However, the beauty of the foldables market is that you don’t just have to have a “normal” shape phone that folds in half. What if you’d rather have a normal size phone that unfolds into a tablet, instead? Or maybe a book-style foldable makes more sense, giving you two screens instead of one. Either way you fold it, there’s a great foldable in your future.
Let’s get to unfolding the best foldable phones
Flip phones are better than ever. With the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, the company pretty much took the Galaxy Z Flip 5G and “fixed” all of the issues that users had. The Flip 3 is now equipped with a larger cover screen that actually houses a few scrollable widgets, while doubling as a viewfinder for the dual-camera system.
As is the case with the Galaxy Z Fold 3, Samsung’s flippy-boi is one of the first folding phones to feature an official IPX8 water resistance rating. The Flip 3 also features a greatly-improved main display using a PET film protector, making it feel almost identical to glass. The Flip 3’s main display features a 120Hz refresh rate, which is something that has been lacking ever since the original Galaxy Z Flip (opens in new tab) was announced.
Perhaps even more important than the changes to the display and durability is the price tag. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the first foldable smartphone to be made available for under the $1,000 price point. This is an enormous drop down from the Galaxy Z Flip 5G, and can instantly be considered one of the best Android phones, especially for those who don’t want an enormous screen.
Another year means that we’ve been graced with another Galaxy Z Fold: the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3. While it may not look like too much of an upgrade at first glance, Samsung actually packed a lot of improvements into this one. Firstly, it sought to squash any concerns about the durability thanks to the phone’s new IPX8 water resistance and upgraded PET display.
With the addition of water resistance and improved display, this marks the most durable foldable smartphone that we’ve seen to date. Because of this, Samsung was able to bring S Pen support to the Galaxy Z Fold 3. This is a great alternative to the Galaxy S22 Ultra (opens in new tab) if you still want S Pen support with an even larger, more tablet-shaped screen.
Although the battery life has been reduced just slightly (4,300mAh), Samsung is bringing the heat by finally adding a 120Hz refresh rate to the Cover Screen. This gets rid of any jarring experiences going from the outer display to the big screen with its 120Hz refresh rate. Samsung was even able to slim down the Galaxy Z Fold 3, which is now thinner and lighter than its predecessor. It’s seen a price reduction since its launch, but it’s still one of the most expensive Android phones (opens in new tab) on the market today.
When the Motorola Razr (opens in new tab) was launched back in 2019, many were hoping that Motorola had found itself again, as the Razr was poised to combat Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip. However, that just wasn’t meant to be, as we saw a foldable display that lasted just a few hours before the creaking in the screen began. That’s been remedied with the Moto Razr 5G, and some new features were added, such as being able to open apps and use them on the Cover Display.
This iteration is much more durable than the original, being able to withstand quite a lot more than you might expect, save for a fall onto concrete at the perfect angle.
The internal specs were slightly upgraded over the original, with the Snapdragon 765G powering the flip phone, along with 8GB of RAM, and a slightly larger battery. While you won’t turn to the Razr 5G for all of your photography needs, Motorola made some necessary changes to at least make the camera serviceable on a daily basis.
But that’s about all that you’ll find with the Razr 5G. Although the 5G moniker has arrived because that’s what OEMs do now, you’ll never see 5G speeds if you’re a Verizon customer. That’s because, while there’s sub-6GHz compatibility, Motorola ignored Verizon’s mmWave network. Additionally, although Motorola changed the design to incorporate a glass back, you still won’t find wireless charging, which is disappointing.
Speaking of disappointment, the Razr 5G is limited to just two major Android releases. Considering that it launched with Android 10, that means you’re going to be limited to Android 12 whenever Motorola gets around to releasing it. That update has been under testing since March 2022, but has yet to be released.
When you think of a foldable phone, you might think of one smaller screen unfolding to reveal one larger display. But what if your foldable looked more like a book, with a proper cover on the outside, and two separate displays on the inside? That describes the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 (opens in new tab), the sequel to Microsoft’s first major Android phone.
The dual-screened approach actually enables you to be a bit more productive, as you can move apps between the two screens instead of tiling them on one large display. The inner edge of both screens curves inward, waterfall style, and create a sort of “hinge display” Microsoft calls the Glance Display. This is great for seeing when you receive a text, a phone call, checking the battery level, or any other missed notifications.
Microsoft also added in support for the Surface Slim Pen 1 or 2, making the Surface Duo 2 feel more like a digital notebook than most other foldables. The cameras on the back have been significantly improved over the original Surface Duo, but the giant camera hump also means the Duo 2 won’t fold flat when you fold those displays backward. It’s not a deal-breaker but it’s definitely something folks might miss from the first iteration.
While there are only a few foldable phones available outside of China, the options available are pretty impressive. There’s little doubt that the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the foldable that makes the most sense for most people, as it packs a giant screen into a foldable, pocket-friendly form factor.
Samsung’s Z Fold 3 is the upgraded model, featuring an even larger, tablet-like display inside, and a nearly standard-sized smartphone screen on the outside. It’s the most powerful foldable phone you’ll find in most regions of the world, and Samsung’s world-class software and camera experience make it the most feature-rich foldable on the list.