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The best fold phones

best fold phones
(Image credit: Daniel Romero/Unsplash)

Until recently, the best fold phones were impossible to make. We're not talking about the flip phones you used to use before smartphones became a thing. The phones on this list are modern devices that, via flexible displays or two screens working in tandem, offer an experience between a smartphone and a tablet. They're impressive to look at, plus all that extra screen space means you get productivity and accessibility options that normal phones just can't provide.

Foldable phones are still a rare breed compared to other smartphones, so there isn't a particularly wide choice to pick from right now. Plus, all options are a lot more expensive than a typical phone as a result of the clever engineering required to make them pliable. But if you're interested in this futuristic form factor, we've assembled the best of what's available in the list below. If you prefer something more conventionally designed and priced, then perhaps look at our best smartphone picks instead, or else check out the best flip phones on the market.

The best fold phones

best fold phonesCB

(Image credit: Samsung)

1. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Your current best choice for fold phones, if you can afford it

Release date: September 2020
Displays: 7.6-inch interior AMOLED w/ 120Hz refresh rate, 6.23-inch exterior AMOLED
Cameras: 12MP main (f/1.8), 12MP ultrawide (f/2.2), 12MP telephoto (f/2.4), 10MP interior (f/2.2), 10MP front (f/2.2)
Battery: 4,500 mAh
Reasons to buy
+Flex Mode hinge+Practical exterior display
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Cameras below usual Samsung quality

Having learned some key lessons from the first generation Fold, Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 2 is now a much more refined device. Sporting a "Flex Mode" hinge that allows the phone to stay open at any angle, the Fold 2 is prepared for a wide array of tasks. That versatility only increases when you consider the enlarged outer display is now much more functional, meaning you don't always have to open the phone to use it fully. 

The only major flaws are how much it costs, plus that its large array of cameras aren't quite as good as Samsung's mainstream Galaxy S and Galaxy Note phones. However if you're determined to buy a foldable phone right now, this is almost certainly the best fold phone choice you could make.

best fold phones: Samsung Galaxy Z FlipCB endorsed

(Image credit: Samsung)

2. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G

The best clamshell fold phone, now with 5G

Release date: August 2020
Displays: 6.7-inch AMOLED interior, 1.1-inch AMOLED exterior
Cameras: 12MP main (f/1.8), 12MP ultrawide (f/2.2), 10MP front (f/2.4)
Battery: 3,300 mAh
Reasons to buy
+Flex Mode hinge+Compact design
Reasons to avoid
-Weak battery life-Pricey

As well as the best overall fold phone, Samsung also makes the best fold phone with a clamshell design in the form of the Galaxy Z Flip 5G. With its Flex Mode hinge, you can keep the phone open at any angle, making it easy to stand the phone up for video calls or movie watching. Plus that hinge lets the already small Z Flip 5G close it up into an easily pocketable form.

That slim frame means below-average battery life however, plus Samsung's foldable phones are a bit more expensive than comparable rivals. However the price is definitely reflected in the overall quality of the experience.

best fold phones: Motorola RazrCB endorsed

(Image credit: Motorola)

3. Motorola Razr 5G

A 5G-ready fold phone with a great sense of style

Release date: September 2020
Displays: 6.2-inch OLED interior, 2.7-inch OLED exterior
Cameras: 48MP rear (f/1.7), 20MP front (f/2.2)
Battery: 2,800 mAh
Reasons to buy
+Super compact+Nostalgic design
Reasons to avoid
-Weak battery life-Disappointing cameras

If you want a fold phone that looks like it came from the 2000s, you simply have to go for the Motorola Razr 5G. An upgrade on 2019's Razr reboot, this offers a more powerful, 5G-ready chipset within the same body, meaning you no longer have to choose between looks and power. 

The retro design still causes problems however. The size of the phone means it only contains a small battery, which means frequent trips to the charger to keep it going. Also while it offers both rear and selfie cameras, neither one produces particularly good shots. It's arguably the best fold phone in terms of looks, but it's a foldable phone you'll only choose with your heart, since comparing specs makes it obvious this doesn't match up to its rivals well.

best fold phones: LG G8X ThinQ

(Image credit: LG)

4. LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen

A normal smartphone with an optional dual-screen mode

Release date: November 2019
Displays: 2 x 6.4-inch OLED
Cameras: 12MP main (f/1.8) 13MP ultrawide (f/2.4), 32MP front (f/1.9)
Battery: 4,000 mAh
Reasons to buy
+Detachable second screen+Headphone jack
Reasons to avoid
-Few dual-screen optimizations-Bulky when closed

If you're indecisive about buying a normal phone or a fold phone, LG has you covered. The G8X ThinQ comes with a detachable second display that allows you all the benefits of a foldable phone when you want it, plus it's the only best fold phone on this list that still offers a 3.5mm headphone jack for your wired audio gear. 

The trade-off is that the phone is still very much optimized for a single-screen experience, with only a few apps able to make use of the extra display in a meaningful way. Plus with the phone using two normal displays, it means it's a lot chunkier than phones with more advanced flexible displays.

best fold phones: Microsoft Surface Duo

(Image credit: Microsoft)

5. Microsoft Surface Duo

Amazing for productivity, but not as well-rounded as its rivals

Release date: September 2020
Displays: 8.1-inch interior (2 x 5.6-inch AMOLED)
Cameras: 11MP main interior (f/2.0)
Battery: 3,577 mAh
Reasons to buy
+Slim and tough design+Smart productivity tools
Reasons to avoid
-Single, low-quality camera-No cover display

Microsoft's first crack at a foldable phone is far from perfect, but still worth checking out. This handsome device uses two displays (instead of one folding one) to create a thinner, more durable device than most other best fold phones. Its 360-degree hinge, Microsoft 365 support and touch gestures to let you pair apps together and move windows between displays all make everyday tasks quicker and more efficient. 

However be aware there's no external display, and the single included camera is particularly poor. You'll have to really love the productivity features or design to pick this over the other foldable phones, which offer more display space and better photography.

Richard Priday

Richard is a tech journalist and writer. He is Staff Writer at Tom's Guide and has a passion for smartphones, gaming and audio.