Watch out, Samsung! This new Galaxy Z Flip 5 rival is the first truly affordable foldable

Nubia Flip 5G
(Image credit: Future / Axel Metz)

Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 6 is hotly tipped to succeed the excellent Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 at Galaxy Unpacked this July, but it looks like the upcoming foldable will have one more clamshell rival to compete with when it does hit shelves in a few months.

ZTE subsidiary Nubia (aka the name behind some of the best gaming phones) has unveiled its first foldable device, the Nubia Flip 5G, at MWC 2024, and despite its budget-friendly price, this colorful clamshell shares more than just a form factor with the Galaxy Z Flip 5. 

Known in Japan as the ZTE Libero Flip, the Nubia Flip 5G boasts a 6.9-inch folding AMOLED display (1188 x 2790) with a 120Hz refresh rate, as well as a versatile external display that can double as – wait for it – a camera, a music player, a calendar, a stopwatch, a voice recorder, a step counter, a weather app, and, of course, a plain old clock.

On the back of the Nubia Flip 5G is a 50MP wide lens and a 50MP telephoto lens, while there’s a 16MP selfie camera on the front. For comparison, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 sports a numerically lesser 12MP wide lens, 12MP ultra-wide lens, and 10MP selfie camera, but we’d advise against drawing early conclusions based on megapixel count alone; often, the quality of images is equally dependent on processing power. And, judging by the specs, that’s where the Nubia Flip 5G could fall short of the Galaxy Z Flip 5.

Nubia’s first foldable is powered by Qualcomm’s mid-range Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset, which is objectively less powerful than the Galaxy’s bespoke Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. The Nubia Flip 5G won’t be a slow phone, by any means, but the newer technology inside Qualcomm’s 2023 flagship chipset does result in better battery life efficiency and heat dissipation. That said, the difference in on-screen performance will most likely be negligible.

Speaking of batteries, the Nubia Flip 5G boasts a 4,310mAh battery with 33W fast charging, which should keep things ticking along nicely for a day, at the very least.

The key selling point of this foldable phone, though, is its price: ZTE has confirmed that the Nubia Flip 5G will be available in Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia for the local equivalent of $599, which means there’s a good chance it’ll cost the same price in the US (though you may have to pick one up through a third-party retailer rather than Nubia itself).

At that figure, the Nubia Flip 5G is almost half the price of the Galaxy Z Flip 5, which starts at $999.99 / £1,049 / AU$1,649, so here’s hoping its imminent release (we were told “Q2” at MWC) heralds the coming of many more genuinely affordable foldable phones. Your move, Samsung.

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Axel Metz
Senior Staff Writer

Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion. 

Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.