ZTE launches Libero Flip, the world's cheapest foldable smartphone

ZTE has just made foldable smartphones incredibly affordable. The Chinese firm collaborated with Japanese telecom company Y!mobile, a subsidiary of SoftBank Group, to launch a clamshell folding phone at just $420. The ZTE Libero Flip is available for pre-order in Japan, with sales beginning on February 29. There is no word yet on the global release of the world’s cheapest foldable.

The ZTE Libero Flip made mid-range foldables a thing

Foldable phones are generally more expensive than regular smartphones. Before ZTE entered the scene, the lowest launch price for a foldable was $699 for Motorola’s Razr 2023. If you want a more refined product, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5 is your best bet but costs $999. Of course, you can grab these phones at a lower price with offers and promotions, but that’s a different matter.

ZTE’s Libero Flip has a launch price of 63,000 yen in Japan, which is equivalent to $420. With offers, you can grab this foldable at just 39,800 yen or roughly $265. This is ridiculously affordable for a foldable phone, no matter the manufacturer. There is little chance the phone will arrive in the US or most other global markets, but hardly anyone imagined a brand-new foldable to be available at around $400 in 2024.

The device packs a decent set of specs too. Nothing magical, but acceptable for a foldable at this price range. You get Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset paired with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. The ZTE Libero Flip sports a 6.9-inch AMOLED display with a 2790×1188 pixels resolution on the inside and a 1.43-inch circular panel (466×466 pixels) on the outside. The secondary display can be used for notifications, whether, calls, and camera viewfinder.

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Speaking of cameras, ZTE’s first foldable has a 50MP primary shooter and a 2MP depth sensor on the back. You also get a 16MP selfie camera here. The device sits rigid at various angles, so you can take hands-free photos. Other key specs include a 4,310mAh battery, 33W charging, side-mounted fingerprint scanner, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth v5.2, IP42 dust and water resistance, and Android 13. The device measures just 7.3mm in thickness when unfolded. You can find the full spec sheet here.

Samsung may also have a mid-range foldable in the works

Rumors say Samsung will launch three new foldables this year. Alongside the Galaxy Z Flip 6 and Galaxy Z Fold 6, we could see an affordable model priced similarly to the ZTE Libero Flip. Details are scarce but the Korean firm does seem to have this device in the pipeline. Either the plan will materialize this year or we will have to wait longer for it; only time will tell. Samsung’s next-gen foldables should arrive in July.

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