For the past few months, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 has been my daily driver. I used a test device for a month and then replaced it with my own 512GB model that I bought through Samsung. It has been in a case since day one, has never been submerged in water and has been very well looked after.
I also happened to be traveling and testing the Google Pixel 6 Pro, so I removed my Google Fi SIM and put my T-Mobile SIM in the Pixel 6 Pro. It turned out that using the Pixel 6 Pro as my daily driver was a good move as it quickly became apparent that the Pixel is not the phone for me.
See also: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review: potential for improvement.
Anyone who has bought one of my old phones on Swappa or Twitter knows that I take very good care of my phones and when I sell them they’ll be like new. I’ve only dropped a couple of phones, even after testing hundreds of them over the past 20 years, and with something as expensive as the Z Fold 3, I didn’t even drop it more than a couple of inches above a surface.
While I once dipped the Samsung Eval model in fresh water to test its water resistance, my personal phone was not exposed to water. Since the first day there has been a case on my personal Z Fold 3 that also offers additional protection. If you want to always have your S Pen with you, check out the Spigen Thin Fit P case.
I use the S Pen Fold Edition on my display every day, but I never press the display hard and I am always very careful with it. The main display is pristine on the phone with no nicks, scratches or anything that would make any part of it prone to damage.
I woke up in my hotel room one morning and then opened the Z Fold 3. The first thing I noticed was a very light white line running from the top to the bottom of the display in the center of the folded area. I turned the phone off and back on a couple of times to see if a stuck pixel or something was causing this but it didn’t go away. Then I noticed two little black dots on either side of that white line in the lower center of the display. There was no physical damage or anything like that on the display.
After a little more use, I opened the Z Fold 3 and then saw a couple of very light lines running horizontally from the center to the edge of the right side of the display. These three items stayed on the display for the remainder of the time until I sent the broken phone back.
While using the Z Fold 3 a couple of times, the display stopped responding to my swipes and taps. Powering the phone off and on again seemed to fix the touch errors, but there was clearly an issue here that I couldn’t live with, and it was also clearly a manufacturing defect as the phone was never dropped or damaged.
With the Pixel 6 Pro being returned, I had to actively follow the warranty process for my failed Z Fold 3 display. I do have some relationships with the Samsung PR guys and one of them reached out to me after seeing a tweet I posted about the display bug; I wanted to follow the same process everyone else is experiencing so that I can fully understand and evaluate Samsung’s response. Apple sets the bar for customer service when it comes to iPhones, largely thanks to its retail stores.
When I bought the Z Fold 3, Samsung offered one year of Samsung Care Plus with the purchase and the option to continue the additional warranty and accident damage coverage for another two years. I added the Care Plus option to my purchase so I knew I was covered by this and Samsung’s basic one-year warranty for defects and the like. Even if I dropped or accidentally damaged the phone, there was a way to solve the problem, although there is a fee to repair any damage.
The first step in the process was to find the Samsung Care Plus website where I could make a claim. When you visit the Samsung Care Plus website, you will have the option to verify your eligibility or to submit a claim. Selecting the option to submit a claim will take you to the Asurion and Samsung website where you will enter your personal information, device model / capacity / color and whether it is locked or unlocked with a carrier. It is possible to make a claim for a device that has been repaired or not yet repaired.
You have three options to choose from; lost / stolen, damaged and malfunction. I chose a malfunction for my screen to drop out because it just happened without incident. Damage descriptions include cracked screens, broken buttons, fluid damage, or visible battery damage. After you’ve selected the situation, you’ll go through a process of describing when the error occurred, what’s wrong with the device, answering other questions, and then having a text box of 500 characters available to detail things describe.
There are no fees for warranty claims as long as you are within the warranty period. However, after submitting your claim, watch out for a follow-up email as Asurion will ask you to enter credit card information if you do not send in your defective smartphone after the replacement phone has been sent. This is a reasonable expectation so I completed my credit card information and completed my claim.
See also: Spigen Thin Fit P Review: Best Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Case for S Pen Lovers.
If the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 has accidental damage and you have coverage, there is a $ 249 fee for each incident, up to a maximum of three per year. CNET has an in-depth article on all of the different costs, including repairing an out-of-warranty display. TLDR, paying Samsung to fix a broken screen is pretty reasonable considering the Z Fold 3 is a $ 2,000 smartphone.
Once you have an application in the system, you can log in again to check the status of the application. I was honestly pleasantly surprised by the email I received within one day saying that a replacement Z Fold 3 was being shipped and would arrive the next day. Only two days passed from the beginning of the complaint to the arrival of the phone.
Replacement and unresolved concerns
My replacement arrived the day before I got back from my business trip, so I opened the Asurion package as soon as I got back. A brand new, sealed Galaxy Z Fold 3 retail box was packed into the shipping box along with a simple cardboard envelope with bubble wrap. I was expecting to get a refurbished device as a replacement, so I was pleasantly surprised with the new device.
I was a little concerned about the basic heavy paper / cardstock USPS envelope that was provided for returning the Z Fold 3, as I had to load the broken Z Fold 3 in the open position, and even in that orientation the Z Fold 3 hardly fit into the package. I called Asurion to ask if they wanted me to put the device in a proper box with packing materials. Even so, I was directed to just slip it into the envelope provided and mail it back to them as instructed. We will see how to do this once they receive the damaged device and I very much hope that the device is not destroyed in the process of shipping.
One concern I have about this entire process that I have not yet had a definitive answer to is the transfer of my full Samsung Care Plus service to this new device for at least the remaining 10 months with the option to continue for Care Plus to pay for service. I was told on the phone that it would broadcast, but logging into the Care Plus website only leads me to an option to pay for the service monthly. As soon as Asurion receives the defective device, I will work to have my insurance cover applied to the new device.
My last concern concerns the display of the Z Fold 3 itself. I hope that I bought a defective device by chance and that this new device does not display an error. This is the third generation of Samsung’s large foldable phone, and I’ve seen very few reports of display glitches, so I’m pretty confident that it happened to be a rare defect. For now, I will be continuing with Samsung Care Plus service as the phone has proven to be an important tool in my arsenal and replacing a $ 2,000 phone is not a cheap endeavor.