Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 could have a mystery new processor — what we know

Galaxy Z Fold 2
(Image credit: Samsung)

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 could come with a mystery new processor that differs from that in the flagship Galaxy S21 series.  

That's according to reputable Samsung tipster IceUniverse, who has tweeted that the upcoming foldable will have a "top secret" SoC that won't be the Snapdragon 888 or the company's proprietary Exynos 2100 chip. That leaves the door open for a possible Snapdragon 888+ variant, or even a new Exynos processor. 

Samsung's smartphones usually feature the company's own Exynos chipset outside of the US, but last year's Galaxy Z Fold 2 released in just the single version with a Snapdragon 865+. The processor gives it a slight performance upgrade over the Galaxy S20, which features the Snapdragon 865 in some regions.

While it would make sense for Samsung to follow the same approach with the Z Fold 3, Qualcomm is reportedly struggling to fulfil the supply of its Snapdragon 888 processor, according to Reuters. The prospect of a Snapdragon 888+ rolling out later this year would therefore be a little surprising, unless the global semiconductor shortage eases off significantly.

The other option is that Samsung will use the new silicon it's preparing to roll out in the upcoming Galaxy Book Pro: the laptop is said to house the Exynos 2200 with an AMD GPU. We don't know whether we'll see the same high-end chipset powering its premium smartphones, or if a specific mobile variant would instead be produced, but it does point the way to the Z Fold 3 potentially being more powerful than the Galaxy S21.

Either way, we should find out more about the Z Fold 3 fairly soon: rumors have suggested it could even ship as early as July of this year. We don't know a huge amount about it yet, but leaks have claimed it will have a 7-inch interior display and a 4-inch exterior display. That said, a separate rumor suggests it will have a 5.4-inch exterior and 7.7-inch interior display — so really we don't know yet.

Other leaks have teased the Z Fold 3 getting an under-display camera and possibly being the first Samsung phone to feature the fruits of a potential camera partnership with Olympus.

Shabana Arif

Shabana is T3's News Editor covering tech and gaming, and has been writing about video games for almost a decade (and playing them since forever). As well as contributing to Tom's Guide, she's had bylines at major gaming sites during her freelance career before settling down at T3, and has podcasts, streaming, and video content under her belt to boot. Outside of work, she also plays video games and should really think about expanding her hobbies.