In a new software update, eSIM support is being added, meaning you’ll be able to use the phone without a removable SIM card.
More usefully, this also brings support for Dual SIM, Dual Standby (DSDS), which means you can use both a standard, removable SIM, and the eSIM running at the same time, so you can have two different numbers on the phone. This could be handy if, for example, you want both a work and personal number on the same device.
The update also adds camera improvements, including higher quality pictures when shooting with third-party social or camera apps, an ‘Auto framing’ feature for video mode and some video call apps, and – in the case of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 – there’s also now support for the telephoto lens in Pro mode, and improvements to the night portrait feature. Plus, this update includes stability and security improvements.
Currently this update is rolling out for T-Mobile and unlocked models of both phones, but it’s likely that it will land at other carriers soon, so keep an eye out for it.
In many regions outside the US, eSIMs are already supported on these phones, so there’s no need to wait for this update to get that, but the camera improvements are likely on the way globally.
Analysis: what’s so good about an eSIM?
There are a few advantages to an eSIM. For one thing, it takes up less space than a traditional SIM card slot, so phones can either be made marginally smaller and lighter, or that space can be used for other components.
In the case of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Galaxy Z Fold 3 there’s still a traditional slot too of course, but this at least takes up less space than having two traditional slots.
An eSIM also theoretically makes it easier to switch networks, as you don’t need to wait for a new physical SIM to be delivered. And multiple virtual SIM cards can be stored on a single eSIM, so you can have multiple numbers on your phone for different purposes.
Not all smartphones have an eSIM yet and not all carriers support them, which is one reason why the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 3 also have a traditional SIM card slot, but it’s likely that eSIMs will eventually become the new standard. Even now though you can get an eSIM with numerous handsets, such as the Samsung Galaxy S22 and iPhone 13 lines.