You May be scoffing as you read this. Folding phones? Really? Aren’t those just gimmicks? I’m here to tell you they’re pretty darn useful. And yes, there are now quite a few of them that you have options to choose from. Folding phones are an evolution of the traditional single-screen slab of glass we’ve all been using for nearly two decades.
They predominantly come in two different forms—a folding flip phone or a folding book-like phone—enabling you to either relive the glory days of a small phone or expand your multitasking options while on the go. The best folding phone is going to be a personal decision—arguably even more than a traditional smartphone since it hinges on what style you prefer. Regardless, I have tested nearly every one of these phones, and these are my favorites.
Be sure to check out our other mobile buying guides, including the Best Android Phones, Best iPhones, Best Cheap Phones, Best Google Pixel Phones, Best Motorola Phones, and Best Phones With a Headphone Jack.
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Things to Know Before Buying
They are more fragile than normal phones. Folding phones have a lot more parts than a normal smartphone, not to mention a hinge. Companies advertise how many folds these devices have been tested for—usually around 200,000 or 500,000 folds—but a single drop can be incredibly damaging. They also are not as dust-resistant and some aren’t as water-resistant (almost none of them are IP78 rated), so you’ll want to be especially careful. Use a case, and it might be worthwhile to invest in the manufacturer’s device care policy.
Don’t remove the built-in screen protector. Most of these folding phones have a film over the inner screen. You might be tempted to remove it, but don’t—it can damage the display. There are usually instructions in the packaging instructing you not to remove it, and how to care for your device.
There’s a small learning curve to the software. Flip-style folding phones are fairly straightforward, but book-like folding phones that double as a tablet have some new multitasking tricks that will take some getting used to if you want to make the most of them. I recommend taking some time to run through these features so you understand how they work.
They’re expensive. Do you really need one? Nobody needs a folding phone. If you think you’re someone who will benefit from them, know that they’re frequently discounted during big sale events like Black Friday, and you can also knock a few hundred dollars off if you trade in an eligible device.