Foldable smartphones | The best of 2021

Foldable smartphones | The best of 2021

Foldable Android smartphones represent the latest frontier of mobile telephony, as well as one of the most significant innovations in form factor and technologies used since the advent of devices equipped with capacitive touchscreen displays.

The history of foldables begins just a few years ago, when the Royole Flexpai was presented to the public in January 2018, a smartphone with a flexible 7.8-inch display that can be closed in half by means of a hinge. Little more than a prototype in design and performance, this device was offered for sale at the prohibitive price of 1290 dollars; despite its imperfection, it has played the role of forerunner for this category of smartphones, providing an important starting point for the development of more advanced models.

Starting from 2019, some of the leading telephony brands have produced smartphones increasingly functional and sophisticated folding, which arrived over the last year to offset the still very high list price with real flagship features. Two main foldable models have also been consolidated: the first proposes a screen with the form factor of a small tablet closed in half by means of a vertical hinge, while the second recovers the iconic clamshell design of the 2000s phones with a hinge horizontal that divides a standard-sized display in half.

If for the moment Samsung seems to maintain the leadership in the folding smartphone market with its Z series, now in its third generation and in able to conquer even the general public, in recent months other brands have unveiled their first foldables, declaring themselves ready to bet on this form factor and make it accessible to more users.

Foldable smartphones: which one to choose?

To help you get to know the best foldable smartphones of today and tomorrow we have compiled a practical list, also explaining how each device differs from the others. At least for the moment, only the two Samsung foldables are available on the Italian market, but it is not excluded that others may soon be added in the near future.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold Oppo Find N Huawei Mate X2 Huawei P50 Pocket Honor Magic V

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3

The Galaxy Z Fold3 consolidates Samsung's leadership in foldables, combining the intrinsic innovation of this new category with a series of features that give the large form factor of the internal screen a specific purpose.

This device stands out in the panorama of folding smartphones for the perfect integration with Samsung services designed for productivity, which make it a real office with within reach of your pocket. The support for the S Pen makes it a worthy heir to the Note series smartphones, while the integration with the Samsung DeX desktop mode further expands its purpose of use.

The Galaxy Z Fold3, with its display Infinity Flex internal 7.6 inches, is undoubtedly an important device both in size and in cost, designed for specific users who want to maximize the multitasking potential of a smartphone: nevertheless, it is the best can be found on the market in this sector.


Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3

If the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 wins the title of most functional foldable, the "brother" Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 is undoubtedly the most aesthetically pleasing folding smartphone available on the market at the moment.

With its clamshell design, designed to recall the shape and function of vintage mobile phones once closed the Galaxy Z Flip3 en between comfortably in any pocket; you can also comfortably consult notifications from the small 1.9-inch front display.

When open, the Galaxy Z Flip3 features a 6.7-inch foldable display with adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz. The powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor and all the features of Samsung's One UI designed for foldables complete the picture, making this smartphone much more than just a gadget.


Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold

The Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold was presented on the Chinese market in the spring of 2021 with the intention of introducing a series of innovative technologies, which are not limited to the possibility of fold the large 8.01-inch screen in half to 1 billion colors, but also involve other components of the smartphone.

On board its first foldable, Xiaomi has also introduced a unique camera of its kind , the first to use the so-called "liquid lenses". By imitating the structure of the human eye, the camera's radius of curvature can in fact be modified as needed, thus combining different shooting modes in a single sensor.

This first foldable model, despite the technical data sheet unprecedented, highlighted how much Xiaomi still has to correct the game on some characteristics: this will be taken care of by its successor, which however will not see the light at least until 2022.


Oppo Find N

Moving on to the foldable smartphones just announced, Oppo presented the new Oppo Find N a few days ago, the device created with the specific intent of making foldables accessible to an increasingly wider range of public.

The form factor of Oppo Find N represents a novelty in the foldable field: the smartphone has a central vertical hinge similar to that of the Galaxy Z Fold3, which however hides a display inside Foldable 7.1-inch with dynamic refresh rate up to 120Hz. Even the external display thus assumes much smaller dimensions, stopping at 5.49 inches.

For the moment there is no news of a possible arrival on the Italian market of the new Oppo Find N, which has instead landed on the eastern market from December 23.


Huawei Mate X2

The latest device in the Huawei Mate X foldable smartphone line has been released on the Chinese market at the beginning of 2021 with the intention of directly rivaling Samsung's Fold range, thanks to its 8-inch OLED folding display with a maximum frequency of 90Hz.

In addition to the important form factor, completed by an external 6.45-inch OLED display, the foldable "made in Huawei" can count on the Kirin 9000 high-end proprietary SoC and on a rear camera compartment composed of four sensors.

The Huawei Mate X2 is however, he arrived on the market disadvantaged at the start, since he was still presenting at the moment or the launch of Android 10 with EMUI 11 customization without access to Google services.


Huawei P50 Pocket

The latest addition to the smartphone range foldables Huawei is determined to unseat the Galaxy Z Flip3 from the podium of the most beautifully designed foldables. In fact, when closed, the P50 Pocket presents a sophisticated design with two rings, in which the cameras and the small front display are housed respectively.

The internal display is instead a 6.9-inch folding panel with a 120Hz refresh rate , which can also count on a fold effect reduced to a minimum thanks to the latest generation hinge.

The powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor and a Dual Matrix camera system with main sensor complete the picture of the new Huawei P50 Pocket 40MP Quad Pixel. The smartphone will arrive on the market with the proprietary HarmonyOS operating system.


Honor Magic V

The latest foldable smartphone on this list is also the most mysterious , at least for the moment: Honor has in fact joined the other Asian producers just a few days ago, presenting a teaser for its first foldable, the Honor Magic V.

Even the foldable Honor should directly rival the Samsung's Z Fold range thanks to a vertical “folding” hinge design. There is still no news, at least for the moment, about its possible arrival on global markets.


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