The best foldable phones to buy in 2023

The best foldable phones to buy in 2023
We are well into the second half of 2023 and it has proven to be a great year for foldable phones so far. Of course, there are Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Z Flip 5 which released in at the beginning of August, but there are other players in this foldable phone game that have caught more attention.

The Pixel Fold — Google's first and long-awaited foldable phone — is finally out, while Motorola released two new clamshell foldables, the affordable Motorola Razr and its high-end brother the Motorola Razr Plus.

But we are expecting even more new additions in this increasingly-intense competition such as OnePlus' first foldable phone, the OnePlus Open, as well as the Oppo Find N3 Flip.

What is a foldable phone?

A foldable phone is simply a smartphone with a folding screen. The phone is equipped with a hinge with a mechanism making the folding of the display possible. Models like the Z Fold 4 have an entirely functional cover screen which you can use like a regular smartphone and open to a bigger, more tablet-like display. Clamshell foldable phones have a smaller cover screen where you can only interact with notifications or use basic features, and open to a regular smartphone-like display.

Benefits of folding phones include bigger displays for better multitasking or a more compact form-factor. Foldable phones existed before (known as flip phones), and with smartphones, the tech has taken things up a notch. The Royole FlexPai came first in 2018 (with some major drawbacks), then Samsung followed with the OG Z Fold in 2019. Huawei also debuted a foldable phone in the same year, and Motorola revived the iconic Motorola Razr as a smartphone.

Since then, the tech has been maturing and many of the drawbacks have been solved. In 2022, Samsung's refined Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 showed us the real potential what this tech can be. Many researchers predict the foldable phone market will continue to grow by around 25% all the way into 2031.

Samsung dominates the foldable market at the moment. Motorola, Xiaomi, Oppo, Huawei, Vivo, Honor also have foldable models as well. For now, Apple's not entered the game yet, and speculations are running wild about a foldable iPhone. Google's also expected to produce a foldable phone soon, likely to be named Pixel Fold.

When it comes to prices, foldable phones have always been on the expensive side. But last year, that changed with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, which came at a rather affordable for a foldable phone price of $999. Now, foldable phones' prices range between $999 to above $2,000 (for configurations like a the premium foldable Z Fold 4 with 1TB of storage).

If you're wondering what is the best foldable phone right now, you've come to the right place. Below are the best foldable phones out there.

Best foldable phones in 2023, summarized list:

Honorable Mentions:

Jump to:

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

The safe choice
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

The Good

  • Improved hinge feels better
  • Fast and solid performance
  • Sharp, colorful screen with smooth refresh rate
  • Wide and detailed sound from the speakers
  • S Pen (separate purchase) is excellent

The Bad

  • Battery life is ok at best
  • External screen can be too narrow for comfortable typing
  • The crease is shallower, but still very much present

By now, you probably know all about the Galaxy Z Fold series from Samsung, and if you missed the recent announcement of the latest iteration, the Galaxy Z Fold 5, it probably won't take you too much time to learn everything new about it. Why? Well, because Samsung has mostly stuck to very incremental changes with this year's generation.

That is not necessarily bad news though, as the Galaxy Z Fold series was already one of the best book-like foldable phones on the market. The lack of any major changes also means that it is a rather safe choice for buyers, especially if you are upgrading from an older generation like the Z Fold 2 or Z Fold 3.

Honestly, the only reason the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is on this list is because it is newer, but it could easily swap places with the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and still keep the same position for the same reasons. If you find a much cheaper Z Fold 4 then you should probably get it instead.

Read more:Galaxy Z Fold 5 review

Google Pixel Fold

The new guy on the block
Google Pixel Fold

Google Pixel Fold

The Good

  • Gets the foldable design right
  • Front screen is a lot more useful than on Galaxy Fold
  • Beautiful and clean interface with no bloatware
  • Pixel camera look
  • Decent battery life

The Bad

  • Long-term durability is iffy
  • Gets hot even with ordinary tasks
  • Screen is very delicate, scratches from fingernails
  • Screen is also very reflective, has a crease
  • Pricey

This year was an exciting one as far as the foldable phone space is concerned, and one of the main reasons we can afford to say that is Google's first jab at it with the Pixel Fold! Now, no first attempt is perfect, or even great, but a first attempt can be inspiring, and we think Google's Pixel Fold is exactly that.

Essentially, we are talking everything you love about Pixel phones in the foldable phone format, including Google's software smarts adapted to make use of that folding screen. That said, one of our favorite quirks of the Pixel Fold is its cover display which, unlike the Z Fold 5, comes with a size that is closer to that of a regular phone.

Of course, the Google Pixel Fold still falls in the niche spectrum so it is more suited for early adopters and people who would really make use of that larger screen. Nevertheless, this is a great start for Google, with a solid base upon which it can improve in the future. We hope to see some more affordable options to rival the Motorola Razr and Galaxy Z Flip in the future too!

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

The best clamshell foldable
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

The Good

  • Larger Flex Screen is better than before
  • Solidly built, almost no wobble in the hinge
  • First Flip phone with Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
  • Long 4-year software update commitment
  • Better camera than competition, but still not great

The Bad

  • Flex Screen feels limited and unfinished
  • Phone is pricey
  • Battery life and charging speeds are just average
  • Some dust protection would be nice to have

Contrary to previous years, it was the Galaxy Z Flip 5 that had the projectors pointed at it this year, instead of its bigger brother the Z Fold 5. The reason for this could be summarized by simply saying it offered more improvements over the previous generation, but more specifically it was because of the larger new cover display, which is eye-catching to say the least.

With the new 3.4-inch (vs1.9-inch) of the cover display, users can now interact with specifically tailored widgets including Favorite contacts, Samsung Wallet, Weather, Clock, Voice recorder, Daily Steps, Stocks, and even control settings such as sound, brightness, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlane mode, and more.

One thing to note, however, is that the price has increased compared to the last generation, although the base storage has also been bumped from 128GB to 256GB, so it kind of balances itself out.

Motorola Razr (2023)

The best affordable foldable
Motorola razr 40

Motorola razr 40

View full specs

The regular Motorola Razr that came out in 2023 is Motorola's way of offering a more budget-friendly foldable, for fans that don't want to spend the even higher premium price the Plus model comes with. This one, at least for now, is only sold in Europe and will cost you €900, which is a similar price to that of the Galaxy Z Flip 4.

Now, since it is supposed to be a more stripped down and accessible version of the flagship Motorola clamshell, the regular Razr comes with a (much) smaller cover display. It also has a somewhat weaker processor — the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1, which can still pack a punch mind you, and should be plenty for most.

Probably most appealing about the regular Razr from 2023 is its leather finish and slim design. Truly living up to that Razr moniker.

Read more: Motorola Razr (2023) review

The Honorable Mentions

Xiaomi Mix Fold 3

The Mix Fold 3 from Xiaomi is one of the most recent new additions to the foldable phone world, and it is definitely contending for that first spot when it comes to book-like foldables. In fact, in many ways it can be considered better than Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 5.

While it has the same lightning-fast UFS 4.0 storage, LPDDR5X RAM, and the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, it comes with a slimmer and sleeker design. It beats the Z Fold in terms of charging speeds, maxing out at 67W wired fast charging and 50W wireless charging, and its 4800mAh battery is said to last up to 22 hours on a single charge (according to Xiaomi).

What's more, the Mix Fold 3 comes with a larger inner display measuring 8.03" compared to the Z Fold's 7.6" and its cover screen has a much more natural (regular phone-like) aspect ratio.

The perks of Xiaomi's premium foldable don't end there though, as the camera system on the Mix Fold 3 also provides the same if not better image quality. It also comes with a 5x periscope telephoto camera, something the Z Fold 5 does not have in its arsenal.

So why is the Mix Fold 3 an honorable mention and not in the best foldable phones list? Simply put, availability. As it currently stands, the Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 is only sold in the Chinese market, so even if it was the greatest of all time it would be hard to recommend to people who do not have easy access to it.

Motorola Razr Plus (2023)

Motorola Edge 40 Pro

Motorola Edge 40 Pro

The Good

  • Lovely curved front design
  • Clean software with buttery smooth and zippy performance
  • 125W fast charging is great
  • High quality Portrait Mode shots
  • 165Hz is a fun gimmick that gamers will appreciate
  • Solid battery life

The Bad

  • Iffy software update situation, only 3 years of OS updates
  • Camera not quite on par with the best
  • No proper long-range zoom camera

In 2023, Motorola decided to split its clamshell Razr foldable into two models — the Motorola Razr Plus and simply the Motorola Razr. The one with a "Plus" is, as you probably suspect, the more expensive and better equipped. And Motorola has definitely done a great job this time around to finally create a foldable phone that's more or less well rounded, with no major issues or downsides.

If you enjoy Motorola's near-stock Android software, if you want a less visible hinge on your foldable phone, and the Razr Plus' cool slick design, then you will like this one. Especially if you find it with some discount to soften that $1,000 price tag.

The Razr Plus (2023) comes with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, 8GB RAM, a 6.9-inch OLED display with a 165Hz refresh rate, and a 3800 mAh battery. Of course, we can't forget to mention the new and eye-pleasing 3.6-inch cover display that's also capable of high refresh rates and you can access certain apps on.

Oppo Find N2

OPPO Find N2

OPPO Find N2

The Good

  • The best and brightest foldable phone display
  • Nearly invisible hinge crease
  • The thinnest, lightest vertical foldable
  • Good pictures and video quality
  • Fast charging

The Bad

  • Limited availability
  • Nearly square form factor eats away at 16:9 video
  • 3D gaming endurance marred by average battery size

This is the newest big foldable phone on the block, and one of the best foldable phones for a reason. The OG Oppo Find N was the surprise of the season, with its new concept of what a foldable phone should look like. It improved on the OG Galaxy Z Fold concept by being more pocketable while keeping key functionality and practical features. The second generation is now better than ever. Its looks closely resemble other Oppo flagships, which means the phone is more conservative, and when closed, it doesn't stand out so much from the regular phones.

The Oppo Find N2 has a 7.1-inch LTPO AMOLED folding display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The display is almost a perfect square, but unlike the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, it is wider, making it better suited for entertainment. The cover screen is a 5.5-inch AMOLED panel which is also wider than Samsung's. This means it doesn't have the Galaxy's weird tall aspect ratio and feels and looks more like any regular smartphone screen.

As for the other specs, this device packs a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, a 50MP triple-camera system, and a 4,520mAh battery. This smartphone is definitely worth your time to consider, as it looks to have excellent built quality and offer good value for money. Unfortunately, for now, it is only available in Asia and select markets in Europe, but we hope in time the Oppo Find N2 will come to other markets too.

Are foldable phones worth the extra cost?

It depends on the case, but generally, yes. We can definitely say devices like the Z Fold 4 (all in all, the best foldable phone right now) are worth the cost given the stellar performance, improved durability and multitasking abilities. However, you need to really think about why do you need a foldable phone.When determining for yourself whether or not getting a foldable is worth it, think about the following things:
  • A foldable in a folded state is much thicker than a regular smartphone (won't really be comfortable in jeans pockets)
  • They tend to be heavier
  • There is a display crease where the screen folds. Some models have refined that to be almost invisible, but it is still there for now
If you don't mind the above and you would really use a bigger screen of a Z Fold or the clamshell portability of a Z Flip, then it will be worth it.

Are foldable phones durable enough?

The foldable tech has been improving in the last couple of years. Foldable smartphones were somewhat fragile in the beginning. Now things have changed and current foldable phones are way more durable. For the Z Fold 4, Samsung promises the device is durable enough to survive a minimum of 200,000 folds – more or less 5 years if you fold and unfold it 100 times a day. Americans check their phones on average 344 times per day, according to a survey by on smartphone usage for 2022. That's around 122,000 checks a year. But checking doesn't mean interacting with it – you can check the outer screen of the Samsung foldable for notifications, texting, or even a brief scroll through social media, without ever unfolding the phone.

The moral of the story – a foldable phone like the Z Flip 4 and the Z Fold 4 should survive for around five years of regular usage. Good enough for today's standards.

Is battery life affected in foldables phones?

Yes, battery life seems to be a bit lower than regular flagship phones. When comparing a foldable phone to regular flagship devices, we see some differences in the battery department, including when pinning them against the best Android phones. As you may know, we at PhoneArena perform extensive tests for all the phones we review. Check the table below to see for yourself what the battery life results for foldable phones vs regular phones are.

Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 412h 43 min
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 411h 40 min
Motorola razr(2022)9h 4 min
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra18h 57 min
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max19h 5 min
Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 48h 47 min
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 47h 20 min
Motorola razr(2022)11h 53 min
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra8h 54 min
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max11h
OPPO Find N29h 31 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 44h 28 min
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 45h 8 min
Motorola razr(2022)4h 17 min
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra7h 13 min
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max8h 39 min

Are there any differences between foldable and traditional phones' camera quality?

It depends on which foldable vs which traditional phone. The camera has no interaction whatsoever with the folding mechanism, and is like any other smartphone camera. If it has a higher megapixel count and better features, image processing and color calibration, it will be better no matter if it's on a foldable phone or a standard smartphone. The only thing is that some folding phones may lack the space for a periscope lens or some other special lens though. If we talk about selfies, some foldable phones like the Z Fold 4 can deliver even better results given the fact that you can use the phone's rear camera to take a selfie.

Also check out: the Best phones to buy right now

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