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The best foldable phones you can get

The foldable phone market is in full bloom, and these are the best options.
December 7, 2021
Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 and Flip 3 sitting open
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

It’s taken a long time to get foldable phones into the hands of consumers. The idea of a smartphone that folded out to a larger display has been something of a dream product for both users and phone makers. Now, phones with actual flexible and foldable displays are finally a reality. The big problem is that at the moment, they are prohibitively expensive. This article will look at the current foldable phones on the market, plus a quick preview of what we might see in the future.

Related: The best Android phones around

The best foldable phones

Editor’s note: We will update this foldable phone list as more devices hit the market.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Galaxy Z Fold 3 unfolded
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Samsung’s latest foldable phone is the Galaxy Z Fold 3, and it shows just how much Samsung has in store for the line. One of the most significant changes is the OEM’s first-ever under-display selfie camera, tucked away in the huge 7.6-inch internal display. Both the internal and external displays now offer 120Hz refresh rates to boot.

On the specs front, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 now packs a Snapdragon 888 processor, 12GB of RAM, up to 512GB of storage, and a 4,400mAh dual battery. While the battery life still isn’t elite, it’s a solid cell to keep you moving throughout your day.

There are still three 12MP rear cameras, a 10MP front-facing camera on the external display, and the previously mentioned under-display selfie shooter packs just 4MP. Samsung also kept the side-mounted fingerprint reader and added brand-new S Pen support in an attempt to capture some of that Galaxy Note glory.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 specs:

  • Display: 7.6-inch QXGA+ and 6.2-inch HD+
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 256 or 512GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12 and 12MP
  • Front camera: 10MP, 4MP UDC
  • Battery: 4,400mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 in hand closed up
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Samsung’s other brand-new foldable takes on the clamshell market in the form of the Galaxy Z Flip 3. While the Fold 3 might take a lot of the headlines, this is the one to buy if you’re ready to test out a relatively affordable foldable phone.

It offers excellent build quality, with a premium exterior finish and a much-improved 6.7-inch internal display. Samsung finally showed some love to the external display, too, jumping to 1.9-inches to make managing your notifications that much easier. On the inside, you’ll find a powerful Snapdragon 888 processor leading the charge, with 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage backing it up.

More: The best Samsung phones

There are two 12MP rear cameras and a 10MP front-facing camera. The handset also comes with a 3,300mAh battery and a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 3 is its most affordable folding option yet, so it just might be the springboard that the company needs to reach the masses.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch and 1.9-inch
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128 or 256GB
  • Cameras: 12 and 12MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 3,300mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Motorola Razr 5G

Motorola Razr 5G - The best Foldable phones
Motorola finally announced its foldable Razr smartphone with a familiar name and design in late 2019, launching it in early 2020. It then followed up the Razr with a significant improvement later in 2020 that fixed many design and spec problems.

See also: Motorola Razr 5G buyer’s guide

The design is a throwback to the classic Razr V3 mobile flip phone, first released in 2004. Motorola’s new Razr not only looks like that traditional flip phone, but it’s about as thin as the original at 14mm. However, when it unfolds from its retro clamshell body, it exposes a large 6.2-inch 21:9 display. When folded, you can still use a square 2.7-inch display on the outside to check notifications, control media, and more. You can even take selfies while using the small display since the 48MP rear camera turns into a front-facing camera when the phone is folded.

The new Motorola Razr foldable phone specs are better, too: it has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip inside along with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. There’s also a small 2,800mAh battery, but at least that’s a bump up. Actually, all specs are a bump up.

Motorola Razr 5G specs:

  • Display: 6.2-inch and 2.7-inch
  • SoC: Snapdragon 765G
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Camera: 48MP
  • Front camera: 20MP
  • Battery: 2,800mAh
  • Software: Android 10

Microsoft Surface Duo 2

Microsoft’s first attempt at an Android phone came in the form of the Surface Duo. The phone was really cool, with a super thin and elegant design. It had its downsides, though; the device was costly for the specs, and it came with a fair share of bugs and software issues. The newest iteration, the Microsoft Surface Duo 2, is much improved, even if it still has some problems and continues to be very expensive. A foldable from Samsung may offer a more refined experience.

All that said, most of the best foldable phones are pricey, and the Microsoft Surface Duo is a really cool option for the right user. One thing to note is that while this is one of the best foldable phones, it doesn’t have a foldable display. The device has two 5.8-inch screens attached by a hinge. This makes it easy to multi-task, turn one screen into a keyboard, or read books more naturally.

The hinge also includes a thin screen that can display basic information without unfolding the device. This can consist of notifications, the time, battery status, and more. They’ve also included both rear and front-facing cameras, which wasn’t the case with its predecessor.

Microsoft Surface Duo 2 specs:

  • Display: 5.8-inch and 5.8-inch, 1,344 x 1,892 each
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras: 16, 12, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 12MP
  • Battery: 4,449mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold

Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold real world image - The best Foldable phones
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Xiaomi is the latest of these OEMs to enter the folding phone game with its Mi Mix Fold. It’s styled as the Mi family’s largest member, right down to the camera unit on the back panel. Xiaomi’s Mi Mix Fold is a horizontal in-folding device like the Mate X2 and Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3.

On the inside, you’ll find a speedy Snapdragon 888 SoC as well as top-notch 67W charging. Xiaomi has even packed the largest battery we’ve seen in a folding phone, weighing in at a massive 5,020mAh capacity. The battery is split into two cells to make the most of its space.

When you open this brand-new folder, you’ll be greeted with a huge 8.01-inch OLED display as well as a 6.52-inch external display. Xiaomi chose a 60Hz refresh rate for the internal display (so no high refresh rate on this panel), but it also boasts that you can fold the phone one million times. The Mi Mix Fold also stars a 108MP primary shooter and an 8MP liquid lens, the first of its kind on a smartphone.

It’s not the easiest or most affordable phone to hunt down, at least not outside of China. Details of a global launch have been hard to come by, but you can get one imported.

Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold specs:

  • Display: 8.01-inch and 6.52-inch (folded)
  • SoC: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 12/16GB
  • Storage: 256/512GB
  • Cameras: 108, 13, and 8MP
  • Front camera: 20MP
  • Battery: 5,020mAh
  • Software: Android 10

The alternatives to foldable phones

LG G8X ThinQ angled dual screen in hand

LG spent a good long time working on foldable phones. However, the fact that its smartphone division has shut down means that we may never see the fruits of that labor. Instead, LG went in a different direction by launching phones which had an optional case containing a secondary display. The first phone to come with this feature was the LG V50, which was announced in 2019. However, the secondary display add-on was only available in South Korea.

More: Our guide to all the phone accessories you’ll ever need

The company then launched the LG G8X. The phone has a 6.4-inch display, but you can slap on the included secondary 6.4-inch screen to get more screen real estate. The display allows for new capabilities such as gaming controls and interesting camera tricks using the secondary display as your preview panel. Best of all, the LG G8X with the secondary display included is available unlocked on Amazon for far less than what you have to pay for one of the foldable phones listed above.

LG V60 second display open in hand from front 1

More recently, the LG V60 was launched in 2020. It has a big 6.8-inch Full HD+ display, and you can get it with an equally big secondary display accessory. You can get it from AT&T or Verizon. It’s not a cheap phone by any means, but it does come in cheaper than foldable phones like the Galaxy Z Flip and Motorola Razr 5G, or its much more similar distant cousin, the Microsoft Surface Duo.

The future of foldable phones

TCL Ti Fold concept phone screen 1

What does the future of foldable phones with flexible displays look like? Well, TCL gave us a look at two possible new designs back in 2020. One is called the Tri-Fold foldable concept device. The phone itself is thick as three phones piled on top of each other. Its two hinges cause it to fold out like an accordion, resulting in a big 10-inch tablet-sized screen.

TCL rollable concept phone open in hand

The other TCL concept is not a foldable phone, exactly; it’s a rollable phone. It looks like a standard smartphone, but you can roll out the flexible design inside from left to right.

TCL has a pretty intelligent strategy of showing off prototypes and designs without releasing anything at the consumer level, so don’t hold your breath. However, it is an idea of where things may be going.

Furthermore, Oppo has previously demonstrated the Oppo X 2021 rollable phone. Again, this isn’t a foldable phone, but it does seem like a very intriguing alternative to foldables. And it certainly looks like the brand is closer to a commercial release than TCL.

There you have it — these are the best foldable phones you can currently buy. We’ll make sure to update this post with new models once they hit the market.