It used to be that, in the time of smartphones, flip phones were exclusively limited to feature phones. Feature phones — non-smartphones to us civilians — focus on the basics: Call quality, text capabilities, and battery life, wrapped in an easy-to-use, reasonably priced, pocketable package. They were excellent as budget devices, but there are now new flip phones on the block — flip smartphones that live on the cutting edge of technology.
But just because the price range has increased, that doesn’t mean you can’t score a great deal on a flip feature phone. Flip phones are intuitive and simple, but offer plenty of variety. Your phone rings, you flip up to answer. You want to send a text, you flip up and start typing. Most flip phones are designed to be used with one hand, though some also have a hands-free mode. Some flip phones feature a small touchscreen, while others may sport a full QWERTY keyboard.
Apart from common characteristics, some flip phones come unlocked, have internal memory, can support data plans, offer a push-to-talk feature, and have a convenient display on the outside case for quickly checking the time or caller ID. Sold? Now let’s take a look at a few of the best flip phones you can buy today.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip isn’t the first folding smartphone Samsung has released — that would be the Galaxy Fold — but being second up, the Z Flip was able to fix a lot of the issues that plagued the Fold. The Galaxy Z Flip is much more compact, has a layer of “ultra-thin glass” tucked into the edges to prevent lifting, and feels sturdier than the Galaxy Fold. A 6.7-inch AMOLED display is revealed when the phone is unfolded and it’s quite the spectacle. Gorgeous and vibrant colors fill the screen especially when you watch movies that follow the traditional 21:9 aspect ratio.
As you swipe through the typical social media and email apps, you’ll notice how much content is displayed at once thanks to the taller panel. Besides folding the Galaxy Z Flip into a pocketable handheld, what Samsung calls “Hideaway Hinge” also functions as a phone stand. Thanks to Flex mode, you can unfold the device at a 90-degree angle (or more) for hands-free functions like taking group selfies. But it doesn’t come cheap, and you’re looking at $1,200 as the starting price.
A Galaxy Z Flip 5G edition is also available, packing the same dual-camera setup, small outer display, and folding mechanism, but introduces an updated Snapdragon 865 Plus processor and of course, 5G connectivity. But again, it doesn’t come cheap.
Throwback favorites like the Alcatel Go Flip have been upstaged by the overhauled Motorola Razr, which is in a class by itself. This updated model is Motorola’s successor to the Razr 2019. This new model addresses many of the complaints about the older phone, including a lack of splash resistance. The Razr 2020, available unlocked, heavily resembles the look of the older model, with the same size, clamshell design, and dimensions, as well as the internal 6.2-inch 21:9 foldable display and external 2.7-inch Quick View display.
It also runs the same software — though the Quick View display can now run any app, accomplish quick tasks, and reply to messages. The new device sports 3D curved glass on both sides with an aluminum frame in three new colors: Black, gold, and gray. The chin at the bottom is smoother and smaller, and the fingerprint sensor is now on the back of the phone. The price is the major bugbear — it’ll cost you over $1,000 to try out this vision of the future.
As one of the most popular flip-phone models, the Alcatel Go Flip 3 offers an easy-to-use interface and intuitive keypad design for dialing and navigation. Powered by KaiOS, and sporting a 4G LTE connection, you can use this phone for email, calendar, web surfing, and, of course, calling and texting. It has a quad-core processor, built-in GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4GB of storage, and SD support up to 32GB. There’s a 2.8-inch display, as well as an external display that lets you preview incoming calls, notifications, and messages. The battery provides about 17 days of standby time, with eight hours of talk time. It’s got a 2-megapixel camera you can use to capture still images and 720p HD video. All of this comes encased in a neat clamshell body. It’s available for Boost Mobile, T-Mobile, and AT&T.
If you’re looking for a flip phone with a few appealing extras, there’s the LG B470 prepaid basic flip phone, offering a 1.3MP camera with zoom and customizable effects, and built-in Bluetooth. It can even download and play multimedia files like video and music. The outer 0.98-inch display is monochrome, which helps extend its weeklong battery life and lets you instantly read texts without having to actually flip the lid. A colorful 2.2-inch main display is accompanied by an enhanced audio mode that augments high frequencies. A text-to-speech feature reads texts aloud, a benefit for folks with vision issues. It works on AT&T.
Heavily advertised and promoted as the preferred phone for seniors, the Jitterbug Flip has numerous features that appeal to all cell phone newcomers and people who prefer a simpler, more limited device. The Jitterbug sports a large keypad for ease of dialing, while menus sport bright, easy-to-read text with Yes and No menu buttons. A large earpiece keeps conversations loud, but the phone also works with hearing aids, and even has a special button to summon emergency aid with 5Star and other services, if needed. Other features include a camera, flashlight, bright 3.2-inch screen, and enough memory to store more than 1,000 contacts. The Link app connects users with their families, allowing them to stay updated on the health and safety of older relatives. It works on the GreatCall network for the U.S. only.
A rugged flip phone that can survive some tough environments, Kyocera’s DuraXE Epic for AT&T promises to keep your connection live and easy to hear. This hardy specimen is military-grade waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, and drop-proof up to five feet onto concrete. Its chamfered corners and reinforced hinge provide the ultimate protection and durability. It has 16GB internal storage with a MicroSD card slot for up to 512GB of storage. Recessed sides and textured panels provide a secure grip. Loud 100+dB front-facing speakers deliver clear sound while dual-mic noise cancellation lets you hear in noisy surroundings. You get over 9 hours of talk and 16 and 18 days of standby time, as well as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
A moderately-priced, compact flipper, the ZTE Cymbal Z-320, unlocked and LTE enabled, has some cool features. Start with a 2.8-inch main display and 1-inch external OLED display and pile on a modest 2MP camera and camcorder for the pocketable basics, accompanied by Bluetooth 4.1 and FM radio. It’s easy to use — the phone’s large buttons facilitate swift, accurate texting. When it comes to yakking, you get up to 15.5 hours of talk time and 195 hours of standby time.
Long battery life is one of the major advantages of flip phones. They can last for a week or sometimes longer without a charge. If you’re truly a member of the old school that believes phones should strictly be for making calls, then a feature flip phone is for you—you’ll be able to focus on your call instead of spending your attention (and battery life) on social media apps. When you’re not on a call, your flip phone will stay mainly offline and hidden from location services, beacons, and spyware. Plus, most flip phones don’t store or send personal data, so most hackers won’t bother with them compared to the wealth of data found in smartphones.
Most smartphones do not prioritize compactness, and most of them need a holster or a purse to transport them around. Meanwhile, most flip phones are nice and compact, easily fitting in the smallest pant or shirt pocket. Flip phones are also nearly unbreakable with their durable exteriors, so if you’re prone to dropping your devices, this is a bonus.
If you’re concerned with phone call quality, don’t worry—a good flip phone will give you a perfectly clear call experience. Some include Bluetooth capabilities so that you can use wireless earbuds and headsets along with them. Flip phones are especially useful and cherished by older generations. Older customers don’t have to learn how to navigate through all of the different features, options, and pesky touch and swipe screen protocol and can use a flip phone with buttons to make calls or write messages like they’re used to. Flip phone buttons are also usually larger, making them more accessible, and some have volume enhancers for the hearing impaired.
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