In recent years, folding smartphones have been making their way onto the market in increasing numbers. These devices offer a unique advantage over traditional smartphones in that they can be easily slipped into a pocket, despite their larger screen sizes. In this article, we will explore the different types of foldable smartphones available on the market and highlight some of the best models currently available.
The technology behind foldable screens is still relatively new, and was previously only seen in technology fairs. However, it has now landed in our pockets, with foldable smartphones now widely available for purchase around the world. While many of these devices are among the best smartphones on the market, they do come at a cost due to the innovative technology involved.
Currently, there are two primary types of foldable smartphones available on the market. The first is the flip format, which we also call the clamshell design. These phones fold horizontally and offer a large screen size, typically around 6.7 or 6.8 inches, while still maintaining a compact appearance when folded. This hybrid design may appeal to many users who want a larger screen without sacrificing portability.
The second type of foldable smartphone is the fold format, also known as the book design. These devices have a large, almost square screen that is hidden when the phone is folded up. Making it no larger than a conventional smartphone. When the device is opened, however, it reveals a much larger screen, providing a more immersive viewing experience.
Due to their innovative design, foldable smartphones are high-end devices and come with a correspondingly high price tag. However, as the technology improves and becomes more widespread, we can expect to see more affordable models on the market in the future. Many major smartphone manufacturers, including Google, Honor, and OnePlus, are already exploring the potential of foldable screens and may release their own models soon.
So, which foldable smartphones are currently the best on the market? Let’s take a look at some of the top models available:
Top foldable smartphones of 2023
Oppo Find N2 Flip
Oppo has entered the foldable smartphone market with the Find N2 Flip, and it seems to be a successful move for the Chinese manufacturer. The device boasts many advantages and few faults, making it a worthy competitor to Samsung’s offerings.
One of the standout features of the Oppo Find N2 Flip is its exceptional build quality and handling. The hinge is more flexible than that of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, and its teardrop shape is better, preventing any accumulation of dust. Additionally, the internal 6.8-inch panel with a 21:9 ratio is beautiful, with accurate color reproduction and satisfactory brightness. When the phone is opened, the crease is barely noticeable.
Oppo took a slightly different approach than Samsung for the external screen. Making it larger at 3.26 inches, which is particularly convenient for taking selfies without using the front sensor. The ColorOS interface is also noteworthy, offering a fluid, simple, and customizable user experience.
If there are any criticisms of the Oppo Find N2 Flip, it would be the lack of a telephoto lens and a somewhat not great performance in the photography department compared to its competitors. However, the device’s battery life is on par with other flip phones, lasting a day.
In conclusion, the Oppo Find N2 Flip is a well-executed foldable smartphone that competes with Samsung’s offerings. It has a great build quality, a beautiful display, and a user-friendly interface. Despite some minor drawbacks, the device is definitely worth considering for anyone in the market for a foldable smartphone.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 was the leading folding clamshell smartphone before the Oppo Find N2 Flip was released, but that does not diminish its appeal. It outperforms its competitors in some areas, such as waterproofing, where it is rated IPX8. Making Samsung the only manufacturer to offer waterproof foldable smartphones. Over the years, Samsung has refined its formula, but the crease is still visible and can be felt under the finger, and a gap is present when the device is folded. However, the Z Flip 4 stands out in other areas, including its luxurious look, 6.7-inch OLED screen with flamboyant colors, a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz, and a 22:9 ratio, which does result in black bands when watching videos.
Although the Z Flip 4’s camera is less efficient than the Z Fold 4 and lacks a telephoto lens found in the Oppo Find N2 Flip, the portrait mode is precise, the Night mode offers beautiful results, and the shots have nice sharpness in standard light conditions. The battery life has improved from the previous model but is still typical, providing a maximum day of use.
The Z Flip 4’s software management is where it truly shines. The Flex mode, which splits the screen in two, is convenient when the device is folded at 90°, such as when placed on a desk. The external 1.9-inch screen is highly useful, serving as a smartwatch-like display for notifications, music controls, widgets, and even making calls.
Motorola Razr (2022)
Motorola attempted to break into the foldable smartphone market with two models in their Razr range. But they did not leave a lasting impression. However, the Razr 2022 is a good phone, with a design featuring rounded edges that lacks a modern look and is slightly thicker when closed compared to other models. The fold is not very noticeable, but the hinge seems loose, which is concerning as it may become softer over time. The foldable panel measures 6.7 inches with a definition of 2400 x 1080 pixels. And the screen has good qualities, including a maximum brightness of 1200 cd/m² in HDR, despite slightly cold colorimetry. The external screen occupies 2.7 inches. But lacks a Flex mode to use the phone at 90°, unlike Samsung and Oppo.
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The Razr 2022 runs on a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, which remains cool even during gaming. Its battery life is average, offering a day of autonomy, and it has 30W charging but no wireless charging. On the photo side, the Razr 2022 performs well with only two lenses. But the ultra wide angle lens has less vivid colors and sharpness than the wide angle lens, which is completely satisfactory. However, like other clamshell smartphones, it lacks a telephoto lens.
A significant drawback of the Razr 2022 is its limited software support, as it only offers two years of major Android updates and three years of security patches. Which is insufficient for a high-end device. As a result, the most recent version of Android available on this device is Android 14.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Samsung introduced its foldable line of smartphones with the first Fold model in 2019, and in 2022, the company launched the fourth generation, which comes with significant improvements. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 shares many features with its predecessor, the Galaxy Z Fold 3, including a similar design. The external screen, which is narrower than that of a standard smartphone, takes some getting used to when typing messages. But it is very convenient for quick everyday uses on its 6.2-inch screen.
Now let’s talk about the fold and hinge. The crease is visible and palpable, and the hinge may be a bit stiff initially but gradually loosens over time. However, one of the downsides of the Z Fold 4 is the gap that remains between the two parts of the internal screen when it is folded.
Regarding the internal screen, it measures 6.7 inches but has an unusual 23.1:9 aspect ratio. Resulting in an almost square screen similar to a small tablet. The OLED panel used by Samsung is exquisite, and the brightness can reach a peak of 899.5 cd/m². However, the default color calibration can be erratic. And you may need to adjust the settings to achieve a more natural look.
Samsung’s One UI is a strong point for the Z Fold 4. The company has done an excellent job of managing the screen format and multitasking. Allowing up to six apps to run simultaneously on the internal screen. Furthermore, the Flex mode, which divides the screen into two distinct parts, is great. The Z Fold 4 boasts excellent photography capabilities. With a 50 MP lens with an aperture of f/1.8. And the addition of a 10 MP x3 telephoto lens with an aperture of f/2.4.
The Z Fold 4 is running the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, the top-of-the-line processor in 2022. So there are no concerns about overall performance. However, the battery life is limited to a single day. And the 25W charging is slow for such an expensive device.
If you already own the Z Fold 3, it might not be worthwhile to invest in this new model. Still, if you want to experience the mini-tablet format, the Z Fold 4 is an excellent option to consider.
Huawei P50 Pocket and Mate Xs 2
Huawei entered the foldable screen market early. But due to the absence of Google services, 5G, and a high price point, their foldable devices are not highly recommended.
The Huawei P50 Pocket comes with a Snapdragon 888 SoC, 8 or 12 GB of RAM, and 256 or 512 GB of storage. It features a 6.9-inch AMOLED display with a discreet fold. But the external screen is only a small 1.04-inch screen in a round format. The device has three cameras, a 4000 mAh battery, and 40 W fast charging.
Huawei’s interpretation of the folding book model is unique with the Mate Xs 2. Which unfolds outwards to reveal a 7.8-inch OLED display with a 120 Hz refresh rate. It features a Snapdragon 888 processor and three impressive cameras, including a telephoto lens. It also has a 4880 mAh battery, but at a price of $2000 without Google services, 5G, or waterproof certification, we do not highly recommend it.
To summarize, foldable smartphones are a relatively new but rapidly evolving technology that offers a unique advantage in terms of portability and screen size. While they are currently considered high-end devices, more affordable models are expected to be released as the technology becomes more widespread. With major smartphone manufacturers exploring the potential of foldable screens, we can expect to see even more impressive devices in the near future. If you’re in the market for a cutting-edge smartphone that offers a larger screen without sacrificing portability, a foldable device may be the perfect choice for you.
To determine whether to opt for a Flip or Fold model, consider your usage, requirements, and aesthetic preferences. If space-saving is a priority, the compact and easily portable Flip model is a great option. As it transforms into a small square when folded and features a screen that is well-protected. However, if you require a larger screen for multitasking or work purposes, the unfolded Fold model. Which provides a tablet-like experience, may be more suitable. Although it is typically more expensive than Flip smartphones. Keep these factors in mind when deciding between the two models.
Flip phones are coming, are they? From what I see in the pre-owned market, users find it gimmicky. Aside from size, the weight of those killer hinges just kills the user experience.
We need lighter materials for flip phones, perhaps the 10th iteration will fix these issues.
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