its collaboration with Google on Wear OS.

The software combines apps and services from both, such as Google Maps and Samsung Pay, while also supporting popular third-party apps like Strava and Spotify.

These devices will showcase Samsung’s new 5nm processor for wearables – the Exynos W920 – which promises longer battery life.

This article is published under license from Bloomberg Media: the original article can be viewed here

Bloomberg News is one of the world's largest and most respected international news agencies; its content is published on Executive Traveller under a licensed syndication arrangement.

Already have an ET account? Log in below.

Don't have an account? Sign up here.

Signing up with Executive Traveller only takes a second and lets you interact with our community. It's completely free and we'll never pass your information on to third parties.

Didn’t receive an activation email? Resend one to yourself here.

Already have an Executive Traveller account? Login now.

If you’ve forgotten your password, simply enter your email address below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email to re-activate your account and enter a new password.

If you have not received the activation email, simply enter your email address below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email containing the activation link.

Subscribe to our free newsletter and get the latest news, reviews, tips and more sent straight to your inbox

24 hours with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

TechRadar 15 August, 2021 - 04:00am

Not everyone can afford the Z Flip 3’s $999 / £949 / AU$1,499 price tag, and it’s easy to imagine that if consumers are going to pay so much, they might want more functionality from a different (non-folding) phone – for the same price, you can get the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus’ 30x ‘Space Zoom’ telephoto capability, or the iPhone 12 Pro’s processing power and iOS interface, or the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra’s stylus functionality. 

Heck, if you go to our current hands-on of the Z Flip 3 written by my colleagues in the UK, you’ll hear the exact same thing: you’re better served paying the same price for more in a traditional ‘flat’ phone. Even TechRadar is of divided mind.

But that’s a good premise to couch my impressions of the phone: it will impress some, but still won’t be enough for others. And that comes down to the form factor. What will you pay for the ability to fold your phone in half? 

With updated specs (Snapdragon 888, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage to start) and a 1.9-inch external display, the Z Flip 3 is a better version of the original Samsung Galaxy Z Flip (which had a tiny 1.1-inch outer screen that could show a single line of text). Here’s what it’s like to use.

I was one of the first media to see the original Motorola Razr at an event in November 2019 just before it launched, and I still appreciate its design flourishes, like the satisfying ‘snap’ when folding it close. And the 2.6-inch exterior screen is still the best among clamshell foldables (a category of just the Razr and Z Flip phones at present, to be fair), especially with the exterior screen app functionality that was expanded in the Motorola Razr 2020.

That’s still true. The Z Flip 3’s 1.9-inch outer screen is four times larger than its predecessor’s, but aside from adding more room for notifications, the app functionality is pretty limited to audio controls, weather, and a few other first-party controls – I can’t, for example, reply to a Twitter DM or Slack message. On the other hand, the screen is large enough to preview your selfies, which is great.

One of the first things anyone should do with a Z Flip 3 is something you can only do with a Samsung foldable: unfold the phone 90º and mess around with different apps, which split into top-and-bottom sections thanks to Flex Mode. Deployed this way, the Z Flip 3 looks like a makeup compact, but it’s a great way to take relaxed selfies with friends (no awkward angles required) and listen to media. 

Yes, watching media this way on the top half of the 6.7-inch Full HD Plus AMOLED display doesn’t fit how videos are formatted these days (for wide, not square, screens), so the picture is going to be small with big black bars on top and bottom. If you want to watch something, you’re going to have a bad time. But if you want to listen – say, to your favorite YouTuber or Twitch stream – and don’t need constant video, it’s great to just prop the Z Flip 3 up and listen while you fold laundry or play games.

Sure, you can unfold the phone to watch video in a widescreen format, but you either have to prop it up on something like a normal candybar (flat) phone or hold it – and in the latter case, your hand might cover the bottom-firing speaker. There’s a slightly janky workaround: just bend the phone a bit until it stays upright on its side. Even though that leaves the picture a bit bent in turn, it’s at least an option. 

Being able to fold the Z Flip 3 up and slip it into a pant or bag pocket is great, full stop. While I’d hope the glass back and outer screen doesn’t get scratched up when I throw the phone in with my keys, wallet, and other things, at least I don’t have to worry about the inner display getting damaged. 

This makes the Z Flip 3 a great phone to take on a workout. Whether that’s running with the phone (yes, I carry my phone in hand when jogging, and I have no defense) or toting it around the gym, I don’t have to worry as much about it as I do a ‘flat’ phone, which I have to place face-up or face-down with its display exposed. 

While I haven’t physically tested the Z Flip 3’s ruggedness (Samsung claims its hinge is 10% more durable than its predecessor), it is nice to know the phone has the same IPX8 water resistance as the Z Fold 3, allowing it to be submerged in hip-deep (1.5 meter) water for half an hour without coming to harm – though I’ll be sure to avoid dropping it in salt water or pool water, as recommended. The phone also isn’t dust-resistant (hence ‘IPX8’ instead of ‘IP68’ rating in other phones), as the hinge is still a vector of entry for physical particles to potentially muck up the foldable.

In other words, my first 24 hours with the Z Flip 3 has been filled with, well, pretty mundane activities: watching media, carrying the phone around, and figuring out how to fit it into my lifestyle. I’ve only taken a few photos, more to try out Flex Mode than measure the Flip 3’s photo capabilities against the other heavy hitters at its price point. I also haven’t tested the battery, which already feels as limited as the battery in its predecessors – it took just under 1.5 hours to charge 80% of the Z Flip 3’s 3,300mAh battery, and that was using a 60W charger

In any case, there’s a lot left to discover about the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, and we’re eager to give it a full review – but after 24 hours, we’re excited to see what it can teach us about using phones differently.

Thank you for signing up to TechRadar. You will receive a verification email shortly.

There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.

© Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036.

11 Best Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 Cases

Heavy.com 11 August, 2021 - 01:11pm

Even though the Galaxy Z Flip 3 doesn’t pack quite as much screen surface area as the beastly Galaxy Z Fold 3, it is still a powerful and flashy upgrade for those looking for something new out of the Android handset market. Just make sure that if you do upgrade to two screens that you also get a Galaxy Z Flip 3 case to protect your investment. After all, twice as many screens means almost twice as many things to break.

If rocking a touchscreen clamshell phone in 2021 isn’t enough of a fashion statement for you, then you may also want to consider getting one of Samsung’s Official Silicone Strap Covers. This protective case merges style with protection, pairing a practical hand strap on the rear with a silicone cover that is ideal for rebuffing scratches and scuffs.

The case isn’t very grippy if you aren’t using the hand strap, but this is forgivable as the hand strap works even when the phone is folded and you are just using the cover display. The case provides easy access to all buttons and sensors and also works with the phone’s wireless PowerShare feature too. It won’t protect from serious drops but it is still a solid option for those who don’t want to wrap their sleek new phone up in a giant defender case.

The OtterBox Symmetry Series Flex Case might not have the pure ruggedness of the OtterBox Defender line, but if you made a Z Flip 3 case any bigger than this one then the phone might not fit in your pocket while folded. In that way, this case is about as tough as they come. Its raised bezel is large enough to create a protective ledge around your phone’s screen without making it unable to fold closed.

The back panel uses clear PC material to show off some of the Z Flip 3’s sleek metal frame without leaving it vulnerable to scratches. It is also slim enough to work with wireless PowerShare. One shortcoming of this case, though, is that it lacks a hinge cover, and that’s not a detail I expected OtterBox to miss. Still, it has a limited lifetime warranty and offers solid protection, so it is definitely still a viable choice.

The Spigen Tough Armor Case is an all-around solid protective cover for the Z Flip 3 because it adds extra protection where your phone needs it and cuts back where it doesn’t. It has a large raised bezel around the screen as well as a tough rubber hinge cover to keep your phone’s most vulnerable spot secure. And rather than have plastic covers over the Z Flip 3’s buttons, the Tough Armor case just has a simple cutout for easy access. Add in wireless charging support and you’ve got little left to be desired.

This official leather case from Samsung might be one of the priciest cases available, but it is also one of the highest quality ones. It is made with real calf leather, so it provides solid shock absorption while remaining soft to the touch. Will it protect your phone from a serious drop? Probably not. But it offers a nice balance of protection and portability for day-to-day use.

The case has a slightly raised bezel to protect the external display and front camera array. It isn’t too thick either, so it still supports wireless charging in and out to other devices. Now if only it came in as many colors as the phone itself.

While you will find a lot of Android accessories out there with fake carbon fiber panels, the Samsung Aramid Case is the real deal. Its two-piece backplate is made from aramid fibers, a nonconductive analog to carbon fiber that won’t interrupt your cell signal. The key benefits of this material are that it is tough and flexible, making it great for protecting a folding phone. It also has a nice grip to it.

The case is designed to provide as much cushioning against drops as is possible without interfering with wireless charging. And while it won’t protect from drops in any serious capacity, it does the best it can without sacrificing the phone’s slim factor.

The Ringke Slim is a compact yet protective case option that checks all of the boxes that a solid Galaxy Z Flip 3 case needs. Grippy design inside and out? Check. Wireless PowerShare compatibility? Check. Scratch-resistant design? That’s a big check.

However, considering the value price of the Ringke Slim, you shouldn’t expect it be without flaws. For instance, its slim and durable design means that it won’t offer any kind of crazy drop protection. Additionally, clear cases can discolor with long-term UV exposure. But thankfully, because of this case’s value price it will be far easier to replace than it will be to replace your Z Flip 3.

The Gear 4 Bridgetown Case is a slim yet durable protective cover that shields your Z Flip 3 from drops and scratches without adding too much bulk to your handset. It has a slightly raised bezel to protect the folding screen and rear camera array from direct impact as well as a D3O Bio antimicrobial coating to inhibit the growth of bacteria on the phone. It also has a sturdy hinge cover to protect the most vulnerable part of your phone.

The Speck Presidio Perfect-Clear Case is a simple yet effective protective case that provides basic protection from drops and scratches without radically altering the appearance of your Galaxy Z Flip 3. Its clear TPU material absorbs impact and its Microban antimicrobial coating helps prevent the growth of bacteria on your phone case. It isn’t the thickest protective out there but it definitely provides enough protection for day to day use – especially when you factor in the lifetime warranty.

Despite its name, the UAG Civilian Case looks like it comes right out of a military surplus store and offers the performance to match. It meets military-grade drop test standards, and can therefore protect from both drops and scratches better than more aesthetically focused cases. The downside to this, though, is that it is considerably bulkier than non-defender cases, which kind of ruins the sleek feel of the Z Flip 3. Thankfully, it is not too bulky to handle wireless charging.

The UAG Civilian case has great button covers and allows much easier access to the phone’s fingerprint scanner than previous iterations. This makes it an all-around solid choice.

If you just want to protect your new phone from scratches without having to cover up its naked beauty, then the Osophter Clear Shock Case is a great budget choice. This inexpensive protective case uses a mix of TPU and PC plastics to provide basic protection against drops and scratches. It is just thick enough to prevent daily wear and tear while still allowing wireless charging.

If you are after heavy-duty protection for your Z Flip 3, then the Osophter Clear Shock probably won’t make the cut, but it is a solid option for those looking for a case that only minimally intrudes on your daily use. Plus, it would be a shame to get one of the cooler color options like Cream or Lavender and then just have to cover it up with gray plastic.

If you are drawn to Samsung’s official leather case but are off-put by the price tag, then the Olixar Leather Case is a great budget alternative.  It isn’t made with quite as high-quality leather but it still provides that touch of refinement and protection that you get from the pricier leather case from Samsung. And thankfully, the quality of leather has no impact on the case’s ability to absorb drops and scratches.

This case has a slightly raised bezel to protect the phone’s outer display and camera array from drops and scratches without compromising its ability to charge wirelessly. The case also has accurate cutouts for all ports and responsive button covers to match. The only bummer is that it doesn’t come in as many color options as the official Samsung leather case, but this may change with time.

According to early reviews of the Galaxy Z Flip 3, the newest version of this experimental phone design seems to have finally ironed out the issues with the phone's hinges (which were a failure point on their previous releases). And according to this hands-on review from PCMag, this phone is the first flippable phone to sport IPX8 water-resistance. So no need for a case anymore, right? Wrong.

Accidents happen. They just do. And even if your phone isn't going to split in half when you drop it, you still run the risk of scratching up your Z Flip 3's metal frame, or worse, its gorgeous 120 Hz screen. And while Samsung hasn't announced the cost of having their new phone's flip screen replaced, their repair pricing page for past Flip models suggests that it will cost around $500 to the screen replaced. Yikes.

Sure, if you are ultra-careful every time you flip your phone open, you can probably get away with going caseless, but it's a gamble that most consumers won't be willing to take.

Picking a phone case used to be a simple task. But with today's massively growing phone accessory market, you have an almost unmanageable number of choices, even for a brand-new phone. So what are the most important metrics we look for? These key factors will always differ based on your individual needs.

The fact of the matter is that some people will want extra drop protection while some will prefer slim cases to help maintain the slim form factor of this folding phone. Some will want added grip and some will want a clear material. The best cases, however, check all the boxes.

That said, it's not always possible to have the best protection and the most portability all in one package. This usually means making a compromise between the two extremes. Yes, we will include the occasional ultra-rugged defender case for enthusiasts, and the same goes for that ultra-thin case for minimalists. But at the end of the day, most consumers want to be covered on both ends. After all, our phones are something we use every day.

Once you get the formula right, you can rely on simpler denominators like price, color, and material to make your final decision. But tastes in these vary from person to person, so in the end, the best Z Flip 3 case is the one that most closely meets your specific needs.

Disclaimer: Heavy Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate advertising programs and may receive a commission if you purchase a product via a link on this page.

Technology Stories