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Foldable phones are becoming more prevalent as a serious consideration for the average consumer in 2023, but up until now, it has been mostly Samsung leading the charge. There have been a ton of different foldables debuting in Asian and European markets, but the level of competing in the North American market hasn't been up to par. That is, until now. After a slew of early summer releases, Samsung now has serious threats to its big and small foldables coming from Google and Motorola, respectively. The question is, are those challenges enough to dethrone Samsung as the leader in foldable smartphones in North America?

This is all complicated by the fact that Samsung just debuted the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Galaxy Z Fold 5 at its Samsung Unpacked event. On top of that, OnePlus just teased its upcoming foldable phone, which should add even more competition to North American markets. However, these complications are good for buyers looking to ditch their great traditional phones for fun foldable ones. To help you navigate this relatively new product category, we've rounded up the best options in North America and Europe below.

Our favorite foldable phones in 2023

Galaxy Z Fold 5 render
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Best large foldable

Samsung does it again

$1500 $1800 Save $300

Samsung's latest Galaxy Z Fold 5 is a further refinement of the Z Fold lineup. The smartphone looks similar to past Z Fold iterations, featuring a 7.6-inch main screen and a tall cover screen. On the inside, it's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and a 4,400mAh battery. 

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  • New hinge finally folds flat
  • Large screen excellent for reading and media
  • Great multitasking software
  • Narrow outer display can be tricky to use
  • Still features a noticeable crease
  • Expensive and very similar to Z Fold 4

Considering that the Z Fold 5 only has a few differences from the last-generation Z Fold 4, it's easy to see that Samsung's foldable doesn't have the best hardware overall. Xiaomi's Mix Fold 3 is significantly thinner, and Vivo's X Fold has a better, larger camera sensor. But both of those phones only sell in China, and their software is not as well optimized as Samsung's. And so, for most readers, the best overall foldable is the Z Fold 5. Although our review concluded that this year's update is only an incremental one, the Z Fold 5 is still the best foldable available in North American markets.

When in doubt, the Z Fold 5 will perform like the prior Z Fold 4, although there are a few new features and tweaks that separate it from its predecessor. Most notable is the new Flex Hinge that uses the waterdrop design Samsung showcased at CES 2023 earlier this year. The new design allows the Z Fold 5 to fold completely shut, while there was a sizable gap between the two halves of the Z Fold 4. This makes the phone thinner and also gives it a durability advantage. Less dust and debris can find their way between the two screens, making the design more apt to stand the test of time.

The other main advantage of the Z Fold 5 is a chip upgrade, as the new foldable now includes Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chip. The last Z Fold 4 featured a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, and our head-to-head tests revealed that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 platform beats out the older version in benchmarks. Plus, this version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 platform is made specifically for Galaxy, so there's some OS optimization as well. However, since this chip has since appeared in other phones, it's hard to know exactly how special the processor really is.

As for the display, camera system, and software, it's all much of the same. That's a good thing for now, as the Z Fold 4 reigned supreme as the top foldable for a whole year in North America. The new Z Fold 5 is still the best foldable for most people, but Samsung will have to start innovating as more competitors come knocking. If you own the Z Fold 4, there's probably no reason to upgrade to the Z Fold 5.

New Project-17
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
Best clamshell foldable

For when you want a foldable in your pocket

$800 $1000 Save $200

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is the latest compact foldable from Samsung, offering a flexible 6.7-inch internal display, a 3.4-inch external display, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, and much more.

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  • Same great hinge design an Z Fold 5
  • Expanded cover screen
  • Excellent for selfies
  • Subpar battery life
  • No zoom lens

Samsung took a few cues from other brands in designing the new Galaxy Z Flip 5 with an expanded cover display. It's easily the most important upgrade when compared to the Z Flip 4, as we discovered in our hands-on with the device. You'll now find a 3.4-inch cover display on the Flip 5, which is still smaller than the one on the Motorola Razr+. However, it's still a quality upgrade that brings expanded widget support. Only a few apps are supported on the cover screen at launch, but you'll be able to add app support yourself with minor tweaks. Even with the expanded app support, the operating system doesn't perform the same on the cover screen as it does on the main screen. This is a noticeable downside to using the Z Flip 5 over the Razr+.

Like the new Z Fold 5, the smaller Z Flip 5 brings the Flex Hinge and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy platform. That makes Samsung's smallest foldable even smaller, measuring at 3.35 x 2.83 x 0.59 inches folded and 6.5 x 2.83 x 0.27 inches unfolded. It's also significantly thinner than the last-generation Z Flip 4, which had a thickness of 0.67 inches. The Z Flip 5's Flex Hinge will also bring all the same benefits as the Z Fold 5, including a no-gap form factor when shut and protection against dust and debris.

The Z Flip 5 is a great foldable phone, and choosing between this device and the Razr+ can be a toss-up. If you're looking for the most polished experience and don't need unrestricted access to the cover screen, the Z Flip 5 is probably the way to go. However, we still think the Razr+ is the best clamshell foldable because Motorola makes the most of the larger cover screen in ways that Samsung doesn't.

Porcelain Google Pixel Fold on transparent background.
Google Pixel Fold
Best foldable cameras

Google's foldable is a good start, with a few compromises

$1750 $1799 Save $49

The Google Pixel Fold is a feature-rich device with a compact form factor, flagship hardware, impressive cameras, and a phenomenal software experience. 

  • Fantastic size in any shape
  • Best photography experience in a foldable
  • Useful multitasking features
  • Android still needs some improvements for larger screens
  • Many third-party apps aren't optimized
  • Battery life is just OK

Google's first try at a foldable phone, after years of one being in rumored development, got a lot of things right. The Google Pixel Fold features a form factor that is a lot like European and Asian foldables, and that's a good thing. It has a wider and shorter outer display that feels a lot like a traditional smartphone and measures up to 5.8 inches. Unlike the tall and narrow display found on the Galaxy Z Fold series, the cover screen on the Google Pixel Fold is actually worth using.

When it's time to unfold the Pixel Fold, you'll notice that the hinge is extremely stiff and hard to open with one hand. This might be a good thing if you like propping up your foldable at all kinds of different angles, as the Pixel Fold can be set to any angle between 0 and 180 degrees. However, as numerous people who have tried the Pixel Fold have mentioned, it's not easy to reach that complete 180 degrees. Getting there requires a lot of force, and that might be more force than you're comfortable with after paying $1,800 for the smartphone.

The Google Pixel Fold is powered by a Tensor G2 chip that is getting quite old and has a few considerable flaws. Most noticeable is probably the chip's thermal management, which isn't great and makes Pixel phones get hot to the touch at times. However, it's still a solid SoC in daily use and offers a slew of machine learning and artificial intelligence features. Plus, it adds 12GB LPDDR5 RAM and storage configurations of either 256 or 512GB.

If you like to take great photos, you'll be happy to know that the Google Pixel Fold has the best cameras on any smartphone. Considering how great Google has been at making smartphone cameras on the Pixel lineup in prior years, that shouldn't be a surprise. This foldable features a 48MP f/1.7 PD main camera with OIS and CLAF, a 10.8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera with a 121.1-degree field of view with lens correction, and a 10.8MP f/3.05 telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom and 20x Super Res Zoom support. On the inside, there's a 9.5MP selfie camera on the inner screen that has a hole-punch cutout, so it'll probably beat the under-display camera on the Galaxy Z Fold 4.

The Google Pixel Fold is a first-generation product, so it obviously was going to have flaws. But it does challenge Samsung on the first try, which is extremely impressive. If you like Google's software and don't like the tall and narrow form factor of the Galaxy Z Fold 5, it might be worth giving the Pixel Fold a try.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Large foldable on a budget

A good alternative if you find Fold 5 too pricey

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC and offers a stunning foldable display. It's not the best on the market, but foldables are typically expensive, so this is one of the cheapest options.

  • Still very capable in 2023
  • Much cheaper than Fold 5
  • Overall display resolution and refresh rate as good Fold 5's
  • Cameras are noticeably weaker than Fold 5's
  • The hinge is not as sturdy as Fold 5's

If you are really interested in the Galaxy Z Fold 5 but find its $1,799 starting price too much to bear, you can consider the older Fold 3, which can be had now for around $800-$900 on Amazon or less than $1,000 at Best Buy if you want a physical retailer. There is also no shortage of second-hand options, which would be priced even lower.

The Fold 3, even in 2023, is still an excellent foldable phone, and unless you're a picky photographer, it doesn't fall that short of the Galaxy Z Fold 5. The displays are almost the same specs-wise (the Fold 5's screen is just a bit wider), and the hinge mechanism is also similar. The speakers, S Pen support, and software are virtually identical. The only tangible difference is in the chipset — the Fold 3 runs on the almost two-year-old Snapdragon 888 — and the aforementioned cameras. I don't think the older Qualcomm chip matters much, as it's still plenty powerful even today. But the trio of 12MP cameras in the Fold are a bit long in the tooth and don't grab crisp night shots.

For some people, a weaker camera is worth compromising to save up to $1,000 and still get an excellent, highly polished foldable experience. The Fold 3 is worth a look if the price is the only thing keeping you from getting a Fold 5. However, with the Z Fold 4 coming down in price with the release of the Z Fold 5, that might be a better budget option for some. It's retailing for as low as $1,300 at Samsung, and you can get it for even less than that with a trade-in. If you're willing to spend a few extra hundred dollars, the Z Fold 4 is a great choice available for less than a Z Fold 5. But the Z Fold 3 can be had for the same price as a traditional flagship, which makes it the best budget option available.

A render of the front and back of the Moto Razr+ in Viva magenta colorway.
Motorola Razr+ (2023)
Small foldable alternative

The best cover screen on the market

Motorola Razr+ (2023) is a clamshell foldable phone with a large 1:1 3.6-inch outside screen that allows the user to get a lot done without unfolding the phone.

  • Large outside screen lets you do a lot without unfolding
  • Bright, vivid main display with 165Hz refresh rate
  • Sleek and compact
  • Cameras resort to night mode too often
  • Battery life just good, not great

After choosing not to sell last year's Motorola Razr (2022) in the U.S., Motorola made a triumphant return to North America with the Motorola Razr+. It's a clamshell foldable that folds horizontally in half to get extremely compact and adds a cover display that lets you complete tasks without unfolding the phone. However, the Razr+ is the first iteration of this form factor that features a cover screen you'll actually want to use. It has a 3.6-inch, 144Hz OLED display on the outside that is virtually unrestricted and finally makes the most of that exterior space.

On the inside, you get a massive 6.9-inch OLED panel that features a 165Hz refresh rate. But, since this is a clamshell foldable, it's important to remember that screens are measured diagonally, and the Razr+ will have a taller aspect ratio than most phones. Otherwise, the display is great to look at and use. Paired with the cover display that is the best of any clamshell foldable, the screens on the Motorola Razr+ are easily the most appealing part of this foldable phone. The crease is visible while using the phone, but it's relatively discreet, and you'll stop noticing it soon.

The Razr+ isn't as impressive when it comes to performance, at least on paper. It packs a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, which was a year old at the time the Motorola Razr+ was released in June 2023. This chip is more than powerful enough for daily use but more concerning is that the phone uses the UFS 3.1 instead of the latest 4.0 standard for storage. The newer version is twice as fast and more efficient, so losing out on this is a significant downside. You do get other benefits, though, like fast charging and a 3,800 mAh battery. The cameras on the Motorola Razr+ are passable but otherwise unimpressive. A key caveat of foldable phones is that the cover screen does let you take selfies with the main camera array, which is great for people who take a lot of selfies. Plus, the adjustable hinge means the Razr+ essentially functions as a tripod that's always with you.

If you can live with Motorola's software and design language — which largely resembles Google's stock Android — the Razr+ is the best clamshell foldable you can buy right now. At around $1,000, it's competitively priced as well. Motorola was the first to complete the vision of a small foldable, and they've earned the praise that the Motorola Razr+ is receiving.

Best foldable phones: The final word

Some of the best foldable phones today are limited to Asian markets, and their lack of availability in more places was enough to warrant their exclusion from this list. However, more competition is coming to North American markets and Europe, and that's great news for buyers interested in foldable phones. The Google Pixel Fold and the Motorola Razr+ now challenge Samsung in both of its foldable smartphone categories. Now is a good time to buy any of the foldable phones on this list, and more are coming soon.

Galaxy Z Fold 5 render
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Best foldable overall
$1500 $1800 Save $300

Samsung's latest Galaxy Z Fold 5 is a further refinement of the Z Fold lineup. The smartphone looks similar to past Z Fold iterations, featuring a 7.6-inch main screen and a tall cover screen. On the inside, it's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and a 4,400mAh battery. 

You can score up to $1,000 off with trade-ins at