Just five years ago, the idea of the smartphone in your pocket having a foldable screen was a futuristic dream.
But in 2023 it’s very much a reality. They might cost more than their flat glass screen counterparts, but if you want a gadget that’s on the cutting edge of modern consumer technology, you can’t go wrong with a folding phone.
Or can you? Given the technology is so new, we have found that some foldable smartphones are better than others.
We’ve reviewed several different models to find out which is best. All the phones on our list take one of two basic form factors – either book or flip. The former open with a vertical hinge like a book, while the latter flip open on a horizontal hinge and recall the flip phones popular in the 1990s and 2000s.
Book foldable have outer displays when closed that you can use but hide a larger internal display that is like using a small tablet. Samsung rules the market for these at the moment, but the Google Pixel Fold is coming out in June to rival the Z Fold series in the US, UK, and Europe.
Flip foldables can have outer displays but they have restricted functionality but flip them open and you have a display on the inside similar in size to a ‘normal’ smartphone.
Make sure to click through to read full reviews of the folding phones you’re interested in before making a decision.
Best foldable phones 2023
1. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 – The best flip style foldable
- Fast, flagship performance
- Impressive battery life
- Great main camera
- Fun design
- Durability still a doubt
- 25W charging is sluggish
- No telephoto
It’s a close call with the Oppo Find N2 Flip, but we think the best folding phone is the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, by a whisker.
It wins out thanks to its great build quality, full waterproofing, and superior five years of software support. Samsung stores in the UK and US also offer more accessible repair services to customers compared to Oppo.
The inner display of the Z Flip 4 is the best we’ve seen, with a glass composite material that isn’t easily scratched or dented. It uses the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset for excellent performance, and 8GB RAM is enough to keep it ticking over nicely.
This is a lovely premium phone no matter which colour you buy. Battery life is also much improved over previous models, even if its 25W charging speed is slow. It’s also got wireless charging. Add to that its very capable cameras and clever outer display to view notifications, and it’s the pick of the foldable flock right now.
2. Oppo Find N2 Flip – The best Samsung rival
- Sturdy, gapless hinge design
- Excellent main camera
- Big cover display
- Good battery
- No water-resistance
- No wireless charging
- Unreliable Bluetooth
Samsung has the brand clout, but Oppo is right on its tail – the Find N2 Flip is massively impressive and has a better outer display than the Z Flip 4. It’s bigger, allowing you to reply to messages, take photos, and more.
The phone also closely completely flat, unlike the Z Flip 4. In either the matt black or gloss purple finish, the Find N2 Flip is a luxurious object.
It packs in dual cameras with a particularly excellent main sensor that anyone would be pleased with. Battery life is solid, and performance is excellent too with the MediaTek Dimensity 9000+ under the hood.
Drawbacks are the lack of waterproofing and wireless charging and also, in our testing slightly dodgy Bluetooth connectivity. But those aside, this is the best non-Samsung folding phone you can buy. With Oppo promising a Samsung-matching five years of software support, you can’t go wrong.
3. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 – The best book style foldable
- Large 7.6in display is great for multitasking
- Hugely improved rear camera setup
- All-day battery life
- New software enhancements
- Still a gap between displays when folded
- Under display camera is bad
- App support is hit-and-miss
- 25W charging is slow
This is the best book-style folding phone thanks to its wide availability, sturdy build, stellar software features, and long software support.
Samsung’s One UI Android skin on the Fold comes into its own, offering S-Pen support (though the pen isn’t included), great multi-windowing, and a larger inner screen that you might find useful for productivity and work apps.
Both displays are very good quality with sharp resolution and 120Hz refresh rates, but be aware neither is a regular smartphone size, so typing can be a bit tricky. Otherwise this is a multimedia dream, and the best folding phone to pick if you don’t want a tablet but would like your phone to be a bit bigger when you fancy it.
It’s an expensive device, but it has wireless charging and is fully waterproof, and Samsung’s after sales care in most countries is excellent. It offers a free screen protector replacement for every customer should there be a manufacturing fault within warranty.
4. Motorola Razr 2022 – The best nostalgia trip
- Flagship-level performance
- Gorgeous updated design
- Crease not very noticeable
- Impressive camera chops
- Speakerphone issues
- Only one OS upgrade promised
- No telephoto lens
Building on the brand of the immensely popular Razr flip phones of years gone by, this 2022 foldable smartphone Razr ditches the big chin aesthetics of those phones but comes up as the best modern version yet.
The build quality is top notch but the ace up the Razr’s sleeve is its large cover display on which you can do almost anything the internal one can, including composing messages on a full keyboard – a unique feature for a flip style foldable in 2023.
It has the same Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 as the Galaxy Z Flip 4 so it runs very quickly, and the crease of the Razr is less noticeable compared to that Samsung phone.
The main camera here is also excellent, meaning the Razr is a great viable alternative to Samsung or Oppo if you want a flipping foldable. The biggest downside is Moto has only promised one certain year of software updates, whereas those other two brands offer five.
5. Honor Magic Vs – The best value book foldable
- Cheaper than Samsung’s foldable
- Closes fully flat
- Comfortable to use when closed
- Great main camera
- No water-resistance
- No wireless charging
- Unpolished software
- Disappointing ultrawide camera
If you’d like a book style foldable but don’t like Samsung’s offering, then you should consider the Honor Magic Vs. Honor was once Huawei’s sub-brand but it’s now a company in its own right, making excellent smartphones with full access to Google apps and services.
The Magic Vs (that’s ‘vee ess’, not versus) is a well built phone that costs less than the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and folds completely flat, unlike that Samsung device.
It has a comfortable weight and dimensions, making the outer and inner displays feel good to use while a great main camera means you aren’t sacrificing image quality by opting for a foldable phone.
There’s no wireless charging or water resistance, but pleasingly Honor is promising three years of Android version updates and five years of security patches, meaning this hi-tech piece of tech will stay up to date until 2028.
6. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 – Great if it's on sale
- Improved design and durability
- Productivity powerhouse
- Beautiful displays
- Consistent cameras
- Some apps require manual optimisation
- Terrible under-display camera
If you like the idea of the Z Fold 4 but think it’s a little pricy, go for the Z Fold 3 if you can find it for cheaper. It’s still an amazingly capable foldable, and the one I’ve personally used the most and for the longest time.
The cameras aren’t as good as the Z Fold 4 but other than that the Fold 3 is practically the same device. The software has got much better over time thanks to Samsung’s useful additions such as a taskbar, and the thing has software support until 2026.
It’s also compatible with Samsung’s S-Pen stylus, has fast performance thanks to the still-good Snapdragon 888 chipset, and is built very well. The worst thing about it is the bad under-display camera on the inner display that Samsung didn’t learn its lesson with and stuck with for the Z Fold 4.
7. Microsoft Surface Duo 2 – The best for a stylus
- Excellent performance
- Impressive displays
- Above-average cameras
- Great for multitasking
- Some software inconsistencies remain
- Slow charging
- Can’t replace most people’s smartphone
This is the phone on the list that folds but doesn’t have a folding screen. Instead, the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 has two separate inner displays that are connected down the middle with a hinge. There’s no outer display, meaning this is the most book-like device you can buy.
Like every other folding phone on this list the Duo runs Android, and is designed so you can run two separate apps side by side. The usefulness of this isn’t immediately apparent perhaps, but having two apps open such as a notes and calendar can help you quickly cross reference things.
With an internal camera you can also take video calls on one screen while taking notes on the other – both displays are compatible with versions of the (not included) Surface Pen.
That camera and the rear facing triple cameras aren’t great, and the squat size of the displays isn’t the best for typing. But if you like the idea of a modern digital pocket notebook you will be in tech heaven – plus a few apps have been tweaked specifically for Duo, such as the Kindle app that displays two pages full screen to resemble an actual book.
8. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G
- Stunning design
- Competitive pricing
- Customisable colours
- No telephoto lens
- Limited battery
- Still some durability concerns
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is very similar to the Z Flip 4 but it came out one year earlier in 2021, so if you can find it on sale then it’s still a great option.
The main downside is its not-quite-day battery life, particularly if you’re a heavy user (the Z Flip 4 fixed that). Otherwise, the design is the same and just as well made, the cameras are solid, and the software is the same, with support from Samsung until 2026.
It’s fully waterproof and the design is still an absolute marvel, plus it comes in a 80s chic cream colour that looks awesome.
Just make sure you’re getting a good price on it, otherwise you may as well get the newer Z Flip 4.
9. Huawei P50 Pocket
- Gapless folding hinge design
- Powerful main camera
- Decent battery life
- No Google services
- No 5G
- No wireless charging
The P50 Pocket is a truly stunning piece of hardware with better build quality than Samsung’s Z Flips. This is thanks to an intricate mechanical hinge that when closed folds the screen into a water drop shape to decrease the pressure on the crease point – then when unfolded is much less apparent on the flat display.
The very premium gold version we reviewed has a textured ripple pattern on the outside that makes it look like gold leaf. It’s an acquired taste for sure, but with the circular screen and camera modules on the outside with it, it’s a bold design that is quite unique. There are plainer colours available, though.
When unfolded the phone has a whopping 6.9in OLED display with a fast 120Hz refresh rate. It runs on the Snapdragon 888 chipset, the same as the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3, but as this is Huawei there is no 5G support. It’s the absence of this and the Google Play Store that hamper this phone – with no official access to Google apps or services (or popular apps like WhatsApp and Instagram from an app store).
This means you’ll have to sideload Android apps from unofficial sources, which is far from ideal. Huawei’s AppGallery is improving but if you use any Google services you will want to steer clear.
10. Huawei Mate Xs 2
- Unique outer folding display
- Powerful camera setup
- Huawei AppGallery is better than ever
- No 5G
- No Google apps or services
- No wireless charging
- Fragile foldable display is always exposed
Ever since Huawei phones could no longer natively run the Google Play Store or support Google services, the company’s phones have been frustrating to most western buyers: beautiful, highly capable hardware but with software that annoys and disappoints.
It’s the same story with the Mate Xs 2, which has incredibly well-made hardware unlike any other foldable on this list – the display wraps around the entire outside of the device and opens to extend the screen into a larger area.
That leaves the plastic on the outside of the screen susceptible to scratches if you’re not careful, but it feels very futuristic. Its 120Hz refresh rate looks very premium and the quality of the panel is outstanding.
The phone has amazing cameras and lovely screens but only apps from Huawei’s AppGallery app store – which does not have a lot of popular western apps. But you can download any Android app by sideloading them, a legal and safe thing to do, it’s just a bit of a faff.
There’s also no 5G support or wireless charging, which makes the price a little hard to stomach.
Are foldable phones fragile?
Yes! They have screens that are a flexible composite of glass and plastic, and the tecnhnology is quite new. We’ve seen creases in screens crack and break, and have had the factory-applied screen protectors peel away at the crease.
Samsung in particular is wary of this. If you live in Europe or the US, the company offers very good customer service, and offers a screen protector replacement within warranty. Repairs outside of warranty are also reasonably priced and you can either send away your phone or go in store to book an appointment for a repair.
Other brands have less support out there, so check before you buy if you are worried.
Are folding phones waterproof?
Only Samsung’s newer foldables and a few select others are fully waterproof so you won’t want to take an Oppo or Honor folding phone out in the pouring rain. Check the tech specs before you buy.
But no folding phone is dust or dirt proof – keep them away from the beach!
Is there a foldable iPhone?
There probably will be. We’ve rounded up all the latest rumours about a potential Apple foldable but for now it’s just speculation. Apple has a track record of adopting new technologies a little later than market rivals, but then tends to do a better job, or at least release a product that is fully realised rather than feeling like a prototype.
Samsung may have matured its foldable line up now, but the original Galaxy Fold in 2019 was so flawed the company had to recall it initially.
Which foldables are available in the US?
At the time of writing, only Samsung sells foldable phones in the United States. This means North American customers can only choose from the Z Fold and Z Flip lines if they want to buy one.
But Google has just announced its Pixel Fold which you can pre-order now and ships in June 2023. It’s a direct rival to the Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Should I import a foldable phone?
Because a lot of foldable phone haven’t had global releases you might be tempted to import them. For example, the Oppo Find N2 and Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold 2 have incredible looking hardware but are China-only releases for now. If you import a phone like that, be aware that it will likely have Chinese-oriented software and won’t come with the Google Play Store installed.
You’ll be able to get Google apps on there, but it will be a bit of a faff. Importing a foldable also means you will lose out on in-country support for warranty claims or repairs.
If you are desperate for a folding phone but it’s not out in your country, it’d be better to import a phone with Google services. If you’re in the US, it’s not an awful idea to import, say, the Oppo Find N2 Flip from the UK, as it will have Western software and likely work on 4G and 5G bands in the States. Always check the specs first though, and buy from a reputable source.