It’s official. After months of rumors, Google launched its first foldable phone at its developer conference on Wednesday in the latest sign the tech giant appears to be taking its hardware business seriously.
The Pixel Fold, which features a book-style design, starts at $1,799 — the same price as its biggest rival the Galaxy Z Fold 4 phone. It’ll also go up against competing products from Chinese phone makers like Huawei’s Mate X3 and Oppo’s Find N2 in international markets. Despite the increase in offerings, foldable phones still comprise a small segment of the overall smartphone category (an estimated 1.2% according to IDC), however it’s dominated by Samsung, which captured 62% of the market in the first half of 2022, according to Counterpoint Research.
Display and design
Similar to the Galaxy Z Fold 4, the Pixel Fold morphs from a phone when closed, into a tablet when opened. The inner display takes the form of a 7.6-inch OLED panel, while the cover display is a high-res 5.8-inch display. Compared to the Z Fold 4, the Pixel Fold appears to be a more pocket-friendly device since it’s shorter (by just over half an inch) and shouldn’t stick out as much. That said, the Pixel Fold is also heavier (by roughly 20 grams) and nearly half an inch wider. With the wider display, Google’s aiming to offer a comparable experience to a regular phone, albeit a shorter one, when using the cover display. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 has a narrower external display in comparison, which can make it a little awkward to use when on phone mode, although it has widened since 2021’s Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Like the Z Fold 4, the Pixel Fold features a grand total of five cameras. Three on the rear, taking the form of a 48-megapixel main camera, a 10.8-megapixel ultra-wide camera and a 10.8-megapixel telephoto camera capable of 5x optical zoom and up to 20x digital zoom; one on the front, which is a 9.5-megapixel camera; and finally an 8-megapixel camera on the inner screen. For more details on how it stacks up against the Galaxy Z Fold 4 on paper, scroll down to our specs chart below. It’s worth noting that this isn’t the most advanced camera system on a Google flagship phone (that honor goes to the thicker Pixel 7 Pro), since Google was forced to make some compromises to accommodate the lean folding design.
Google says its Pixel Fold, which runs on a 4,821-mAh battery, can last beyond 24 hours based on a median Pixel user battery usage profile. More specifically, Google says its internal tests showed battery life was approximately 33 hours using default settings. Of course, this is just what’s on paper, and I’d recommend reading our Pixel Fold review to find out for sure whether that turns out to be the case. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 has a 4,400-mAh battery, and CNET’s review puts its battery life at about a full day.
Pixel Fold vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4
|Pixel Fold||Galaxy Z Fold 4 5G|
|Display size, resolution||Internal/Main: 7.6-inch OLED, 2,208 x 1,840 pixels, 1,450 nits, External: 5.8-inch; FHD+ (2,092 x 1,080 pixels), 120 Hz, 1,500 nits||Internal: 7.6-inch AMOLED (2,176 x 1,812 pixels) External: 6.2-inch HD+ (2,316 x 904)|
|Pixel density||External: 408 ppi; Internal: 380 ppi||External: 402 pp; Internal: 374 ppi|
|Dimensions (Millimeters)||Folded: 139.7 height x 79.5 width x 12.1 depth (mm) Unfolded: 139.7 height x 158.7 width x 5.8 depth (mm)||Folded: 155.1 mm x 67.1 mm x 15.8mm (Hinge) ~ 14.2mm (Sagging); Unfolded: 130.1 x 155.1 x 6.3mm|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||10 oz.; 283g||9.27 oz.; 263g|
|Mobile software||Android 13||Android 12L|
|Camera||Rear: 48-megapixel (main), 10.8-megapixel (ultrawide), 10,8-megapixel (telephoto) Inner: 8-megapixel||50-megapixel (main), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 10-megapixel (telephoto)|
|Front-facing camera||8-megapixel (inner), 9.5-megapixel (front cover)||4-megapixel (under display), 10-megapixel (front cover)|
|Processor||Tensor G2||Snapdragon 8 Gen Plus 1|
|RAM/Storage||12GB + 256GB/512GB (US, UK, Germany)||12GB + 256GB/512GB/1TB|
|Battery/Charger||4,821 mAh (30W wired charging, adapter sold separately)||4,400 mAh (charger sold separately)|
|Special features||5G (mmw/Sub6), IPX8, 5 years Pixel updates, 5x optical zoom, 20x digital zoom, dual sim,||Foldable phone, 30x optical, 30x space zoom, IPX8, 25-watt fast-charging (no in-box charger)|
|Price||$1,799 (12GB + 256GB)||$1,799 (12 + 256GB)|