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Best foldable phone 2022

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Fold 4 on a table together
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Foldable phones used to be a far-flung concept from science fiction, but the latest in foldable smartphones brings the ideas of the future to the here and now. Built with strong aluminum frames and cutting-edge ultra-thin glass that can literally fold in half, these phones will amaze you every single time you open and close them.

Right now, it's nigh impossible to find a more perfect foldable phone than the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 (opens in new tab). When unfolded, it looks similar to the average smartphone, including a sleek and slim chassis with an all-day battery. But, when you're all done and just need to fit it in your jeans pocket, you can fold it in half, and it magically seems to fit just about anywhere.

However, the beauty of the foldables market is that you don't just have to have a "normal" shape phone that folds in half. What if you'd rather have a regular-size phone that unfolds into a tablet instead? Or maybe a book-style foldable makes more sense, giving you two screens instead of one. Either way you fold it, these tremendous foldable phones bring the best parts of the best Android phones (opens in new tab) into neat, versatile packages.

Let's get to unfolding the best foldable phones

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4's cover display

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)
The best foldable phone for most users

Reasons to buy

+
Super durable
+
120Hz refresh rate
+
Pocketable form-factor
+
IPX8 Water resistance
+
More affordable than most foldables
+
Great performance and battery life

Reasons to avoid

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No telephoto lens
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Display crease is still noticeable

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 isn't a revolutionary upgrade over its predecessor, but it didn't really need to be, anyway. Samsung slimmed up the frame and the hinge on the Z Flip 4 when compared to the Flip 3. It also shrunk the Flip 4 by a few millimeters but added a few grams to the weight. Why? Because the battery got a 400mAh increase in capacity!

That, combined with the more power and more power-efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor inside means the Flip 4 gets better battery life than the Flip 3 could have ever dreamed. It also charges faster than the Flip 3, so if there's a day you need to top up the battery, it will only take 20 minutes or so to get enough power to last.

The Flip 4's refined design includes a hinge that unfolds flatter than the Z Flip 3, which not only makes it feel more like a "normal" phone when it's unfolded, but it also helps reduce the look of the display crease in the middle, as we pointed out in our Galaxy Z Flip 4 review (opens in new tab).

The Flip 4 retains the smaller cover display, which is even more useful these days thanks to a free cover screen app (opens in new tab) that expands the functionality beyond what Samsung provides out of the box. Inside is a gorgeous 120Hz display that's 45% stronger than last year's, and the pre-installed screen protector now has stronger adhesive and a better application to help eliminate peeling over time.

Samsung also upgraded the camera experience, fitting a brighter sensor underneath larger lenses on the back of the phone. That results in faster low-light shots and better overall quality.

Best yet, it's still the same price as the Fold 3, even with all the upgrades. The best Galaxy Z Flip 4 deals (opens in new tab) often take hundreds off the regular price, and you might even be able to get one for free depending on your carrier or the time of the year.

The large, folding inner display of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)
The ultimate foldable

Reasons to buy

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120Hz refresh rate on both displays
+
Flagship-level cameras
+
Powerful processor that doesn't get hot
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Excellent battery life
+
S Pen support and IPX8 water resistance
+
Brilliant new multitasking features

Reasons to avoid

-
No dust resistance
-
Display crease is still noticeable
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No S Pen holster

In many ways, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the ultimate Android phone. Its super-charged processor isn't just faster than any you've used before, but it also doesn't get hot while playing games and will still deliver better battery life than last year's Fold 3.

In our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 review (opens in new tab), we noted that getting through a full day's use was no problem at all, and a 20-minute charge will top-up the battery if you happen to run a bit low one day.

Samsung also upgraded the Galaxy Z Fold 4's cameras, giving it the same great camera setup as the Galaxy S22 Plus. Our Galaxy Z Fold 4 camera review (opens in new tab) is proof positive that this phone has a superb camera system that'll regularly have you saying "wow."

On top of that, Samsung added some nifty new multitasking features like a taskbar on the big screen. That makes it feel more like a laptop or tablet rather than a phone, so any app on your phone is just a tap or two away at any time. It also means running multiple apps at once is easier than ever, as you'll just need to drag any icon up from the taskbar to run apps in split screen.

The Fold 4 might still have no S Pen holster, but great Fold 4 S Pen cases (opens in new tab) like the Spigen Thin Fit P will have you forgetting about that problem in no time. Samsung further tightened up the design over the Fold 3, as well, slimming up the hinge, reducing the bezels on both displays, and adjusting the aspect ratio to make the outer display more comfortable to use. It's a fantastic upgrade that will please even the pickiest of power users.

Writing on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 with the S Pen for Fold

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)
Best big screen for a lower price

Reasons to buy

+
120Hz refresh rate on both displays
+
IPX8 water resistance
+
Snapdragon 888 with 5G support and 12GB of RAM
+
S Pen support
+
Lower price than ever

Reasons to avoid

-
Under-display selfie camera is cool but not great
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Battery life isn't great
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Display crease is noticeable
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No dust resistance
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No S Pen holster

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 might be last year's foldable, but it's still extremely capable and now sells for a lower price than ever. Samsung cut the price by hundreds, making it $600 less than the Z Fold 4 on average.

But it's still the same great phone we loved from last year. While the camera isn't as good as the Fold 4's camera, it's still good enough to get the job done and take some seriously great pics. It's also got IPX8 water resistance and S Pen support, as well as the upgraded PET screen protector that's pre-installed on the big foldable display.

Because of the big price drop, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 (opens in new tab) is still a tremendous value that packs a tablet and a phone into one amazing form-factor. This is a great alternative to the Galaxy S22 Ultra (opens in new tab) if you still want S Pen support with an even larger, more tablet-shaped screen. Using the smaller screen is also a joy thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate, which keeps things smooth even when you're just casually browsing.

Moto Razr 5G charger

(Image credit: Android Central)

Motorola Razr 5G

Best old-school look

Reasons to buy

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Cover Display can be used with any installed apps
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More durable than the original version
+
Slightly improved internal specs

Reasons to avoid

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Only two major Android release updates
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No wireless charging despite glass back
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Not compatible with Verizon's mmWave 5G network

While we're still waiting for the Motorola Razr 3 (opens in new tab) to leave China's shores, the existing Moto Razr 5G is still a fun buy if you can get it for the right price. The Razr differentiates itself from Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip line with its big cover display, which can open and run any app on the phone.

This iteration is much more durable than the original, being able to withstand quite a lot more than you might expect, save for a fall onto concrete at the perfect angle. 

The internal specs were slightly upgraded over the original, with the Snapdragon 765G powering the flip phone, along with 8GB of RAM and a slightly larger battery. While you won't turn to the Razr 5G for all of your photography needs, Motorola made some necessary changes to at least make the camera serviceable on a daily basis.

But that's about all that you'll find with the Razr 5G. Although the 5G moniker has arrived because that's what OEMs do now, you'll never see 5G speeds if you're a Verizon customer. That's because, while there's sub-6GHz compatibility, Motorola ignored Verizon's mmWave network. Additionally, although Motorola changed the design to incorporate a glass back, you still won't find wireless charging, which is disappointing.

Speaking of disappointment, the Razr 5G is limited to just two major Android releases. Considering that it launched with Android 10, that means you're going to be limited to Android 12 whenever Motorola gets around to releasing it. That update has been under testing since March 2022 but has yet to be released. Motorola also promised Android 13 for the phone — an update that is already available on Google Pixel phones — so there's no telling when these updates will arrive.

TikTok on the Microsoft Surface Duo 2

(Image credit: Android Central)

Microsoft Surface Duo 2

Best dual-screen foldable

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent hardware design
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Hinge is smooth to operate
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Dual-screens enhances productivity
+
Fun and unique
+
Cameras are improved over the original

Reasons to avoid

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Doesn't fold back flat like the original
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Microsoft software updates are hit-or-miss
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No wireless charging

When you think of a foldable phone, you might think of one smaller screen unfolding to reveal one larger display. But what if your foldable looked more like a book, with a proper cover on the outside, and two separate displays on the inside? That describes the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 (opens in new tab), the sequel to Microsoft's first major Android phone.

The dual-screened approach actually enables you to be a bit more productive, as you can move apps between the two screens instead of tiling them on one large display. The inner edge of both screens curves inward, waterfall style, and create a sort of "hinge display" Microsoft calls the Glance Display. This is great for seeing when you receive a text, a phone call, checking the battery level, or any other missed notifications.

Microsoft also added in support for the Surface Slim Pen 1 or 2, making the Surface Duo 2 feel more like a digital notebook than most other foldables. The cameras on the back have been significantly improved over the original Surface Duo, but the giant camera hump also means the Duo 2 won't fold flat when you fold those displays backward. It's not a deal-breaker but it's definitely something folks might miss from the first iteration.

Vivo X Fold faux leather back with Govee Hex lights in the background

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Vivo X Fold

Best foldable cameras

Reasons to buy

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Superb cameras with 5x optical zoom
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Feature-rich, customizable OS
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Grippy leather back
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Super fast charging
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Biggest foldable display

Reasons to avoid

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Not readily available outside of China
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No water or dust resistance
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Expensive
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Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 isn't the best

Like many China-only Android smartphones, the Vivo X Fold pushes the boundaries of technical achievement in so many ways. When it launched in Summer 2022, it had the best cameras on any foldable phone. While the Galaxy Z Fold 4 certainly caught Samsung up in most respects, the Vivo X Fold still has the best zoom and overall camera of any foldable phone.

There's no water or dust resistance here, both because of the faux leather on the back and because Vivo's hinge design doesn't allow for it. At least the display crease is almost unnoticeable, though! That inner display of the Vivo X Fold is super bright, super big, and super beautiful compared to most other foldables, as well.

The outer cover display is also super comfortable to use thanks to its size — which is nearly identical to a standard smartphone size — and sports a 120Hz AMOLED panel on both inner and outer displays for maximum smoothness.

Vivo's Origin OS is notoriously iOS-inspired, which will surely drive some folks crazy, but it's also impressively customizable at the same time. Everything from the icons and colors on the home screen to the swipe-in gestures from the edges of the screen can be customized. Vivo also seems to have thought of nearly everything when it comes to settings, as you'll find option upon option in nearly every layer of the settings menu.

The downside, of course, is that it's really only readily available in China. Sure, you could import one for a pretty penny and enjoy the stunning engineering Vivo put into this phone. Still, you'll need to make sure you can read Chinese to fully appreciate every part of this phone, as many apps and other parts are also only in Chinese.

Bottom line

While there are only a few foldable phones available outside of China, the options available are pretty impressive. There's little doubt that the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is the foldable that makes the most sense for most people, as it packs a giant screen into a foldable, pocket-friendly form factor.

The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is Samsung's most premium foldable, featuring an even larger, tablet-like display inside, and a nearly standard-sized smartphone screen on the outside. It's the most powerful foldable phone you'll find in most regions of the world, and Samsung's world-class software and camera experience make it the most feature-rich foldable on the list.