First impressions of Google’s $1800 folding cellphone

Google hasn’t been making telephones for lengthy. Not in comparison with the likes of Samsung or Apple. Whereas Apple is making ready to launch the iPhone 15 and Samsung making ready its fifth-generation of folding phone, Google has launched its first folding cellphone and solely its eighth era of smartphone.

That is Google embracing a change, exhibiting what it could actually do on a bigger display screen and the way it can drive Android in a brand new route. That began with the Pixel Tablet – and it is clear there’s work to do there – and the Pixel Fold affords lots of the identical options.

I’ve lived with the Pixel Fold for a few weeks, is that this the folding cellphone for you?


Google Pixel Fold

The Pixel Fold takes Google’s telephones in a brand new route, embracing the next-gen display screen tech and presenting a premium PIxel choice. It is an incredible high quality cellphone, nevertheless it’s clear there’s nonetheless work to be completed on app optimisation to reinforce the expertise.


  • Nice high quality design
  • Exterior show could be very usable
  • Nice digital camera outcomes

  • Some software program optimisation nonetheless to occur
  • It is costly
  • Middling battery life

Design and construct

  • Folded: 139.7 x 79.5 x 12.1mm
  • Unfolded: 139.7 x 158.7 x 5.8mm
  • 283g, IPX8 safety
  • Gorilla Glass Victus, polished aluminium body

There is a whopping price ticket on the Pixel Fold. It’ll price $1799 within the US or £1749 in the UK. In Europe, it is €1899 so there is not any avoiding that this can be a premium cellphone. Fortuitously, it comes with a premium construct, however this can be a system the place price is at all times going to be a part of the dialog. (Because it occurs, there are trade-in affords and a free Pixel Watch with pre-orders on the Google Retailer, and that may reduce the blow for you.)

Google Pixel Fold

However as quickly as you raise the Pixel Fold from the field you will be struck by how premium it’s. The 283g weight means there’s some heft to it, the polished aluminium body appears to be like and feels nice, softly rounded to make it a pleasure to carry. This cellphone may be 12.1mm thick, nevertheless it’s snug to grip when folded, if a bit weighty – it’s 20g heavier than Samsung’s rival flagship cellphone.

The appears to be like are much like the Pixel 7 Pro, it is the identical high quality of end, however there’s extra body to the Pixel Fold, the backbone shaped when the cellphone is folded is once more a seamless, with a high-quality end to the metal alloy, whereas the Gorilla Glass Victus again of this cellphone is matte relatively than gloss, so it does not acquire fingerprints.

In folding telephones, loads is claimed about hinges, and Google has made an incredible hinge. The Pixel Fold when closed does not go away a niche such as you get on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, as an alternative it is nearly – nearly – flush, with the 2 halves of the cellphone laying flat in opposition to one another. Maintain it as much as the sunshine, nonetheless, and you will find there’s nonetheless a niche on the hinge finish, a bit gentle creeping by.

Open the cellphone and that hinge does not go away gaps, all of it appears to be like effectively sealed, however the cellphone does not truly open flat. There is a sizeable digital camera bump on the rear and when open, the cellphone is not a flat slab, the fitting leaf is at a slight angle. Lay the cellphone on a desk and you will see it, choose it up and discover that is so far as it goes.

The Pixel Fold carries an IPX8 rating, that means it can stand up to water ingress, nevertheless it’s not examined for mud. Mud and advantageous grains will at all times be an issue for gadgets with hinges – we might advise you’re taking actual care should you’re heading to the seaside. After all, on a cellphone this costly, you will need a case, and there is a selection available. Even after a couple of weeks, we have discovered a line of mud within the centre of the show down the crease.

Pixel Fold

The entire essence of the Pixel Fold, nonetheless, is one which continues the Pixel story. It suits proper in with what the Pixel 7 gadgets supply, immediately recognisable as a part of the pack.

One of many modifications, nonetheless, is that the fingerprint scanner is within the energy button. That is a standard transfer on folding telephones and it really works effectively sufficient. Within the time we have been utilizing it, we have had no issues with it. The Pixel Fold additionally helps face unlocking, and it will get you into the system simply sufficient, however solely unlocks utilizing the entrance digital camera when the cellphone is folded. It is maybe not as advantageous as it’s on an everyday cellphone, as a result of many will press to energy button to wake the display screen and the fingerprint is usually seamlessly recognised and the cellphone unlocked anyway.

Pixel Fold shows

  • Inner: 7.6in OLED, 2208 x 1840, 380ppi, 120Hz, 1450 nits peak, 6:5 facet
  • Exterior: 5.8in OLED, 2092 x 1080, 408ppi, 120Hz, 1550 nits peak, 17.4:9 facet

Each folding cellphone is a story of two shows. There’s the flamboyant folding show on the within, utilizing ultra-thin glass to permit it to sit down at numerous angles and sometimes the centre of consideration, after which there’s the exterior show. Usually seen as a spot to shortly look at messages, the Pixel Fold’s exterior show is a lot greater than that. I’ve opined on how much I like it right here, as a result of I’ve discovered myself utilizing the exterior show loads.

Pixel Fold

The facet ratio of it’s actually good, as a result of it is extensive sufficient to make use of like a standard cellphone. There’s sufficient area to make use of the keyboard on all my common apps, with out feeling like there is a compromise to efficiency. It isn’t large, however it’s like having one other compact cellphone in your pocket. It is vivid, it is vibrant, and it is a full-functioning cellphone show, with 120Hz refresh rate and nice peak brightness to chop by reflections on sunny days – and I feel it is a main promoting level for the Pixel Fold.

Open the cellphone up and also you’re offered with the 7.6-inch folding display screen. The very first thing that folks will touch upon is the bezels. They’re extensive however uniform, forming a border across the folding show, but additionally serving the aim of constructing positive that when the 2 sides of this cellphone are folded collectively, it is the bezel that touches, not the display screen.

Pixel Fold

There’s a seam down the center. That is noticeable when the display screen is off, however as quickly as you are utilizing it, you may’t actually see it – it simply blends into the background. Sure, you will really feel it while you run your finger over it, however that’s the identical with all folding telephones. Importantly, fireplace up a film on Netflix to get pleasure from throughout that 7.6-inch show, and you will not discover the fold in the course of the web page in any respect. There is a factory-installed protecting layer over the show and this totally can’t be eliminated – and you may’t add different display screen protectors. There’s additionally a couple of 1mm gutter across the very fringe of the show that is not coated by this protector, so could possibly be extraordinarily delicate. Precisely how effectively it will survive over time, as simply do not know on the time of writing.

One factor I’ve seen in regards to the inside show is that the viewing angles aren’t fairly as strong because the exterior show. It’ll dim a bit should you’re viewing from an angle. You may also discover it appears to be like a bit defracted should you’re carrying polarised sun shades and viewing the interior show in portrait, because of the orientation of the polarising layer on the highest of the display screen. Sure, that is lots of circumstances, however should you put on polarised sun shades like I do, it is advisable to be ready for it.


What’s widespread to each the shows, nonetheless, is high quality. They’re each vibrant and the height brightness they provide helps to drive the HDR expertise for leisure, whereas additionally warding off vivid sunshine. I’ve discovered each the shows to carry out effectively in all circumstances by way of vibrancy, color and brightness – actually, from a efficiency viewpoint, I’ve nothing to complain about with regards to the show.

Pixel Fold {hardware} and battery efficiency

  • Google Tensor G2, 12GB RAM, 256/512GB storage
  • 4821mAh, 21W wired, 7.5W wi-fi

The Google Pixel Fold lands with acquainted {hardware}, as a result of it is the identical as you get within the Pixel 7 Professional, and intently associated to the Pixel Pill and even the Pixel 7a. Google’s method is to basically use the identical {hardware} throughout its gadgets, and which means the efficiency goes to be near its flagship cellphone. Having used the folding cellphone for a few weeks, the expertise is fairly near that which I’ve skilled utilizing the Pixel 7 Professional as my day by day driver. You can see how the two compare here.

Firing up Call of Duty Mobile to place some stress on the system sees the gaming operating good and easily – and graphically, that is a recreation that appears wonderful on this bigger show, though in actuality, it is more durable to manage what you are doing and we might say that folding telephones aren’t the best for gaming. When gaming, or utilizing a great deal of apps to multitask, I’ve discovered the Pixel Fold to remain cool sufficient, however when utilizing the hotspot it’s susceptible to getting fairly scorching – particularly if charging on the identical time.

Pixel Fold

Google telephones aren’t recognized for his or her battery efficiency – the Pixel 7 Professional is not the most effective with regards to straight stamina and the Pixel Fold feels the identical. It’ll get by a typical day, though we have discovered it is able to be recharged on the finish of every day. You are not left considering you may get by a weekend with this cellphone, it simply does not have the stamina.

Equally, the 21W charging it affords is not quick – though Samsung solely affords 25W charging – whereas the wired charging of seven.5W can be fairly common – Samsung right here is 10W on the Z Fold 4. That is now fairly sluggish, when 68W, 100W, 120W charging is showing elsewhere. This may come all the way down to attempting to protect the battery, or limitations brought on by the break up battery design that folding telephones use. However the Oppo Find N2 has 67W charging, so it isn’t unparalleled on this market. The Pixel Fold does not include a charger, so you will need the right model to get the best out of your new device.

Total, nonetheless, the efficiency is that of a flagship system. It does not really feel like it’s important to compromise with this system, it is able to support your multitasking, and with the ability to open up Chrome and examine the desktop model of a web site is an actual benefit over a standard candybar cellphone.

Pixel Fold digital camera efficiency

  • Important (rear): 48MP, 0.8µm, f/1.7, 1/2in sensor
  • Ultrawide (rear): 10.8MP, 1.25µm, f/2.2, 1/3in sensor, 121.1 levels
  • Telephoto (rear): 10.8MP, 1.22µm, f/3.05, 1/3.1in sensor, 5x optical
  • Entrance: 9.5MP, 1.22µm, f/2.2, FF
  • Internal: 8MP, 1.12 µm, f/2.0, FF

Folding telephones have lots of cameras, a by-product of getting lots of completely different sides. The purpose has at all times been to make sure there is a digital camera on whichever floor you are taking a look at. Wanting on the breakdown of cameras, this appears to be like like a cascading listing, from finest to worst. The internal digital camera being the digital camera that you simply’re least possible to make use of – and customarily pitched at video calling and little else.

Google is pushing a variety of various choices to make the most of the Fold’s design. There’s tabletop mode which means the cellphone will help itself, both for the outer rear cameras or the internal digital camera. You may as well open the cellphone flat, use the exterior show as your preview window after which use the principle digital camera for selfies. This implies you then get all of the decision, the higher sensor, and autofocus, for higher pictures.

There’s an extra button within the digital camera UI to modify screens and customarily it is simple sufficient to make use of, however you may discover that if the cellphone is not on the angle it expects to be, then the preview window is the wrong way up. However there may be versatility and you may determine methods to make use of the digital camera to actually low angle photographs you do not need to lie on the bottom to take, take nice self-timed photographs and so forth.

One of many headline messages that Google is pushing is that that is the best decision selfie digital camera on a Pixel thus far. That is true while you open up the cellphone and use the 48-megapixel primary sensor to take selfies. It’s kind of fussy, since you then have to carry the open cellphone at arm’s size and it isn’t as simple as utilizing the digital camera set above the exterior show. Nonetheless, the outcomes are completely different and definitely worth the effort most often, as you will get higher colouration and the f/1.7 aperture on the principle digital camera offers a naturally shallower depth of subject with out utilizing the portrait mode. Regardless that you are utilizing completely different cameras at completely different resolutions, I have never discovered the resultant recordsdata sizes to be a lot completely different. Bear in mind too that Night time Mode on the principle digital camera goes to be significantly better than on the decrease decision sensor, so if it is in a low gentle scenario, it is value doing. The selfies under are labelled so you may see which digital camera they got here from.

The primary digital camera is sweet on the Pixel Fold, capturing vivid and vibrant pictures, very a lot the point-and-shoot expertise that we’re used to on Pixel cameras. The f/1.7 aperture is a bit shallow and that may imply that close-up photographs typically have a shallow depth of subject (see the yellow rose for instance) so it may be value switching to a distinct lens in such conditions to get extra of the background in focus.

However Google is not simply specializing in the principle digital camera, there’s the total spectrum and having the ultrawide and the periscope-type telephoto lens means there is a full flagship grade digital camera right here. Word that it is completely different to the Pixel 7 Professional, which is each wider at 0.6x and affords longer telephoto with 30x digital: the Pixel Fold runs from 0.6 to 20x, maybe reflecting the constraints of the bodily packaging of those cameras. Under you may click on by the completely different zoom ranges, from 0.6 by to 20x.

Night time Sight persists and is pretty much as good as ever, that means low gentle photographs look nice, whereas I nonetheless assume that Google affords a few of the finest portrait outcomes. The entrance digital camera (as I stated) is not as dynamic as utilizing the rear for portraits and might over sharpen a bit, which has been widespread on Pixel telephones. However nonetheless, you can get portraits in lots of circumstances – and in lots of circumstances higher than different telephones in my view.

The telephoto is stabilised so the far finish of the digital zoom is helpful and you may seize a shot at 20x with loads of element in it – with Google’s infamous computational magic cleansing issues up. There’s a persistent bug within the Pixel Digicam to be careful for: should you’re utilizing the ultrawide digital camera and you turn to the principle digital camera and take a shot immediately, it can seize from the cropped ultrawide sensor and offer you a decrease high quality picture. It is because it takes a bit time to modify between the cameras and Google switches the viewfinder immediately earlier than the lenses have truly switched – so await the heartbeat within the viewfinder so you understand you are again on the principle digital camera earlier than punching the shutter button.

Total, Google has packed the Pixel Fold with an incredible set of cameras. The cellphone pulls within the digital camera abilities that has made Pixel telephones widespread and this is without doubt one of the issues that is going to draw patrons to the Pixel Fold.

Software program

  • Android 13
  • 5 years of safety updates, 4 OS updates

For a lot of observers, the Pixel Fold is not about all these issues I’ve talked about above, it is about software program, plain and easy. It is Google making a baseline for Android to work on bigger shows. This goes hand-in-hand with the Pixel Pill, and there is lots of similarity within the expertise on the Fold and the expertise on the Pixel Pill. The distinction, in fact, is that the Fold will get away with apps that are not optimised for a bigger show the place the Pill doesn’t.

Pixel Fold

Beginning at the start, the Pixel Fold makes use of the brand new taskbar that is on the Pixel Pill. Slowly swipe up from the underside and it’ll seem with widespread apps so you may faucet and go. An extended sluggish swipe will current you with a helpful grid of current apps and pages, shortcuts to widespread apps, in addition to entry to separate display screen controls so you may get into multitasking. This may allow you to do a few of these extra superior issues, like with the ability to drag and drop photographs.

A fast swipe will return to the house display screen and a fast swipe from the house display screen opens the apps tray as regular.

Quite a lot of Google apps have been optimised for a bigger show – like Google Images, Gmail, the climate app – in addition to another apps. WhatApps takes on two columns, some apps like Netflix makes use of the entire show, whereas some do nothing in any respect, and open like apps on a standard display screen, like Twitter or Instagram. Some folding telephones will pressure these apps to fill the show, however Google is as an alternative opening these with black area to the perimeters and permitting you to faucet to maneuver the positioning of the app.


Some apps work higher in portrait – like Instagram – however in actuality, many of those apps are compromised. That impacts on the expertise, since you need it to be greater and higher and in some circumstances it is not – it is the identical as on an everyday cellphone. The issue right here is that builders have not all seen the necessity to begin optimising for a bigger show – and the existence of the Pixel Fold and the Pixel Pill is meant to supply some motivation.

That additionally implies that early adopters are prone to have the worst expertise. Some apps, like Uber or Strava, simply aren’t profiting from the display screen area on supply. I can see the potential is there for a significantly better folding cellphone expertise, however we’re not there but. I am hopeful that the Pixel Fold expertise will get higher with age, as a result of with regards to software program, it is nonetheless a piece in progress.




The Pixel Fold takes Google’s vary of telephones into a distinct format, embracing a folding show for the primary time and providing Android on a bigger show. There’s loads of high quality on this cellphone and it appears to be like and feels just like the $1800 cellphone that it’s. It is a slight departure to the inexpensive flagship telephones that Google has supplied prior to now and for a lot of that will probably be a value that is laborious to swallow – nevertheless it’s solely has costly as Samsung’s folding cellphone.

There are clear highlights: the shows are wonderful and the digital camera is excellent, providing a variety of latest alternatives for Pixel customers. There’s loads of energy from the Google {hardware} onboard and the efficiency of this cellphone is nice. The battery life is nearly ok, however the charging charges aren’t actually aggressive anymore. The factor that is impressed me probably the most in regards to the Pixel Fold is how effectively the exterior show works, as a result of it is identical to having a compact smartphone in your pocket – and that is not the case with the Galaxy Z Fold.

However the software program expertise is not there but. The variety of apps that do not make good use of the principle show detracts from the expertise: having black bars down the aspect on an $1800 cellphone simply appear flawed to me and with the ability to faucet to maneuver them to 1 aspect or the opposite simply looks like an admission that these apps do not supply an expertise that is ok. In actuality, they do not make use of that enormous show and it is a reflection that the app ecosystem is not mature sufficient – but. I am positive the Pixel Fold will get higher with time – and that can make it a neater advice.

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