When foldable phones first appeared on the scene, their high prices and occasional durability issues meant they were an expensive luxury for the few – but several years down the line, they can now be considered as some of the best phones currently available.
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. As so many more models are rumoured to be in the pipeline, we've added an extra section for the best foldable phones that aren't out yet but that we're still looking forward to.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is just about the best foldable phone you can get your hands on right now: 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.
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.
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.
3. Huawei Mate Xs
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.
If you don't want a Samsung phone that folds horizontally, what about one that folds vertically? The Galaxy Z Flip adopts the clamshell form factor approach, so you can snap it shut with a flourish when you've finished a call. This is the second edition of the phone, which sometimes comes with the 5G label attached.
Alongside that 5G support, there's a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. There's wireless charging support here for the battery as well, and you get a dual-lens 12MP+12MP rear camera as well.
When the main AMOLED, 1080 x 2636 pixel screen is opened up, it measures 6.7 inches from corner to corner, which is a generous size – and it's a display that looks great as well. When the phone is closed, there's a 1.1-inch, 112 x 300 pixel AMOLED display for notifications and alerts.
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 best foldable phones that aren't here yet
Besides updates to the phones that we've mentioned above – the Galaxy Z Fold 2, an updated Motorola Razr, and so on – we're also anticipating a number of new arrivals from manufacturers who have yet to make their debut in the folding phone market.
Here's what we know so far about these handsets, and why they might be worth waiting for if you're looking to pick up the best foldable phone for you.
We don't know much about the foldable iPhone at this point – only that a lot of people, and the inside sources they're in touch with, seem to think it's on the way. The concept videos we've seen so far make the device look hugely appealing, but these renderings aren't based on any solid information at this stage.
Apple traditionally waits a while before getting in on smartphone innovations, whether that's dual-lens cameras or 5G. What we can be certain about is that if and when an iPhone Flip breaks cover, it won't have any reliability or durability problems. We might be waiting until 2023 to see it though.
Google Pixel Fold
Rumors of a folding Google phone are picking up momentum, and it makes sense that Google would want to revamp its Pixel line with a foldable model. Some of the most well-known tipsters in the phone business have said that such a phone is indeed incoming, though we don't have too much in the way of detail right at the moment.
The Pixel Fold (if that is what it ends up being called) is likely to appear alongside a Google Pixel flagship rather than replacing the current range. We have heard whispers that the device could show up as early as 2021, though don't hold your breath, and the concept videos are already appearing.
Oppo has been dropping hints that it's very interesting in the folding phone form factor, and there have also been plenty of rumors that Oppo might push out a foldable at some point during 2021. For the time being though, we don't have any leaks that point to the design or the specs of the device.
Based on its past history of innovation and reliability, not to mention the company's scale, we would expect Oppo to be joining the foldable phone revolution sooner rather than later – watch this space over the coming months. Oppo has also been experimenting with handsets with rollable screens too, though nothing has actually gone on sale yet.
Speaking of electronics giants who are expecting to enter the foldable phone market in the near future, TCL has gone so far as to confirm that it is working on a handset with a folding screen – it's just a question of what it's going to look like and when we might be able to see it, and there's not much information around on that at the moment.
TCL has actually been showing off foldable phone concepts for several years at this point, and considering the company's expertise when it comes to gadgets and displays, we're hoping that the TCL foldable ends up being one of the best foldable phones around. Time will tell whether it can earn a spot on our list.
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