Samsung Galaxy Z FlipSource: Android Central

Best Foldable Phone Android Central 2020

We're still in the early days of the foldable phone re-emergence, but there are a couple of options available if you want to buy-in. These are no longer concepts or prototypes, they're complete phones that are on store shelves just like any other. Right now, the best overall foldable is the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip because of its ability to just work like a normal phone most of the time ... until it folds back in half again.

Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

The best thing the Galaxy Z Flip has to offer is normalcy and minimal compromises. At its core, the Z Flip is effectively a refreshed and slightly improved Galaxy S10+, which is a good thing. You're getting capable specs and performance, hardware that feels solid and high-quality, and a set of cameras that are just a little bit behind the highest-end phones this year. Compared to the shortcomings of other foldables, the Z Flip shines for having such good daily usability.

The Galaxy Z Flip also has the most durable folding screen available today, with its Ultra Thin Glass (UTG) screen covering. Now, of course, that's all relative, as other foldables up to this point have purely plastic screen coverings, but it's something. The UTG covering can still be damaged rather easily compared to the extremely hard glass found on non-folding phones, but it's more robust than what we had before and it should be a bit more resistant to damage through normal use.

As a compromise, you're giving up a little bit compared to a normal phone of the same (or lower) price. With just a 3,300mAh battery, longevity is on the low side. While its screen is great for a foldable, it's just 1080p and doesn't have the same clarity and quality as a fixed panel — and its large bezels can be cumbersome. You're also getting a pretty weak single speaker, there's no ultra-wide camera on the back, and the tiny 1.06-inch cover display on the outside isn't useful for much more than showing the time and date.

Pros:

  • Most durable foldable screen
  • Really strong specs
  • Typically great Samsung build quality

Cons:

  • UTG screen covering still isn't very strong
  • Cameras a step behind 2020 flagships
  • Weaker battery life than standard phones
  • Tiny cover display is almost useless

Best Overall

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

The most user-friendly foldable with the fewest compromises

The best part of the Galaxy Z Flip is its ability to feel like a normal phone when it's open, and then quickly fold in half to a compact size.

Best Big Screen: Samsung Galaxy Fold

The Galaxy Fold has had a rollercoaster of a launch, but the mid-year revised version has addressed many of the concerns over its durability. Samsung tweaked and improved the screen covering, bezels, and hinge so that it's less susceptible to damage from debris — but the plastic screen covering is still quite vulnerable to damage. Thankfully you can close up and protect that screen at any time, and still have a full-featured cover display to use — although the size and shape of the closed Fold make it a bit unwieldy.

The real bonus of the Galaxy Fold is that it can open up and provide a mini tablet-sized screen, with real possibilities for using multiple apps at once and comfortably viewing content in either portrait or landscape mode. Samsung backs it up with high-end specs, long battery life, and the full array of cameras from the Galaxy S10+. Of course, that all feels a bit old compared to the new Galaxy S20 Ultra, but as far as foldables go this is still top-of-the-line.

The Galaxy Fold won't appeal to as many people as the Z Flip because of its size, but its potential for being a true productivity machine can't be understated. It just comes with more compromises and a higher price.

Pros:

  • Massive screen when unfolded
  • High-end specs and more cameras
  • Strong battery life
  • Galaxy Buds included in the box

Cons:

  • Incredibly thick and heavy
  • Cover screen is tough to use
  • Internal screen prone to damage

Best Big Screen

Samsung Galaxy Fold

A tablet that folds down into a phone, sort of.

Samsung's first foldable comes with more compromises, but a perhaps more intriguing form factor.

Bottom line

When it comes to the limited selection of foldable phones, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is the best of the bunch. It doesn't offer the same level of quality and value as a normal non-folding smartphone, but that's not what we're evaluating here.

As far as a foldable goes, it offers the best combination of features and quality while limiting the compromises. When it's open, it operates mostly like the Galaxy S10+ — and then you can fold it in half to a more compact size to better fit in your pocket or bag. Being familiar and normal is a feature in this case when you get the extra benefits of having a folding display on top of it all.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Andrew Martonik is Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central. He has been a mobile enthusiast since the Windows Mobile days, and covering all things Android-related with a unique perspective at AC since 2012. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at andrew.martonik@androidcentral.com or on Twitter at @andrewmartonik.

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