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It Took Me a Month to Fall For The Galaxy Z Fold 3



It Took Me a Month to Fall For The Galaxy Z Fold 3

I’ve had the Galaxy Z Fold 3 for a month, and I have to say that the first couple of weeks of using it were a bit of a slog. My heart didn’t pound from adoration, but my pulse was certainly raised due to frustration a few times. It surprised me that it required way more adjusting to than I expected, despite my long-term use of the first Galaxy Fold. But now, on the eve of needing to take my SIM out to put it in a different phone, I realize this feeling has changed and I’ve completely fallen for the new foldable.

This is how I learned to love the Z Fold 3.

An adjustment period

I’ve used the original Galaxy Fold since its release, and spent time with all of Huawei’s foldable smartphones during this time, so I consider myself pretty familiar with folding smartphones. For that reason, it never crossed my mind that I’d need a period of adjustment to get used to the Z Fold 3. However, I’d underestimated how different the Fold and Z Fold 3 actually are, and this was the first bump in my relationship with the phone that I needed to overcome.

Open Galaxy Z Fold 3 held in one hand.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The trouble was, I mostly used the original Fold opened up. The Cover Screen is too small to be of much use outside of notifications and Google Maps, and the phone is surprisingly compact and easy to hold when open. The Z Fold 3 has a much larger Cover Screen, and when open, it’s bigger overall than the Fold, but muscle memory and my experience living with the Fold meant I naturally just opened it up every time I wanted to do something.

The phone’s size made it rather ungainly doing this for everything, and ultimately slowed my phone use down, but I soon realized it wasn’t necessary because the Cover Screen is perfectly usable for most normal tasks like reading and replying to messages, checking Twitter, or reading email. I slowly trained myself to spend more time using the Z Fold 3 closed, and opening it up only when I would actually benefit from the larger screen.

Closed Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

This takes an adjustment in the way you’re used to interacting with a smartphone. You have to think about what you’re doing. For a quick web search, you keep the phone closed, but for some online shopping ,you open it up. It may sound obvious, but remember this is different from not only what you’d do with a non-folding smartphone, but also different from how I’d already been using a folding smartphone.

I’ve gradually slipped into opening and closing the Z Fold 3 at the appropriate times to really make full use of both screens. It started off awkwardly, but now feels quite natural. This newfound two-screen format then introduced a different problem: The keyboard.

Typing isn’t easy

Samsung enables its own keyboard by default, and it has this excellent split-screen system when the phone is open where you use both thumbs to quickly type. That’s how I lived my life on the Galaxy Fold, as I never really used the Cover Screen. But the split-screen feature is the only good thing about the Samsung keyboard. Otherwise, it’s not very accurate, the predictive system is dim-witted, and swipe typing is very poor compared to Google’s Gboard. This is all especially frustrating with the phone closed.

Switching to Gboard is the easy solution, but by doing so, you immediately lose the split-screen keyboard. While Gboard cures the Z Fold 3’s swipe issues when closed, typing on it with the phone open just introduces another, all-new annoyance: Its size. It’s a giant keyboard across the entire screen, so swipe typing takes too long, and because it’s not split down the middle, you have to bash each letter out with one finger. You can’t have different keyboards on the open and closed screens either.

You don’t fully realize how much a poor typing experience slows down and potentially ruins a smartphone until you deal with a bad example. My solution came with a Gboard feature called Floating Keyboard. It undocks the keyboard from the bottom of the screen and, crucially, makes it smaller. I can position it where I want on the screen and then use one finger to swipe type, just…

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