It’s not just about the Galaxy Fold and Flip


Looking to try something a little different with your next phone upgrade? Then chances are you may want to check out foldables, a new-ish category of smartphones that come with clever folding screens.

But which to get, and can you trust that the screens will last? Sadly, the answer is, not always. Based on our experience using every foldable we could get our hands on since the original generation Galaxy Fold, we can confirm while folding screens are cool, not all of them offer the best user experience.

Whether it’s a nifty folding clamshell like the newly unveiled Galaxy Z Flip 4, or a phone-come-tablet like its sibling, the Galaxy Z Fold 4, foldables are still a very young technology that come with a few quirks.

These can range from apps not displaying correctly due to the device’s screens atypical aspect ratios to quality issues that make it all too easy to break the devices with surprisingly little effort.

This is why we’re yet to score any foldable more than 4/5 when we’ve had them in for testing and a key reason we recommend most buyers opt for a traditional flagship. You can see a selection of some of the most impressive we’ve tested in our best iPhone, best Android phone and best phone buyers’ guides.

However, if that doesn’t put you off and you won’t bend to our advice, keep reading. In this list we’ve detailed the top performing foldables we’ve tried and tested.

How we test

Learn more about how we test mobile phones, including foldables 

All the phones included in our Best foldable phone list have been thoroughly tested and used by one of our expert reviewers. 

We don’t review phones of any type based purely on benchmark scores or marketing hype. We use them as our everyday device for the review period, which is usually at least five days but can often be a lot more if the device requires it.

Whenever you read a phone review published on Trusted Reviews, you should be confident that the reviewer has put their personal SIM card into the phone, synced across their most-used apps and logged into all their typical accounts. We do this so you’ll feel confident in our review and trust our verdict.

Our review process includes a mixture of real-world tests, along with more than 15 measured tests and industry-standard benchmarks. We believe this gives the most rounded view of a device.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

The best foldable

Pros

  • Folds up into a neat package
  • Smooth 120Hz inner display
  • Water resistant
  • Much cheaper (but still not cheap)

Cons

  • The outer display is better but still fairly limited
  • Mid-range cameras
  • Average battery life

Samsung unveiled the next generation Galaxy Z Flip 4 on 10 August, but as we’ve only had a very short amount of time to use it we can’t offer a final verdict on if its worth buying. As a result, for the short term, we think the best foldable phone currently on the market is the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. It’s widely available in multiple markets, including the USA, packs enough features to make it worth the price and fixes just about all the issues we previously had with foldable phones – notably their delicate nature.

This particular foldable follows the clamshell design. It doesn’t use its foldable display to give you a larger, tablet-like screen (if you want this, get the Z Fold 3) instead it offers a regular 6.7-inch panel that folds in half to give a much smaller, pocketable device when not in use. It’s an inventive way of cramming a comfortable to read screen into a phone that easily fits in a back pocket or a small handbag.

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 isn’t the fastest, most feature-rich phone around – but that’s beside the point. You’re buying this for its unique design, retro flip phone charm and because it offers all the basics done well. The Snapdragon 888 chipset with 5G support is capable; the screen is smooth and the battery life just about makes it through the day.

Importantly, Samsung has toughened this up a lot when compared to its predecessor. There’s Gorilla Glass Victus protecting the front, and what Samsung calls ‘Armor’ aluminium protecting the sides and the clever hinge mechanism.

Arguably the biggest durability improvement over the Flip 2 is the IPX8 rating. That ‘X’ portion means it’s not resistant to dust, but the ‘8’ means it’s finally water resistant – the first foldable (along with the Z Fold 3) to pack this feature. We didn’t notice any issues with the durability of the phone during our review period, something we couldn’t always say about other folding phones.

The clamshell design might seem like a novelty, but it does have its uses. We feel It offers protection to the inner display and there’s space on the lid for a handy panel that can alert you to notifications without making you properly interact with the phone. This was one of our reviewer’s favourite elements of the phone.

Reviewer: Max Parker

Full Review: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 review

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

The best foldable for features

Pros

  • Much tougher than past versions
  • Powerful performance
  • Bright, punch main screen that’s great for gaming

Cons

  • Apps still don’t always display correctly

The Z Fold 4 launched alongside the Flip 4, so for similar reasons our recommendation here may change in the very near future. But until we review the Fold 4, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 remains the foldable we’d recommend to someone who wants a phone that can transform into a tablet.

While the Galaxy Z Flip 3 harks back to a simpler time, the Z Fold 3 is all about looking to the future. The outer screen is there for the basics: knocking out a WhatsApp, finding the pub in Google Maps or skipping songs. When you want to do bigger tasks, the phone folds out to give a larger internal screen ideal for YouTube videos and browsing. It certainly takes some adjustment and makes for a thicker phone, but there’s no denying the outcome is intriguing.

The Z Fold 3 does beat the Flip in a few ways. It has a better camera array, longer battery life and a stronger display. It retains the Flip’s durability enhancements too, with an IPX8 rating, strong metal sides and Gorilla Glass Victus. Samsung has come a long way since the original Fold was launched and subsequently delayed due to numerous issues with the build quality.

The inner 7.6-inch display has a smooth 120Hz refresh rate and this makes it a fine choice for gamers. Pair a Bluetooth controller and we think you’d be hard-pressed to found a better mobile gaming solution.

The cameras are up there with the P50 Pocket as the best we’ve seen on a foldable, producing clear images in various conditions. We were less impressed with the under-display camera though, with this churning out blurry selfies.

Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson

Full Review: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review

Huawei P50 Pocket

Best camera

Pros

  • Great camera
  • Distinctive foldable design
  • Large, sharp inner display

Cons

  • Very small outer screen
  • No access to Google Mobile Services
  • No 5G connectivity

The Huawei P50 Pocket follows a similar blueprint to the Z Flip 3, using its foldable screen as a way of recreating a classic clamshell-style phone. Huawei’s entry isn’t as durable as Samsung’s and it lacks Google apps (we’ll delve deeper into this later) along with 5G but it does have a very good camera, excellent display and a lovely design.

As is often the case with Huawei’s phones, the camera here is king. Our reviewer found Images were very good, packing in plenty of detail without adding too much post-processing. Colours remain natural and vivid.

We also prefer the internal screen here to the one on the Samsung Z Flip 3, mostly down to the lack of a really obvious crease across the middle. Our reviewer commented on how immersive the 6.9-inch OLED screen was, especially when watching media.

Sadly this phone does have a big issue, and that’s the lack of Google apps and no access to the Play Store. If you rely on Docs, Gmail and other big apps you’ll struggle here. It’s a shame, and Huawei’s own app alternatives still can’t quite match up with quality or quantity. Availability is an issue too, so you might have find innovative ways of finding this phone if you want to buy it.

Reviewer: Peter Phelps

Full review Review: Huawei P50 Pocket review

FAQS

Is Apple going to make a foldable phone?

Apple hasn’t released or announced any intention to make a foldable phone yet, however rumours swirl that we’ll see a big play for this category from the Cupertino company in the coming years. For now, all the best foldable phones run on Android.

What other foldable phones are coming out?

This is likely going to be a busy year for foldable phones, with Samsung expected to launch a number of devices in its Z Fold and Z Flip line. There could also be another Moto Razr and Huawei has recently announced the Mate Xs 2.

Spec comparisons

These are all powerful phones, with good specs. For pure spec-power though, the Z Fold 3 comes out on top.

UK RRP

USA RRP

EU RRP

CA RRP

AUD RRP

Manufacturer

Screen Size

Storage Capacity

Rear Camera

Front Camera

Video Recording

IP rating

Battery

Wirless charging

Fast Charging

Size (Dimensions)

Weight

ASIN

Operating System

Release Date

First Reviewed Date

Resolution

HDR

Refresh Rate

Ports

Chipset

RAM

Colours

Test data

You can see a detailed breakdown of all the test data we collected reviewing the phones in this list in the table below.

1 hour music streaming (online)

Time from 0-100% charge

1 hour music streaming (offline)

30 minute gaming (light)

30 minute gaming (intensive)

1 hour video playback (Netflix, HDR)

Max brightness

Time from 0-50% charge

Geekbench 5 multi core

Geekbench 5 single core

sRGB

Adobe RGB

DCI-P3

3D Mark – Wild Life



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