Google’s first phone with a foldable display arrives in June. With a 7.6 inch interior display, the Google Pixel Fold is basically a tablet that you can fold in half and slide into your pocket. But thanks to a smaller 5.8 inch cover display you can also use the foldable phone as, well… a phone.
But it’s not cheap to make this sort of phone, so the Pixel Fold is also Google’s most expensive smartphone to date: it’s up for pre-order today for $1799 and up and the mobile device is expected to begin shipping to customers in June.
But as Ars Technica points out, the Google Pixel Fold is actually the thinnest foldable phone to date, but also has one of the largest batteries, at 4,821 mAh. While that’s a little smaller than the 5,000 mAh battery Google uses for the Pixel 7 Pro, it’s still a higher capacity battery than you typically find in foldables, which don’t have a lot of room for big batteries. And a dual-screen device with a tablet-sized internal display can certainly use all the battery capacity it can get.
The Pixel Fold also has at least a few other things going for it that could theoretically give it a fighting chance in the not-that-crowded marketplaces of foldable phones.
First, it’s a Google device that gets operating system and software updates delivered directly from Google: the company says it will receive security updates for at least five years.
Second, it has a Google Tensor G2 processor that Google taps for hardware-accelerated AI tasks including camera effects and photo editing features as well as on-device voice transcription and translation.
And third, if there’s one thing Google’s Pixel phones have been known for, it’s their excellent photography chops that combine high-quality cameras with AI-enhanced image processing. When it comes to cameras, the Pixel Fold has a bunch of them:
- 48MP primary with optical image stabilization
- 10.8MP ultrawide with 121.1 degree field of view
- 10.8MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom and Super Res Zoom up to 20x
- 9.5MP camera with 84 degree field of view (fixed focus)
- 8MP camera with 84 degree field of view (fixed focus)
While the front and inner cameras don’t have all the features you get with the rear cameras, they should be sufficient for selfies and video calls. But because of the phone’s foldable design, you can also unfold it to a 180 degree angle and flip the phone around so that you’re looking at the front and back rather than the inner display. And in that mode, you can use the high-quality rear cameras for video calls, selfies, or other purposes, while using the cover screen to frame your shot or participate in a video call.
Google also has the advantage of learning from what other companies have done in this space. Samsung currently dominates the foldable market globally, but we’ve seen a handful of other companies including Huawei, Xiaomi, and Oppo launch foldables in recent years, and Google has undoubtedly learned from those devices.
But there may also be some catching up to do: when Samsung started releasing foldables, Android wasn’t really designed for them, so the company had to build its own software to best make use of the form factor. And Samsung’s been iterating on that software for several years, while Google only started building native support for foldables into Android more recently.
We’ll likely start to see in-depth reviews of Google’s Pixel Fold in the coming weeks and months, but for now the folks who’ve gotten some hands-on time with it seem reasonably impressed.
The $1799 price tag is still going to make this a niche device for folks that can afford to spend that much on a phone… and see the value in buying a foldable phone rather than spending far less money to buy a phone and a halfway decent tablet.
But the more companies that enter this space, the more likely it is that prices will eventually fall.
Here are some key specs for the Google Pixel Fold:
|Google Pixel Fold Specs
2208 x 1840 pixels
6:5 aspect ratio
Up to 1000 nits (HDR)
Up to 1450 nits (peak brightness
17.4:9 aspect ratio
2092 x 1080 pixels
Up to 1200 nits (HDR)
Up to 1550 nits (peak brightness)
|Google Tensor G2
|256GB or 512GB
|48 MP Quad PD with OIS + CLAF0.8 μm pixel width
82° field of view
1/2″ image sensor size
10.8 MP ultrawide camera1.25 μm pixel width
121.1° field of view
1/3″ image sensor size
10.8 MP dual PD telephoto camera1.22 μm pixel width
21.9° field of view
1/3.1″ image sensor size
5x optical zoom
Super Res Zoom up to 20x
LDAF (laser detect auto focus) sensor
Optical + electronic image stabilization
Spectral and flicker sensor
Fast camera launcher
|9.5 MP Dual PD
1.22 μm pixel width
84° field of view
1.12 μm pixel width
84° field of view
|30W USB-C fast charging
Qi certified wireless charging)
|USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
Dual SIM (nano SIM + eSIM)
GPS, GLONASS, GNSS, Galileo, QZSS
5G mmWave + sub-6 GHz
|Fingerprint unlock (power button)
Titan M2 security chip
VPN by Google One included
|Corning Gorilla Glass Victus Cover Glass
Corning Gorilla Glass Victus back with polished alumnum frame
Mirror polish stainless steel hinge
|139.7 x 79.5 x 12.1mm
5.5″ x 3.1″ x 0.5″
|139.7 x 158.7 x 5.8mm
5.5″ x 6.2″ x 0.2″