Meet The World’s Cheapest Foldable Phone – What’s The Catch?

Nubia – a ZTE sub-brand – has just announced the world’s cheapest foldable phone, the Nubia Flip 5G, which costs half the price of the Galaxy Z Flip5 – so what’s the catch?

Most of you probably haven’t heard of Nubia – it’s a sub-brand of ZTE. But at this year’s MWC 2024, Nubia caused quite a storm with the announcement of its 2024 lineup of Android smartphones

There were flagship models, gaming models, and, the focus of this article, a foldable phone called the Nubia Flip 5G. Now, foldable phones aren’t new – there’s quite a few options around right now. 

Nubia Flip 5G Price

But the difference with the Nubia Flip 5G is its price: it is half the price of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 at just $599.99. 

Incredible, right? So, how did ZTE manage to do this? How did it get the price down to $599, while every other brand has failed to do so? 

ZTE did it in the usual way: it used older components, like the Snapdragon 7 GEN 1 CPU, to get the components cost of the phone down to a more budget-friendly level. 

But even with these corners cut, the phone still packs in some pretty impressive specs. The fact that it is contained inside a clamshell-style, flip phone makes it all the more impressive. It has a 120Hz display, 33W fast charging, and a very decently-sized battery (4,310mAh). 

For $599.99, that’s decent. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it is great value. Flip phones like the Galaxy Z Flip5 and RAZR are very expensive, and neither really run rings around the Nubia Flip 5G when it comes to specs and hardware. 

Nubia Flip 5G Specifications


  • Main display: 6.9″ FHD+ (2790 x 1188 pixels) AMOLED, 120Hz refresh rate
  • Cover display: 1.43″ (466 x 466 pixels) AMOLED


  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (4nm)


  • 6GB or 8GB RAM
  • 128GB or 256GB UFS 3.1 storage


  • Rear: Dual camera system:
    • 50MP main sensor
    • 2MP depth sensor
  • Front: 16MP selfie camera


  • 4310mAh (typical) with 33W fast charging

Other Specs

  • Operating System: Android 13
  • Connectivity: 5G SA/NSA, Dual 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 6 802.11 ax, Bluetooth 5.3, GPS/GLONASS
  • Fingerprint sensor: Side-mounted
  • Dimensions: 170 x 76 x 7.3 mm (unfolded); 76 x 7.3 x 15.5 mm (folded)
  • Weight: 214g

Nubia Flip 5G Design 

Meet The World's Cheapest Foldable Phone – What's The Catch?Pin

The Nubia Flip 5G boasts a classic clamshell design, reminiscent of beloved flip phones of the past but with a thoroughly modern twist. 

At its heart lies a durable hinge mechanism that Nubia claims can withstand over 200,000 flips, promising a long lifespan. 

Opening up the device reveals a 6.8-inch AMOLED display, offering an expansive canvas for watching videos, browsing the web, or playing games.

Understanding the importance of smooth transitions in a foldable experience, Nubia has worked diligently to ensure seamless app transitions between the smaller exterior screen and the larger inner display. 

Additionally, they claim to have developed innovative solutions to mitigate the common creasing issue seen in some foldable displays – a significant win for longevity.

While the exterior screen’s narrow dimensions provide the essentials for notifications and alerts, some might find the clamshell form factor less than ideal for tasks like making calls or snapping quick selfies. 

However, the Nubia Flip 5G prioritizes bringing the large-screen experience to your pocket when folded, offering far greater portability compared to typical slab-style smartphones.

The Camera 

Meet The World's Cheapest Foldable Phone – What's The Catch?Pin

The Nubia Flip 5G boasts a dual-camera setup on the back with 50MP wide and telephoto lenses and a 16MP front camera which sounds decent on paper. But I have tested a bunch of Chinese phones with good-looking camera hardware that just didn’t live up to expectation. 

There’s WAY more to photography on phones than raw specs and components. Sure, they help massively. But there’s so much stuff that goes on under the hood, things like machine learning and image processing, that has to also be done correctly for the end result to look anything close to good. 

Details about the camera itself, or, more specifically its performance, are pretty thin on the ground right now. The phone has literally just launched. I’m not expecting miracles, to be frank. But if it is passable, meaning good enough for social media and the like, that’s all it really needs to be at this price point. 

Should You Consider The Nubia Flip 5G?

The Nubia Flip 5G undoubtedly democratizes the foldable smartphone market, bringing an honest to goodness, affordable flip phone to the masses. Is it perfect? No. ZTE has cut plenty of corners to get the price this low. 

And that’s before we even start talking about software; ZTE’s Android skin isn’t exactly renowned for its prowess – and, of course, Android updates and support. Again, these phones, given their pricing, will likely get one or two Android updates. And not in a timely fashion. They’re currently running Android 13 which is nearly two major updates behind the current generation of Android.

When you factor in things like this, phones like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5, while double the cost, will get 7 years’ worth of Android updates, so you could use it, running the latest hardware, for double the amount of time you could the Nubia Flip 5G. 

Here’s who this device might be perfect for:

  • Tech enthusiasts on a budget: If you’ve always yearned for a foldable device but couldn’t justify the high price, the Flip 5G could be your ticket in.
  • Those seeking a compact, full-featured smartphone: If portability and a large unfolding display are priorities, the Flip 5G ticks the boxes.

Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin is a leading UK technology journalist with a focus on consumer tech trends and data security. Renowned for his insightful analysis, Richard has contributed to Sky News, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 2, and CNBC, making complex tech issues accessible to a broad audience.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Keep Reading

Explore more →
new nubia phones 2024
Scroll to Top