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.
That price puts the Google Pixel Fold in direct competition with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4, which launched last year and has the same starting price and a very similar design.
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|
|Display (interior)||7.6 inches|
2208 x 1840 pixels
6:5 aspect ratio
Up to 1000 nits (HDR)
Up to 1450 nits (peak brightness
|Display (cover)||5.8 inches|
17.4:9 aspect ratio
2092 x 1080 pixels
Up to 1200 nits (HDR)
Up to 1550 nits (peak brightness)
|Processor||Google Tensor G2|
|Storage||256GB or 512GB|
|Cameras (rear)||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
|Camera (front)||9.5 MP Dual PD|
1.22 μm pixel width
84° field of view
|Camera (inner)||8 MP|
1.12 μm pixel width
84° field of view
|Charging||30W USB-C fast charging|
Qi certified wireless charging)
|Ports||USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C|
Dual SIM (nano SIM + eSIM)
GPS, GLONASS, GNSS, Galileo, QZSS
5G mmWave + sub-6 GHz
|Security||Fingerprint unlock (power button)|
Titan M2 security chip
VPN by Google One included
|Materials||Corning Gorilla Glass Victus Cover Glass|
Corning Gorilla Glass Victus back with polished alumnum frame
Mirror polish stainless steel hinge
|Dimensions (folded)||139.7 x 79.5 x 12.1mm|
5.5″ x 3.1″ x 0.5″
|Dimensions (unfolded)||139.7 x 158.7 x 5.8mm|
5.5″ x 6.2″ x 0.2″
Its primary audience for those seeking to install a De-Googled ROM?
Tempting, but will wait for the second generation. Glad that Google finally joined the folding phones. $1799 is fine for me compared to the MateXS, Vivo, and Oppo which are a bit expensive to import and support but might be not that good.
without usb 4.. without Lidar.. No thanks
What specifically do you want from USB4? Because USB4 is a collection of optional features, like Thunderbolt (which you won’t get, because the Tensor G2 chip doesn’t have any PCIe lanes), or the 240W of power delivery (which you won’t get from a smartphone).
The only feature from USB 4 that a smartphone would be capable of offering is the Displayport feature, but that is already offered through USB 3.2 (which we already know this chip offers).
40 Gbps Link bandwidth
Better dock performance (for TB are higher quality)
For almost 2 grand… it has a crease rivaling that of the grand canyon
Pay the 200 gorillion or don’t pass G0og!
As a fold 4 owner, I do like the outside screen size on the Pixel Fold. There’s just a bit of compromise with the outside screen on the Fold 4, where I’m opening to the inside cover on the fold 4 more than I need to vs the Pixel Fold’s wider outside screen. Hate Bezels, so I’d feel the bezels on the inside of the Pixel Fold would stand out and annoy me, especially coming from the mostly bezel free Fold 4. If the price of the Pixel fold had been aggressive, the old Tensor chip running all of the Pixel line of phones wouldn’t bother me, but at the same price as the Fold 4, I’d feel less than happy about paying premium prices for what is technically a 3 year old processor.
Overall, I think it’s a good competitor to the fold 4. I somehow expected the pricing to be lower to give Samsung a scare, but that’s not happened. I’m impressed, but now wowed. I have no buyers remorse with the fold 4 even though I’ve owned it since it came out and couldn’t go back to a phone that’s not foldable now. What Samsung brings to the table with the fold 4 I think will be an incremental upgrade so other than a less bulky body and a faster chip, I don’t feel motivated to upgrade to the fold 5, but I am expecting big changes to the fold 6 and at this point I’m happy to stay with team Samsung.
Oops. Should have been “What Samsung brings to the table with the fold 5”
GSMarena hasn’t put up a spec page for this phone yet so I can’t say for sure if Google intentionally disabled video output on this phone (again) but a lack of a desktop like experience on external displays is something to consider, when comparing it to Samsung in particular.
Interesting, but when it comes to Google, I’m never shocked by some of the things they do especially as a former Pixel phone user until recently, owning Pixel phones going all the way back to the original.
I do use my Fold 4, running Dex with an external display quite often actually, so if I was in the market for a foldable phone and found out Google had disabled the video output, that would be a deal breaker.
It’ll be interesting to find out if that’s true.