(Pocket-lint) - The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip will be succeeded by a next-generation clamshell foldable, and there is hope it will be a major upgrade.

When we reviewed Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip, we did so with plenty of excitement. That model has been subsequently updated with 5G and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus, but retains the same physical design - it's just now faster. But there are still shortcomings, like the small external display.

The next Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, however, will offer Samsung the chance to right these wrongs. Here's everything we know so far about it.

Next-gen Galaxy Z Flip: What will it be called?

  • Samsung Galazy Z Flip 3 likely

While the original was called the Galaxy Z Flip, followed by the Galaxy Z Flip 5G, it's thought that the next model will be the Galaxy Z Flip 3. The justification for this is down to the 5G version being taken as the second-gen - while Samsung also wants to align the naming of the Z Flip and Z Fold models. 

That will likely see the 2021 model called the Samsung Galazy Z Flip 3, although we suspect these will be further appended with 5G and 4G respectively, with two devices offered, the premium 5G model and a cheaper 4G model.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3: Release date

  • Will likely debut in mid 2021
  • Galaxy Z Flip released in February 2020; Z Flip 5G in August 2020

If Samsung maintained its regular release schedule, then a Galaxy Z Flip 3 would arrive a year after the original, which would be around February 2021.

Instead it's claimed the device will arrive after Q1 however and we're expecting that Samsung will have a folding device version of Galaxy Unpacked to reveal new Z Flip and Z Fold models. This might even replace the company's launch event in August when the Note is traditionally announced.

Design and cameras

  • Two possible versions
  • Might have an expanding cover display

Two EUIPO patents - spotted and re-imagined by LetsGoDigital in crystal-clear renders - appear to reveal two versions of an upcoming Samsung foldable phone with triple cameras, though it's not explicitly stated that the patents are for the Galaxy Z Flip 3, but could suggest Samsung's approach to the next-gen design.

There is a third camera shown on the patents, which is likely a telephoto lens. The Galaxy Z Flip features a dual camera made up of a 12-megapixel main and 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens, so this would be an enhancement on the original and an obvious place for Samsung to expand on the feature set of the folding phone.

One version of the foldable phone has the triple cameras positioned horizontally, similar to the existing Galaxy Z Flip, while the other version has its camera sensors arranged vertically, like Samsung's other smartphones.

The patent showing the phone with vertical cameras seems to have more space for the external display to expand, perhaps allowing the next-generation Z Flip foldable phone to show users more useful information at a glance when closed. For now though, rumours are scarce, so it's not clear how the new devices will differ from the existing models.

Hardware and specs

  • 120Hz display
  • 4G and 5G versions

For many, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip will meet requirements in terms of battery, camera and power, providing something unique that looks great; but for the gamers, enthusiasts and power users, the Galaxy Z Flip is probably a compromise they might not want to make. 

The 4G LTE-only Galaxy Z Flip features a Snapdragon 855+ processor, a 6.7-inch primary display (with a resolution of 2636 x 1080 pixels), a 1.1-inch cover screen (with a resolution of 300 x 112 pixels), a 3300mAh battery capacity, dual 12MP rear-facing cameras, a single 10MP front camera, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of internal storage space with no microSD expansion.

The 5G version moves to Snapdragon 865 Plus, but retains the other specs. Any future model would likely move to next-gen hardware, likely Snapdragon 888 for any premium model. Samsung might also use Exynos 2100, expected to be announced on 12 January 2021, although it might stick to using Qualcomm hardware exclusively.

Currently, details are limited about how it might be improved, though a 120Hz refresh rate has been mentioned. With two models expected, we're likely to see a premium device running the latest 5G hardware, but a more affordable device designed to be 4G might use older hardware to keep the price down.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3: All the leaks and rumours 

Here's everything so far about the next-gen Galaxy Z Flip 2/3.

8 February 2021: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 could launch in July

Leaker Ice Universe claimed the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy Z Flip 2/3 could launch in July - which would put the launch of the next foldable devices in the middle of the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note launches.

1 February 2021: Samsung Display developing rollable and slidable displays

Samsung Display is said to be looking at developing slidable and rollable displays in a bid to cement its leadership in the foldable displaymarket.

15 January 2021: Samsung is bringing S Pen support to other product categories

Samsung confirmed that extending the S Pen support to the Galaxy S21 Ultra isn't a one-off: "We've made the bold decision to expand the S Pen experience to Galaxy S21 Ultra, and plan to expand the S Pen experience across additional device categories in the future."

That sounds unequivocally like we can expect to see S Pen support more widely - perhaps in the Z devices?

29 December 2020: SM-F720F could be cheaper Z Flip 3 model

Details on a cheaper Z Flip 3 model continue to flow with a model number and some speculation on the naming.

16 December 2020: Z Flip 3 expected in two versions in 2021

Rumours suggest that there will be two versions of the Z Flip in 2021 - a premium device and a more affordable version. It's expected to be called the Z Flip 3, skipping the Flip 2 name, which is informally applied to the 5G version of the original phone.

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10 December 2020: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 might cost less

Rumours suggest that Samsung will be bringing the price of the next-gen folding phone down to move it into the mainstream. 

26 November 2020: Next-gen Samsung Galaxy Z Flip could have 120Hz display, launch mid-2021

A report from The Elec claimed the next Galaxy Z Flip will arrive after Q1 2021, while leaker Ice Universe claims it will feature a 120Hz refresh rate display.

22 July 2020: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip updated with 5G and Snapdragon 865 Plus for blistering speed

Samsung announced a 5G version of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, but the overall design is the same as the original Z Flip. Some of the hardware might flow into the next-gen device, however.

20 July 2020: Apparently there will be a new Galaxy Z Flip at Samsung's next launch after all

New information suggests that the new version of the Z Flip is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus.

5 May 2020: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 2 pictured in renders with vertical cameras, external display

Two patents spotted on EUIPO by LetsGoDigital and then re-imagined in renders, reveal two possible versions of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 2.

1/3LetsGoDigital

21 April 2020: Samsung might launch a 5G version of the Galaxy Z Flip foldable

Samsung launched the Galaxy Z Flip foldable alongside the Galaxy S20 series earlier this year. It's available in an LTE model - although a new report indicates Samsung might announce a 5G model of the Galaxy Flip in 2020.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Editing by Britta O'Boyle.