Forget Galaxy Note 21: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 leak reveals S Pen support

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
(Image credit: Ben Geskin)

The latest Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 rumors confirm an exciting new feature for Samsung's next foldable. But it's a bad omen for another of the company's flagship phones.

The Z Fold 3 will be stylus compatible when it launches in the third quarter of this year, reports ETNews. S Pen support is huge since that would make the Galaxy Z Fold 3 the first foldable phone to support a stylus. 

Foldable phones' large internal displays are ideal for use with a stylus for note-taking or drawing. However it's something that has been difficult to engineer. As ETNews writes, this is because the phone's screen needs to be flexible enough to bend, but tough enough to withstand the pressure of a stylus. The screen also needs to contain a flexible digitizer, the sub-display component that allows the phone to recognize stylus inputs.

Samsung already added S Pen support to the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, though it doesn't include a stylus with its $1,199 phone. Instead, Samsung offers the stylus as a Galaxy S21 accessory, bundling it with specific cases. Samsung could do the same with the Z Fold 3, but we hope given the Z Fold 3's expected $2,000 price, an S Pen will be included in the box as standard.

As a result, we should expect the Z Fold 3 to be both a foldable and a pseudo-Galaxy Note according to leaker Ice Universe's latest tweet.

What about other Galaxy Note features?

At the end of last year, Samsung's TM Roh said the phone maker planned to bring some of the Galaxy Note's "most-loved features to other devices in our lineup." And while S Pen support is an obvious choice, there are other features that the Z Fold 3 could borrow from the Note series. 

A big one would be better cameras, since the Z Fold 2 offers disappointing photography abilities compared to the S21 Ultra or Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. The inclusion of Samsung's top-end 108MP main camera and a better telephoto sensor (if not two like the S21 Ultra) would go a long way in improving the picture-taking potential of this expensive device.

In terms of rival foldables, Samsung needs to up its game, particularly with photography. The recently revealed Huawei Mate X2 offers a near-identical camera array to Huawei's standard flagship phones, including a pair of telephoto cameras. While Huawei's ability to take on Samsung is stymied by U.S. government sanctions, Samsung would be foolish to not respond with a better photography set-up of its own on the Z Fold 3.

Ice Universe's phrase "collection of the most cutting-edge technologies" has us wondering what else Samsung has planned for the next-gen foldable. Some rumors have claimed we'll see Samsung's first under-display selfie camera on the Z Fold 3, which arguably fits IU's description.

Another Samsung phone with stylus support would be bad news for the Galaxy Note series, which had a monopoly on premium stylus-ready phones until the S21 Ultra's arrival. Although rumors currently claim we'll see a Samsung Galaxy Note 21 launch in 2021, the future of the Note series looks to be under threat from the expanding scope of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3.

The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is already the top of the heap when it comes to the best foldable phones, but doesn't appear on our overall ranking of the best Android phones or best phones overall. Taking the best parts of the Galaxy Note could be what Samsung needs to make the Z Fold 3 a must-have phone.

More: Forget Galaxy Z Fold 3: Oppo rollable phone looks stunning in these hands-on videos

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.