Best foldable phones 2023: the top folding phones to buy and why

Having tested all the best folding phones 2023 here are the best-of-best flips and folds – and why to consider buying

Best folding phones 2023: Jump Menu

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

(Image credit: Samsung)

00. The list in brief ↴
01. Best overall: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
02. Best premium: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
03. Best affordable: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
04. Best cover display: Motorola Razr 40 Ultra
05. Best large display: Google Pixel Fold
06. Best top-tier: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
07. Best if priced right: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
08. Best alternative: Oppo Find N2 Flip
09. Best cheaper foldable: Honor Magic VS
10. Best luxury: Huawei Mate X3
11. How to choose
12. How we test

Recently the best foldable phones have gone from being unreliable and expensive to dependable and more affordable (well, in some cases anyway). The technology has quickly improved thanks to research and development efforts and now a lot more people can actually consider buying a folding handset as a viable alternative to the typical best phones of today. 

You'll find a couple of different form factors to choose between: book-like ones that open up to reveal a bigger tablet-sized screen; and clamshell-like ones, which typically house an at-a-glance cover display, but then can be flipped open (hence 'flip phones') to form a more regular-sized screen in a more traditional phone-shaped design. They're very different propositions, both of which we'll get into in this guide.

If you're in the market for one of the best folding phones in the world in 2023 then you've come to the right place. Here are the handsets genuinely worth considering, as tested and rated, so you can find the best foldable phone for you – and across a wide range of budgets from genuinely affordable to top-tier luxury!

Mike Lowe portrait
Mike Lowe

I've been testing folding phones since their inception and there's not a single one in this best-of list that I've not handled. Most I've lived with for some time as my own and reviewed in full, so I've got the inside line on what's good, what's not, and which you would (or, indeed, wouldn't) want to buy.

T3's Top 3 Folding Phones

From the best for most people, to the best budget option, and the best premium pick, here's a quick rundown of the top six folding phones 2023, followed by more in-depth analysis of a fuller list for those who want a deep-dive with additional context on a per-device basis.

The best folding phones we recommend in 2023

Why you can trust T3 Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Best overall

The flip phone with the best design of them all


Displays: Front: 3.4in Super AMOLED, 60Hz, 720 x 748 / Internal: 6.7in Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, 1080 x 2640
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
RAM & Storage: 8GB only / 256GB/512GB
Battery: 3700mAh, 25W wired charging

Reasons to buy

Better design and build than the competition
New 3.4-inch cover display larger than Z Flip 4
Similar pricing to conventional flagship phones

Reasons to avoid

Cover display isn't the most functional 
Motorola Razr 40 Ultra has larger cover display
Pricier than its Z Fold 3 & Z Fold 4 predecessors
Buy it if

✅ You want the best flip phone design: the build quality is a step beyond any other clamshell foldable out there; you can just feel it in use over the Motorola or Oppo competition

✅ A big cover display is a must: unlike the previous Z Flip 4's 1.9in display, the Z Flip 5 ups this to 3.4in – which fundamentally changes how you'll use the device for at-a-glance notifications and interactions.

✅ A larger foldable is too much for you: sure, the Z Fold (not Flip) 5 looks nice, but it's approaching twice the price of this and it's way, way larger – which won't suit all pockets and purses! 

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want to do more up front: the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra's cover display has more app availability and interactivity than this Samsung, meaning greater versatility. 

❌ You don't need a large cover display: sure, a 3.4in screen is nice, but if smaller serves your at-a-glance purposes then save a load of cash and get the Z Flip 3 or 4! 

❌ You're big into photography: the cameras here are functional, sure, but they're a long way from the best-of-best that you'll find in the best flagship phones (the ones that don't fold, typically speaking).

The bottom line

🔎 The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is the best all-round flip phone thanks to a great build, larger cover display than its predecessor, great software, and a battery life that lasts surprisingly well considering the size. It's pricier than its Z Flip 3 & 4 predecessors, but that new cover display makes it worth it. ★★★★

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 certainly has plenty of competition from the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra and Oppo Find N2 Flip elsewhere in this guide, but both of those are slightly different propositions. 

Where the Z Flip 5 earns its stripes is in the overall build quality, which is better than those two main competitors, plus Samsung has significantly upped the cover display size (from 1.9in to 3.4in) compared to its Z Flip 4 predecessor. 

Design: As noted in our review (full link below) there's a much better feel to the Z Flip 5's hinge mechanism than any other flip phone. That might sound minor, but in a device you'll be flipping open and closed dozens of times a day (and it's kinda satisfying) it's a major part of this design. Add lots of somber yet attractive colour options and this Samsung looks the part too.

Displays: The 3.4in cover display on the exterior is far larger than the 1.9in one in its Z Flip 4 predecessor, which is far better for at-a-glance use for notifications and interactivity. It's responsive to use, although Samsung is less open with app access than Motorola is, so there's not quite as much you can do in terms of functionality (yet anyway). The 6.7in internal display is great, although like any folding phone suffers from reflections and that central 'crease'. 

Performance: With a top-tier Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor at its heart, which is tuned for Samsung devices (i.e. it's overclocked) the performance here is second to none, and whether you're using the cover display or flipping open so apps continue on the larger interior one, everything runs super smooth. 

Battery: With a small battery (3,700mAh, so around 1,300mAh less than many flagships) don't expect the best longevity ever – our review quotes around 80% used in 14 hours – but as you'll be using the smaller cover display more, this small cell holds up well. Charging, at 25W, isn't the fastest ever, but it's speedy enough to provide 50% battery in 30 minutes.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review

Best premium

The best book-like foldable phone for the best price


Displays: Front: 6.2in Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, 904 x 2316 / Internal: 7.6in Dynamic AMOLED, 120Hz, 1812 x 2176
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
RAM & Storage: 12GB only / 256GB/512GB/1TB
Battery: 4400mAh, 25W wired charging

Reasons to buy

Cheaper than very similar Z Fold 5 update
Interior display unfolds flat, unlike some competitors
Can use S Pen stylus input too

Reasons to avoid

The newer Z Fold 5 has brighter screens
Skinny front display won't suit all, Google Pixel Fold is wider
Buy it if

✅ You value balanced price-to-features: Yes there's a newer foldable in town, the Z Fold 5, but buying this older model will save you a bunch of cash without compromising on design or, to a large extent, features either. 

✅ You're ready for the best software: Samsung wins when it comes to software, especially with multiple app openings, where even the Google Pixel Fold can't keep up with this versatility.

✅ You might want S Pen stylus input: The Z Fold is also the only foldable series that can use stylus input – which doesn't come in the box, granted, but you can buy separately if you think that'll aid your productivity.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want the very brightest screens: The newer Z Fold 5 largely looks the same, but its screens are even brighter – which makes it even better for outdoor use. 

❌ A skinny front screen will irk you: Samsung's foldable approach is to utilise a skinnier front display, which feels narrow and tall – many will find a traditional flagship more effective, or the Google Pixel Fold's wider front display option, for example. 

❌ You want the best cameras: Samsung's snappers are decent for a foldable phone, sure, but they're not to Galaxy S23 Ultra levels of versatility or capability. This is one area where the Google Pixel Fold wins. 

The bottom line

🔎 The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 isn't the newest foldable in Samsung's line-up, but it is still the best book-style foldable for most people on account of its well-balanced features-to-price proposition. Not all will love the skinny front display, but with software that's ahead of its competition, it's a superb option. ★★★★

If it's a book-like foldable that you're after then here's the best option for most people right now. No, it's not the newest, as that falls to the Z Fold 5, but the Z Fold 4 becomes the best price-to-features proposition as a result of that. 

Design: You're not going to confuse the Z Fold 4 with a Samsung Galaxy S 23 Ultra, as it's a two-panel device that folds up nicely – and, importantly, with a hinge mechanism that just feels great in use. There are plenty of fun colour options to add some pizzazz to proceedings too.

Displays: The key sell of the Z Fold 4 is its dual displays: the front one is tall and narrow, which may mean you're more often inclined to open up and use the massive 7.6-inch one inside. That's a logical proposition for a foldable phone, though, otherwise you'd just rarely open it up. That said, if a wider panel would suit you better, then the Google Pixel Fold is the most logical competitor – although at an increased price.

Performance: Featuring Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor under the hood, there's marginal gains in buying a newer foldable with the 8 Gen 2 chip inside, but so marginal that you won't really know the difference. Besides, the Z Fold 4 features a whopping 12GB RAM and can multi-task apps like a daemon – with Samsung's software being truly standout in this regard in bettering its competition. 

Battery: As said in our review, while sceptical about a 4400mAh battery being substantial enough for a device such as this, it holds out just fine – delivering close to 20 hours of use per charge. That's a solid innings from a great device. 

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 review

Best affordable

The best-priced flip phone available right now


Displays: Front: 1.9in Super AMOLED, 60Hz, 260 x 512 / Internal: 6.7in Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, 1080 x 2640
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G
RAM & Storage: 8GB only / 128GB/256GB
Battery : 3300mAh, 15W wireless

Reasons to buy

Far cheaper than Z Fold 4 or 5 right now
Same 6.7in internal screen as newer models 

Reasons to avoid

The cover display is small
Smaller battery capacity than newer models
Buy it if

✅ You like money: The Z Flip 3 is so, so much cheaper than its Z Flip 4 or 5 follow-ups that, while it's a different device altogether, it's superb value for money.

✅ You're fine with a small cover display: Okay, so the 1.9-inch cover display is among the smallest out there right now, but it's still very useful for at-a-glance notifications – which is one of the main reasons to buy this device.

✅ You're curious about flip phones: Not bought a flip phone before but thinking about taking the plunge? This price proposition will give you that experience for less. 

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want a larger cover display: As the Z Flip 5 ups the cover display to a far bigger 3.4in, the small 1.9in offering here may feel insubstantial for your wants. 

❌ You're a power user: With lower battery capacity than the Z Flip 4 or 5 models, don't expect this flip phone to last the longest per innings (unless you're very much a cover display user who's looking to use your phone less anyway).

❌ Cameras are a key feature for you: Like with most flip phones, the camera arrangement here isn't as stellar as you'll find in a Galaxy S series. Still perfectly acceptable, but not revelatory. 

The bottom line

🔎 The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is where it's at if you want the best yet cheapest flip phone on the market. Sure, that'll mean you've got to cope with a small cover display as a result, but for at-a-glance notifications that still works just fine – and might actually be your preference. ★★★★

Everyone's got to start somewhere and, for many people, the idea of a flip phone is hugely appealing – but the price point might feel like too much of a hurdle. That's where the Z Flip 3, the now two-generations older flip phone from Samsung, fills a perfect gap. If you've been curious about trying out such a device, this is your perfect inroad – and for less money. 

Design: Visually speaking the Z Flip 3 looks a lot like the newer Z Flip 4 and 5 models, except it has a smaller cover display on the front. In terms of a clamshell and highly pocketable product, however, there's no drama here – this is an ideal choice for pockets and purses, and you'll protect that internal screen from scratches as a result too. 

Displays: Inside the Z Flip 3 features a 6.7in display that's largely of flagship level, albeit with reflective qualities and that 'crease' where the fold is – something that's an issue for every folding phone right now. If that doesn't faze you, however, then the Z Flip 3 is a viable alternative to many current flagships. The cover display is far smaller, at 1.9in, but a large part of the reason for its existence is so you can not use your phone – simply glance at notifications, a bit like a smartwatch would notify, and go from there as applicable. 

Performance: Just because it's a couple of years old doesn't mean a great deal in terms of capability either – which is testament to just how far Qualcomm's chipsets have come, given their slowly slowly upgrades year on year. The Snapdragon 888 chip here does get a little hot, however, as noted in our review, but it can slice through larger apps and games no problem. 

Battery: The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 has a 3300mAh battery inside, which is a lot smaller than most smartphones these days – but it actually lasts okay, at over 14 hours per charge. That is a consideration if you're a power user though: the Z Flip 4 and 5 have larger battery capacities and greater longevity per charge, but will also cost you a little more cash too.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 review

Best cover display

The best flip phone if you want the biggest cover display


Displays: Front: 3.6in AMOLED, 144Hz, 1056 x 1066 / Internal: 6.9in AMOLED, 165Hz, 1080 x 2640
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
RAM & Storage: 8GB/12GB / 256GB/512GB
Battery: 3800mAh, 30W wired charge

Reasons to buy

You want the biggest cover display on a flip phone (at 3.6in)
You want no restrictions on that cover display's app use-cases (unlike Samsung)

Reasons to avoid

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is better built
Battery life isn't great for power users
Throttles power, can run too hot
Buy it if

✅ You want the biggest cover display: The hands-down biggest reason to buy the Motorola is that its cover display is bigger and better than any other flip phone out there right now.

✅ And the most functionality: Unlike Samsung, too, Motorola's software allows full access to apps, so you can do a lot more with that cover display as you please. 

✅ You like a splash of colour: In addition to the black finish, there's also an exclusive Viva Magenta option, as part of a Pantone exclusive deal, which gives Motorola a visual edge. 

Don't buy it if:

❌ You've not looked at Samsung: The Z Flip 5 looks better by design, with a hinge mechanis