The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 has a lot to recommend it, from its massive 7.6-inch display and improved durability to its S Pen support and enhanced multitasking features. But heading into my Galaxy Z Fold 3 review I was a bit worried that this foldable phone's battery life, partly because it has a smaller battery than the Galaxy Z Fold 2.
As it turns out, my fears were well founded. The Galaxy Z Fold 3's 4,400 mAh battery is only slightly smaller than the 4,500 mAh pack in the Z Fold 2, but its endurance was significantly less in our testing. Just as important, the Z Fold 3 trails top flagship phones that don't fold by a couple of hours.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 battery life results
|Battery life (Hrs:Mins)||Battery capacity|
|Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 (60Hz/120Hz)||7:52/6:35||4,400 mAh|
|Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 (60Hz/120Hz)||10:10/9:05||4,500 mAh|
|Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 (60Hz/120Hz)||6:00/5:43||3,300 mAh|
|Samsung Galaxy S21 (60Hz/120Hz)||9:53/6:31||4,000 mAh|
|Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus (60Hz/120Hz)||9:53/9:41||4,800 mAh|
|Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (60Hz/120Hz)||11:25/10:07||5,000 mAh|
|iPhone 12 Pro Max||10:53||3,687 mAh|
|iPhone 12 Pro||9:06||2,815 mAh|
|OnePlus 9 Pro (60Hz/120Hz)||10:38/10:40||4,500 mAh|
On the Tom's Guide battery test, which involves surfing the web continuously over 5G at 150 nits of screen brightness, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 lasted only 7 hours and 52 minutes with the display set to 60Hz mode. We saw an even worse 6:35 with the adaptive display mode on, which scale up to 120Hz.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 endured for 10 hours and 10 minutes last year in 60Hz mode and 9:05 in adaptive mode. That's a pretty steep drop-off, but the smaller battery might not be the only culprit. We tested the Z Fold 3 on Verizon's network, and the Z Fold 2 on T-Mobile, and the carrier can definitely impact battery life.
Regardless, the Galaxy Z Fold 3's battery life trails most other flagship phones by a long shot. For example, the Galaxy S21 Ultra's 5,000 mAh battery lasted a very impressive 11 hours and 25 minutes in 60Hz mode and 10:07 in adaptive mode. Meanwhile, the iPhone 12 Pro Max lasted 10:53.
The regular Galaxy S21, which has a 4,000 mAh battery, turned in a battery life of 9:53 in 60Hz mode. That runtime dipped to 6:31 in 120Hz mode.
To be fair, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 has a huge 7.6-inch display, compared to 6.8 inches for the Galaxy S21 Ultra and 6.7 inches for the iPhone 12 Pro. So this foldable simply has a larger canvas for its battery to power.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 also has a 6.2-inch cover display, and while I don't think anyone would use it for that long of a stretch, we ran our battery test on it just to see how long it would last. In 60Hz mode, the Z Fold 3's front panel lasted 8 hours and 47 minutes, and it endured for 7:57 in adaptive mode.
The bottom line is that the Galaxy Z Fold 3's battery life is a disappointment, but overall, we still recommend this foldable phone for everything that it enables you to do. I would just make sure you bring the (optional) charger with you if you're going to be away from home for most of the day.
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 vs Galaxy Z Flip 3: What's the difference?