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The best foldable smartphones: Which 2023 foldable comes up top?

Update: January update
Foldables 2022
© NextPit

Looking for a foldable? Then we'll tell you which foldable phones are worth buying in 2023. After we included the new Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 foldable recently, the brand new Motorola Razr 2022 now joins them and managed to find a place for itself in our NextPit "Best Of" list.

The best Foldables 2023 compared

  Best 2023 foldable Last year's winner Best foldable clamshell 2021 Flip model Best Huawei foldable The latest Razr
Device
Image
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
Huawei Mate Xs 2
Motorola Razr (2022)
Specifications 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED
2208 x 1768 pixels
6.2-inch Super AMOLED
2268 x 832 pixels
Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
256 / 512 GB ROM
12 GB RAM
Triple camera
Main camera: 50 MP
Ultra-wide angle: 12 MP
Telephoto camera: 10 MP
4,400 mAh
August 2022











7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED
2208 x 1768 pixels
6.2-inch Super AMOLED
2268 x 832 pixels
Snapdragon 888
256 / 512 GB ROM
12 GB RAM
Triple camera
Main camera: 12 MP
Ultra-wide angle: 12 MP
Telephoto camera: 12 MP
4,400 mAh
August 2021











6.67-inch Dynamic AMOLED
2640 x 1080 pixels
1.9-inch AMOLED
260 x 512 pixels
Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
128 / 256 / 512 GB ROM
8 GB RAM
Dual camera
Main camera: 12 MP
Ultra-wide angle: 12 MP
3,700 mAh
August 2022










6.67-inch Dynamic AMOLED
2640 x 1080 pixels
1.9-inch AMOLED
260 x 512 pixels
Snapdragon 888
128 / 256 GB ROM
8 GB RAM
Dual camera
Main camera: 12 MP
Ultra-wide angle: 12 MP
3,300 mAh
August 2021










7.8-inches opened, OLED
2480 x 2200 pixels
6.5-inch folded, OLED
2480 x 1176 pixels
Snapdragon 888
512 GB ROM
8 GB RAM
Triple camera
Main camera: 50 MP
Ultra-wide angle: 13 MP
Telephoto camera: 8 MP
4,880 mAh
April 2022











6.7-inch pOLED
2,400 x 1,080 pixels
2.7-inch AMOLED
800 x 573 pixels
Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
256 GB ROM
8 GB RAM
Dual camera
Main camera: 50 MP
Ultra-wide angle: 13 MP
3,500 mAh
August 2022










Pros
  • The hybrid tablet/smartphone form factor remains relevant
  • Neat design and excellent finish
  • More discreet and rigid hinges
  • Efficient and versatile triple 50 MP camera module with 3x optical zoom
  • Very solid battery life
  • Good performance
  • 4 Android updates and 5 years of security updates
  • IPX8 rating
  • Two well-calibrated 120 Hz AMOLED screens
  • Waterproof, rugged design (IPX8)
  • OneUI and Flex modes work perfectly
  • Good photos in daylight
  • No punch-hole notch on the main display
  • 3 Android updates, 4 years of security patches
  • Amazing form factor
  • Incredibly small and handy
  • Improved durability and IPX8 rating
  • 120Hz AMOLED screen is shiny
  • Great improvement in battery life
  • Stunning design
  • Foldable display
  • IPX8 certified
  • Four years of security updates
  • Brilliant 7.8-inch display with 120-hertz refresh rate
  • Functions well even when folded
  • High-performance level
  • Solid camera setup with great selfie performance
  • Surprisingly thin
  • Powerful processor
  • Ingenious form factor
  • Full-sized display (when fully opened)
  • Good exterior display
Cons
  • Under display selfie camera is disappointing
  • HD+ resolution of the cover screen is too low
  • Cover screen is still a little bit too narrow
  • 25W wired charging is too slow
  • No 3.5mm audio jack
  • Poor camera performance
  • Disappointing under-display selfie camera performance
  • Battery life is not outstanding
  • Quick charging is too slow
  • A lot of 'thermal throttling
  • Still too expensive
  • A dragon on a leash (limited performance)
  • No telephoto camera
  • Slow charging solutions
  • Battery life
  • Disappointing camera at this price
  • No 5G and technically outdated
  • Functionally limited without Google services
  • Sensitive as it flips outwards
  • Not the best case build quality
  • Moderate battery life
  • Fingerprint sensor is poorly positioned
  • No choice of memory capacity
  • No microSD card support
  • Poor update policy
  • No wireless charging support
  • Hinge design could be improved
  • Only IP52 certified
Rating
Read the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 review
Read the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review
Read the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review
Read the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 review
Read the Huawei Mate Xs 2 review
Not yet reviewed
Read the Motorola Razr (2022) hands-on
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As you can see, our foldables list is clearly dominated by Samsung smartphones. Of course, this is also due to the fact that the new Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 models are even better than their predecessors. We also deliberately left their predecessors in the list because they are also possible alternatives in the round of this expensive smartphone category in terms of price.

Note: Models like the Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold and the Huawei Mate X are not listed for obvious reasons: Availability Stateside.

Jump to:

Here's what to look out for when buying foldables

Different types exist:

Basically, we can distinguish two types when it comes to foldable devices:

  • Clamshell models like the Z Flip 4, which offer a normal smartphone-sized display when fully opened
  • Foldables in a book or booklet form factor, where the usual smartphone screen's surface area is almost enlarged to a tablet form factor

Clamshell devices are much more compact in size, folding horizontally like how the first foldable phones once did. Meanwhile, they also come with small external displays like the Galaxy Z Flip 4, on which you can control music or read notifications. Foldables like the Galaxy Z Fold 3, on the other hand, are folded vertically and offer significantly more multitasking possibilities due to the larger display area. Moreover, they are fully usable even when folded due to a generous outer display.

Who are foldables suitable for?

Foldable smartphones are unfortunately very expensive for most of the available models and offer manufacturers a lot of room for experimentation. Thus, the target group must also be equally well off and would not think twice about dropping four figures at a moment's notice. In addition, they will also have to be patient and live with the fact that the new features and hardware components are sometimes not yet completely mature.

The large booklet format is a good choice for users who also need to be productive on the go. You benefit from the large display which allows you to use office applications in a more productive manner with the option of stylus support for selected models. A practical feature of the clamshell models is how you can place it half open and thus, for instance, making it useful for content creators to record a video hands-free in front of the smartphone camera.

So foldables are perfect for early adopters who like to be the first to check out "state-of-the-art" technologies and have deep pockets.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4: The Foldable King of 2023

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 von Vorne
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is Samsung's latest high-end foldable. / © NextPit

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 looks almost exactly like its predecessor but it has shrunk a bit. You still view content on an inner AMOLED display that measures a proud 7.6-inches when fully opened. The outer display is a bit smaller at 6.2-inches, but it provides access to all the smartphone's functions.

As you can read in our comparison between the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy Z Fold 3, Samsung has also improved the performance of the foldable. A Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC is now at work inside, but RAM and internal storage have remained the same. Besides the specs mentioned, Samsung has improved the quality of the under-display camera. You can find out how good the smartphone feels and what it is capable of in the Z Fold 4 review.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: Still an attractive alternative

Opened Galaxy Z Fold 3 stands on a table
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is still worth checking out as it is the next best foldable after the Z Fold 4. / © NextPit

As expected, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 ceded the title of the class leader to its successor. In the direct comparison between Z Fold 2 and Z Fold 3, you can read in detail on areas where Samsung had improved. In addition to the usual updates to the camera and processor, Samsung has above all worked on making the Z Fold 3 even more robust and also optimized at the hinges. Samsung even managed to improve the price, which has now been lowered to $1,799. As of January 2023, it is currently available for around $1150.

In his review of the Galaxy Z Fold 3, Antoine not only anointed the device as the best foldable on the market to date but also sees the launch of this model as the first real launch point for this niche product segment. Previous generations suffered from teething problems, and now, armed with IPX8 certification, a more robust build, and an improved display, it is safe to say that Samsung foldables are here to stay!

Since the original asking price of $1,799 was considered expensive, it may be advisable to purchase it on contract from a mobile service provider. Thankfully in 2023, you can usually find the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 for a discount.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4: Best compact model

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is simply a really chic smartphone! / © NextPit

We are now able to hold it in our hands: The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4! In our hands-on, the smartphone proved to be a bit more robust and of higher quality than its predecessor. Samsung has also improved its performance with the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC. Apart from that, you can look forward to the faster Quick Charging, which is again not super fast, as is typical for Samsung.

You can now charge the Z Flip 4 at 25 watts. Apart from that, there are only a few innovations in the latest iteration of the Flip smartphone. What has changed in detail can be read in our comparison between the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 3.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3: The foldable for the masses

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 opened on a block.
Galaxy Z Flip 3: The first foldable for the masses? / © NextPit

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 which was introduced last year, was the foldable that opened the door to the mass market for this product niche. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 offered significant improvements over its predecessor. Once again, we recommend you take a look at our comparison between the Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Flip 3. It's nice that we also find a 120 Hertz display on this new flip phone and IPX8 certification for more robustness. My colleague Camila Rinaldi also wrote a review about the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 and praised the impressive design.

The main reason why the flip phone is making such a big comeback with the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the significantly lower price: while the Galaxy Z Flip was priced at just under $1,500 when it was launched, you can get the Z Flip 3 starting from $999. This places it on the same price level as the Samsung Galaxy S22+

Meanwhile, the street price has long since dropped well below the $1,000 mark. On Amazon, you can already get Samsung's beautiful flip phone for considerably less at $750 thereabouts, with perhaps some occasions when it dropped even further. This makes it a highly interesting alternative to the new Galaxy Z Flip 4!

Technically, it does not quite find a place in the flagship class despite the Snapdragon 888 chipset. This is even more pronounced with the rather average camera performance and middling battery life, showing how there is still a long way to go to the pinnacle as a flagship smartphone. Nevertheless, it is a successful and very stylish piece of technology, which, according to the sales figures, also has what it takes to become the first real milestone in smartphones equipped with a foldable display.

Huawei Mate Xs 2: Foldable greetings from China

Huawei Mate Xs 2
The large screen of the Huawei Mate Xs 2 is simply fun! / © NextPit

In the last version of our review, we still left Huawei out, since the devices were not available in this country. However, the Huawei Mate Xs 2, which Huawei officially unveiled in May, can also be ordered here-provided you have a thick wallet. The price for the foldable is a jaw-dropping $2,000+.

Huawei still suffers from the US ban and is therefore limited in its choice of components. The 13 MP ultra-wide angle camera and the 50 MP main camera, which convinced us in our review of the Huawei P50 Pro, are also in action here.

More exciting is the display, of course, which is located on the outside in contrast to the foldable competition. The 7.8-inch and really beautiful OLED display has a 2,480 x 2,200 pixels resolution. Folding the smartphone leaves you with a 6.5-inch display at 2,480 x 1,176 pixels resolution. At its thinnest point, the device is just 5.4 mm thin when opened, 11 mm when closed, and tips the scales at 255 grams.

Unfortunately, Huawei still does not offer a new SoC and 5G. Thus, a Snapdragon 888 SoC is used, which is mated to 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB of expandable storage. Thanks to 66-watt Quick Charging, Huawei also manages to produce a powerful smartphone within the scope of its engineering possibilities, but it lacks the performance level and still has to make do without Google services. Is that still worth the MSRP of $2,000? You decide.

Motorola Razr 2022: The latest version of the iconic clamshell phone

Motorola Razr 2022
The Motorola Razr 2022 offers flagship technology in a clamshell design. / © NextPit

Motorola, now under the Lenovo umbrella, combines innovation with retro charm here. Motorola has been building iconic clamshell phones long before the era of smartphones, and nowadays these are equipped with foldable displays. However, the predecessors of the new model suffered from the fact that the rather mediocre components did not match the high price.

Things are looking up this year when we look at the hands-on of the Motorola Razr 2022. My esteemed colleague MaTT speaks of a bull's eye when he reported about the 6.7-inch pOLED display, which is still accompanied by a second AMOLED panel with a 2.7-inch display. A refresh rate of 144 hertz is also absolutely impressive.

The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC is also beyond reproach in terms of performance. However, there are also some initial snags. The reasonable battery capacity of 3,500 mAh is one of them, but also the uncertainty of a US release.

These are the five models that we could agree on with the NextPit editorial team from a subjective point of view. Compared to the other devices, the Microsoft representative has fallen out of favor in our assessment. Nevertheless, we wanted to mention the Surface Duo 2 because it is the only foldable that relies on a solution with two independent displays.

Let us know in the comments which model is your foldable favorite and if you agree with our assessment.

NextPit's best phones lists

 
Best phones in the market Best phones under $400
Best phones under $300 Best phones under $200
 
Best smartphone cameras Best foldable phones
Best gaming phones Best compact phones
 
The best Apple phones The best Samsung phones
The best Xiaomi phones The best Motorola phones

Please note that we updated this article in January 2023. Older comments may therefore appear out of context.

NextPit receives a commission for purchases made via the marked links. This has no influence on the editorial content and there are no costs for you. You can find out more about how we make money on our transparency page.
Carsten Drees

Carsten Drees

Started blogging in 2008 and somehow got stuck in the tech circus. Already wrote for Mobilegeeks, Stadt Bremerhaven, Basic Thinking and Dr. Windows. Loves Depeche Mode and suffers with Schalke 04.

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11 comments

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  • Rusty H. Oct 15, 2021 Link to comment

    Until the price comes down, and the screen "survivability" goes up, NOPE.


    • Zois Bekios Zannikos Oct 16, 2021 Link to comment

      I personally have the same issues with the devices. I'm also curious to see how much worse the foldable part of the screen will look like after 3 years of use. Also i really can not see the benefit of the odd form factor :/


  • storm Oct 15, 2021 Link to comment

    Still too expensive, still too fragile, still too bulky, still not solving a real problem--still no killer app.


    • Zois Bekios Zannikos Oct 16, 2021 Link to comment

      Im trying to think of possible applications for the device that is not covered by either tablets or phones... its like a phablet but foldable


  • RowanRosh Jan 8, 2021 Link to comment

    It is worth and good option...!!!


  • AsiaSin Aug 20, 2020 Link to comment

    It seems to me that it is worth using something more ordinary, that is, the phone of not even the latest model is something just ordinary and convenient and that it is not a pity to damage


  • Goldvin Jul 23, 2020 Link to comment

    Actually, is this a unique solution for everyday tasks? I`d better buy two complete products: top smartphone (for example galaxy note, galaxy s) and tablet for the same price


  • toasting Dec 16, 2019 Link to comment

    I don't think these devices are practical in the long term.


  • Jessica Dec 16, 2019 Link to comment

    hi


  • marco sarli
    • Admin
    Dec 16, 2019 Link to comment

    it looks to me as these are useless gadgets only god to keep people waiting for something usable and for pumping money from some rich show-offs


  •   46
    Deactivated Account Dec 15, 2019 Link to comment

    There is no best folding phone, they are all easily damaged pieces of junk. None of them will stand up to even normal use. Foldables today are just gimmick, only dual screen phones Like the LG-G8X or V-50 are durable enough to hold up.

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