UPDATE: With the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 expected to appear on 11 August, we're already beginning to see key specs leaked from certifications such as TENAA. Apparently, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will be thinner than the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, with the handset measuring just 6.4mm when unfolded. Meanwhile, the Z Fold 3 should also have an improved hinge that's designed to remove the air gap between both sides. This should mean that the folded handset will be thinner as well.
Other than this, there aren't many physical changes that we can expect from the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3. The TENAA listing reveals that the Fold 3 will retain the 6.2" cover display and 4,500 mAh battery that Fold 2 had. Meanwhile, it seems that the handset will run Android 11 as well.
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The biggest changes will come under the hood, according to rumor websites including GSMArena. Apparently, we will see a new under-display camera under the large panel – and, as mentioned below, there will be the addition of autofocus to the ultra-wide camera on the back.
ORIGINAL STORY: Samsung has been a world pioneer in fold phones, persevering with the technology even when it had some initial teething pain. With two Samsung Galaxy Z Fold handsets under its belt already, Samsung is currently gearing up to release the third iteration – the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Recent rumors had suggested that there wasn't going to be a major camera upgrade for this new folding handset, with the Z Fold 3 continuing to offer the same 12MP rear cameras that the Z Fold 2 does. However, a new leak reports that, while the megapixel count might remain the same, the Z Fold 3 cameras will actually offer quite a substantial update to the autofocus system.
According to Twitter leakster @FrontTron (via Forbes), all three of the 12MP rear cameras on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 will support phase-detect autofocus. This would bring autofocus capabilities to the ultra-wide camera for the first time, which should boost the quality of ultra-wide photos. It could also enable close-up macro photography as well (interestingly, Apple are rumored to be considering adding this feature to an iPhone 13 Pro model as well).
So, what exactly is phase detect autofocus? Used primarily in the best DSLRs, phase detection originally used mirrors to reflect copies of the main sensor's light towards the dedicated phase detect sensor. However, camera phones have much less physical space than DSLR cameras, so they will have dedicated PDAF pixels built into the image sensor instead.
Phase detect autofocus is known for being much faster than contrast detection, which is simpler and cheaper to manufacture. This means that we could be seeing a substantial upgrade in the image quality of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 – even if the megapixel count remains the same. However, we'll have to wait until its official announcement until we can learn more about this upcoming camera phone.