The Top 5 Foldable Phones of 2019

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In 1989, Motorola released what is considered by many to be the world’s first commercial flip phone, the MicroTAC 9800x. Featuring the now iconic “flip” design—i.e., a foldable, clamshell body—the MicroTAC 9800x challenged conventional standards of mobile phone design and helped pave the way for decades of innovative engineering. Now, thirty years later, a new wave of foldable phones has arrived, this time with screens that bend, not just bodies. This nascent category, which so far includes only a handful of devices, looks poised to redefine the way we think about smartphones once again. Read all about them in our first-ever foldable smartphone roundup.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

When they write the story of the foldable smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Fold will, no doubt, be heavily featured. Rumored for months, gleaned here and there in leaks and surreptitious flashes, the Galaxy Fold finally made its official debut at Samsung’s Unpacked Event earlier this year. Despite the fact we all knew the Fold was coming, its unveiling did not disappoint.

Featuring a 7.3-inch AMOLED screen that folds into a compact display, the Galaxy Fold looks every inch the futuristic tech we dreamt it would be. When folded, you can use the Fold as you would a typical Samsung Galaxy smartphone, albeit with a modest 4.6-inch display. When you need more screen, you can open the Fold like a book to use it as mini tablet with multi-active window support. Automatic app continuity is baked into the software, so when you fold or unfold the phone, whatever you’re looking at will be transferred to the next display, enabling you to pick up right where you left off. And, because the Fold supports up to three apps running simultaneously, the options for how you use it are virtually endless. Watch movies, surf the Web, text—all at the same time. Behold: The future!

Samsung Galaxy Fold

In addition to its bendable, dynamic display, the Galaxy Fold also boasts some serious specs and hardware, including six total cameras (which Samsung bills as its most versatile setup yet), 512GB of memory with 12GB of RAM, and a 4380mAh dual-battery system. This powerful combination of hardware, software, and revolutionary design means that Samsung has succeeded not only in creating a groundbreaking new device, but an entirely new mobile category.

Huawei Mate X

Debuted at Mobile World Congress 2019, Huawei’s Mate X not only stole the spotlight, but it also took home “Best in Show” honors. Thinner and prettier than the Samsung Fold (thank you very much, no screen gap), the Mate X appears to be the leader in the foldable phone category—at least in terms of design. Both its folded and unfolded displays are larger than the Galaxy Fold’s, so users won’t have to deal with a smaller screen than what they’re used to. Plus, its larger display and thinner footprint make the Mate X look more like a true modern-day flagship when it’s in the folded position.

Huawei Mate X

Spec-wise, the Mate X appears to be pretty neck-and-neck with the Fold: 8GB of RAM, 512GB of memory, and a hefty 4500mAh battery. The camera, too, seems like it’s equally flagship worthy, thanks in part to Huawei’s partnership with Leica. Oh, and it’s 5G-ready, so not only does the Mate X look like it’s from the future, but it’s ready for it as well.

Of course, being the biggest and best foldable phone on the market means a price tag that matches the prestige. As of this writing, the Mate X is reported to cost €2,299, or $2,615 in US dollars. And that’s if you could even get it here, which, let’s be honest, probably won’t ever happen—not in the foreseeable future, anyway. But price and exclusivity aside, there’s no way to talk about foldable phones and not mention the Mate X. Its specs are superpowered. Its aesthetics are art. In a category of devices that feels very much like the way of the future, the Mate X appears the most advanced of all.

LG V50 ThinQ

If we’re talking foldable phones, LG's V50 ThinQ is a bit of a cheat—in that the screen doesn’t actually fold. Instead, what you can do is attach LG’s Dual Screen accessory, a folio case with a built-in 6.2-inch OLED screen that effectively doubles your display. It's not quite as aesthetically pleasing as a true foldable display, but the Dual Screen achieves many of the same goals as its more pliant peers, including giving users the added screen real estate they desire. Add to that the fact the V50 ThinQ—with the Dual Screen accessor—runs between half and a third the cost of the Galaxy Fold and Mate X, and you’re talking about a “foldable” phone that’s more realistic for the everyday buyer.

LG V50 ThinQ

Second screen aside, the V50 ThinQ packs the deep feature set you would expect from the next LG flagship. It’s 5G-capable, runs a Snapdragon 855 chipset, and comes with 128GB of memory and 6GB of RAM. On top of that, the display is a vibrant 6.4 OLED screen, and it features a triple rear camera setup with standard, telephoto, and ultra-wide lenses.

Xiaomi Foldable Phone

The next two phones on our list have yet to be formally announced, but there’s plenty of physical evidence to suggest they are on the way. The first is from Xiaomi, which has released plenty of videos about its folding phone, but not much else. It doesn’t even have an official name yet, although Mix Flex, Dual Flex, and Mi Fold have all been rumored. But what we do know is, perhaps, the most exciting detail of all: the as-of-yet-named phone can fold not once, but twice. When you’re in tablet mode, you can fold both sides backward, converting it from tablet to a compact phone. You really must watch the video to truly appreciate how incredible this technology is. Rumors suggest a possible late spring/early summer announcement, or possible release, so stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

Motorola RAZR 2019

And finally, we come back to where it all started: Motorola. Thirty years after it wowed the world with MicroTAC 9800x, Motorola appears to be for ramping up for a repeat. That’s right: It’s the return of the Razr! One of the most iconic flip phones of all time, a rebooted Razr would be a fitting tribute for Motorola and the perfect reentry into the foldable phone category. Now, so far, nothing has been officially confirmed, but after months of rumors and rumblings, an official patent filing (with schematics), and recent Bluetooth certification, it seems very likely a foldable RAZR phone is on the way. Based on the hypothetical schematics, the new Razr could even look like its forebears, brandishing a similar footprint and flip design, only this time with a screen that folds, as well.

Multiple rumors suggest the new Razr will feature at least one foldable screen that is a 6.2-inch foldable OLED display, a Snapdragon 710 chipset, and possibly two variations of storage and RAM: either 4GB/64GB or 6GB/128GB. There’s also talk of a second smaller screen on the front of the phone you can use when it’s folded shut.

Again, and despite all the mounting evidence, the Razr 2019 is still an unconfirmed rumor. Even the branding is an uncertainty—so far “Voyager” has been the preferred codename. But with interest in the foldable phone category gaining steam and the excitement over the idea of a new Razr rising, it’s hard to imagine Motorola would pass on the opportunity. Hopefully, we’ll get the official word soon.

What do you think about foldable smartphones? Are they a fad or the future? Could you see yourself ever purchasing one? Let us know in the Comments section, below!

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