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Buying a Pixel Fold or Galaxy Z Fold 5? Get a kickstand case and thank me later

A kickstand case gives you a much bigger canvas for everything from gaming to videos.
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Published onAugust 6, 2023

Honor Magic V2 Ultimate rear view of stand case propped on a table 1
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

Foldable phones like the Pixel Fold and Galaxy Z Fold 5 give us a tablet-sized screen in our pocket and are very handy for content consumption, reducing the need for a separate small tablet.

However, the more I use Fold-style foldables, the more I realize that there’s one must-have accessory for them: a kickstand case. And if your foldy doesn’t come with one in the box, you should definitely buy one. Why? Hear me out here.

Do you have a kickstand case for your phone?

675 votes

Why a kickstand case?

Honor Magic V2 Ultimate propped up using stand case 1
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

Easily the biggest reason to get a kickstand case is that it lets you use the entire screen for hands-free video playback, with the kickstand keeping the device and full screen propped up.

By contrast, Flex Mode on large foldables like the Z Fold 5 and Pixel Fold effectively halves the total viewing area. One half of the screen is used for video playback while the other half is used as the base to keep things upright (and for media controls in some apps). That’s pretty handy, but you’re essentially paying a buttload of cash for a huge screen that you aren’t taking full advantage of all of the time.

I found the kickstand/foldable approach pretty useful on the way back from MWC earlier this year, using the TECNO Phantom V Fold review unit and its included kickstand case. This meant I could simply plop the phone down on my tray table and enjoy Battlestar Galactica on the big screen without actually holding the device.

A kickstand case allows you to go hands-free on a foldable without sacrificing screen real estate.

A kickstand case with a full foldable screen can also be useful if you want to consume Shorts-style content on the likes of TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. In my experience, portrait-oriented Shorts don’t work well with Flex Mode or tabletop mode on book-style foldables. In fact, Flex Mode doesn’t even activate for YouTube Shorts in particular when you partially fold a foldable, with the video awkwardly spanning across the two halves of the display. This is where a kickstand case comes in handy, letting you prop the screen up and enjoy Shorts content on a bigger display.

What else is a kickstand case handy for?

Honor Magic V2 Ultimate right side profile using stand case 1
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

Video isn’t the only advantage, though. There are a few other reasons why a kickstand case is a great purchase for your foldable phone, starting with gaming.

Many games and emulators require a full folding screen and can be a pain to use in Flex Mode (if they work at all). This isn’t a problem if you’re playing a native touch-enabled game where you’ll be holding the unfolded device anyway, but is a major hurdle if you want to use a gamepad. So a kickstand case in conjunction with a good Bluetooth controller works wonders in this regard. This is particularly noteworthy as Fold-style foldables don’t work well with some snap-on mobile controllers like the Razer Kishi series when using the folding screen.

The foldable phone/kickstand case combo works well for gaming, video calling, and other tasks too.

Other benefits of using a kickstand case include getting a netbook-like experience in conjunction with a wireless keyboard, in case you need to get some work done in a pinch. It also makes for a more stable experience when video calling someone, akin to a laptop, as you’re not affected by shakiness from holding the device. This can also be handy when using Google Meet or WhatsApp to video-call someone who’s holding their phone in portrait orientation. If you were to use the tabletop mode in this situation, the caller’s small vertical window would be squashed into the top half of the screen while call controls occupy the bottom half — not ideal at all.

Finally, a foldable phone with a kickstand case can also be handy if you’d like to somewhat passively multitask. For example, if you’re watching live sports while monitoring Twitter or the group chat.

google pixel fold standing multitasking
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

This is clearly a very useful accessory to have, but precious few manufacturers ship these kickstand cases in the box. HONOR, TECNO, and Xiaomi deserve some praise for shipping a kickstand case with their foldables. So you’re all good to go if you buy one of these phones.

However, Google and Samsung are two high-profile brands that don’t offer them with the Z Fold or Pixel Fold series. That’s a shame as these are the only two book-style foldables in the US market, meaning consumers here will need to buy a separate case.

Still, if you can afford a foldable, you can probably afford to buy a case. And there are a few high-quality options out there, like the official Standing Case with strap for the Z Fold 5 ($84.99 at Samsung) and the Poetic Guardian case for the Pixel Fold ($49.95 at Amazon).

That’s a bit on the expensive side, but it’s worth the extra money for a more versatile experience, particularly if you watch loads of videos and play games on the larger screen.