Let’s check out the folding phones you can buy right now — and what might be coming in a few years.
1. Samsung Galaxy Fold
Samsung’s first foldable will also be the first folding phone to hit the US market, launching on April 26. And though it comes at a luxury price of $1,980, that’s budget-friendly compared to the rest of the latest crop of smartphones.
The Galaxy Fold has a 4.6-inch AMOLED exterior screen, which unfolds like a book to reveal a 7.3-inch interior screen. Unfolding the phone causes whatever apps you were using to seamlessly appear on the interior screen in a larger format, so there’s no fuss transitioning from one mode to another.
Beyond the high price, this phone does have some quirks, with large black bezels around the exterior of the phone that look out of place on a modern smartphone. The Galaxy Fold is also a bulky phone that’s nearly the depth of two smartphones, making it feel huge compared to other foldable models which are only slightly thicker than a traditional phone. But Samsung has clearly worked to give the Galaxy Fold a streamlined user interface.
Release date: April 26 from AT&T and T-Mobile
2. Huawei Mate X
While the Galaxy Fold opens like a book to reveal a tablet-sized display inside, Huawei’s Mate X keeps its screen entirely on the outside. When folded, the Mate X has a 6.6-inch front display and 6.4-inch rear display — but when unfolded, it becomes an 8-inch tablet. That’s the largest screen of any of today’s folding phones.
Though we would worry about scratching the wrap-around screen, the design is undeniably sleek. The slim bezels match what we expect from other modern smartphones, and while it is thicker than standard phones, it’s not as bulky as the Galaxy Fold. The downside is the Mate X’s staggering $2,600 price, which makes it a definite luxury item.
The phone doesn’t have a specific release date yet, but it’s due out around the middle of this year.
Release date: Mid-2019
3. LG V50 ThinQ
LG’s entry into the multi-screen market isn’t exactly a “folding” phone. Instead of a large single display that folds in half, the V50 is a completely ordinary smartphone with a 6.4-inch QHD+ OLED display. The phone gets a multiscreen experience similar to the Galaxy Fold or Mate X with the addition of the Dual Screen, a snap-on second screen that attaches to the V50 like a case.
When attached, the phone folds open and closed like any of its competitors — the only difference is a somewhat unsightly gap between the screens, making it resemble a Nintendo DS more than a smartphone. Because of that gap, you can’t (and wouldn’t want to) stretch an image across the two screens. Instead, the second screen seems most useful for multitasking or acting aa dedicated keyboard or game controller. It’s an interesting take on the multi-screen concept, but it’s not quite as impressive as smartphones with folding screens. Some trademark filings suggest LG may be working on a folding screen device, but it isn’t here yet — and there’s no word on when it might be.