Samsung One UI 6.1 Update With Galaxy AI Features Coming to These Devices

Samsung One UI 6.1 Update With Galaxy AI Features Coming to These Devices

Samsung has announced that it will roll out its Galaxy AI features to owners of the company’s previously released smartphones and tablets as part of its upcoming One UI 6.1 update. This means that the company’s AI features that arrived with the Galaxy S24 series of smartphones, such has Circle to Search, Live Translate, Interpreter mode for phone calls, Instant Slow-mo for videos, Note Assist, Browsing Assist, and AI generated wallpapers will soon be available on older Samsung Galaxy devices.

The South Korean tech conglomerate announced on Thursday that its upcoming One UI 6.1 update will bring Galaxy AI features to the Samsung Galaxy S23 series, the Galaxy Z Fold 5, and Galaxy Z Flip 5 smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 series will also be updated to One UI 6.1, with support for the new AI features available on the Galaxy S24 lineup.

The first Galaxy AI feature that is making its way to the company’s older phones and tablets is Circle to Search, which adds the ability to draw a circle around, highlight, or select objects and text in images to search on Google — without leaving the current app. Samsung introduced this feature last month with the arrival of the Galaxy S24 series.

The upcoming update will also add Galaxy AI features to the company’s inbuilt applications such as Live Translate for phone calls, texting in 13 languages using Chat Assist, and an Interpreter mode for real time translation. The Samsung Notes, Samsung Internet, and Recorder apps will also get support for Note Assist, Browsing Assist, and Transcript Assist features, respectively.

Meanwhile, generative AI-powered features are coming to the company’s older Galaxy smartphones and tablets. Generative Edit will allow users to “resize, reposition or realign objects” in images, according to the company. Instant Slow-mo will automatically generate more frames to produce slow–motion videos from regular ones. 

Samsung says that the One UI 6.1 update that is based on Android 14 will be rolled out to the Galaxy S23 lineup, the Galaxy Z Fold 5, and Galaxy Z Flip 5, and the Galaxy Tab S9 series by the end of March. The company adds that some Galaxy AI features on the S24 series may not be supported on older models, and some features will require an Internet connection, a Samsung account, or the company’s inbuilt applications.


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For details of the latest launches and news from Samsung, Xiaomi, Realme, OnePlus, Oppo and other companies at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, visit our MWC 2024 hub.

Apple’s First Foldable iPhone Could Be a Clamshell-Style Folding Phone

Apple’s First Foldable iPhone Could Be a Clamshell-Style Folding Phone

Apple’s first mixed reality headset, the Vision Pro, was made available in the US earlier this month. The rumour mill is now buzzing with details about the company’s long-rumoured foldable iPhone. The Cupertino-based tech giant is reportedly developing “at least two” iPhone prototypes that fold horizontally. The upcoming handsets could be a direct competitor to the Galaxy Z Flip 5. However, it is unclear whether the foldable phones will undergo mass production within the next couple of years.

A report by The Information, citing an internal source, claims that Apple is building prototypes of at least two clamshell-style foldable iPhone models. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip devices have a similar display form factor that allows screens to fold horizontally. The foldable devices seem to be in the early development stage, and they are not reportedly in the company’s mass production plans for 2024 or 2025.

Apple eyes to create a foldable iPhone with displays on the outside of the device that are visible when the device is folded shut but the engineers reportedly struggled with the design as it can break easily. Additionally, the company’s engineers want to develop a foldable that’s “as thin as current iPhone models,” but battery sizes and display components add to the thickness of the device, as per the report. Apple has reportedly approached at least one supplier in Asia for components related to two foldable ‌iPhone‌ models that come in different sizes.

A foldable iPad is also said to be in the pipeline. It is expected to feature the same size as the current generation iPad Mini with an 8-inch display. Apple engineers are reportedly working to narrow the crease that appears at the centre of the display. They are also said to be in the process of developing a hinge that allows the display to lie flat when unfolded.

Apple has not announced any plans to unveil an iPhone or iPad with a foldable display. Samsung currently dominates the foldable smartphone space with at least five iterations of foldable handsets. Chinese electronics maker OnePlus, Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo have also launched foldable smartphones. There is certainly scope for Apple to challenge Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5, Motorola Razr 40 Ultra, Oppo Find N3 Flip, and Tecno Phantom V Flip 5G with the rumoured clamshell iPhone


Apple unveiled its first mixed reality headset, the Apple Vision Pro, at its annual developer conference, along with new Mac models and upcoming software updates. We discuss all the most important announcements made by the company at WWDC 2023 on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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Disney to Acquire $1.5 Billion Stake in Epic Games, Create Shared Universe Connected to Fortnite

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 Tipped to Get Larger Battery Than Galaxy Z Flip 5

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 Tipped to Get Larger Battery Than Galaxy Z Flip 5

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 is expected to launch alongside the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 later this year. The new foldables will succeed the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, respectively, which were unveiled in July 2023. Although the company has yet to confirm anything about the anticipated foldable smartphones, leaks regarding the handsets have surfaced online. Previous reports claimed the Galaxy Z Flip 6 may get upgrades to the camera and display. Now, another report claims that the clamshell foldable may also get a larger battery over its preceding model.

A GalaxyClub report claims that the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 may pack a 4,000mAh battery, a significant upgrade over the 3,700mAh battery that is available on the Galaxy Z Flip 5. According to the report, one of the tested batteries for the purported handset has a rated capacity of 1,097mAh, while the other has a rated capacity of 2,790mAh, resulting in a total rated capacity of 3,887mAh. It could be promoted as having a typical battery capacity of 4,000mAh. Notably, the Samsung Galaxy S24, which the company launched recently, is listed with a typical battery capacity of 4,000mAh, whereas it has a rated capacity of 3,880mAh.

Previously, the same publication reported that the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 is likely to carry a 50-megapixel primary rear sensor. This would be a big upgrade over the dual 12-megapixel rear sensors of the Galaxy Z Flip 5, which is also equipped with a 10-megapixel front camera sensor. No details about the front camera of the Galaxy Z Flip 6 have surfaced yet.

The next-generation clamshell foldable model from Samsung has also been tipped to get a bigger display. It may feature a 3.9-inch cover screen, 0.5-inch larger than the 3.4-inch Super AMOLED folder-shaped outer panel on the Galaxy Z Flip 5.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 price in India starts at Rs. 99,999 for the 8GB + 256GB option, while the 8GB + 512GB option is priced at Rs. 1,09,999. It is offered in Cream, Graphite, Mint, Lavender, and Yellow colour options.


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Have a broken Samsung phone? We have good news for you | Digital Trends

Have a broken Samsung phone? We have good news for you | Digital Trends

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Samsung has announced an expansion of its self-repair program. The program will now cover a broader range of products, models, and parts to make it more convenient for consumers to fix their broken devices themselves. The self-repair program was first introduced in 2022 and offers full access to online repair guides, replacement parts, and repair tools through third-party resources.

The latest expansion of the program includes 14 models of Galaxy smartphones, tablets, and PCs — including the Galaxy S23 series, Galaxy Z Fold 5, Galaxy Z Flip 5, Galaxy Tab S9 series, and the Galaxy Book 2 series. The program also now covers home entertainment products with the addition of 20 visual display products.

Owners of supported Galaxy phones and tablets now have the option to perform self-repairs on the speakers, SIM tray, side key, and volume key. This is in addition to access to the existing parts for display assemblies, back glass, and charging ports. Galaxy Book users will now be able to replace the left and right speakers and fan, in addition to the previous repairs to the display, battery, power key with fingerprint reader, touchpad, front and rear cases, and rubber feet.

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

Mobile products already in the Samsung self-repair program include the Galaxy S22, S21, S20 series, and Galaxy Tab S7 Plus.

Of the expanded program, Mark Williams, vice president of customer care at Samsung Electronics America, said: “For those who want to take repair into their own hands, we’re supplying them with more options for a wider array of products to extend the life of the products they love.”

The latest expansion of Samsung’s self-repair program is tied to an evolving relationship Samsung has with Encompass Supply Chain Solutions. The company provides replacement parts and supply chain solutions for home products and consumer electronics.

Robert Coolidge, president and CEO of Encompass Supply Chain Solutions, said: “Encompass has been a trusted distributor of Samsung [original equipment manufacturer] replacement parts for many years, and this expansion to new product categories will play a critical role in continuing to empower Samsung customers to easily repair equipment and extend the life cycle of their products.”

For those who don’t want to self-repair their devices, Samsung recently made it easier for customers in underserved areas to get support. In October, it partnered with Battery Plus stores in the U.S. to provide timely in-warranty repair services for Galaxy smartphones. These folks are separate from the 80% of the U.S. population with access to Samsung’s 2,000 Authorized Service Centers (ASC), which offer two-hour repair service.

Editors’ Recommendations






Samsung’s Galaxy AI Features Are Coming to These Older Devices: Report

Samsung’s Galaxy AI Features Are Coming to These Older Devices: Report

Samsung Galaxy S24, Galaxy S24+, and Galaxy S24 Ultra were unveiled at the company’s Galaxy Unpacked event in San Jose, California on Wednesday with One UI 6.1. The Android 14-based custom skin by Samsung brings many AI features like Live Translate, Chat Assist, Note Assist, and Circle to Search to offer a new Galaxy AI experience. Now, Samsung has reportedly confirmed that a bunch of older flagship Galaxy devices will have access to several new AI features introduced with the Galaxy S24 series. Last year’s Galaxy S23 series and its latest foldables are said to get Galaxy AI features.

As per a report by Android Authority, several new AI features that debuted with the Galaxy S24 series will land on previously released Samsung devices. Samsung reportedly confirmed that the company will bring many of the Galaxy AI features introduced on Galaxy S24 on previous models including the Galaxy S23 series, Galaxy S23 FE, Galaxy Z Fold 5, and Galaxy Z Flip 5, and Galaxy Tab S9 series in the first half of this year. Currently, it’s unclear which Galaxy AI features will be available across every old device.

Galaxy AI brings tools and features aimed at communication, productivity, and content creation that are integrated with One UI 6.1. It includes a Chat Assist functionality to translate languages in real-time or perform tone correction in texts and emails. There’s also Google-backed Circle to Search that combines text-based queries with visual search. The Live Translate feature assists in two-way real-time voice and text translations of phone calls within the native Phone app. Android Auto will now automatically summarise incoming messages and suggest relevant replies and actions in car. And Note Assist in Samsung Notes now offers AI-generated summaries.

Samsung’s Galaxy S24 was launched with a starting price tag of Rs. 79,999 for the base 8GB + 256GB storage variant. The Galaxy S24+ pricing starts at Rs. 99,999, while the Galaxy S24 Ultra has a starting price tag of Rs. 1,29,999. The phones are available for pre-order in India. 


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Best Deals on Foldable Phones During Amazon Great Republic Day Sale 2024

Best Deals on Foldable Phones During Amazon Great Republic Day Sale 2024

Amazon Great Republic Day Sale 2024, which kicked off in India on January 13, has been extended till January 19. Initially, the sale was planned to end on January 18. The extension means you will get more time to get things you want at discounted rates. From home appliances to furniture, fashion items, and electronic gadgets are being offered at lowered prices during the ongoing sale. Some of the most popular products during the sale are smartphones. Here we talk about some of the best deals you can get on premium, foldable handsets during the sale.

2023 saw the launch of several foldable smartphones encompassing both book-style and clamshell models. Alongside brands like Samsung and Motorola, newer players like Tecno and OnePlus joined the segment. Most of these foldable handsets are high-end offerings. But now, you can grab these models at significantly lower prices, thanks to the ongoing sale. Before we talk about phones, you should note that alongside the discounted price, you can avail of additional bank offers. SBI cardholders, for example, can get a 10 percent instant discount, conditionally available on both credit and EMI transactions. Amazon Pay ICICI Credit users can get up to 5 percent cash back and welcome points. Eligible users can also opt for a no-cost EMI option. Shoppers can also exchange their old phones, when available, and get additional discounts.

Following are some of the top deals on foldable smartphones available during the ongoing Amazon Great Republic Day sale:

Product MRP Effective Deal Price
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 Rs. 1,77,999 Rs. 1,23,999
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Rs. 1,69,999 Rs. 1,48,749
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Rs. 1,02,999 Rs. 81,749
Tecno Phantom V Fold Rs. 1,09,999 Rs. 68,999
Tecno Phantom V Flip Rs. 71,999 Rs. 53,999
Motorola Razr 40 Ultra Rs. 1,19,999 Rs. 69,999
Motorola Razr 40 Rs. 99,999 Rs. 49,999


Samsung launched the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5 alongside the Galaxy Tab S9 series and Galaxy Watch 6 series at its first Galaxy Unpacked event in South Korea. We discuss the company’s new devices and more on the latest episode of Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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Best Samsung Galaxy Smartphone Deals During Amazon Great Republic Day Sale

Best Samsung Galaxy Smartphone Deals During Amazon Great Republic Day Sale

Amazon Great Republic Day Sale 2024 kicked off on January 13 in India. Among a wide range of products, several electronic items, including smartphones, PCs, laptops and tablets are being offered at lowered prices during the sale. Customers can also enjoy additional bank offers over the discounted prices to grab an item at an even lower rate. Some products can also be bought with an exchange offer that decreases the effective price further. Below, we’ve listed some Samsung smartphones that are available at discounted rates during the sale.

Premium models like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 and the Galaxy S22 Ultra, as well as budget offerings like the Galaxy M14 and the Galaxy M04, are being offered with lucrative discounts and bank offers. Notably, SBI card holders can avail of an additional, conditional 10 percent instant discount on credit card and EMI transactions. Select products are also available with additional coupon-based discounts which bring down the effective price of the handsets. Customers using Amazon Pay ICICI credit cards at the time of purchase may also get welcome points and a cashback of up to 5 percent of the total amount billed.

Following are some of the top deals on Samsung smartphones during the ongoing Amazon Great Republic Day sale:

Product MRP Effective Deal Price
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Rs. 1,02,999 Rs. 85,999
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Rs. 1,31,999 Rs. 74,999
Samsung Galaxy S23 Rs. 89,999 Rs. 54,999
Samsung Galaxy A54 Rs. 41,999 Rs. 33,499
Samsung Galaxy A34 Rs. 35,499 Rs. 25,999
Samsung Galaxy M34 Rs. 24,499 Rs. 14,999
Samsung Galaxy A14 Rs. 18,499 Rs. 13,499
Samsung Galaxy M14 Rs. 17,990 Rs. 10,999
Samsung Galaxy M04 Rs. 11,999 Rs. 5,999


Samsung launched the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5 alongside the Galaxy Tab S9 series and Galaxy Watch 6 series at its first Galaxy Unpacked event in South Korea. We discuss the company’s new devices and more on the latest episode of Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.

Catch the latest from the Consumer Electronics Show on Gadgets 360, at our CES 2024 hub.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, Z Flip 5 prices slashed for the holidays | Digital Trends

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, Z Flip 5 prices slashed for the holidays | Digital Trends

If you’ve had an eye on either of Samsung’s current flagship foldable smartphones — the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 — this holiday season is the perfect time to buy them because of the discounts from the phone deals that Best Buy is offering. The 256GB Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is down to $850 from $1,000 for savings of $150, while the 256GB Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is down to $1,500 from $1,800 for savings of $300. They’re still pretty expensive mobile devices, but if you were planning to purchase them anyway, why not get them for cheaper than usual? You’ll have to hurry though, as we’re not sure how long stocks will last.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 (256GB) — $850, was $1,000

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 (256GB) — $1,500, was $1,800

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 (256GB) — $850, was $1,000

Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 is an extremely well-built folding smartphone with a 3.4-inch Super AMOLED cover screen with a 60Hz refresh rate, and a 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X inner screen with a 120Hz refresh rate. The cover screen is the star here, because it’s much more useful compared to its predecessors as you can use it to open Quick Settings, access Samsung Pay, view all your notifications, and cycle through your widgets. Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5’s 12MP main camera, 12MP ultrawide camera, and 10MP selfie camera will meet the needs of photography enthusiasts, and its Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy processor and 8GB of RAM promise smooth performance when watching streaming shows and playing video games.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 (256GB) — $1,500, was $1,800

Using the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5's new drag-and-drop feature.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

If you’re going to invest in Samsung phone deals, you might as well do so on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, which is our top choice among all of the best folding phones. The 6.2-inch cover screen and 7.6-inch inner screen are bright and colorful as they feature Samsung’s Dynamic AMOLED 2X technology and 120Hz refresh rates, and the smartphone features a hinge design that folds completely flat– finally! It’s also powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy processor, but with 12GB of RAM for even better multitasking. In terms of cameras, the device is equipped with a 50MP main camera, a 12MP wide-angle camera, a 10MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom, and a 10MP selfie camera on the cover screen.

Editors’ Recommendations






Using this Motorola folding phone was an emotional rollercoaster | Digital Trends

Using this Motorola folding phone was an emotional rollercoaster | Digital Trends

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

In psychology, there is something called “affective ambivalence,” where two opposite emotions are experienced almost at the same time. It perfectly sums up the rollercoaster of feelings I’ve had for the Motorola Razr Plus since returning to it.

One moment I absolutely love it, but then it deeply frustrates me due to something silly or something Motorola should have fixed by now. But then I check how much it costs, and I go right back to being astonished by it.

Yes, my time with the Motorola Razr Plus has been emotional. Here’s why.

Emotional rollercoaster painted red

The back of the Viva Magenta Razr Plus.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The Motorola Razr Plus has an uncanny ability to tug at my heartstrings. The Pantone Viva Magenta color is beautiful for a start, and apparently, red is a good example of a color that fires up our synapses and provokes an emotional response. “The emotional connotation of red switches between negative and positive,” it states in a study from Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, echoing how I’ve felt about the Razr Plus in general.

This small, red phone is utterly gorgeous, and I love the way the polished red metal surrounds the matte textured panel on the rear of the closed phone, which helps give it a tactility missing from smooth phones like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5. Motorola changed its foldable phone design for the better this year, and it made exactly the right choice by going for such a bold color to highlight its work.

But when I pick the Razr Plus up and go to open it, my heart sinks. The exterior is slicker than a freshly polished wooden floor, but the hinge has more in common with cracking open an aging oak door than it does with the rest of this red beauty. It creaks as you prize it apart, and although it doesn’t offer any resistance, you can feel the components inside moving. I don’t think it’s going to break, but it robs the Razr Plus of finesse — something the Z Flip 5 doesn’t lack at all.

Moo saves the day, for a while

Moo on Motorola Razr Plus
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

I snap the Razr Plus shut, my emotion having suddenly switched from attraction to aversion, but then I see Moo on the cover screen, and everything changes again. I don’t care that Moo is an animated, cutesy version of the Motorola “wings” logo and, therefore, corporate marketing fluff masquerading as a fun character. For me, it’s up there with the fantastic Snoopy watch faces on the Apple Watch with its uncanny ability to give a soulless electronic device real emotional appeal.

During the week, Moo’s schedule of working, eating, and sleeping mirrors mine, and during the weekend, Moo sings at karaoke, shops, and works out. No, I didn’t do any of those things this last weekend, so it made me laugh that the character on my phone screen was more socially outgoing and motivated than I had the opportunity to be.

Moo on the Motorola Razr Plus's cover screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

With Moo warming my heart, I replied to some messages, but using the Razr Plus then reminded me that it still has Android 13 installed. I’d recently used the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the Galaxy Z Flip 5 again, and both received an update to Android 14. Oppo has also updated the Find N2 Flip with Android 14, leaving Motorola well behind with no firm information on when the update will arrive.

The Razr family is supposed to get three years of software updates, but timing is equally important, and communication on when Android 14 will arrive is minimal. Digital Trends asked Motorola’s press team about the schedule, but it has not provided any information on the situation yet. It sent my mood crashing down, and not even Moo’s antics could instantly turn that around.

At this price, it’s a bargain

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 next to the Motorola Razr Plus.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

As my mood related to the Razr Plus flip-flopped, I wondered if anyone should buy it instead of the Galaxy Z Flip 5. It’s brilliant, but it doesn’t have the same fun nature or the same emotional baggage as the Razr Plus. So I checked the price, and through Motorola’s online store, at the moment, it’s $700 unlocked — significantly less than its normal $1,000 price and matching the standard retail price of the mid-range Razr (2023).

Will it stay at this price forever? No, probably not, but Motorola seems highly motivated to sell these fun little phones, so another deal is almost certainly around the corner if you miss this one. But if you catch it for $700, the frustrations I’ve mentioned here are much easier to forgive, and saving this amount of money to get a very cool compact folding phone would make me quickly forget the creaky hinge.

A video playing on the Motorola Razr Plus.
Motorola Razr Plus Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I settled back into loving the Motorola Razr Plus again, and my SIM is still in it as I write this. But as I glanced over to check out that shiny red body once more, the annoying empty black cover screen looked back at me as well. I tapped the screen to check for any missed notifications and sighed at Motorola’s decision not to add an always-on ambient display to any of its phones, let alone the Razr Plus.

I do recommend the Motorola Razr Plus, especially if you can get it at such a big discount, but here’s a warning for potential buyers: this feisty red phone won’t hesitate to play with your emotions, for better and for worse.

Editors’ Recommendations






Something amazing happened to folding phones in 2023 | Digital Trends

Something amazing happened to folding phones in 2023 | Digital Trends

Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

Samsung has been in charge of leading the foldable segment for too long. For years, Samsung dominated the foldable landscape with little to no competition. But that changed in 2023.

While the company put in the work to improve the Galaxy Z Flip 5 with a bigger cover display, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 seemed to remain an afterthought. Fortunately, other smartphone manufacturers started rolling out more foldable phones globally this year, and now, Samsung’s aren’t the go-to choice anymore. There’s finally healthy competition and choice for folding phones, and I’m so here for it.

Finally, some real competition

OnePlus Open and Google Pixel Fold camera modules.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Samsung started facing the heat from Google in June with the rollout of the Google Pixel Fold. It introduced a new form factor with a wide cover display and a horizontal aspect ratio on the inside. In my opinion, it isn’t an ideal form factor, especially with the weight and not having a vertical display on the inside. But it brought actual competition for the foldable phone market in the U.S. — a critically important task.

Honor showcased the slimmest and lightest foldable with the Honor Magic V2 in September, and it was a turning point for me. It lies in the middle of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Pixel Fold in terms of form factor. It solved the major design issues that were a norm for book-style foldables.

The Honor Magic V2 is closer to a slab phone in more than one way. It is thin enough to feel like a regular slab phone and weighs less than my then-primary phone, the iPhone 14 Pro Max. In fact, Honor made a whole new slim 5,000mAh battery for its foldable. Plus, It has a crease less than the other two Folds and packs a 20:9 cover screen, which is close to what you’d find on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra or the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

While the Honor Magic V2’s global availability hasn’t been announced, it is slated to launch sometime in Q1 2024. It showcased what a book-style foldable can be and became a benchmark for design – at least for me. And it remains one even after the launch of the OnePlus Open (more on that below).

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 next to the Motorola Razr Plus, both showing their cover screens.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Additionally, we saw the return of Motorola Razr with the Motorola Razr (2023) and Motorola Razr Plus. The latter was arguably better than the Galaxy Z Flip 5, with a bigger cover screen and better battery life. Globally, Oppo had already rolled out the Find N2 Flip, which introduced a new vertical cover screen on the outside.

Samsung made a good comeback with the Galaxy Z Flip 5 in Q3, which brought a solid hinge and new cover screen but with the same dual camera setup and gutter-like crease in the middle. The Oppo Find N3 Flip solved both concerns with a triple rear camera setup that included a dedicated telephoto lens on a flip phone for the first time. Plus, the crease situation was much better than Samsung’s phones.

One phone beat Samsung at its own game

OnePlus Open from the back, in hand and less than half folded.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

If the Honor Magic V2 had been released outside of China, it’d be my go-to recommendation for a book-style foldable. But OnePlus did what Honor couldn’t with its first big foldable, the OnePlus Open. It not only challenged Samsung but beat it in almost every way — despite undercutting it on the price.

Similar to the Honor Magic V2, the OnePlus Open features a 20:9 aspect ratio, which I consider ideal for this type of foldable. As a result of the slab-like cover screen, apps don’t misbehave, which is an issue on the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Pixel Fold – whether with black borders or the app not being comfortable and displaying zoomed-in text on an irregular aspect ratio. But the OnePlus Open did two other things that no other folding phone has done yet.

First, It offered a camera setup that’s better and more versatile than any big foldable phone. At launch, it had some issues with tuning for the new Sony sensor, but it has only gotten better with updates. Plus, the 6x zoom feels straight out of a more traditional flagship phone.

Two games running simultaneously on OnePlus Open held in hands.
Botworld (top) and Whiteout Survival running on OnePlus Open simultaneously. Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

Second, the crease is almost negligible. You can still feel it, but it’s notably less than the Samsung, Google, Honor, or Tecno foldables. You can’t see it 99% of the time, and for that 1% you can, you have to view it at a specific angle. It’s a non-issue.

The OnePlus Open also took multitasking to the next level with its Open Canvas feature. For the first time, you can now have three apps simultaneously on your screen, with each interaction just a tap away. When you use it, you realize how much you can accomplish on the big inner display. I can plan for my next story or my next trip with Chrome, YouTube, and Google Keep all open simultaneously.

The OnePlus Open is easily my favorite phone of the year that’s available globally.

2023 did something else for foldables

Tecno Phantom V Fold and Tecno Phantom V Flip.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

It’s no secret that folding phones come at an expensive price tag, and oftentimes, it’s the price that keeps consumers from jumping on the foldable bandwagon. But Tecno democratized the market by launching a book-style foldable and a flip phone at unbelievable prices.

The Tecno Phantom V Fold was launched at 79,999 Indian Rupees (INR), which translates to $960, less than most regular flagship phones. YouTuber Michael Fisher famously called it the “a fold at the price of a flip” – something Tecno used at its launch event.

The Tecno Phantom V Fold's open screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Phantom V Fold isn’t a bad foldable by any means. It offers a more useable cover screen and a lesser crease on the inner screen than the Galaxy Z Fold 5. There were obviously instances where Tecno had to cut corners. For example, the hinge is either at 90 degrees or 180 degrees flat, and the cameras aren’t something to boast about, but they’re workable.

As if that wasn’t enough, Tecno also launched a flip phone at 49,999 INR ($600), which brings it to a mid-range phone category, similar to the Motorola Razr launch price in the US. It is selling for 54,999 INR ($660) and still remains the cheapest flip phone on the market, slightly cheaper than the $700 Motorola Razr.

You might not get the fastest performance or the best cameras on these two flip phones, but they are democratizing foldables, which have long remained a novel pursuit. In 2023, folding phones aren’t something you have to splurge on, and that’s a big win for the form factor.

Folding phones are here to stay

Honor Magic V2 and OnePlus Open in hand.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

In short, 2023 was an outstanding year for folding phones.

Samsung faced more competition than ever, which exposed its lazy approach with the Fold 5. Google entered the segment. Honor showed you can make foldables as slim and light as a slab phone. OnePlus led the form factor with great cameras, a near-creaseless display, and next-level multitasking. Oppo introduced a dedicated telephoto camera on a flip phone for the first time. Motorola and Tecno brought foldables to the masses.

That’s more activity in the global foldable market than we’ve seen in the last four years combined — since the launch of the first Galaxy Fold in 2019. I’m still amazed by having a 7.6-inch tablet-like display right inside my pocket that enables me to do so much more than a regular, non-folding phone.

I hope 2024 continues to be amazing for foldables and that Samsung pushes itself to make the Galaxy Z Fold 6 more than an iterative upgrade. This is the best year we’ve had yet for folding phones, and I can’t wait to see where the niche is another year from now.

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