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Japan just got a foldable flip phone that costs only $420 — or $265 on sale



With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7-series chip, the Libero Flip isn’t exactly a high-end phone, but its 6.9-inch, 2790 x 1188 foldable OLED panel is slightly larger than the Samsung, and it may have a slightly larger battery at 4,310mAh vs. 3,700mAh. (Please ask your manufacturers to report those in watt-hours so we can properly compare.)

The ZTE Libero Flip.
Image: ZTE

And while the phone is otherwise a bit of a Galaxy Z Flip clone, it does have this intriguing disc on the back.

That’s a round cover screen in there, a 466 x 466-pixel one that measures 1.43 inches in diameter, and the company’s using it primarily for widgets and as a selfie cam:

The ring also contains a 50-megapixel main camera, a 2-megapixel depth cam, and there’s a 16-megapixel selfie camera around front. It runs Android 13 with 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2, and it charges at up to 33W over its USB-C port.

ZTE is only advertising IP42, so you won’t want to open this one up in more than a very light rain, compared to the IPX8 water resistance of the Flip. You still want to keep both of them away from dust.

I wonder how long it’ll be before affordable foldables expand beyond Japan. Samsung leaker Revegnus posted in November that the company had “set the price target” for its own midrange foldable at $400 to $500. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear if the ZTE were a test balloon for foldables in that price range — Samsung Display is generally the provider of these screens, but it sells to many other customers beyond Samsung Electronics.

Mobile World Congress Barcelona, the world’s biggest mobile show, begins next week. If Samsung does have a $400–$500 Z Flip, there’s a good chance it’ll appear there.

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