In case you haven't been paying attention, flip phones are a thing again. Distinct from the larger book-style foldable phones, clamshell devices like those you'll find in the Galaxy Z Flip and Razr series have shown us what the modern flip phone is capable of while not doing too much to try and reinvent the wheel. The models we've seen in 2023 are the best examples of what we can get from flip phones, which is why I think it's a good time to hop onto the foldable trend if you've been on the fence.
The best flip phones you can buy
I've reviewed several flip phones this year, and two models have come out on top for me. That would be the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Motorola Razr Plus. Both are great phones with stunning designs that will undoubtedly catch the eye of passers-by. I can't tell you how often people come up to me to point out how cool my phone is, especially when I operate it using just the cover screen to make payments, open apps, or take selfies.
But beyond looks, these phones offer some of the best specs you can find on a flip phone, with the Galaxy Z Flip 5 sporting one of the latest Snapdragon chips for faster performance and better efficiency. Meanwhile, the Motorola Razr Plus has some of the fastest displays you'll find on any foldable phone, big or small.
From a spec standpoint, the Z Flip 5 edges out the Razr Plus, particularly when it comes to camera quality and battery life, but the cover screen experience on the Razr is far superior, and it's what made me choose the Razr Plus over the Z Flip 5. Still, you really can't go wrong with either of these phones, as they represent the best of what you can expect from a modern flip phone.
Thanks to the Prime Big Deal Days sales event, we've seen just how generous Motorola can be with deals on the Razr Plus. The phone was down to just $800, which is quite a steal for one of our favorite foldable phones of 2023. We wouldn't be surprised if Motorola matched or even beat that discount during the upcoming Black Friday sales weekend, which is only a few weeks away!
That said, if you wanna go even cheaper, the Motorola Razr (2023) (without the Plus) is a mid-range option that is actually pretty good despite its rather small cover screen. It's got great performance, all-day battery life, and a "vegan leather" finish that feels really nice. That phone retails for just $700, but we wouldn't be surprised if Motorola got it down even further, considering the launch price brought it down to just $600.
Flip phones over big folds
While companies like Google and Xiaomi are focused on big foldables, Motorola and even Samsung are pushing smaller flip phones. In fact, Samsung has both types of foldables, but the Z Flip series is much more popular than the Z Fold, and for a flip fan like myself, it's not hard to see why.
The biggest appeal of flip phones over larger foldables is the price point. They're often much cheaper than book-style foldables, costing around $1000 at the higher end. That's roughly the same as a conventional flagship phone, making them much more attainable than a $1800 Galaxy Z Fold 5 (that's more than I currently pay for rent living in Seattle).
Book-style foldables also have a problem when it comes to support. There's more than goes into their software because companies want consumers to take advantage of that larger internal display. That's nice if you want more real estate to watch videos, but many apps aren't well-optimized for them, which can make the experience awkward. Granted, things have gotten better over the years, and they continue to improve with each generation, but it's clear we're not quite there yet.
With flip phones, there's very little companies have to optimize for. It's basically the typical smartphone experience, but it folds in half. There are some UI tweaks that adjust videos or the camera viewfinder when the top half is propped up at an angle, which can make it easier to view content or take selfies, but apps generally look and work how you expect.
Not to mention, the latest flip phones like the Razr Plus and Z Flip 5 are sleek, stylish, durable, and come with large cover screens, so you can get more done even when your phone is closed. And who doesn't want to relive the satisfaction of dramatically slamming your phone shut when you hang up on a phone call?
If there was ever a time to hop onto the foldable craze, it's now.
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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.