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Best foldable phones 2024: Expand your horizons with these bendy handsets

best foldable phone header left hand holding unfolded phone and right hand holding folded phone

Foldable phones are becoming more and more popular. But which foldable phone is right for you?

While sales of “regular” smartphones have slowed in recent years, the foldable market is experiencing exponential growth. It’s the most vibrant and exciting area of an otherwise staid sector.

Picking out the best foldable phone is a tricky process, however. On the one hand, there are more and more manufacturers turning out stunning handsets, and the level of choice has never been better. On the other, this is far from a mature market. There’s a degree of compromise that needs to be accepted with each foldable device, so you’ll need to choose carefully.

Here’s our guide to buying a foldable phone, starting with advice on choosing the right type of foldable handset for you. We’ll then dive into the particulars and recommend some top picks.

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The Motorola Razr 40 Ultra is back to its record-low price

The Motorola Razr 40 Ultra is an impressively strong contender, particularly thanks to its sleek design and barely-there hinge crease. Now, it’s dropped back down to its joint-lowest price of £849. That’s a fair bit off the average price of £995, and the same price it was during Black Friday.

Amazon Avg £995 Now £849 View deal at Amazon

Best foldable phones: At a glance

Best full-size foldableSamsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 (~£1,749)Check price at Amazon
Best compact foldableSamsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 (~£1,049)Check price at Amazon
Best budget compact designMotorola Razr 40 Ultra (~£1,050)Check price at Amazon
Best foldable cameraOnePlus Open (~£1,599)Check price at OnePlus

How to choose the best foldable phone for you

There’s a lot to consider when shopping for a new foldable phone. Straight off the bat, your budget will need to be pretty generous – several of our choices are among the most expensive phones on the market.

Even before that, you’ll need to consider what you actually want from your foldable phone. Here are some key points to consider before we get down to our recommendations.

What’s the difference between foldable phone types?

There are two main types of foldable – a compact clamshell design, and a full-size, book-like version. They have very different characteristics, not to mention price ranges, so it’s important to clarify the differences.

The compact foldable style is intended for those who want their phone to occupy the smallest space possible in their pocket or bag, without giving up the perks of a regular smartphone experience. These clamshell foldables tend to be much cheaper, having dropped to around the price of a regular flagship smartphone.

The full-size foldable type is for those who want the maximum screen space possible without having to lug a tablet around with them. Full-size foldables are the most expensive smartphone variety on the market, selling for around double the price of a regular flagship phone.

Do foldables have external screens too?

Compact foldables tend to have internal displays that are the same size and shape as a large “regular” smartphone. Full-sized foldables have significantly larger and squarer internal displays that are closer to compact tablets.

In addition, both foldable types tend to have secondary displays on one of their outer surfaces. Compact foldables give you a small square screen for quick heads-up information, while full-size foldables give you a whole smartphone screen, letting you use them as normal without the need to unfold them.

Are foldables good at taking pictures?

You may have heard that foldable phones aren’t among the best camera phones on the market, and that’s certainly been the case until relatively recently. That might surprise you given the cost of some of these phones, but it’s a simple matter of space constraints in this relatively new phone design.

While “standard” smartphone internal design has been settled and optimised to within an inch of its life, foldable manufacturers are still figuring out the best way to squeeze all those components into a hinged device. Most foldable phones to date have had to compromise on camera quality as a result.

Things have improved a lot, however. Manufacturers are engineering their way to a solution, and some of our foldable picks below take very good pictures indeed. The days of foldable photography compromise may well be in the past.

What about the battery life?

Another area where foldable phones have famously struggled is battery life. There’s less space for batteries in those futuristic bendy bodies, but two (often large) displays to drive.

Again, this is much less of a concern with newer foldables. More efficient components, increased battery sizes and clever software optimisation means that most newer foldables should get you through a full working day without a problem.

Should I buy one SIM-free?

Generally speaking, we would always recommend buying a phone outright where possible. You can use any SIM you like, and sell your phone with the minimum hassle come upgrade time. With foldables, however, doing so will involve a significant outlay.

Some of the phones listed below will cost you more than £1,500, which is a lot. If that sounds too expensive, it might be more feasible for you to keep an eye out for a decent contract deal. As always, add up the total cost of a contract and compare it to the cost of buying the phone outright.

How we test foldable phones

We test our foldable phones in much the same way as we test any regular smartphone. This process involves running a number of CPU and GPU benchmark tests, primarily involving the Geekbench 6 and GFXBench applications found in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. We can then compare these scores against similarly priced rivals.

Our review process also involves putting a foldable phone’s displays (there are nearly always two) through a rigorous test process. With both screens we use the DisplayCAL software in conjunction with a display colorimeter to give us a precise reading of how accurately they reproduce colour, as well as allowing us to work out their maximum brightness and contrast levels.

The final benchmark test we run relates to a foldable device’s battery life. Here we employ our own bespoke video rundown test, which involves playing a looping video through the VLC media app, with flight mode enabled and the screen set to 170cd/m2 brightness. When the phone runs out of power and shuts down we’ll charge it back up, open the VLC app and note the timestamp indicating how long the video ran for before shutdown.

Less scientific, though no less thorough, are our foldable phone camera tests. Throughout our time with the device, we put each camera through a variety of everyday shooting scenarios, incorporating scenic, low-light and indoor shots, as well as shooting multiple videos in a variety of modes.

READ NEXT: Best smartphones

The best foldable phones you can buy in 2024

1. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5: Best full-size foldable

Price when reviewed: £1,749 | Check price at SamsungSamsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 held in the hand, unfolded in front of green foliage

After pioneering the foldable format and having things largely its own way for several years, Samsung is now on the receiving end of some stiff competition. Even so, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 remains our pick for the best full-size foldable.

Sure, at £1,749 for the 256GB version it’s eye-wateringly expensive. And yes, it’s not the slimmest foldable, nor does it have the best camera setup, but the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the most refined full-size foldable overall, with the fewest rough edges and annoyances.

Samsung’s experience in the field really tells, with a complete package that gives you two excellent screens, a classy design, strong performance, a decent triple-camera system and advanced software that makes the most of all that extra screen space. You also get support for Samsung’s brilliant S Pen stylus, which makes lots of sense on a 7.6in display.

There’s an argument to be made that Samsung has been resting on its foldable laurels a little of late, but there’s no denying that the Galaxy Z Fold 5 offers the most comprehensive foldable package on the market.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Fold Z 5 review

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 3.36GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy; Screen: 7.6in, 2,176 x 1,812 (cover: 6.2in, 2,316 x 904); Cameras: 50MP, 10MP (3x zoom), 12MP (ultrawide); Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB; Operating system: Android 14

2. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5: Best compact foldable

Price when reviewed: £1,049 | Check price at SamsungSamsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 in the hand, half folded

Just as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is with the full-size foldable market, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is the same on the compact foldable phone scene.

It’s true that a number of rivals have caught up and even overtaken this clamshell series in a few key areas, but Samsung’s hard-won experience in the market shows through with a comprehensive compact foldable package that doesn’t really have any glaring faults.

The flippable design is sleeker and more reassuringly solid than it’s ever been, there’s IPX8 certification (meaning the phone is waterproof), performance from its overclocked Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip is strong, and even the most expensive 512GB version is competitively priced.

The Galaxy Z Flip 5’s dual camera setup is solid rather than spectacular, and we’d like to see that inner crease filled in a little, but Samsung’s iterative approach has produced a compact foldable that’s more pleasant to live with day to day than any other foldable.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 3.36GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy; Screen: 6.7in, 2,640 x 1,080 (cover: 3.4in, 748 x 720); Cameras: 12MP, 12MP (ultrawide); Storage: 256GB, 512GB; Operating system: Android 14

3. Motorola Razr 40 Ultra: Cleanest compact design

Price when reviewed: £1,050 | Check price at Amazonmotorola razr 40 ultra sitting on a grey sofa

The Motorola Razr 40 Ultra gives our top compact foldable pick a serious run for its money. It might not be as fast as the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5, thanks to an older Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip, and its dual camera system isn’t quite as good. But its design is even sleeker thanks to a minimal hinge crease.

This stylish foldable also trumps the Galaxy Z Flip 5 with a 3.6in edge-to-edge cover display, which provides more detailed – and readable – heads-up information while the phone is closed. When you do crack that device open, you’ll be presented with an excellent 6.9in 165Hz AMOLED screen.

Motorola’s flagship foldable also benefits from strong battery life, which isn’t something you can say about all of its rivals. With its super-clean UI, this is probably the closest thing to a compact Pixel Fold, too, if you prefer Google’s stock software.

All in all, the Razr 40 Ultra is a worthy alternative to the Galaxy Z Flip 5.

Read our full Motorola Razr 40 Ultra review

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 3.19GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1; Screen: 6.9in, 2,640 x 1,080 (cover: 3.6in, 1,066 x 1,056); Cameras: 12MP, 13MP (ultrawide); Storage: 256GB; Operating system: Android 13

4. OnePlus Open: Best foldable camera

Price when reviewed: £1,599 | Check price at OnePlusOnePlus Open review 2024

The OnePlus Open is a seriously impressive full-sized foldable, and if it wasn’t for a couple of glaring omissions (no wireless charging, a mediocre IP rating) this phone would likely be challenging the Galaxy Z Fold 5 as the number one choice.

OnePlus’ design is incredibly slick and attractive, with a minimal display crease, while a clever UI makes running multiple apps side by side extremely easy. It’s even a little cheaper than Samsung’s champ.

The one thing that might make the OnePlus Open a better choice than the Galaxy Z Fold 5 for some people, however, is its camera system. This is arguably the best on any foldable phone (shout out to the Pixel Fold too), with a large 48MP Sony LYT-T808 main sensor and a 3x 64MP telephoto option allied to a 48MP 114-degree ultrawide sensor.

If photography is a priority, the OnePlus Open might just be the best foldable option for you.

Read our full OnePlus Open review

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 3.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2; Screen: 7.82in, 2,440 x 2,268 (cover: 6.31in, 2,484 x 1,116); Cameras: 48MP, 64MP (3x zoom), 48MP (ultrawide); Storage: 512GB; Operating system: Android 14

Check price at OnePlus

5. Motorola Razr 40: Best budget compact foldable

Price when reviewed: £800 | Check price at AmazonMotorola Razr 40 review - Phone folded on a table

Foldable phones don’t come cheap, but the Motorola Razr 40 is the first example that we would dare to call “affordable”. With an RRP of just £800 (there are plenty of deals around for substantially less) this foldable phone undercuts its more expensive sibling, the Razr 40 Ultra, by £250.

Still, the wallet-friendly price has meant a few compromises. The Razr 40 loses the signature cover display of the Ultra. It also runs on the slowest processor of any foldable, and its camera isn’t the best, either.

However, this cheap compact foldable packs an excellent 6.9in 144Hz OLED main display. Meanwhile, its 4,200mAh battery is even larger than the Razr 40 Ultra’s, and it supports the same combination of 30W wired and 5W wireless charging.

If you’re intrigued by the “foldable” phenomenon but find yourself baulking at the sky-high prices, the Razr 40 is officially the cheapest clamshell on the market right now.

Read our full Motorola Razr 40 review

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1; Screen: 6.9in, 2,640 x 1,080 (cover: 1.5in, 368 x 194); Camera: 64MP, 13MP (ultrawide); Storage: 256GB; Operating system: Android 13

6. Honor Magic Vs: Cheapest full-size foldable

Price when reviewed: £1,400 | Check price at Honor

The Honor Magic Vs gives you a surprisingly feature-rich full-sized foldable experience for £1,400. That’s still very expensive, of course, but it’s £349 cheaper than the Galaxy Z Fold 5.

All things considered, this is a remarkably complete offering with a couple of clever cutbacks helping the company to whittle down the asking price. For example, there’s a big and beautiful 7.9in fold-out AMOLED, but it has only a 90Hz refresh rate rather than 120Hz.

In a similar fashion, the Honor Magic Vs runs on a speedy flagship chip of a slightly older vintage in the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1. The design, while super slim and premium, doesn’t have an IP rating.

Throw in a decent-sized battery and speedy 66W wired charging , and you have a large foldable phone that makes some smart cuts to hit an aggressive price point. If the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is simply too rich for your blood, this is definitely worth considering.

Read our full Honor Magic Vs review

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 3.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1; Screen: 7.9in, 2,272 x 1,984 (cover: 6.45in, 2,560 x 1,080); Cameras: 54MP, 8MP (3x zoom), 50MP (ultrawide); Storage: 512GB; Operating system: Android 13

Check price at Honor

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