Why do phones fold? Because they can. The best foldable phones are the pinnacle of today's phone design, and if you want a phone that truly does something other phones can't do, you want a folding phone.
The good news is that we're generations past the days when foldable phones were for early adopters and wealthy bitcoin miners. Companies like Samsung, with its Galaxy Z Fold 4, and Motorola, with its throwback Razr 2022, have been steadily refining and improving folding phones, making them more durable, reliable, and impressive.
Folding phones are still a small part of the market, but clearly there is a future in bending glass. Samsung dedicates one of its two major phone events entirely to folding phones, and this year's Galaxy Z Flip 4 stole the show as a refined, practical, and almost affordable example of what makes folding phones so cool.
Sadly, the US market gets left out of much of the foldable fun. While we got the Motorola Razr 2020, a nice little update to the original Motorola folding smartphone. Unfortunately, Motorola has skipped The States when it comes to the Motorola Razr 2022, and that's a shame. We gave that phone a thorough review, and you can find it on our list below.
Additionally, one of our favorite alternatives to the big screen Galaxy Z Fold 4 is also a phone that is unavailable to our US readers. The Huawei Mate XS 2 is a totally different take - it literally folds in the other direction, wrapping it's large screen around the front and back instead of hiding it inside the fold.
Finally, while the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 doesn't have folding glass, the dual-screen phone does fold itself closed, so of course it makes our list. In our review we found room for improvement, but it offers such a unique experience that it can't be ignored. Hopefully Microsoft will follow in Samsung's footsteps of constant improvement with its folding family.
Best foldable phones 2022
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It's not the biggest folding phone, or the most feature-packed, but the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is the most fun to use, and it completely changed our minds about the benefits of carrying a foldable. That's why the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is the best foldable phone you can buy.
When it's open, you get a super thin smartphone with a humongous display, backed by one of the fastest mobile platforms you can pack into a flagship phone, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. When it's closed, you get to take selfies with the main camera and use the colorful Cover Display as a viewfinder.
The magic happens in between. There's a unique feeling in closing the phone, hanging up on whatever distraction you were watching, and focusing on the people in front of you. That screen is well protected inside, and hidden from view.
Bend the phone a little to take selfies from unique angles you couldn't capture before. Give yourself video controls, or a trackpad on the bottom half. There are plenty of possibilities, but simply using this unique foldable is its own reward.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review
If the Flip amazed us with its compact portability, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 stuns onlookers every time we unfurl the huge display within. That 7.6-inch span makes it more of a small tablet than a phone, and that's the main reason we've bumped the Galaxy Z Fold 4 to our second favorite foldable position.
The Z Fold 4 prioritizes being a tablet, so if you're looking for a might big screen that you can carry anywhere, this is the phone for you. Unfortunately, the external display is so narrow that we always wanted to crack the phone open, but is that really a bad thing, or is that the point? We're saying it's the latter.
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 gives you better cameras than the Z Flip, but not the same array you'll find on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, and the upcoming Galaxy S23 Ultra will one-up this phone further. You still get stylus support (use the special Z Fold S Pen or you'll scratch the screen), plus bragging rights over screen real estate.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 review
The Motorola Razr 2022 finally makes Motorola's foldable a worthy rival to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4. This isn’t the first foldable Razr, but it is the first great one, and it comes awfully close to matching the best Samsung foldable.
In fact, in some areas the Razr 2022 has the Samsung phone beat, with a slightly higher 144Hz refresh rate, a larger 2.7-inch cover display, and more pixels on its main camera sensor. The Motorola Razr 2022 has just as much power as its Samsung rival, and similar specs in most areas.
The Motorola Razr 2022 battery life impressed us, along with a crease that’s barely visible. That said, we found that despite packing a powerful Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset, there would be occasional jumps and stutters. The camera is packed with megapixels, but its photography performance is far from perfect.
The biggest flaw of all? You cannot buy the Motorola Razr 2022 in the US. Only the minor Razr update from 2020 is available. We've asked Motorola to explain, but they have dodged the question. We'd recommend against importing an international unit as the warranty may not hold, and you definitely want a warranty on a folding phone.
If Motorola eventually decides to launch this phone stateside, it will be a great competitor for Samsung's clamshell foldable.
Read our full Motorola Razr 2022 review
The Huawei Mate Xs is Huawei’s successor to the Huawei Mate X, and it’s a more durable device that still has the same excellent design as the original Mate X. Unfortunately, it doesn't come with Google apps and services – so no Gmail, no Google Maps, and no access to the massive Google Play Store app marketplace.
It may be Google's loss, as the Huawei Mate Xs is still a very impressive device. It's an excellent execution of the foldable concept. This is a unique 'outie' foldable, with a single external screen that's either flat, as an 8-inch tablet-size display, or folded closed for a 6.6-inch phone format.
The screen folds around the back, unlike the Galaxy Z Fold 4, on which the back folds around the screen.
The Huawei Mate Xs is powerful enough, with a high-end Kirin 990 chipset, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, a quad-lens camera (led by a 40MP main sensor), a 4,500mAh battery, and a stylish, notch-free design. Like the Galaxy Z family, the Mate Xs doesn't pack world-beating specs, but the folding glass is really the feature that brings you to the party.
Oh, did we also mention that the US government forbids personnel from using Huawei telecommunications devices? You can still find ways to buy and import the phones into The States, but there are plenty of caveats to beware.
This unique device comes at a high price. The Huawei Mate Xs retails for £2,299 / AU$3,999 (around $2,750), though it can often be found for less.
Read our full Huawei Mate Xs review
Motorola rebooted its Razr brand of flip phones with the Motorola Razr, a clamshell folding phone that combined novel tech with a nostalgic look that hearkened to the Motorola Razr V3, the flip phone that took the world by storm in 2004.
The refined Motorola Razr 2020 (called the Motorola Razr 5G) has ironed out a lot of its predecessor's problems, but still offers novelty rather than must-have design. The price has come down considerably since launch, but that only makes us want the far-superior Motorola Razr 2022 even more.
The Razr 2022 looks good, and that 2.7-inch display on the outside is larger than you'll find on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip series. The Razr 2022 cover display allows you to text and preview selfies. Being able to take selfies with the main 48MP camera is fantastic, much better than using a selfie cam.
Flipping open the phone with a satisfying 'snap' is half the fun. Unlike the Samsung, you can't keep the Motorola Razr 2022 perched partway – it's either fully closed or flipped all the way open. That's a big miss, especially for selfies.
The Razr 2020 has gotten a big price cut in the US, since we haven't gotten the new Razr 2022. It launched with a $1,399 price tag, but now costs less than half that, at $599.99 in the US.
If you want to relive Razr's heyday or just want a phone that slips into small pockets or purses, though, the Razr 2020 could be your foldable of choice.
Read our full Motorola Razr 2020 review
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