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The best foldable smartphones: Which 2022 foldable comes up top? | NextPit

Which foldable smartphone should you buy in 2022? In our comparison of the best foldable smartphones available, we currently recommend smartphones from Samsung, Motorola, and Microsoft. With the Galaxy Z Fold 3, the Galaxy Z Flip 3, the Motorola Razr 5G, and the Microsoft Surface Duo 2, these four devices make it into our Best Of list that could not be any more different.

The best Foldables 2022 compared:

  Editor’s recommendation Best value-for-money 3rd place 4th place
Product
Image Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 Motorola Razr 5G Microsoft Surface Duo 2
Pros
  • Two well-calibrated 120 Hz AMOLED screens
  • Waterproof, rugged design (IPX8)
  • OneUI and Flex mode work perfectly
  • Good photos in daylight
  • No punch hole notch on the main display
  • 3 Android updates, 4 years of security patches
  • Stunning design
  • Foldable display
  • IPX8 certified
  • Four years of security updates
  • Cool retro look
  • Good workmanship
  • Very handy, fits in any pocket
  • Cheaper in 2022
  • Great workmanship
  • Innovative concept
  • Compatible with Surface Slim Pen 2
  • Capable SoC
Cons
  • Poor camera performance
  • Disappointing under-display selfie camera performance
  • Battery life is not outstanding
  • Quick charging is too slow
  • A lot of ‘thermal throttling
  • Still too expensive
  • Battery life
  • Disappointing camera at this price

 

  • Manageable battery life
  • Average camera performance
  • Expensive for what it offers
  • Screen gap in 2022
  • Android 11
  • Lots of Microsoft bloatware
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As you can see, we are content with only these four models in our “Best Of” list. The foldables market is still a very young one with a manageable number of devices. We have decided to only recommend those that are currently available without any inventory issues.

Models like the Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold and the Huawei Mate X are not listed for obvious reasons. Even more pronounced is how the two Samsung foldables are currently opening the door for this product class to enter the mainstream market.

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Here’s what to look out for when buying foldables

Different types exist:

Basically, we can distinguish two types when it comes to foldable devices:

  • Clamshell models like the Z Flip 3, which offer a normal smartphone-sized display when fully opened
  • Foldables in a book or booklet form factor, where the usual smartphone screen’s surface area is almost enlarged to a tablet form factor

Clamshell devices are much more compact in size, folding horizontally like how the first foldable phones once did. Meanwhile, they also come with small external displays like the Galaxy Z Flip 3, on which you can control music or read notifications. Foldables like the Galaxy Z Fold 3, on the other hand, are folded vertically and offer significantly more multitasking possibilities due to the larger display area. Moreover, they are fully usable even when folded due to a generous outer display.

Who are foldables suitable for?

Foldable smartphones are unfortunately very expensive for most of the available models and offer manufacturers a lot of room for experimentation. Thus, the target group must also be equally well off and would not think twice about dropping four figures at a moment’s notice. In addition, they will also have to be patient and live with the fact that the new features and hardware components are sometimes not yet completely mature.

The large booklet format is a good choice for users who also need to be productive on the go. You benefit from the large display which allows you to use office applications in a more productive manner with the option of stylus support for selected models. A practical feature of the clamshell models is how you can place it half open and thus, for instance, making it useful for content creators to record a video hands-free in front of the smartphone camera.

So foldables are perfect for early adopters who like to be the first to check out “state of the art” technologies and have deep pockets.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: The king of foldables

NextPit Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 opened
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the current flagship of Samsung foldables and is generally considered as the best model in this product class / © NextPit

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 has inherited the title as the class leader directly from its predecessor. In the direct comparison between Z Fold 2 and Z Fold 3, you can read in detail on areas where Samsung could improve. In addition to the usual updates to the camera and processor, Samsung has above all, worked on making the Z Fold 3 even more robust and also optimized at the hinges. Samsung even managed to improve the price, which has now been lowered to $1,799.

In his review of the Galaxy Z Fold 3, Antoine not only anointed the device as the best foldable on the market, but also sees the launch of this model as the first real launch point for this niche product segment. Previous generations suffered from teething problems, and now, armed with IPX8 certification, a more robust build, and an improved display, it is safe to say that Samsung foldables are here to stay!

Since the asking price of $1,799 is still plenty of money, it may be advisable to purchase it on contract from a mobile service provider. But thankfully in 2022, you can usually find the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 for a discount.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3: The foldable for the masses

NextPit Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 side open
Galaxy Z Flip 3: The first foldable for the masses? / © NextPit

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 offers significant improvements over its predecessor. Once again, we recommend you take a look at our comparison between the Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Flip 3. It’s nice that we also find a 120 Hertz display on this new flip phone and IPX8 certification for more robustness. My colleague Camila Rinaldi also wrote a review about the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 and praised the impressive design.

The main reason why the flip phone is making such a big comeback with the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the significantly lower price: while the Galaxy Z Flip was priced at just under $1,500 when it was launched, you can get the Z Flip 3 starting from $999. This places it on the same price level as the Samsung Galaxy S22+.

Technically, it does not quite find a place in the flagship class despite the Snapdragon 888 chipset. This is even more pronounced with the rather average camera performance and middling battery life, showing how there is still a long way to go to the pinnacle as a flagship smartphone. Nevertheless, it is a successful and very stylish piece of technology, which, according to the sales figures, also has what it takes to become the first real milestone in smartphones equipped with a foldable display.

Motorola Razr 5G: Cool and well…. just cool!

AndroidPIT motorola razr 2019 handson 09
The Motorola Razr is simply a damn stylish smartphone. By the way, this is the first version without 5G / © NextPit

The Motorola Razr is kind of the super cool one(s) from my high school years: 15 years ago, everyone was jealous and couldn’t keep their hands off it. The coolness factor remains intact even until today, but somehow the rest of the parts haven’t quite grown up. The Motorola Razr, unfortunately, has mediocre hardware working under its wickedly expensive hood.

The recommended retail price of $1,399 for the second generation Motorola Razr 5G, unfortunately, includes a mid-range Snapdragon 765G SoC, a rather mediocre solitary camera, and just a 2,800 mAh battery. Basically, You’re buying a $200 smartphone at a $1,399 price point just for the foldable display. But Motorola wants to remain competitive and as of 2022, the device is seeing huge discounts and has approached the $600 range.

The Motorola Razr is a decadent second phone to make a big impression at the wild post-pandemic parties. But if you can afford to wait, then I would recommend you keep an eye out for the Motorola Razr 3, that if the rumors are correct, will make its appearance in the late second quarter of 2022.

Microsoft Surface Duo 2: Microsoft strikes back

microsoft surface duo2
Here you can clearly see the gap between the screens. / © NextPit

Believe it or not, Microsoft has made a foldable device. Yes, after the complete flop of the Microsoft Surface Duo, Microsoft has decided to get everything together and deliver a capable but still outlandishly expensive device. Yes, technically, the price of $1599.99 is at the same price range as the rest of the foldable, but the Surface Duo 2 is cheating. 

Instead of a single display, the Surface Duo 2 has a gap between two different screens that work together. Thankfully, this also comes with the positive that the device is able to bend in ways that the competition can’t, allowing for greater versatility. Additionally, Microsoft seems to have learned from the mistakes of the past and has equipped the Surface Duo 2 with an adequately strong SoC, the Snapdragon 888. The screen is at 1,344 x 1,892 pixels, which, alongside the added 5G support, makes the device ideal for workers who are constantly on the go.

 The model was revealed in September 2021. Thankfully in 2022, the device remains relevant in terms of software features and Pen support, but unfortunately, it is still running Android 11. So working professionals should definitely keep this one in mind, especially those who make extensive use of Microsoft tools.

These are the four models we could all agree on here at NextPit from a subjective point of view. Even though Microsoft’s choice may feel odd in terms of features and concept with its two screens, we still found the alternative a nice pitch towards a direction that foldables could have taken in terms of design.

Let us know in the comments section which model is your favorite foldable and if you agree with our viewpoints.


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