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5 phones you should buy instead of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 on a flat surface with the purple Galaxy Buds 2 Pro TWS Bluetooth earbuds on the side.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

Though foldable phones are still a smaller part of the smartphone world, they appeal to users who want something more from their phones. Having a phone that can become a mini tablet opens up a whole new world for productivity and creativity.

If you’re in the market for a foldable, you may be considering the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, which is one of the more popular choices. But it’s not the only foldable out there. Here are some alternatives to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 that you should look at first.

OnePlus Open

Hinge view of OnePlus Open foldable phone.
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

The strongest competitor to the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the OnePlus Open. Even though this is OnePlus’ first foldable, while Samsung has done this for five years, OnePlus made an exceptionally good foldable right out of the gate.

Not everyone likes the incredibly tall and narrow cover display on the Z Fold 5, as it makes using the cover display a bit awkward with a cramped keyboard. The OnePlus Open has a 6.3-inch display that is more in line with standard smartphone displays, so you don’t need to compromise just because you have a foldable. It’s also the most lightweight foldable on the market, so it’s comfortable to hold.

OnePlus’ Flexion Hinge allows the device to open up fully flat without having to apply extra pressure. The inner display also features an anti-reflective layer to reduce glare. And when you combine it with the 120Hz refresh rate and 2,800-nit peak brightness (for both screens), then this is one of the best foldables to use outdoors in bright sunlight.

OnePlus Open with Dolby Vision support on Midnight Gospel Netflix series.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

One of the best reasons for a foldable is for productivity and multitasking, and OnePlus Open excels at that. It’s equipped with Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, 16GB RAM, and 512GB storage, all while running OxygenOS 13. It also features the Open Canvas, which lets you run multiple apps in a space that exceeds the physical screen space (more room to work with), allows you to resize windows at will, has a desktop-like taskbar, and can even save your app pairings for split-screen mode.

For cameras, the OnePlus Open features a triple-lens rear camera system with a 48-megapixel main lens, a 48MP ultrawide camera, and a 64MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom. The cover display selfie camera is 32MP while the inner display selfie camera is 20MP. Since this is a foldable, you can use the rear cameras for selfies by using the cover display as a viewfinder, which is incredibly convenient. The OnePlus Open also has Hasselblad color tuning, so you get beautiful colors and white balance in your photos.

OnePlus put in a larger battery in the OnePlus Open (4,805mAh) compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 5 (4,400mAh). You’ll get at least one full day and then some on a single charge, and it charges up quickly with 67W charging speeds (the Galaxy Z Fold 5 only has 25W charging but does have wireless and reverse wireless).

The OnePlus Open is one of the best foldables available, and it actually has a cheaper starting price than Samsung.

Google Pixel Fold

A person holding the Google Pixel Fold with the screen open.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Another foldable option is the Google Pixel Fold, which is also Google’s first foray into the folding phone market.

The Google Pixel Fold is a very premium-feeling foldable. It has a standard-size 5.8-inch cover display that feels like a regular phone. The overall size of the Pixel Fold is shorter and wider than the competition’s, so it actually feels more like one of those premium pocket notebooks when you open it up. Though the size makes it easy to use one-handed, it is a bit heavier than the competition, which may be a drawback.

However, the inner display is highly reflective, which can make using it outdoors in bright conditions a little difficult. It also takes a bit of pressure to make it open completely flat, but the hinge is firmer, making it better suited for clamshell mode.

The Pixel Fold uses Google’s Tensor G2 chipset, has 12GB RAM, and either 256GB or 512GB storage. It uses stock Android, so if you prefer the original Android experience, then the Pixel is the way to go. Multitasking works similarly to what you have on Apple’s iPadOS, with split screen and floating windows.

You also get a pretty good camera setup with the Pixel Fold. It has a triple-lens camera system on the rear with a 48MP main camera, a 10.8MP telephoto lens, and a 10.8MP ultrawide lens. The outer cover display selfie camera is 9.5MP, while the inner display has an 8MP camera. It’s not as good as the OnePlus Open, for sure, but it’s still a very competent camera system.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

The back of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra in Titanium Orange.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Just because the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the most expensive phone from Samsung doesn’t mean it’s the best. If you’re looking for the best that Samsung has to offer, then consider Galaxy S24 Ultra instead.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra is a large phone with a 6.8-inch display, and it also boasts some very powerful features. The beautiful AMOLED display has a 120Hz refresh rate and peak brightness up to 2,500 nits. It runs on the faster Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy chip and has an impressive 12GB RAM with up to 1TB storage.

The real star of the Galaxy S24 Ultra, though, is the quad camera system. It has a beastly 200MP main camera, a 12MP ultrawide camera, and a 10MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom, as well as a second 50MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom. It’s a much better setup than what you’ll find on the Z Fold 5.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra also comes with an S Pen, which costs extra if you want one for the Galaxy Z Fold 5. The S Pen lets you easily scribble notes, navigate the phone, sketch, and even use it as a remote control. One of the best uses of the S Pen is using it as a remote shutter control.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra also has great battery life thanks to its 5,000mAh battery. When you need to charge it, its 45W wired charging easily beats out the Galaxy Z Fold 5’s 25W charging.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

A person folding up the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

If you still really want a folding Samsung phone, but the Galaxy Z Fold 5’s price just makes your eyes water, then you might want to check out the Galaxy Z Flip 5 instead. It’s still a folding phone, but in the more compact clamshell form factor and with a more affordable price tag.

The Galaxy Z Flip 5 features a large 3.4-inch cover display that lets you check informational panels with a glance or run full apps on it. It’s also a great size for easily taking selfies. However, be warned — the cover display only has a 60Hz refresh rate.

When you open up the Z Flip 5, you get a 6.7-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. Though everything looks great on the inner display, Samsung didn’t do much to reduce the visibility of the crease, so it’s still quite noticeable. But with folding phones, it’s just something you get used to over time.

Inside, you have Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, just like the Z Fold 5. It packs plenty of power with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage. Yes, it’s a bit less than the Z Fold 5, but again, you’re paying less and also getting a more portable form factor — some compromises need to be made.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 partially open while standing on a flat surface witgh orange dog informative cover screen wallpaper widget.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

Speaking of compromises, the cameras are decent enough for most, though definitely a step down from the Z Fold 5. You have a dual camera system with a 12MP main camera, a 12MP ultrawide camera, and a 10MP selfie camera on the main inner display. But again, since this is a folding phone, you can use the cover display as a viewfinder for the rear cameras when taking selfies.

The battery is only 3,700mAh, which isn’t super large, but it should last a full day. Charging speeds are capped at 25W, and you also get wireless and reverse wireless charging.

If the price of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is too much, the Z Flip 5 lets you have a folding phone without completely breaking the bank.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6

Renders of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6, showing the front and back of the phone.
OnLeaks / SmartPrix

OK, so the other alternatives didn’t convince you not to get a Z Fold 5. If that’s the case, and you really want a Galaxy Z Fold 5, then consider holding off. Why? Because the Galaxy Z Fold 6 is just around the corner.

Samsung is rumored to be holding its next Galaxy Unpacked event on July 10 in Paris, France. We can expect to see the next generation of Samsung’s foldables with the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6, as well as the Galaxy Watch 7 series and even the new Galaxy Ring.

For the Galaxy Z Fold 6, we could see a design that is similar to the Galaxy S24 Ultra this year, which means a more angular design with sharper edges and a wider cover screen. It should have Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy, just like the S24 series, and at least a 50MP main camera with accompanying telephoto and ultrawide cameras.

But this year could also bring us a Galaxy Z Fold 6 Ultra, which may have a more powerful camera system (perhaps 200MP like the S24 Ultra) and maybe S Pen integration. There isn’t much known about an Ultra version of the Galaxy Z Fold 6, but it would definitely have a high price tag and be the first time Samsung added an Ultra variant to a foldable. Either way, holding off just a little bit longer to see what happens with the Z Fold 6 is probably your best bet.

Christine Romero-Chan
Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade. She graduated from California…
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