Big display, small size: a new generation of folding smartphones is living up to this promise in a different ways. On the one hand there’s the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, which can be folded out into a small tablet. On the other, there’s the Motorola Razr 5G, which is much more compact and can fold up to fit in the smallest of trouser pockets. It then folds out into an elongated smartphone. As always with the first generations of new tech, the phones with folding displays last year struggled with a number of growing pains that may have scared you away from even thinking of buying one. The troubles of the original Samsung Galaxy Fold (2019) are a case in point: the launch was postponed from spring to autumn after tech reporters found serious flaws in the folding display after only a few days of testing. Samsung now wants to put this false start behind it. “We listened to the feedback from our customers, improved the hardware and worked closely with Google and Microsoft at the software level,” says Samsung manager Mario Winter. The biggest improvement is, as we’d hope, the display. The first Fold had a plastic display, which was easily scratched and could be damaged at the hinge. In the new Fold 2 Samsung uses a mixture of glass and plastic, which actually feels more like glass than plastic and is much less sensitive. The Samsung Galaxy Fold has a lot to love... and a lot to hate However, there’s a warning sticker attached to the packaging to remind you to handle the phone with care – and it doesn’t inspire much confidence. There’s now also a protective film applied to the screen that you won’t be able to peel off. And Samsung will remind you that the Fold 2 is neither dust- nor waterproof. You might be able to finish your phone call when it starts raining, but don’t expect this phone to survive a dunking in the bath. The hinge – the weak point of the first fold – was also improved in the Fold 2 and is better protected against dust and dirt. It can also be opened and locked in place at any angle. Open it to an angle of 140 degrees, however, and the Fold 2 starts to fall backwards. This means it’s a bit fiddly to open the smartphone as a kind of mini-notebook with a virtual keyboard at the bottom of the screen and the document at the top. When unfolded, the 7.6-inch AMOLED display is large enough to open three windows at the same time – if you really need to use three apps simultaneously. With two apps next to each other, it works quite well. With three apps things start to get a bit too small. The performance of the Fold 2 is easily sufficient for multitasking and never pushes Qualcomm’s flagship chip, the Snapdragon 865+, to its limits. If you’re commuting to work on public transport, you’ll likely appreciate the large screen. However its square format is more suited to web and app use than watching movies. The slim front display, on the other hand, has almost ideal cinema dimensions with an aspect ratio of 25:9. Samsung is asking US$2,000 for the Galaxy Fold 2. For this price, you’d expect the best camera you can buy in a smartphone, but Samsung isn’t giving it to you. To get that, you’ll have to buy the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, which costs around two-thirds of the price. Here Samsung offers a powerful 108-megapixel sensor that can even record 8K videos. The Fold 2 cannot compete with these superlatives, but then again you probably don’t have an 8K screen at home to make this essential. Meanwhile the quality of the Fold 2’s photos is often close to those taken with the Note 20 Ultra. If you open the Fold 2 at a right angle when taking a photo, you can see a picture preview in the upper part of the screen, while pictures you’ve taken appear in the lower part. The Note 20 Ultra cannot do this. In practical tests, the screens were impressive in terms of display quality. The Fold 2 feels premium and offers an innovative concept, at least for certain scenarios. The fact that Samsung has not used the best cameras it has to offer was hardly noticed in the practical test. We’d more be worried that the Fold 2 is not the most robust device, despite considerable improvements. Many smartphone owners have now got used to the fact that their devices are dust- and waterproof, and the Fold 2 is a step backwards in this respect. Buyers of the new Motorola Razr 5G must also live with durability limits. Like Samsung, Motorola has done its homework to make its folding smartphone more robust. Review | Motorola Razr 5G: foldable phone’s second screen beats Samsung Galaxy Z Flip’s Motorola promises that the Razr 5G will survive up to 200,000 folds without damage. And since Motorola has given its new folding mobile phone an external screen, there is no need to fold it out for every little thing anyway. It makes more sense to use the small outer screen as a large viewfinder for the 20-megapixel selfie camera. Compared to the Samsung Fold 2, the larger main screen appears slightly less brilliant and bright. The compact Razr housing now has room for a physical SIM card, unlike the 2019 model which only ran with an eSIM. Both flip smartphones can use the faster 5G mobile data , but there’s a good chance you won’t even be able to find this signal in your area. In a year’s time, when the 5G network may have improved in certain cities, you might be glad to have a future-proof phone, but only if you intend on regularly streaming content when out and about. Both folding smartphones impressed the testers with their cool design, which has now been made suitable for everyday use. The main drawback is the high price: the Razr 5G costs US$1,400. Both devices are only equipped with 256GB of internal storage. For this price, you’d expect double that amount. Overall, at this point you need to be convinced of the advantages of a folding display to be willing to pay this much more for it.