Are foldable phones better for multimedia? Here is how the Galaxy Z Fold3 and Z Flip3 stack up

The historical past of widescreen is an interesting story of movie makers making an attempt to impress their viewers and later to strive and claw again viewers members from these new-fangled “television sets”. Early TVs settled on a 4:3 side ratio, which was the commonest alternative for motion pictures too. But why go to the motion pictures when you’ll be able to keep at house?

This lead movie makers to begin utilizing wider and wider side ratios – which they argued have been extra immersive and it simply so occurred that constructing such extensive CRTs was troublesome if not unattainable. So, when motion pictures have been seen at house they have been both cropped (shedding a major a part of the picture) or letterboxed with black bars. Both have been an inferior expertise, cementing the cinema as the one true method to see motion pictures.

All of this is historic historical past, a century previous at this level. Except we’re nonetheless combating side ratios. 16:9 grew to become the customary throughout the transition to High Definition video and in a number of years touchscreen phones with 16:9 screens would arrive – an ideal match!

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G and Z Flip3 5G: Folded
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G and Z Flip3 5G: Unfolded

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G and Z Flip3 5G: folded and unfolded

Except it wasn’t. Makers needed to continue to grow phones, however they couldn’t make them wider, so that they made them taller as a substitute. And now that foldable phones are a factor, issues are much more convoluted. Some unfold to disclose an enormous, squarish display screen, whereas clamshells are likely to have further lengthy inside screens.

Take the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G for instance. When unfolded, it has a big 7.6” display screen. However, the side ratio is an odd 11.2:9, which is near sq.. That’s nice for paperwork and studying generally, fairly good for, say, 3:2 and 4:3 images. But 16:9 movies are a poor match.

And content material creators didn’t cease at 16:9 both. In the digital period we’ve got all types of side ratios: 1:1 for Instagram images, 4:3 for images from phones and older TV exhibits, 16:9 for new TV exhibits, although 18:9 appears to be most well-liked for Netflix content material, and motion pictures are typically even wider.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G is pretty compact when closed (in the event you don’t thoughts the thickness), however can unfold to a 6.7” display screen. The display screen has one in all the widest side ratios on the market, 22:9, which makes it better-suited watching movies, much less so for searching images.

Below is the rundown on some key show specs on the two foldables from Samsung and two flagship alternate options with a traditional design:

Video floor space (in cm²) for a given side ratio
Screen dataGalaxy Note20 UltraGalaxy Z Fold3Galaxy S21 UltraGalaxy Z Flip3
Diagonal (in)6.9″7.6″6.8″6.7″
Aspect ratio19.3:911.2:920:922:9
Width (cm)15.81 cm15. cm15.78 cm15.74 cm
Height (cm)7.37 cm12.01 cm7.1 cm6.44 cm
Area (cm²)116.61 cm²180.06 cm²112.09 cm²101.36 cm²
Horizontal decision (px)3088 px2208 px3200 px2640 px
Vertical decision (px)1440 px1768 px1440 px1080 px
PPI496 ppi374 ppi515 ppi426 ppi

So, right here’s a query. The Z Fold3 has a big however squarish 7.6” display screen. The Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G has a 6.8” 20:9 display screen. If you have been to observe a 16:9 video, which display screen gives you the greater image? Assuming no cropping, that is. And wouldn’t you be better off with the Z Flip3, since the Fold will waste most of its display screen on letterboxing?

First, what is letterboxing? It is the addition of black bars to the prime and backside of a video to regulate its side ratio to match that of the display screen. When the black bars are added to the left and proper aspect, it is known as pillarboxing. Here’s a 16:9 video taking part in on a Z Fold3 (the place it is letterboxed) and on the Note20 Ultra (the place it is pillarboxed).

Video size comparison: Galaxy Z Fold3 vs. Z Flip3 vs. Note20 Ultra vs. S21 Ultra

As you’ll be able to see, each have components of their display screen which can be left clean. Which provides the greater image when all is stated and performed? We pulled out a spreadsheet and did some calculations for numerous side ratios.

The chart under exhibits the floor space (in cm²) lined by the video on every show. Note that we ignored the rounded corners, that are hardly ever a problem (for most ratios they’re lined by the black bars). We did additionally ignore the curved screens of the S and Note phones, however, once more at some ratios these are displaying black, so that you don’t lose any of the image.

Are foldable phones better for multimedia? Here is how the Galaxy Z Fold3 and Z Flip3 stack up

It seems that the Galaxy Z Fold3 shows a considerably bigger image all the method to 16:9. At 18:9 it is successfully even with the Note20 Ultra and loses to its widescreen siblings for wider movies. The extremely extensive display screen of the Galaxy Z Flip3 causes it to battle with narrower content material, however at 20:9 and wider it will get fairly shut.

Here is a desk with the video sizes for every cellphone for every side ratio (once more, we ignored the rounded corners, so the outcomes will not be 100% correct in some circumstances).

Aspect ratioGalaxy Note20 Ultra 5GGalaxy S21 Ultra 5GGalaxy Z Fold3 5GGalaxy Z Flip3
1:154.38 cm²50.44 cm²144.17 cm²41.47 cm²
4:372.5 cm²67.25 cm²168.65 cm²55.29 cm²
3:281.57 cm²75.66 cm²149.91 cm²62.2 cm²
16:996.67 cm²89.67 cm²126.49 cm²73.72 cm²
18:9108.76 cm²100.88 cm²112.43 cm²82.93 cm²
20:9112.53 cm²112.09 cm²101.19 cm²92.15 cm²
21:9107.17 cm²106.75 cm²96.37 cm²96.75 cm²

While these massive black bars on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 look wasteful, this is one in all the finest pocketable video gamers that cash can purchase (okay, some huge cash, however nonetheless). And if you wish to take a look at images, there’s barely any competitors that isn’t a pill (virtually none that you could purchase in the West).

The Galaxy Z Flip3 folds all the way down to 86.4 x 72.2 x 15.9-17.1 mm and but it comes near providing the similar video expertise as a cellphone that measures 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm always. It does pretty effectively for images too, though they are typically far off its native side ratio. And these you’ll be able to view in Flex mode, which provides you one half of the display screen (11:9) for the images, the different half for controls.

That is the magic of foldable phones – they make massive screens pocketable, generally even compact. It is a trade-off, you get double the display screen dimension at the value of double the thickness. And some uncommon side ratios, however as we are able to see in the chart above, the foldables greater than make up for that.

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