It’s been more than ten years since the original iPhone launched, and in that time, we’ve seen smartphone adoption skyrocket. The major players in the smartphone wars of the 2000s—Microsoft, Nokia, Palm, and Blackberry— have all but left the market, replaced by Apple, Samsung, and Google. Those companies create flagship devices that can run upwards of $1000, but that doesn’t mean every phone now runs four digits. Budget smartphones have also gotten really good, allowing access to a powerful new device for on-the-go computing no matter your budget.
In 2019, smartphone adoption in the United States had hit 81 percent according to Pew Research , meaning more than four out of five American adults now have a smartphone in their life. Those numbers have especially increased among adults over 50 years old and lower-income Americans, presumably due to the increased simplicity of smartphones and the ability to buy a good device for around $100. But those numbers still mean one in five Americans have held onto non-smartphone devices, and from a certain perspective, it’s easy to see why. Feature phones tend to get the basics right, with solid call quality, the ability to send text messages, and perhaps the most important feature: multi-day battery life.
Whether you haven’t yet committed to owning a smartphone, or you’re looking for a secondary device to take camping, hiking, or to keep on the side for emergencies, owning a basic flip phone is a great idea for some consumers.
Unfortunately, most technology sites don’t quite keep track of flip phone devices any longer, which might leave some consumers on their own when looking for a new device for the basic necessities. Let’s fix that. This is a look at the best flip phones on the market today.
Before we dive in, a quick clarification about folding smartphones. Companies like Samsung and Motorola have developed smartphones with the body and build of a classic flip phone. While not every device has been a homerun—both of Motorola’s attempts to revive the Razr to its former glory have been panned by critics—Samsung continues to make major strides with their folding tech, having released two different folding phones in 2020.
Still, we won’t be including them on this list, for a number of reasons. First and foremost, these phones just aren’t ready for primetime yet. Even the Galaxy Z Flip received mixed reviews from critics, and while the new Galaxy Z Fold 2 is easily the best folding phone yet, it’s early technology in an ever-evolving field. Second, the cost of these phones is still sky-high, even for premium devices. Expect to pay as much as $2,000 for a folding smartphone, a far cry from the devices featured on this list.
That’s not to say some of the phones featured on our list don’t feature some basic apps and data connection, and as we move forward into a world with more and more folding devices, it seems inevitable one lands on this list. But for now, they’re just not ready for a recommendation quite yet.