Foldable Android Phones in 2023: More Choices Than Ever Before
Foldables are having a fashion moment. Once the province of manufacturers from other parts of the world and a single manufacturer in the United States, 2023 saw the debut of a substantial number of foldables in the consumer space. Samsung had a near-monopoly on foldables in the United States for a long time, but that is no longer the case.
In the meantime, foldables are breaking new ground in terms of pricing and form factor in the rest of the world. That’s excellent because it means there’s more competition, more designs, and more ideas pushing the boundaries out there. In short, if you’re interested in foldables, now is a wonderful moment to get started. We dubbed our Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review “No More Excuses” last year, and here we are. There are foldables in every shape and size, as well as a startling range of price points.
As a result, we thought it was time to look over your alternatives and tell you what’s excellent and what needs to work for all of these foldables. However, it is crucial to note that we did not divide this list between book-style foldables and flip-style foldables because the space is not yet mature enough to do so. Still, if you want to see how your future phone folds, this is an excellent place to start.
1. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Samsung created the market’s first book-style foldable phone, and it has continued to improve its phones year after year. It has since made significant improvements to the hinge, durability, and software. However, Samsung has become accustomed to the space and, as a result, has sat back for the previous few years. The most significant difference between the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 was that it finally folded flat.
That being said, the device’s hardware has been outstanding for a few generations now, so major modification was not required. Add to that the year-over-year software advancements, and Samsung’s folding flagship has been the phone to beat for a few generations, and the software continues to improve. However, there is one major issue.
The Fold 5’s cover screen is nearly unusable for the typical user. It is quite small and tall, but it opens out to reveal a palatial inner screen that is ideal for two-handed operation. If you like to use your phone with one hand, the Fold 5 isn’t bad, but far too many other manufacturers have shown us how to do it better. This is something Samsung has to work on for next year.
Nonetheless, the Fold 5 is the industry leader in folding devices. Of course, the best foldable smartphone is also the most costly, costing $1,800 and only available from Samsung directly.
2. Samsung Galaxy Flip 5
In terms of flip-style phones, Samsung also takes the lead. While Motorola outlasted Samsung by a few months with the original Motorola Razr, Samsung has maintained its lead. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 feels luxurious in every way, including its most prominent feature: a 3.4-inch cover screen that occupies the majority of the phone’s top half.
The cover screen of the Galaxy Flip 5 may support a number of widgets designed specifically for the screen, as well as a few tailored apps. You can open that up to most programs you have installed if you want to jump through a few software hoops. Good Lock is an app that you may download to enable that capability, but you must be determined to do so.
Aside from that limitation, this phone is quite sturdy all around, both physically and metaphorically. The cameras are excellent, and the inside screen is of adequate size. If you like the form factor, this is a really appealing offer at Samsung for a penny under $1,000.
3. Xiaomi Mix Fold 3
If you don’t live in the United States, your options for foldables expand significantly, and one of the best comes from Xiaomi, the world’s third-largest phone manufacturer. The Chinese phone manufacturer has a long history of producing high-quality hardware at inexpensive prices, and it usually lives up to that promise. The Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 is a beast with a fantastic camera set.
This camera kit includes a 50-megapixel primary camera, a 10-megapixel 3.2x optical zoom lens, a 10-megapixel 5x optical periscope lens, and a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera. All of these cameras produce excellent results, and the allure of a 5x optical zoom camera on a foldable cannot be overstated.
Of course, this phone is located in another country and will never be available for purchase in the United States. This isn’t necessarily a disadvantage if you don’t live in the United States. The phone is exceptionally slim, measuring just under 11mm when folded and 5.3mm when unfolded, which is even more surprising given the 4,800 mAh battery with 67W wired and 50W wireless charging. Even still, that isn’t the thinnest foldable on this list, believe it or not. Giztop has the Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 for roughly $1,499.
4. Moto Razr Plus/Moto Razr 40 Ultra
Motorola entered the foldable market headfirst with the Moto Razr Plus, also known as the Moto Razr 40 Ultra in some markets. This phone has the largest cover screen on a flip-style foldable while also being the thinnest of its kind. The cover screen takes up the majority of the phone’s top half, even wrapping around the dual camera lenses. Motorola went all in on the cover screen, even creating a suite of apps and games just for it – but it goes much farther.
While Samsung allows you to run practically any program on the cover screen on a conditional basis, Motorola built an app launcher into its cover screen interface and lets you add almost any app you wish to run on that screen, whether it was created for it or not. It just takes less battery to operate half a screen than a full screen, and the Moto Razr Plus allows you to do a lot without ever opening the phone.
There are two major reasons why you should avoid this phone: build quality and cameras. The phone’s build quality isn’t horrible, but it lacks the polish that Samsung puts into its phones. The Moto Razr Plus is a revamp of earlier Razr models, giving it the feel of first-generation hardware.
The cameras are subpar and rely heavily on either decent lighting or the ability to modify photographs after the fact. Even in daylight, calling video quality “decent” is an understatement. The Moto Razr is available for $999.99 from Motorola or Amazon. If you have a T-Mobile phone, we recommend the Viva Magenta colorway.
5. Google Pixel Fold
Google’s initial venture into the foldable industry results in an appealing book-style foldable with a hefty price tag. Even while the phones are technically unrelated, you can see some Microsoft Surface Duo 2 DNA in this model if you squint just right. Google took a totally different approach than its main competitor in the United States, choosing for a squatter cover screen that opens into a huge, wide-screen phone with broad bezels, excellent for content consumption.
In keeping with Pixel tradition, the Pixel Fold offers one of the greatest – if not the best – cameras on the market, with a 48-megapixel primary sensor, a 10.8 megapixel 5x optical zoom lens, and a 10.8 megapixel ultrawide lens. The Pixel Fold’s photos are excellent, but the auxiliary sensors don’t perform as well in low light.
Google’s failure to use the inner screen effectively is one of its flaws. Many apps have been designed for Samsung’s near-square inner aspect ratio, but since Google modified the formula, those apps aren’t as responsive on the Pixel Fold. Instead, you may double-tap on either side of an app to move it to that side of the screen. This is useful, however the app on the inside is frequently not much larger than the app on the cover screen. Given that Google is in command of the Android ecosystem, we’d want to see it make better use of it.
6. Honor Magic V2
The Honor Magic V2 is an extremely appealing book-style foldable that follows. This is the follow-up to the Honor Magic Vs that we saw earlier this year, but Honor has significantly improved its game. The Honor Magic V2 is presently available only in China, but what makes this phone so appealing is how tiny and light it is. When closed, the phone is only 9.9 mm thick, and when opened, it shrinks to a meager 4.8 mm. To make matters worse, the phone comes with a 5,000 mAh battery.
The Honor Magic V2’s cover screen has a very pleasant 20:9 aspect ratio, which, paired with the phone’s thickness when closed, makes it feel very much like a non-folding candy bar-style phone. In essence, there is no learning curve to using the phone while it is closed. When opened, the phone feels extremely thin while being quite durable.
The main disadvantage, as previously said, is that this phone is only available in China. Rumors claim that the phone will be released globally in late 2023 or early 2024, so if you’re not in China, you’ll have to wait a long time. Still, the wait will be worthwhile because, if not for this limitation, this phone would be a clear favorite.
7. Techno Phantom V Fold
The Techno V Fold is somewhat unknown; you’d be forgiven if you hadn’t heard of it before today. However, Techno is well-known in certain circles by producing amazingly low-cost phones, and it entered the foldable race early this year. The Techno Phantom V Fold’s price tag of around $1,100 USD is, however, its most appealing feature. After all, a book-style foldable phone for just over $1,000 is a steal.
Of course, many corners have to be cut to get to that price threshold. The phone, in particular, only opens to 90 degrees and 180 degrees, with no space in between. While the 50-megapixel camera sensors sound impressive on paper, they fall short in all but the ideal lighting conditions. Furthermore, the phone feels cheaply constructed overall, with a shaky hinge and unappealing vegan leather on the back.
Still, how fantastic do you want a $1,000 folding book-style phone to be? What makes this phone appealing is just its existence – it will compel other phone manufacturers to consider its presence when building future foldables, which is a good thing. This phone’s primary market is India; it is unlikely to be sold in the United States.
However, 2023 is not quite over, and there are a few foldable phones on the horizon.
The Oppo Find N3 Flip is presently only available in China, but it is another flip-style phone that should be available in worldwide markets (except the United States) in the not-too-distant future. The phone boasts a larger cover screen and one of the more interesting camera sets available on a flip phone.
The OnePlus Open is OnePlus’ first attempt towards foldables, and it appears to be based on the similarly speculated Oppo Find N3. This is expected to be a squatter book-style folding, similar to the Google Pixel Fold, and OnePlus has stated that it would be available by the end of the year.
Finally, Motorola is working on another Flip-style foldable, but no release date has been set. The Moto Razr’s cover screen will be thinner, more like to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, and it will be far less expensive than its Moto Razr Plus counterpart’s $999, according to Motorola.