A surprise new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 rival has emerged

If you come for the clamshell king... you'd better not miss

ZTE Libero Flip
(Image credit: ZTE/Y Mobile)

When it comes to the best folding phones there are currently two main schools of thought. Do you want a book-style foldable or what I call the GameBoy Advance SP method, i.e. a clamshell fold? 

There's no definitive answer but we consider the clamshell folding Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 to be top of the pile right now. We love the cover display features and the fact that it's not as bulky and easier to use with one hand than other foldables. It's cheaper than the Z Fold 5 too. However, the Flip 5 needs to watch out as a new phone with a similar folding mechanism is arriving on the market very soon and it could fill a specific niche on the market. 

ZTE has announced the ZTE Libero Flip, a new folding handset that costs just 63,000 Yen, which is around $420. That makes it pretty much the cheapest foldable out there and less than half the price of the Flip 5. Wow. 

Libero Flip

(Image credit: ZTE/ Y Mobiles)

To get a foldable phone at such a low price point, of course, concessions have been made. The phone runs on a Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 processor which is far from up to date, but still a pretty handy setup. Similarly, the 6.9-inch screen has a 2790×1188 resolution which measures up well to the Flip 5's 1080 x 2640 effort. So what's the catch? 

Well, the cover display looks to be the main drawback. On the Flip 5 we love the 3.4-inch rectangular display, which was a massive upgrade on the Flip 4. In fact, the ZTE looks to have something similar to the Flip 4 with a circular 1.43-inch cover screen. Obviously, the proof will be in the performance but that seems a big shame to us. 

For the price though, you can't really argue. You get all of the wow factor of a foldable without the cost. On top of that, the ZTE has a 50 MP main camera, dwarfing Samsung's 12M MP shooter. We look forward to the competition, that is if it is ever released in the West. 

Andy Sansom
Staff Writer

Andy is T3's Tech Staff Writer, covering all things technology, including his biggest passions such as gaming, AI, phones, and basically anything cool and expensive he can get his hands on. If he had to save one possession from a fire it would be his PlayStation 5. He previously worked for Tom’s Guide - where he got paid to play with ChatGPT every day. When it comes to streaming, Andy will have his headphones glued in whilst watching something that will make him laugh. He studied Creative Writing at university, but also enjoys supporting his favourite football team (Liverpool), watching F1, teaching himself guitar, and spending time with his dog.