$1,022 at Oppo

Best flip phone with a telephoto camera

Oppo Find N3 Flip

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$700 at Motorola

Best foldable for budget buyers

Motorola Razr 2023

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Flip phones ruled the early 2000s, and now companies like Samsung, Motorola and Oppo have been bringing them back. But with a modern twist. 

Flip phones with bendable screens have been around for the last several years, but they took a leap forward in 2023. The Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Motorola Razr Plus gained larger screens than their predecessors, making them more useful when closed. Oppo’s recently announced Find N3 Flip has an additional camera among other improvements.

While expensive and generally more fragile than standard phones, flip phones provide some benefits you can’t get with regular devices. They fit more easily in your pocket and are more manageable to use with one hand when closed. You can also prop them up by folding them halfway, which makes it possible to take a photo or view the screen without having to hold the device. They also have a distinct design that makes them stand out from other smartphones.

However, if you don’t care about those factors, you should consider one of the cheaper, nonfoldable devices listed in our best phones guide. If you’re considering buying a flip phone in 2023, here are your best options. 

What is the best flip phone for most people?

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is CNET’s top flip phone pick for 2023. It was a close call between Samsung’s new flip phone and the similarly priced Motorola Razr Plus. But Samsung’s design feels more sturdy, the camera takes more colorful photos and the company provides Android version updates for a longer period of time compared to Motorola, making it our favorite choice. Samsung also has a history of rolling out new features to its phones over time through updates to its One UI software, giving it another advantage.

Best flip phones of 2023

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The Galaxy Z Flip 5 is the biggest leap forward Samsung’s flip phone has seen in years. Samsung has significantly expanded the size of the cover screen located on the outside of the device, meaning you can look up directions, take photos and send messages without opening the phone. It’s this, combined with the Z Flip’s solid battery life and sturdy design, that makes it a top pick.

The Z Flip 5 may be our favorite flip phone, but there are still some drawbacks to be aware of. At $1,000, it’s still expensive for a phone without a telephoto camera. And not all apps work natively on the front screen as they do on the Motorola Razr Plus. Read our Galaxy Z Flip 5 review.


  • Big cover screen is fun to use
  • New hinge eliminates the gap when closed
  • Solid battery life
  • More storage in base model


  • Expensive
  • Not all apps work on the cover screen natively
  • Apps don’t transition from main screen to cover screen
  • Minimal camera updates

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The Motorola Razr Plus raised the bar for what a flip phone should be in 2023. Its 3.6-inch cover screen allows you to use almost any app without opening the phone, plus battery life is long enough to get you through a busy day. It’s also thinner than the Galaxy Z Flip 5, which could make it the ideal choice for those who prioritize portability in a phone.

While I recommend the Galaxy Z Flip 5 as the best flip phone overall, the Razr Plus is worth considering if you prefer a thinner design and want to use more apps on the phone’s front screen without much extra fuss. The Razr Plus felt more fragile than the Z Flip 5 during my testing, but it’s certainly thinner, making it a great choice for those who care about compactness above all else. Read our Motorola Razr Plus review.


  • Large, useful cover screen
  • Crease is barely visible
  • Thin design
  • Good battery life
  • Fun photography features like photo previews


  • Not as many Android updates as Samsung
  • Flex View feels limited
  • Front screen gathers fingerprint smudges easily
  • $1,000 is still expensive

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Oppo’s Find N3 Flip phone is unique for two reasons: It has a telephoto camera and a vertical cover screen, unlike the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Motorola Razr Plus. That could make the Find N3 Flip an ideal choice for those who want closer zoom shots, although this phone also shines for its fast performance, stylish design and speedy charging. The crease on the interior screen is also impressively subtle. That said, there are some downsides to be aware of. The Find N3 Flip lacks wireless charging, and you’ll only be able to buy it in certain markets, which doesn’t include the US. Read our review of the Find N3 Flip. 


  • Cover screen supports Google Calendar, Gmail and other third-party apps
  • Addition of a telephoto lens
  • Improved durability IPX4 rating


  • Obvious branding
  • Raised edges of cover screen
  • No wireless charging

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The Motorola Razr 2023 is the most affordable, widely released foldable phone with a $700 price tag, notably below the $1,000 prices of clamshell foldables like the Razr Plus and Samsung Galaxy Flip 5. Motorola made some obvious compromises for affordability, like losing its competitors’ full-front screen for a small 1.5-inch thumbnail-size external display. 

Less obvious are more painful shortfalls: three years of Android OS updates and 128GB of nonexpandable storage (you’ll have to rely on cloud storage if you go over). If you can stomach those compromises, the Razr 2023 is a great phone with a svelte design, large 6.9-inch internal display and sharp 64-megapixel main camera (the less said about its other ultrawide lens, the better). It’s a phone that suits a specific niche: Folks who want to try out foldables for a few years, but don’t want to shell out a lot of money if they’re still iffy on whether this “flexible display” thing will take off.


  • Solid and svelte build quality
  • Great main camera
  • Fun foldable functionality
  • Good price


  • 128GB onboard storage is limited
  • Outer screen is very small
  • 3 years of OS updates is less than competitors

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How to buy a new phone

Know what you care about most: Is it screen size? Camera quality? Battery life? This will help narrow down your choices. If you’re interested in a foldable phone, design and screen size should be more important to you than camera quality 

Don’t discount the midrange: Features of last year’s flagships always trickle down to this year’s midrange handsets.You can get a great phone that does almost everything that a premium phone can do for a fraction of the price. Google’s Pixel 7 Pro packs a great zoom camera, but the base Pixel 7 has most of the same key specs and comes at a more reasonable price. But if you’re trying to save a few bucks, you shouldn’t be considering a flip phone. Devices like the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Motorola Razr Plus are priced like high-end premium phones, although Motorola plans to release a cheaper Razr this year. 

Shop the sales: Look for deep discounts and promo deals around major holidays, especially Amazon’s Prime Day and Black Friday. And find out what your grace period is in case you need a quick return or exchange.

Last year’s phones: They can often be a great deal, too. Wait for this year’s launch to get last year’s phone for less, when stores and carriers may be trying to offload their existing stock. However, keep in mind you’ll miss out on the spacious cover screens found on the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Razr Plus by going for last year’s models.

Hold the phone in hand at a store first: You may love or hate the way it looks and feels in person. This is especially important for flip phones and other foldable devices, particularly if it’s your first time using one. 

Check if you’re already invested: Have you already bought a lot of iPhone apps and iTunes movies? Stick with an iPhone if you still want access to them. Likewise, if you’ve invested in loads of Android apps, you’ll want to stay on that side of the fence. Otherwise, it’s simple enough to switch platforms. However, those interested in flip phones only have Android devices to choose from for now.

Buy a case and screen protector: You’ll protect your phone from costly damage, and will increase the phone’s resale or trade-in value for when you’re ready to move on.

How we test phones

We test every phone in real-world scenarios, focusing on its features, design, performance, cameras, battery life and overall value. We document our findings in an initial review that is periodically updated when there are new software updates, or to compare it against new phones from competitors such as Apple, Samsung, Google and OnePlus. Below is our methodology for testing smartphones in general, which also applies to flip phones. 


Photography is a major focus for most phones these days, so we take pictures and videos of various subjects in a variety of settings and lighting scenarios. We try out any new camera modes, such as Action mode that debuted with the iPhone 14 line, or the Unblur photo tool that launched with the Google Pixel 7 series.

Battery life

Battery testing is conducted in a variety of ways. We assess how long a phone lasts during a typical day of use and note how it performs during more focused sessions of video calls, media streaming and gaming. We also conduct a video playback test, as a simple, replicable measure of pure battery life, which isn’t always included in the initial review but sometimes added later in an update.

Performance measuring

We use benchmarking apps to measure each phone’s performance, alongside our own anecdotal experiences using the phone for our review. Of note are how graphics and animations look. Are they smooth? Or do they lag or stutter? We also look at how quickly the phone switches between horizontal and vertical orientations, and how fast the camera app opens and is ready to take a photo.

We perform processor-heavy tasks like editing photos, exporting videos and playing games. We evaluate whether a newer version of a particular phone includes enough features to make it worth upgrading from older models.

Read more: How we test phones

Does anyone make a 5G flip phone?

Yes, new foldable flip phones from Samsung, Motorola and Oppo support 5G networks. Samsung began offering 5G on its flip phone back in 2020 with the second edition of the Galaxy Z Flip, which launched in August that year.

Are foldable phones good?

Yes, but there are important compromises to consider. Foldable phones offer benefits you can’t get with a regular phone, such as a larger screen that fits in your pocket more easily, and the ability to take hands-free photos without a tripod. But these phones are also more fragile than your average smartphone since they have hinges, which enable them to fold, and aren’t rated for dust resistance. They also have noticeable creases running across their internal displays. You can also usually find better cameras on nonfoldable phones.

What makes a good phone camera?

All of today’s phones pack some kind of camera setup on the back, with most packing multiple ones like ultrawides or telephoto zooms. More expensive phones, like the iPhone 14 Pro, use larger image sensors, better-quality lenses and image stabilization that let in more light, capturing detailed images with beautiful colors — in daylight and at night. Typically, the more you pay, the better quality you’ll get, with the most advanced features being reserved for the most expensive flagships.

How long should a phone battery last?

Most smartphones — even those at the top end — should be able to deliver a full day of mixed use on a single charge. That means you should have a bit of juice left at the end of your day, but you should expect to give it a full charge when you plug it in next to your bed at night.

How much storage should my phone have?

Most phones tend to come with a minimum of 128GB of storage, which is a good amount for apps, games and locally stored music. But it’s important to think about what you’ll be doing with your phone. If you want to download and play a lot of games, then consider opting for a higher-capacity version.

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