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New Galaxy Z Fold 3 leak answers our biggest S Pen question

Published Jul 26th, 2021 10:12PM EDT
Fold 3 S Pen
Image: Samsung via Evan Blass

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Samsung will unveil the Galaxy Z Fold 3 on August 11th during the company’s latest Unpacked event. But the new member of the Fold family is hardly a well-kept secret. We already think we know everything about the flagship foldable. From the looks of it, the Fold 3 will be the most exciting foldable phone Samsung has ever made. There might not be that many major Fold 3 secrets left, but a brand new leak just answered one of our biggest questions about the Fold 3’s S Pen functionality.

Reports earlier this year said Fold 3 would be the first foldable to feature stylus functionality. We then saw Fold 3 renders like the one above, seemingly confirming S Pen support. Even Samsung’s paperwork for a recent FCC listing mentioned the stylus.

Galaxy Z Fold 3
Purported Galaxy Z Fold 3 S Pen case: Unfolded screen, front view. Image source: 91mobiles

Samsung canceled S Pen functionality for last year’s model. Leaks revealed that Samsung’s Ultra Thin Glass (UTG) proved to be too fragile for a stylus. That’s why I said a few days ago that S Pen support is the phone’s most exciting feature. It means Samsung has improved the UTG durability to the point that S Pen input is possible.

But where do you store the S Pen?

Is the Fold 3 S Pen housed inside the phone?

Galaxy Z Fold 3
Purported Galaxy Z Fold 3 S Pen case: Unfolded screen, rear view. Image source: 91mobiles

The stylus is one of the Galaxy Note’s signature features. An S Pen stylus comes with every new Note, and the stylus sits inside the phone. That won’t be the case for Fold 3, however. There’s no built-in S Pen slot on the foldable handset. That’s what reports are saying, anyway. We now have a series of leaked images that might confirm those claims.

The images above and below come from 91mobiles. This is an official Samsung protective case for the Fold 3. The case has an S Pen slot present on the hinge when the handset is folded. The protective case covers the entire back panel and the external display. You can flip the left half to use the external display.

When unfolded, the case will allow some travel, as seen in one of the images. It’s unclear how comfortable the case will be. But the S Pen slot is unmistakable. That’s how you’ll carry the Fold 3’s stylus.

Galaxy Z Fold 3
Purported Galaxy Z Fold 3 S Pen case: Folded screen. Image source: 91mobiles

If the leak is genuine, it tells us that the Fold 3 won’t come with a built-in stylus. That’s not necessarily bad news. Internal space for a foldable handset comes at a premium. An S Pen slot would likely have reduced the battery capacity, and that’s hardly ideal on a phone with a massive display.

The obvious downside is that the S Pen will probably be a separate purchase, just like it was for the Galaxy S21 Ultra. And the Fold 3 already sounds expensive as is.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.