With enough force, almost every smartphone can fold in half. But only a few can do it without suffering terminal damage. Think folding phones are just a hinged gimmick? Think again: the best foldables are about as versatile as handsets get in 2022.
From retro clamshell revivals to smartphones that transform into sizeable tablets, the blowers below all feature bendable screens. And besides the obvious wow-factor, each offers innovative flexibility that could change the way you use your mobile.
But with price tags that make other flagships look cheap, is it worth buying a folding phone in 2022? Or should you wait for a next-gen foldable which might iron out some of the compromises? We’ve tested the top options to find out, as well as highlighting the upcoming foldable models to look out for.
What new folding phones are coming in 2022?
2021 was a solid year for hinged handsets, but there are still several major mobile makers who haven’t entered the foldable fray. Could 2022 be the year we see a full suite of folding flagships? The rumour mill is divided: a folding iPhone looks unlikely to arrive until next year at the earliest, while Google’s long-awaited Pixel Fold may never launch at all. New foldables from Samsung seem a surer bet, with the mobile maker almost certain to reveal the next generation of its Galaxy Fold and Flip devices. Only time will tell if there are other surprises in store.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Samsung’s latest folding flagship is easily the best foldable to date – and the first that makes a truly convincing case for the genre. In fact, it’s one of the most compelling smartphones you can currently buy. But it’s also absurdly expensive, which massively limits its audience.
One of the Z Fold 3’s neatest tricks is its usability: despite the thickness and weight, it’s easy to handle, whether you’re swiping on the 6.2in external OLED or the 7.6in screen inside. And while the central crease remains, you soon learn to look past it while enjoying the spacious display.
Its feature set is similarly generous. You get 5G connectivity, solid stereo speakers and an under-screen selfie camera (in addition to the one on the cover). Build quality is stellar as well, with aluminium sides and Gorilla Glass Victus shielding the front. Under the hood, a Snapdragon 888 chip runs everything pretty much seamlessly.
The cameras are the only major compromise. They’re good, but not Samsung’s best, especially when it comes to the secondary sensors. You can definitely get more for your money from a flagship that doesn’t fold. But if you’re shopping for a foldable, this should be top of your list.
Stuff says: ★★★★☆
It costs an absolute fortune, but the Fold 3 does a fantastic job of making an unusual form factor feel normal – and proves foldables are more than just a hugely expensive gimmick
Cover display: 6.2in 832×2268 AMOLED 120Hz • Main display: 7.6in 1768×2208 AMOLED 120Hz • Cameras: 12+12+12MP (rear), 4+10MP (front) • Processor: Snapdragon 888 • Storage: 256/512GB • RAM: 12GB • Dimensions: 158.2×128.1×6.4mm (unfolded) • Weight: 271g
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
An attractive design, robust build and more affordable price tag make the Z Flip 3 the most accessible foldable yet. You can still get more performance from a standard handset for the same price, but the Flip 3 truly captures the fun essence of folding clamshells.
Improved materials make it one of the sturdiest folding phones to date: whether flipped open to resemble a normal smartphone, or neatly folded like a Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP, it feels as solid and premium as you’d expect.
The main 6.7in AMOLED display is a beaut, while the external 1.9in screen is twice the size of the original Flip’s, making it genuinely useful for showing notifications.
The camera setup is unchanged from the first Flip. Its dual 12MP sensors are perfectly capable, but there are handsets which cost a lot less and do a lot better. More impressive is the blistering performance delivered by the Snapdragon 888 processor, while the battery is good enough for a full day’s usage.
It’s not cheap and not without compromise, but if you want a blower that nails the basics and offers a bold design to boot, the Z Flip 3 is the one to go for.
Stuff says: ★★★★☆
Beautifully made and delightfully quirky, the Flip 3 is a more affordable gateway to the world of folding phones – even if its camera specs could be better
Cover display: 1.9in 260×512 AMOLED • Main display: 6.7in 1080×2640 AMOLED 120Hz • Cameras: 12+12MP (rear), 10MP (front) • Processor: Snapdragon 888 • Storage: 128/256GB • RAM: 8GB • Dimensions: 166 x72.2×6.9mm (unfolded) • Weight: 183g
Oppo Find N
Oppo’s first folding phone offers a familiar formula in a more compact form factor. It’s not tiny: the AMOLED centrefold is sizeable at 7.1in and the Find N remains substantial at 275g. It snaps shut satisfyingly, though it still feels like two smartphones stacked together. But at 133mm tall, it’s significantly shorter – and much easier to pocket – than the Z Fold 3.
Its sturdy hinge design does a solid job of hiding the screen’s crease, while the panel itself is simply wonderful – even if its squared aspect ratio results in black bars above and below videos. Peak brightness hits 1000 nits, with LTPO tech allowing it to span from 1 to 120Hz for enhanced efficiency.
Power’s not a problem: the Snapdragon 888 chip zips through tasks, helped by 12GB of RAM. Oppo’s simple, attractive ColorOS interface also sits pretty light on Android 11. Battery capacity is par for the course at 4500mAh.
The serviceable triple-cam setup is led by a familiar 50MP Sony sensor. It captures sound results without much fuss, although images tend towards over-processed. Identical 32MP sensors mean selfie performance is the same whether the Find N is open or shut.
If you want a competent foldable that’s also pocketable, the Oppo Find N makes a compelling case. The only problem? It’s not yet available in the UK or the US. Fingers crossed.
Stuff says: ★★★★☆
Well-built, responsive and easier to pocket, Oppo’s first foldable proves that folding phones don’t have to be huge. Or it would, if you could actually buy one
Cover display: 5.49in 988×1972 OLED • Main display: 7.1in 1792×1920 OLED • Cameras: 50+13+16MP (rear), 32+32MP (front) • Processor: Snapdragon 888 • Storage: 256/512GB • RAM: 8/12GB • Dimensions: 132.6×140.2×8.0mm (unfolded) • Weight: 275g
Huawei Mate Xs 2
Huawei’s Mate Xs successor sticks with the outward-folding formula, wearing a single 7.8in screen around its exterior. In folded form, it’s slimmer than an iPhone 3G, with a hinge that flattens almost completely. Unfurled, it becomes a paper-thin, remarkably rigid device with a sizeable panel.
It doesn’t run the latest silicon, but its Snapdragon 888 chip is hardly tardy. It felt perfectly responsive during our test session, happily running multiple apps. US sanctions mean no 5G and no Google Play Store, but regular software updates from Huawei mean the latter should hurt a little less. Swipe gestures for floating windows now make it easier to realise the big screen’s potential, too.
Unlike the Mate Xs, the Mate Xs 2 harbours a hole-punch selfie camera, together with a triple-lens rear array: a 13MP ultra wide and 3x telephoto join a 50MP main snapper. From our limited testing time, we were generally impressed with the detail, colour accuracy and noise control.
With a slick design, pocket-friendly dimensions and solid performance, the Huawei Mate Xs 2 seems from first impressions like a genuinely appealing foldable. But several question marks remain for our full review: battery life, camera performance and durability. And then there’s the price. At €1999, it demands a hefty premium over rivals. Only comprehensive testing will determine whether it does enough to justify that cash.
Slimline and neatly designed, the Mate Xs 2 is a desirable fold-out phone with a price to match – although its full potential requires further testing
Display: 7.8in 2200×2480 OLED • Cameras: 50+8+13MP (rear), 10.7MP (front) • Processor: Snapdragon 888 • Storage: 256/512GB • RAM: 8/12GB • Dimensions: 156.5×139.3×5.4mm (unfolded) • Weight: 255g
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
Successor to the original Fold, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 gave hope that folding phones could be great – and it’s still a solid option in 2022. Ditching much of what made the first Fold a fun but flawed phone, Samsung refined the formula to create a much more convincing device.
Gone is the dinky front display, in favour of a frame-filling 6.23in AMOLED panel that does a stellar impression of standard smartphone. Engage the smooth hinge mechanism and a bold, notch-free 7.6in screen is revealed, complete with 120Hz refresh rates and HDR10+ support – although there’s still a crease.
Performance is punchy, courtesy of a Snapdragon 865+ processor and 12GB RAM, while the 4500mAh battery comfortably lasts a day. Plus there’s 5G connectivity.
It’s still not perfect: not all apps work seamlessly with the foldable setup, while the camera array can’t rival the show-stopping sensors on Samsung’s non-folding Galaxy flagships. But there’s nothing it does badly – and everything it does do, the Z Fold 2 does well. In truth, the biggest stumbling block continues to be the cost.
Stuff says: ★★★★☆
Still prohibitively expensive and still not the best at everything, the Fold 2 remains the first great foldable smartphone
Cover display: 6.23in 816×2260 AMOLED • Main display: 7.6in 1768×2208 AMOLED 120Hz • Cameras: 12+12+12MP (rear), 10+10MP (front) • Processor: Snapdragon 865 • Storage: 256/512GB • RAM: 12GB • Dimensions: 159.2×128.2×6.9mm (unfolded) • Weight: 282g
Huawei Mate Xs
Unlike its X2 successor, Huawei’s first foldable made it out of China and over to the UK. And if you can find one, it remains a tempting proposition – albeit with some notable limitations.
The Huawei Mate Xs adopts a different design approach to dual-display devices: it features just a single wraparound screen on its exterior. So you can use a 6.6in portion when it’s folded shut, or unfurl it to reveal the full 8.8in panel. It’s a neat solution that feels very natural.
Power comes from a capable Kirin 990 processor and 8GB of RAM. The Xs also benefits from a 4500mAh battery, 5G connectivity and a subtle quad-lens camera setup with Leica smarts. All specs which measure up well against today’s flagships. And the main 40MP sensor also doubles up as the selfie shooter.
So what’s the catch? There are two: the whopping cost and the absence of Google apps and services. The former is the price of early adoption. The latter, a problematic omission that doesn’t look likely to change any time soon.
Stuff says: ★★★★☆
With proper flagship performance, top-spec cameras and a unique design that puts the foldable display on the outside, the Mate Xs is limited only by its price and the absence of Google’s software
Folded cover display: 6.6in 1148×2480 OLED • Main display: 8in 2200×2480 OLED • Cameras: 40+8+16MP • Processor: Kirin 990 • Storage: 512GB • RAM: 8GB • Dimensions: 161.3×146.2×5.4mm (unfolded) • Weight: 300g
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
When it launched in 2020, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip became our top foldable pick: it was nicely designed, nippy and delightfully novel. Two years later, it still offers plenty for those who’d like a folding smartphone with a clamshell form factor.
Its specs hold up well enough: a Snapdragon 855 processor and 8GB RAM mean it’s no slowpoke, while its dual rear cameras have the edge over those of its Motorola Razr rival. Look past the plastic coating and the 6.7in AMOLED display inside also offers a respectable resolution. Plus Gorilla Glass protection gives its glossy shell a welcome dose of durability.
Downsides? The dinky external display is properly low-res, while its 3300mAh battery isn’t the biggest by modern standards. But more than that, the only thing which truly goes against the Galaxy Z Flip is the same thing that holds back almost every foldable: its prohibitively high price tag.
Stuff says: ★★★★☆
With solid specs and a solid build, the Flip’s still well worth considering if you crave a compact clamshell that unfolds into a full-screen smartphone – provided you can afford it
Cover display: 1.1in 112×300 AMOLED • Main display: 6.7in 1080×2636 AMOLED • Cameras: 12+12MP (rear), 10MP (front) • Processor: Snapdragon 865 • Storage: 256GB • RAM: 8GB • Dimensions: 167.3×73.6×7.2mm (unfolded) • Weight: 183g
Motorola Razr 2020
Motorola’s first effort at reviving the iconic Razr handset in 2019 had its fair share of foibles. The second-gen does plenty to address those: besides adding 5G connectivity, it streamlines the throwback design while retaining the nostalgia value of an all-screen smartphone that you can flip shut.
A slimmer chin, repositioned fingerprint sensor and restyled camera are the most obvious physical changes. More significant are the internal tweaks: there’s twice as much storage space, 2GB more RAM, a speedier Snapdragon 765G processor, slightly larger battery and a 48MP sensor (versus 16MP on the first Razr reboot).
Frustratingly, there are still plenty of niggles: the plastic OLED display inside has a relatively low resolution, while performance doesn’t come close to the latest flagships. And you can’t partially unfold the device. The Razr’s biggest selling point remains its satisfying flipping action – and its price tag only makes sense if you value that.
Stuff says: ★★★☆☆
Improved across the board, Motorola’s second attempt at a flip-top foldable adds 5G and various refinements, but makes sense only if you buy into the design nostalgia
Cover display: 2.7in 600×800 OLED • Main display: 6.2in 876×2142 OLED • Cameras: 48MP (rear), 20MP (front) • Processor: Snapdragon 765G • Storage: 256GB • RAM: 8GB • Dimensions: 169.2×72.6×7.9 mm (unfolded) • Weight: 192g
Are there any other folding phones available?
The foldables above aren’t the only models in production – but most of the alternatives aren’t officially available in the UK. Several impressive folding smartphones have been released in the last year, but most are only available in China at the moment.
We got hands-on with the landmark Huawei Mate X2 last year. Conclusion? It’s a seriously special smartphone – one which proves that foldables can be both awesome and durable. It’s well-made and features stellar camera kit, but it’s also crippled by a lack of Google software support. It looks unlikely to ever make it outside of the Chinese market.
It’s a similar story with Honor’s first foldable, the Magic V. Equipped with a creaseless 7.9in OLED main panel, it looks to be a proper performance powerhouse. Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor runs the show, with the help of 12GB of RAM. It also features three 50MP rear cameras, two 42MP selfie cameras and 5G connectivity. There’s still no word on international rollout.
Xiaomi’s Mi Mix Fold is likewise China-only. Which is a shame, because its spec sheet suggests it could be a compelling foldable. Think Snapdragon 888 silicon, a 108MP main camera, Harman Kardon speakers and a 5020mAh battery, all complemented by an 8.01in WQHD+ OLED folding display.