When Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Z Fold 3, it made a point of emphasising its improved durability. It’s far, far too early to know how the Z Fold 3 will hold up over time, but in a series of breakability tests, it seems Samsung’s durability claims aren’t just fluffy marketing.
Allstate Protection Plans (formerly SquareTrade) is infamous for its drop tests and its FoldBot. While we don’t know the final results of the FoldBot just yet, Allstate said “it proved to be extremely strong” and that there were few doubts that it would last 200,000 folds. The Z Fold 3 did, however, make serious strides in two drop tests and a dunk in the pool.
As a refresher, with the Z Fold 3, Samsung said it created a stronger frame with a material it dubs Armour Aluminium and Gorilla Glass Victus. It also has an IPX8 rating, making it the first Samsung foldable to offer any sort of water resistance. The main screen also has an additional panel layer and a better protective film, which Samsung says makes the Z Fold 3’s screen 80% more durable than the Z Fold 2.
These are pretty big claims, but the results of Allstate’s breakability tests are encouraging. You can watch the video for yourself, but the DropBot dropped the $2,499 Z Fold 3 from six feet onto concrete. In the two drops where the phone was fully open, the screen didn’t shatter — a first for any smartphone. It only received minor pixel damage and scuffing. It didn’t fare so well when the phone was closed, however. In that test, the screen shattered with bits of glass coming loose. As for water resistance, the phone survived a 1.52 m dunk in the pool for 30 minutes — which is exactly what its IPX8 rating promised.
Samsung has made significant strides in the durability of foldable phones since it first introduced the Galaxy Fold in 2019. “The Galaxy Z Fold3 is one of the toughest, most durable phones we’ve ever tested, and its interior screen is the first not to crack or shatter in our drop test,” Jason Siciliano, Allstate Protection Plan vice president of marketing and creative director, said in a statement.
This is an encouraging sign that Samsung’s latest foldable flagship should be able to better withstand the rough and tumble of daily life. However, these tests aren’t exactly a 1:1 mirror of how people actually handle their phones. (I don’t know about you, but I don’t climb up 6ft on a ladder and just… drop my phone face-down.) We also won’t know what sort of issues might pop up after months of long-term use. For instance, when we tested the Z Fold 2, we found that the screen became increasingly susceptible to tiny air bubbles over several months of daily use.
Also, improved durability doesn’t mean these phones are indestructible. Not only does the phone itself cost $2,499 to buy, but it also costs $700 to repair the main screen and $200 to repair the outer screen. So, uh, if you’re prone to accidents, you might still want to invest in a case.