Forget Samsung Galaxy S21 — the Galaxy Z Fold 3 could be the killer flagship of 2021

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 review
(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is almost a full year away from its expected launch date. But a short but exciting list of features has just been revealed.

Regular leaker Ice Universe, tweeted how Samsung is going to build on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and solidify its position as the best foldables maker around. And that includes adapting some of Samsung's best phone features as well as getting clever with cameras. 

First up, a Camera Under Panel (or CUP as IU's tweet shortens it). This sounds an awful lot like the under-display selfie camera we've been looking forward to seeing on a big phone launch for a couple of years. We had been hoping this would feature on the Samsung Galaxy S21 too, but that doesn't seem to be happening based on the latest rumors and renders.

Rather than having a notch or punch-hole to house the front-facing camera, this technology instead allows a portion of the display to become transparent when needed, revealing the front camera. There are questions about how this will impact photo and display image quality, but this still seems to be the next big frontier for Android phones to conquer.

S Pen compatibility has been previously rumored too, and it's about time. With its enormous internal display (7.6 inches on the Z Fold 2), the Z Fold line is crying out for stylus support. Plus if rumors about the death of the Galaxy Note line are accurate, it would make sense for Samsung to position a stylus-compatible foldable as its new offering for productivity-focused smartphone users.

We'll also see the new version of Samsung's Ultra-Thin Glass (UTG) on the new Z Fold model. This plastic/glass laminate material is part of what makes the Galaxy Z Flip and the Galaxy Z Fold 2 reliable and resilient devices, allowing them to fold without being damaged. While we shouldn't expect toughness rivaling normal smartphone display glass, hopefully this new generation will be noticeably stronger.

Assuming Samsung keeps to the schedule it established this year, we'll see the Galaxy Z Fold 3 launch take place in the fall of 2021. If that's too long to wait for a new Samsung phone, then fortunately the Galaxy S21 (and likely the Z Flip 2 also) will be coming in January. 

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.

  • g-unit1111
    My biggest complaint with the Fold 2 - as big and expensive as that phone is, there's no removable storage. Also my problem with the Razr and Galaxy Flip. Seriously, would it kill them to squeeze a micro SD slot in there somewhere? Maybe connected to or behind the SIM card like I've seen in a lot of recent phones?