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We tested every foldable phone on the market. These are the best models

Welcome into the fold, where phones come in all shapes and sizes. ZDNET reviewed all of the best foldable phones available to help you decide which to buy.
Written by June Wan, Reviews Editor on

If you've been reading the headlines lately, foldable phones are back and better than ever. Within the past two months, the number of foldable competitors in the US tripled. Well, tripled from one, that is -- with the "one" for the past four years being from Samsung.

Today, consumers have more options than ever if they're ready to embark on the foldable phone journey, whether the preference is for one that can transform into a tablet or one that flips outward at the flick of the wrist, paying homage to the classic Motorola Razr. That's my segue to say that Moto is back, baby! And Google's got a shapeshifter of its own, too.

ZDNET has tested and reviewed every single mass-market foldable during the past year, and as we see how the second half of 2023 unfolds, these devices below represent the best of the best right now. Starting with the top pick, Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 5, a device that personifies the company's maturity in the space and four-year gap compared to its closest competitors. 

The best foldable phones in 2023

Pros & Cons
  • Thinner and lighter than ever
  • Gapless hinge design for better dust resistance
  • 1,750 nits of brightness for outdoor viewing
  • Best multitasking phone yet
  • Expensive, starting at $1,799
  • Cameras are a step below the S23 Ultra
  • Battery size is just passable
More Details

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 features: Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy | Display sizes: 6.2-inch exterior and 7.6-inch interior | RAM/Storage: 12GB with up to 1TB | Battery: 4,400mAh

Samsung's new Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Google's Pixel Fold went tooth and nail for the top spot on this list, but key feature advantages put the former ahead. With both devices priced the same, the Z Fold 5 is arguably the better of the two thanks to its more refined and durable design, productivity-inducing software, and after-sales support.

Review: Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 5

The Z Fold 5 features a competent Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset that's proven to yield day-long battery life and better AI processing when taking photos and videos. Samsung's also upgraded the hinge this year, making the Fold notably thinner and lighter yet still durable enough to withstand 200,000 bends -- maybe more -- during its lifespan. 

"The hinge, battery, and photography updates are nothing flashy, but they're things you'll benefit from every day when using the Fold 5," says ZDNET's Jason Hiner, who tested out the phone.

Pros & Cons
  • Wider and shorter display is very practical to use
  • Smooth and bloatware-free software
  • Impressive battery life
  • Best camera system of any foldable
  • No stylus support
  • Noticeably heavier than other foldables
  • Multitasking features are limited
More Details

Google Pixel Fold features: Processor: Google Tensor G2 | Display sizes: 5.8-inch exterior and 7.6-inch interior | RAM/Storage: 12GB with up to 512TB | Battery: 4,821mAh

While the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 forges ahead with better design and productivity features, the Google Pixel Fold is a close second thanks to its user-friendly form factor and market-leading camera system. Google took the traditional smartphone route when building the outer display of the Pixel Fold, opting for a shorter and wider panel than Samsung's taller approach.

Review: Google Pixel Fold

Naturally, all the content you're used to consuming, like video streaming and social media, is portrayed in a familiar manner; nothing feels disordered. And while the foldable doesn't match its Pixel Pro sibling spec-for-spec, I noted in my review that "where the Pixel Fold truly shines, and more than makes up for the "inferior" camera system, is in long exposure shots and selfies."

Thanks to its flexible design allowing you to set the phone down and angle it for photos, this is technically the best Pixel phone for selfies and low-light captures.

Pros & Cons
  • 3.4-inch external display for quick interactions
  • Performant Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor
  • Most durable flip phone to date
  • Aggressive trade-in deals and offers
  • Battery lasts no more than a day
  • Can be slippery to handle
  • Same camera system as last year
More Details

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 features: Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy | Display sizes: 3.4-inch exterior and 6.7-inch interior | RAM/Storage: 8GB with up to 512GB | Battery: 3,700mAh

Deciding on the best flip-style foldable phone also came down to the wire, with Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip 5 just scraping by Motorola's Razr Plus. I went hands-on with the Z Flip 5 prior to Unpacked and strongly believe that it's Samsung's most ambitious foldable of late, with this year's model featuring its largest external display yet at 3.4 inches and a gapless design that allows both sides of the inner display to fold completely flat.

Review: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

Compared to the Razr Plus, the Z Flip 5 features a more reliable dual camera system, a Qualcomm chipset that's a generation ahead, and Samsung's trusted four-year software update policy (plus five years of security patches). Toss in the generous trade-in offers and storage upgrade promotions we're seeing at the time of writing and the Z Flip 5 is the clear winner in this foldable phone category.

Pros & Cons
  • Reliable performance with minimal form factor issues
  • 3.6-inch external display is plenty useful
  • First foldable with dust resistance
  • Moderate battery life due to its size
  • No telephoto camera
  • Relatively slow charging
More Details

Motorola Razr Plus features: Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 | Display sizes: 3.6-inch exterior and 6.9-inch interior | RAM/Storage: 8GB with 256GB | Battery: 3,800mAh

When the market is competitive, both manufacturers and consumers are winners. Case in point, no one, including myself, expected the Motorola Razr Plus to be as good as it was when first released. 

In ways, the Moto yields a better experience than the Z Flip 5, with a larger 3.6-inch display that "feels more like a secondary, smaller phone than a larger smartwatch. You can interact with apps and services just like how you would when the phone is unfolded," as quoted from my review.

Review: Motorola Razr Plus

Under the hood is an older but still powerful Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset, with Moto's minimalist approach to Android 13. There are a few gesture-based perks like twisting your wrist to prompt the camera or doing a chopping motion to turn on the flashlight.

Pros & Cons
  • Compact, portable form factor
  • Relatively cheaper since launch
  • Same camera system as new Z Flip 5
  • Lack of dust resistance
  • Battery life is not the best
  • Most units will be refurbished or renewed
More Details

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 features: Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 | Display sizes: 1.9-inch exterior and 6.7-inch interior | RAM/Storage: 8GB with up to 512GB | Battery: 3,700mAh

Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold may represent the pinnacle of folding phones, but it's the Z Flip that has always appealed to a wider range of users. With the launch of the Z Flip 5, last year's Z Flip 4 can now be had for significantly less money. That's a big deal, considering how highly ZDNET's Jason Hiner recommended it in his full review. 

"My wife is a professional photographer and saw me testing some of the camera features of the Flip 4 and was intrigued and a little jealous, even though she's always been an iPhone user and has never been interested in Android," he noted.

Review: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

While the Z Flip 4 has technically been discontinued, if you're open to renewed or refurbished models, one can be had at a trusted retailer for less than $600. For that price range, the Z Flip 4 is easily the best foldable phone you can buy on a budget.

What is the best folding phone?

The best foldable phone is Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 4. Samsung's latest Z Fold is an engineering marvel, with a new and powerful processor, brighter display, and suite of Android 12L features for productivity. Below is a look at how the best foldable phones compare on price, display, and camera capabilities: 

Foldable phone




Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5


6.2-inch and 7.6-inch

50MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto, 10MP front

Google Pixel Fold


5.8-inch and 7.6-inch

12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto, 10MP front

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5


3.4-inch and 6.7-inch

12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP front

Motorola Razr Plus


3.6-inch and 6.9-inch

12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP front

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4


1.9-inch and 6.7-inch

50MP wide, 13MP ultrawide, 8MP telephoto, 10.7MP front

Which foldable phone is best for you?

To help you decide, see below for the key reasons to buy each of ZDNET's top foldable phone picks.

Choose this foldable phone…

If you want…

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

The most refined, all-inclusive foldable that money can buy. The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is Samsung's thinnest and lightest phone-to-tablet device yet. 

Google Pixel Fold

An S-class camera system in a foldable form factor. Google's Pixel Fold nails the large-screen form factor and excels in creative software features.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

The best flipping foldable on the market, with a high likelihood of scoring a generous trade-in offer. The Z Flip 5 also features a useful 3.4-inch outside display.

Motorola Razr Plus

A late bloomer, but a bloomer nonetheless. Motorola's Razr Plus is in second for best flip-style foldable, but it actually wins out in key design areas.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

A foldable for less. Last year's Galaxy Z Flip 4 can be purchased at a fraction of the cost of 2023 foldables.

How did we choose these foldable phones?

Based on years of testing phones and "next best things", these are the key factors we look for when choosing the best foldable phones.

  • Design: Currently, foldable phones come in two designs: regular phones that unfold into tablets, and ones that flip inward to become more pocketable. The best-designed foldables are practical to use, require a moderate learning curve at most, and should have a burdenless hand feel.
  • Software optimization: A foldable phone relies on more than just the standard software features of a traditional handset; it needs specialized tools and services built for larger (and smaller) displays.
  • Durability: The best foldable phone can take a beating, whether that's in the form of waist-high drops or pouring rain. Every device on this list is either certified IPX8 or IP52.
  • Value: It's difficult to ignore how expensive foldable can be, so price-to-performance is something deeply considered when evaluating between devices. Carrier store promotions, trade-in deals, and other offers are also factored in.

Will Apple make a foldable phone?

It's the question everyone's been asking since the very first foldable was launched back in 2019, whether or not Apple will put out a foldable iPhone of its own. While the company has yet to unveil any plans of making one, and the rumor mill has been rather slow in that regard, it would not be surprising if there's a team within Cupertino who's already building one out.

Also: Why foldable phones are still so expensive, according to analysts

And, as is often the case with consumer technology, once Apple does feel comfortable enough to release a mass-market foldable phone, we can expect there to be a drop in overall pricing in the market, as manufacturers scramble to compete in value.

Are there alternative foldables worth considering?

The best foldable phones listed above strike the perfect balance of design, functionality, and innovation. If you're still on the fence, here are some alternatives to consider.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 Main Display

Best Galaxy Z Fold 5 alternative

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Last year's Galaxy Z Fold 4 is still a formidable pick-up if you're eyeing a phone-to-tablet foldable. In fact, it features the same camera and display sizes as the new Z Fold 5.

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A person taking a group picture with the Oppo Find N2 Flip.

Best flip phone alternative

Oppo Find N2 Flip

If you're on a GSM network (AT&T or T-Mobile), Oppo's Find N2 Flip is a great alternative to Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip. It has a similar Flex Form Mode for creative viewing angles, too.

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