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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 might have a pop-up camera, but we’re not convinced

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
The punch-hole cameras of the Z Fold 2 could be absent on the Z Fold 3 (Image credit: Future)
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The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 has two separate punch-hole cameras on its two separate screens, but the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 might replace one or both of them with a pop-up camera, allowing for uninterrupted displays.

Alternatively, it might use a pop-up camera for the main rear sensors, or just add extra cameras in a pop-up mechanism to complement all the others. All of these options are put forward in a Samsung patent published recently by the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), and spotted by SamMobile.

The patent was filed in April, and shows various sketches of a phone that looks a lot like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, just with a pop-up camera module in place of or as well as some of the other cameras.

Samsung patent

(Image credit: Samsung / WIPO)

Given the similarity to the Z Fold 2, SamMobile posits that Samsung could have been considering this system for that phone, before scrapping the idea. But given that the Galaxy Z Fold 2 was announced in August, that would only have given Samsung four months from when this patent was filed to completely redesign the camera system.

So we’d say that’s unlikely – though not impossible, especially as the company could have been simultaneously testing multiple very different prototypes of the Galaxy Z Fold 2. What’s more likely is that this system is being considered for the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, or another upcoming Samsung foldable.

Once you pop you definitely can stop

So will the Galaxy Z Fold 3 have a pop-up camera? We doubt it. Companies are constantly patenting things, many of which never see the light of day, and while some do, a pop-up camera doesn’t seem likely to us.

Companies such as OnePlus with the OnePlus 7 Pro and even Samsung itself with the Galaxy A80 have previously experimented with pop-up cameras, but most seem to have settled on punch-hole cameras being a better option, presumably because they’re less fragile and don’t require an entire pop-up mechanism to be built into the phone.

And that issue of fragility is all the more concerning when you pair it with a foldable phone – something which already has a lot of moving parts and is more fragile than most handsets as a result.

So while there are definite benefits to pop-up cameras (they allow for an all-screen design and potentially allow rear snappers to double up as selfie ones), we don’t think a foldable phone is a great candidate for one.

We can’t rule it out, but for now we reckon the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is more likely to have punch-hole cameras, or maybe even in-screen cameras.

James Rogerson
James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps.