Foldable smartphones have come a long way in two years. They are more reliable and their prices are now a little more accessible, although they remain in the upper class of the more expensive smartphones. If you too have fallen for the concept, here are the best models available on the market.
In the late 90s and early 2000s, flip phones were at the height of their popularity. Eclipsed by the rise of touch screens, they are gradually returning to center stage. It is thanks to the arrival of flexible screens that have changed the game and paved the way for foldable smartphones. If there was any doubt as to their raison d’être two years ago, things have since evolved.
Major manufacturers like Samsung, Huawei or Motorola have refined their design. The question of reliability is no longer on the agenda. Two form factors exist today to meet all inclinations. You can for example opt for a Galaxy Z Fold 3 if you are looking for a smartphone that can turn into a tablet with the convenience of a large screen.
Or choose a Galaxy Z Flip 3 or a Motorola Razr if you’re looking for a flip phone experience. And this, without radically breaking with the spirit of classic smartphones which are still largely dominant on the market. Here are the best foldable smartphones of the moment.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is arguably the best foldable smartphone around. Samsung has improved several aspects of the Z Fold 2 which had already fixed most of the problems of the first generation model. The solidity of the smartphone is not up for debate. It has a reinforced hinge, benefits from an overall aluminum construction and a screen protected by Gorilla Victus glass, the most resistant on the market. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is also water resistant (IPX8 certification). And one of its major novelties is obviously its compatibility with the S-Pen.
By abandoning the Note range, Samsung wants to impose its Z Fold line as its successor. The latter offers all the advantages of the old range: a large screen, applications optimized for note taking and for the use of the S-Pen, but also high performance. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 relies on a 7.6-inch main screen when the smartphone is unfolded. When folded, the external screen takes a format close to that of traditional smartphones with its size of 6.2 inches.
In both cases, you get a beautiful screen offering a refresh rate of 120 Hz. Samsung now relies on a panel Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O. The name is impressive, but it just means that the screen is brighter and has better contrast. The One UI interface adapts perfectly to both screens.
Finally, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 was launched at a price of 200 € lower than that of the Galaxy Z Fold 2. And it is especially the first to appear below the 2000 € bar: 1799 € very precisely, but we find it cheaper at 1699 € at the time of this writing. To know everything about this foldable smartphone, we invite you to read our full test of the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
The characteristics of the Galaxy Z Fold 3:
- Release date : August 2021
- Screens : 6.2 inches closed / 7.6 inches open
- Definition : 2268 x 832 px /2208 x 1768 px
- SoC : Snapdragon 888
- Storage / RAM : 256/12 Go et 512/12 Go
- Drums : 4 400 mAh
- Rear photo sensors : 12 MP + 12 MP + 12 MP
- Front photo sensors : 10 MP / 4 MP.
Galaxy Z Flip 3
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the best-selling model in Samsung’s foldable smartphone lineup. Because it is cheaper, but also and above all because it offers an experience close to that of flip phones. It is very compact when folded and fits easily in the pocket with its square format. With the Z Flip range, Samsung holds the model cut to appeal to the masses.
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 succeeds the Z Flip of 2020 and improves it in several aspects. Unfolded the smartphone has a 6.7 inch OLED display with 120Hz refresh rate. When folded, the external display offers a convenient 1.9 inch diagonal for showing notifications and other important information. It is also Always-On.
Thanks to the Flex Mode that must be activated in the settings, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 changes control system by dividing the screen in two when it is bent at a right angle. The upper part is reserved for the content of the applications. At the bottom, the interface reserves a large area for various controls.
Coming to the features of the Galaxy Z Flip 3, it has a Snapdragon 888 5G processor. The same that is found at the heart of most high-end smartphones of 2021. The SoC is supported by 8 GB of RAM and 128/256 GB of internal storage. The only negative point of this foldable smartphone is its small 3300 mAh battery, the charging power of which is limited to 15W.
As for the price, the Z Flip 3 is available at 1059 € in its version with 128 GB of storage. The 256 GB one is around € 1,100. To find out more, we invite you to read our full review of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3.
- Release date : August 2021
- Screens : 1.9 inch closed / 6.7 inch open
- Definition : 260 x 512 px / 1080 x 2640 px
- SoC : Snapdragon 888
- Storage / RAM : 8/ 128 Go or 8/256 Go
- Drums : 3 300 mAh
- Rear photo sensors : 12 MP + 12 MP
- Front camera : 10 MP
Motorola Razr 5G (2020)
Not to mention its specs, the Motorola Razr 5G has one big trump card in its favor: its name. For its entry into the foldable smartphone market, Motorola had the opportune idea to ride its iconic model from the mid-2000s to 2010: the Razr V3. The arrival of flexible screens has enabled the brand to relaunch the range by adapting it to current smartphones.
The Motorola Razr 2020, like the Galaxy Z Flip 3, is a foldable smartphone based on the clamshell model. The two smartphones have the same form factor, with a design specific to each of them. When folded, the device presents a small 2.7-inch OLED screen on the front (600 x 800 pixels). The latter is intended for displaying notifications and practical information. Once unfolded, the panel – still OLED – extends over a diagonal of 6.2 inches with a definition of 876 x 2142 pixels.
Let’s come to the technical sheet. Unlike Samsung, Motorola has chosen to integrate a mid-range SoC into its foldable smartphone. He embarks a Snapdragon 765G chip which has the advantage of being 5G and offering decent performance for most users. But it remains much less powerful than the Snadragon 888 or the S865 of 2020. The SoC is supported by 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage.
For the photo part, Motorola has chosen to stay on a single 48 MP sensor and a 20 MP selfie sensor. The battery in its case is even smaller than that of the Z Flip 3 since it has a capacity of 2800 mAh and compatible with a normal recharge of 15W. Finally, the price of the foldable smartphone has not changed since its release. It is still trading at € 1,599.
- Release date : September 2020
- Screens : 2.7 inches closed / 6.2 inches open
- Definition : 800 x 600 px / 2142 x 876
- SoC : Snapdragon 765G
- Storage / RAM : 8/256 Go
- Drums : 2800 mAh
- Rear sensor : 48 MP
- Front sensor : 20 MP
What is the best foldable smartphone in 2021?
As you will have noticed, there are not many models available on the market. Or at least in France. It is no coincidence that Samsung is the leader in foldable smartphones since it is practically the only one to regularly serve the French market. Xiaomi made its market debut in April 2021 with the Mi Mix Fold, a competitor model of the Galaxy Z Flip 3.
Unfortunately, this foldable smartphone is not available on the French market. As for Huawei, its Mate X line is always renewed. The Huawei Mate X2 which was released in 2021 is the most recent representative of this. Here again, it is extremely difficult to obtain the model in France. Huawei is paying the price for US sanctions and the prohibitive price of its foldable smartphones. Few people are ready to put more than 2,000 euros in a foldable smartphone without the Google Play Store.
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 3 therefore have no serious competition in France on their respective segments. The Korean manufacturer takes advantage of this almost monopolistic position. With the rumors that Apple is preparing a foldable smartphone or with the arrival of the foldable Oppo Find N, Samsung will soon have competition.