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)

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. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.