It looks like 2019 is going to be the year of the foldable phone, and we’ve already seen some stunning handsets appear –like the Samsung Galaxy Fold and the Huawei Mate X. After years of rumours and leaks, the tech is finally with us.
Here we’ve collected together the very best foldable phones of 2019, both those that have already broken cover and those that we’re still expecting. Read on for the hottest new devices with screens that can bend.
1. SAMSUNG GALAXY FOLD
Samsung Galaxy Fold
At long last, after endless leaks and rumours, the folding Samsung phone is official: the Samsung Galaxy Fold has a 7.3-inch screen that folds over itself when you’re ready to put it in your pocket.
Out in April 2019, the phone is going to set you back a whopping $1,980 (that’s about £1,515), but at least you get plenty of tech inside: a high-end processor, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. There’s going to be a triple-lens 16MP+12MP+12MP rear camera, and a 4,380mAh battery split up into two sections (because of that fold).
On the software side, Samsung says you can run three apps alongside each other on the Fold, should you want to. What’s more, any app that you’re running on the front of the device will seamlessly switch to the middle once you open it out.
2. HUAWEI MATE X
Huawei Mate X
The Huawei Mate X got unveiled at MWC 2019, and it folds the other way to Samsung’s device – so the screen wraps around the outside, rather than being hidden away on the inside, when it’s snapped shut.
When opened out, you’ve got a full screen 8-inch tablet; when snapped shut, you’ve got screens front and rear, as well as a grip holding the camera technology. It’s also thinner than you might think, and as well as packing some premium specs (including the Kirin 980 processor) it also offers 5G connectivity. Not a bad package.
This is even pricier than the Samsung Galaxy Fold though: Huawei says the price will be €2,299 (about £2,000) when the Mate X goes on sale in summer 2019. If you like the look of it, you’d better start saving.
3.MOTOROLA RAZR 2019
From the noises that Motorola has been making, it’s not going to be far behind Samsung with a foldable phone, and apparently it’s also going to carry the iconic Motorola Razr branding. It’s going to be a flip phone then, but with a full foldable screen inside when you open it up.
These rumours have been around for a while. It was back in February 2017 that Yang Yuanqing, the CEO of Lenovo (which owns Motorola) told TechRadar: “With the new technology, particularly foldable screens, I think you will see more and more innovation on our smartphone design. So hopefully what you just described [the Motorola Razr brand] will be developed or realised very soon.”
4. LG V50 ThinQ
LG V50 ThinQ
LG never likes to get left too far behind Samsung, and sure enough it’s been one of the busiest companies in developing foldable screen tech – not just for phones but for televisions and other devices (see the image above). In recent months LG has confirmed it’s working on foldable phones, without revealing too many other details.
At the moment it looks like LG‘s foldable will feature just two screens rather than the Samsung Galaxy X’s three: possibly with one of the screens making use of a transparent section, or perhaps with a camera system embedded in the back plate.
Since that original patent filing we’ve seen names like Flex, Foldi and Duplex mentioned in internal LG documents. As for the final design, or the final price, we’re still in the dark – it’s going to be expensive, but LG has promised not to rush the device to market before it’s ready, so a late 2019 launch could be possible.
What we have in the meantime is the LG V50 ThinQ with a Dual Screen accessory – it clips on to add a second screen that you can use for something else, like gaming controls, or watching Netflix.
It’s not really a foldable phone, but it does kind of look like one, and it doubles as a case you can snap shut. It’s also likely to be a lot cheaper than the true foldable phones, so it’s worth looking out for when it launches later this year if you’re after a hinged display on a budget.
5. XIAOMI MIX FLEX
Xiaomi MIX Flex
One of the more recent folding phones to get a teaser reveal is the Xiaomi MIX Flex, a prototype device that was famously shown off on camera by company president and co-founder Lin Bin.
In the video reveal the Xiaomi handset is initially shown in tablet mode, but then both sides of the device are folded inwards at two points, leaving only the middle third of the phone on show.
This design is markedly different to that of the other folding phones so far announced, potentially giving Xiaomi an edge in the folding phone market.
In a message accompanying the video Lin Bin wrote that:
“Xiaomi double folding mobile phone is coming! This symmetrical double-folded form perfectly combines the experience of the tablet and mobile phone, which is both practical and beautiful. Although it is still an engineering machine, it is sent out for everyone to see. If you like it, we will consider making a mass production machine in the future.
“In addition, we want to give this engineering machine a name, what do you think is good? I think of two: Xiaomi Dual Flex, Xiaomi MIX Flex.”