When foldable phones first appeared on the scene, their crazy high prices and occasional durability issues meant they were an expensive luxury for the privileged few – but several years down the line they can now be considered as some of the best phones on the market.
Big name phone makers including Samsung, Huawei and Motorola have refined their manufacturing processes, improved their hinge designs, and are now regularly pushing out new foldable models that are going to appeal to a large swathe of smartphone buyers.
If you're in the market for one of the best foldable phones around, we've got just the list. These are the folding phones that we would actually buy ourselves if we were in the market for one.
Don't want a folding phone on second thoughts? Well be sure to scope out the best gaming phones on the market for great mobile pixel-pushing power, as well as the best small phones for very pocket friendly dimensions.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G is, without doubt, the best folding phone you can buy this year. I'd be surprised to see anything surpass it.
It’s durable, completely waterproof and the glossy 6.2inch cover screen looks great. Open it up and you reveal the 7.6inch phablet Dynamic AMOLED 2X display inside which will get you more immersed in your games, videos and your workload. And this is Samsung's first ever phone with an under-display camera which means the screen doesn’t have any interruptions whatsoever.
With shiny new software updates and app optimisation to suit the larger screen, you can do so much all at once on the Fold 3. For instance, Multi-View lets you have up to three app windows open, and the handset now has S Pen support. It’s great for multitasking, like if you want to take some notes on a video call, or do some online shopping while you watch a YouTube video.
Take note though, this phone won't be for everyone. Its price tag will still make your eyes water and you will still struggle to fit it into your pocket because it's very chunky. But for anyone who can afford it, and who needs a phone for doing work out and about, you won't find anything better.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G is the best folding phone for most people in 2021 because Samsung has lowered the price of this model, it now costs the same amount as a flagship. That's not to say it lacks in features though because this clamshell-style handset has tonnes to offer.
Despite the name, this is actually their second in the series. This phone will satisfy your nostalgia for the classic noughties flip phone while actually giving you some of the most up-to-date smarts around.
It has a 1.9inch cover screen and a large 6.7inch 120Hz main screen inside. The cover screen is 4x bigger than the original which means it can fit plenty on it. You can control your music, access Samsung Pay and check your messages, it’s really easy to use you just swipe through the widgets. You can even take pictures without unfolding the handset at all, you’ll just need to double press the power button.
This folding phone is a people pleaser - it comes in 7 different colours, has a speedy performance and it's still small enough to fit in your pocket. What more could you want!
Motorola rebooted the clamshell Razr line under the name the Motorola Razr (2020), which then became the Motorola Razr 5G when an upgraded version was launched later in the same year – the Razr 2020 part II if you like. It's perhaps easier to just call it the Motorola Razr, but it's the September 2020 version that we're talking about here.
As well as 5G, the phone also brings with it a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chipset, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of internal storage. You get a single-lens 48MP rear camera for photo-taking duties as well. Those aren't the very best specs that you'll get on a foldable phone, but they're still very decent.
The main OLED screen folds vertically: it measures 6.2 inches corner to corner, and runs at a resolution of 876 x 2142 pixels. The second screen you see when the phone is closed is interesting too – the 2.7-inch, 600 x 800 pixel resolution OLED screen is useful for phone notifications, alarms, and so on.
Like Samsung, Huawei has learned some lessons on its journey in the foldable phones market, and the Huawei Mate Xs is evidence of that. It folds in the opposite direction to the Galaxy Z Fold 2, so when the handset is closed, as it were, you've still got the screen on the outside of the device.
When it's fully opened up, the huge OLED display measures 8 inches from corner to corner, with a 2200 x 2480 pixel resolution. That's into tablet territory, and it gives you a lot of flexibility for your apps – and speaking of apps, it's worth noting that like other modern Huawei phones, this one doesn't have access to Google apps or Google Play Services.
Close the phone, and the screen becomes a 6.6-inch, 1148 x 2480 pixel affair. Running everything you've got a Kirin 990 processor and 8GB of RAM, and there's 512GB of internal storage on board. The rear camera is a quad-lens 40MP+8MP+16MP+TOF (time-of-flight) affair, with a very useful 3x optical zoom.
The LG Velvet isn't technically speaking a folding phone, but it's close enough – and it's definitely worth considering if you're in the market for this kind of device. It comes with a dual-screen accessory that basically doubles the size of the phone display.
That means you can get two apps up side by side, or have touch controls on one screen while a game plays on another, or keep a couple of browser windows in view simultaneously, and so on. The dual-screen case also has a neat little display on the outside as well, for showing key information.
Even without the case, this is a great phone: a 6.8-inch, 1080 x 2460 pixel OLED display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G CPU, up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, a triple-lens 48MP+8MP+5MP rear camera, 5G and wireless charging are some of the goodies on offer.
Perhaps the only drawback to the Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold is that it's only available in China for the time being, so you might not be able to get your hands on it very easily – otherwise this is a fantastic handset and undoubtedly one of the best folding phones out there. Indeed, we would expect nothing less from Xiaomi.
Fully open, the handset treats you to a 8.01-inch, 1860 x 2480 pixel resolution AMOLED display, and when it's closed shut you've still got a 6.52-inch, 840 x 2520 pixel AMOLED screen to play around with as well. It's like a normal phone when it's closed, and like a tablet when you open it up.
As for the internal specs, they impress too – a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, 5G, up to 16GB of RAM (try exhausting all of that in one go), up to 512GB of internal storage, a triple-lens 108MP+8MP+13MP rear camera, and plenty more besides. Oh, and it all looks rather stylish too.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 was the best foldable phone of 2020: it's packed with power, it looks stunning, and it doesn't have any question marks over its fragility like the first Fold had. Samsung has learned a lot of lessons since it made its first foldable phone, and this handset is evidence of that. Now that it has been pushed aside by the Fold 3, it could be a good time to consider the Fold 2 as prices are likely to drop.
There's a top-tier Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset running everything, together with 12GB of RAM and up to 512GB of internal storage. You also get 5G connectivity, a triple-lens 12MP+12MP+12MP rear camera, and support for wireless charging, so it's a very difficult phone to beat in terms of its specs.
Samsung being Samsung, this phone comes with a gorgeous AMOLED display too – it's 7.6 inches from corner to corner when it's opened right up, with a resolution of 1768 x 2208 pixels. Even when the phone is closed you've got a great screen to work with: there's a 6.23-inch, 816 x 2260 pixel resolution AMOLED display on the back as well. The high bar that other foldables have to meet.
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