A foldable phone combines the portability of a regular phone with the advantages of unfolding inner displays that rival tablets for screen real estate. That technology isn't cheap as you can see with the Huawei Mate Xs 2, which costs twice as much as the Samsung Galaxy S22. Still, it looks gorgeous.
Besides 'full' foldables, there are also clamshell foldables. These are more affordable but also very different. Instead of unfolding with tablet-size screens, they fold up like old-school flip phones. That means flagship functionality in a much more compact form factor. We've ranked them separately in the rankings because they're so different to 'full' foldable phones. The Huawei P50 Pocket is among the latest of these, so see how it ranks below.
While you'll pay for the privilege, at least foldable phones tend to offer top specs that rival the highest end flagship phones. Battery life tends to be weaker due to the screens involved but, otherwise, you get a truly distinctive phone by springing for one of these.
Best foldable phones
Huawei pioneered a breed of foldable that was thought to have been retired until we found out about the Mate Xs 2. The original Huawei Mate X, followed by the Huawei Mate Xs, is a phone series that folds the opposite way to its competitors, placing the folding, wraparound screen on the front of the closed phone.
We can't help but be impressed by how thin and light the Huawei Mate Xs 2 is – it's around the same weight as iPhone Pro Max with a cover and thinner than any other foldable phone we've seen. If anything, the Mate Xs 2 is a mighty demonstration of Huawei's engineering excellence and resilience.
On the tech side, it comes with the Snapdragon 888 processor with 4G, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, a triple-lens camera (led by a 50MP f/1.8 main sensor), and a 4,600mAh battery with super charging.
Of course, all of this comes at a high price, with the Huawei Mate Xs 2 retailing for AED 7,499. It's a bit cheaper than its predecessor but that still doesn't stop it from being an extremely expensive phone. But then Huawei is positioning it as a premium product with fantastic build quality and brilliant specs.
Read our full Huawei Mate Xs 2 review
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is not only the best foldable phone yet, it's the first that we can fully recommend with no caveats - assuming you can stomach the price.
With a more durable design and water resistance, this is finally a foldable phone that's as resilient as we'd hope for the money, and thanks to its S Pen stylus support you can make the most of its big 7.6-inch display.
As much as this is still an expensive phone, it's also actually slightly cheaper than its predecessor was at launch, and it's packed full of power, as you'd hope.
The cameras are far from class-leading, even if one of them is hidden under the display, and this isn't a big enough upgrade to be worth buying if you already own the Galaxy Z Fold 2, but otherwise there's little to complain about here - this isn't just the best foldable, it's among the best phones, period.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the successor to the Samsung Galaxy Fold, fixing its shortcomings and expanding on its design features. The Z Fold 2 is an 'innie' foldable, with an external display for basic tasks and an interior full display that's exposed when unfolded flat.
This secondary external screen has been seriously upgraded from the awkwardly small one on the outside of the original Fold, with a 6.2-inch display on the new foldable that extends from edge to edge. This makes the Galaxy Z Fold 2 look a lot like a conventional (albeit chunky) smartphone when it’s folded shut. The inner screen unfolds to 7.6 inches, and both displays have a punch-hole camera for a modernized appearance.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 has flagship specs: a Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset, 12GB of RAM, starting 256GB of storage (sadly not expandable), a 4,500mAh battery, and 5G support. You'll pay for the privilege, though: the foldable starts at about AED 7,599 but can be found at AED 5,500 if you look out for a deal.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 review
Best clamshell foldable
Clamshell foldables are less common than foldables like the Galaxy Z Fold 3: instead of unfolding to reveal a tablet-sized screen, they unfold to show... an inner display the same size as a regular phone's screen.
Their value is in how small they can get folded up, which is neat for folks who want a handset that fits in smaller pockets. Take note of the 'Dimensions' below (unfolded first, folded up second), and note that a folded up clamshell is often little larger than a tin of mints.
These devices still have screens on the outside, though they have very basic functionality compared to the external displays on the foldables listed above. And while they aren't the most advanced handsets on the market, they'll still turn heads on the street – though you'll have to pay a pretty penny for the privilege.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 isn't a major upgrade on the original Galaxy Z Flip or the Galaxy Z Flip 5G, but it's still better overall, making it the best clamshell foldable in the world right now.
It's solidly built, has flagship power from its Snapdragon 888 chipset and 8GB of RAM, and has an attractive 6.7-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate.
The secondary display is slightly bigger - and therefore slightly more useful - this time around too, coming in at a still-small 1.9 inches.
As usual with foldables the cameras aren't anything to write home about, and the battery is smaller than we'd like, but for the most part the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is an accomplished smartphone, and one that comes in at a normal flagship price, making it a bit of a bargain by foldable phone standards.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 review
The Huawei P50 Pocket is arguably the best looking phone out there right now and the fact that its a foldable only makes us want it more.
Why: The Huawei P50 Pocket is not just a great foldable phone but a fantastic phone in general. It's beautiful to look at and feels great in your hands. It's got a fast processor and a gorgeous screen with good battery life and a camera that Huawei is known for.
Screen: The Huawei P50 Pocket is a foldable phone with a cute and functional 1-inch circular screen on the outside and a massive 6.9-inch OLED screen with 120Hz refresh rate inside. The crease on the screen is barely visible and the phone folds flat.
Battery life: Huawei has equipped the P50 Pocket with a 4,000mAh battery which keeps the phone easily going for a full day. Unfortunately you don't get wireless charging but there is supprt for 40W fast charging.
Camera: The P50 Pocket is a Huawei phone so expect excellent cameras.The main sensor is 40MP which can also be used to take fantastic selfies when the phone is folded. That primary sensor is complimented with a 32MP Ultra Spectrum camera for interesting and creative shots as well as a 12MP Ultra-wide camera.
Motorola rebooted its Razr brand of flip phones with the Motorola Razr, a folding ‘clamshell’ device that combined novel tech with a nostalgic form factor that hearkened to the Motorola Razr V3, a phone that took the world by storm when it launched in 2004. The Razr released in 2019 lived up to that ambition... sort of, with an exorbitant price and too many rough edges.
The refined Motorola Razr 2020 (called the Motorola Razr 5G) has ironed out a lot of its predecessor's problems, but is still a pricey device that offers novelty rather than must-have design advances. It looks good at least with a relatively large 2.7-inch display on the outside. That display offers software improvements that allow you to do basic app browsing, texting, and preview selfies effectively too. Being able tot take selfies with the same 48MP main lens that you use when the phone is open is certainly convenient.
However, flipping open the phone is half the fun, with a satisfying 'snap' into place, fully unfolded. No, it won't let you keep the phone perched partway – it's either fully closed or flipped all the way open – but you'll finally get to snap a call closed with the same dramatic emphasis you did in the halcyon days of flip phones.
The internal plastic (P-OLED) screen isn't great though admittedly with a narrow 2142 x 877 resolution that's thinner than the full HD displays on budget phones. Similarly, performance is fine if unremarkable and the 256GB storage isn't expandable. Battery life is similarly ok at about a day's use but nothing special.
All of that means the Razr 2020 is not a substantially superior device to your typical smartphone, and you'll pay for its novelty, with an AED 4,999 price tag. If you want to relive Razr's heyday or just want a phone that slips into small pockets or purses, though, the Razr 2020 is your handset of choice.
Read our full Motorola Razr 2020 review
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