The Google Pixel Fold is a first-generation foldable smartphone that Google has recently launched. It is a bold step for Google, and they have put a lot of effort into making this device. We will review the Google Pixel Fold while focusing on hardware, display, software, performance, cameras, battery life, and repairability.
Hardware & Display
One of the biggest things Google is touting on the Pixel Fold is the build quality. The stainless steel frame of the phone is premium, and the hinge is sturdy and smooth. It is a well-built device that feels solid in the hand. The external display is very usable, and it makes for a compact flagship-like experience when the device is closed. The 5.8-inch AMOLED front screen is pretty perfect, and it is wide enough that you don’t feel squished when trying to type. It gets bright too—brighter than any other Pixel phone—which means you never have trouble reading the screen on a sunny day. The device is IPX8 protected, which means it can withstand being submerged in water for up to 30 minutes.
Google Pixel Fold’s custom-built hinge makes it lay almost completely flat when opened. The hinge is sturdy and smooth, and it keeps the device looking thin. The hinge is the most complex component of the Pixel Fold, and it was challenging to design. Google industrial designer Sangsoo Park stated they researched with items like books, paper, car doors and various popular hinges to get their inspiration. They wanted to recreate the way you can hold and close a book with one hand, and they wanted to replicate how both sides of it seamlessly blend when shut. The hinge is the most durable hinge on any foldable device to date, and it should withstand constant use. They moved the hinge mechanics to the top and bottom ends of the device to make it different from other foldable phones, but it adds to the bezel. The Pixel Fold’s hinge is the thinnest hinge on a foldable phone, and it keeps the svelte measurements of the Pixel Fold.
Software & Performance
The Pixel Fold runs on Android 13, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor powers it. It feels snappy and responsive, and it handles multitasking with ease. Google’s strength is in software and it shows. The software is smart and intuitive, and it takes advantage of the folding capabilities of the device. Pixel Fold supports split-screen multitasking, and it allows you to run two apps side by side. The device also has a feature called App Continuity, which allows you to switch between the external and internal displays seamlessly.
Google Pixel Fold has a software dock feature that allows for multitasking. To access the dock, you need to swipe up from the gesture bar, and it will reveal your dock. You can then drag and drop two apps to the left and right of the screen, and you can use them side by side. It matches the row of favorites on your regular home screen, with one extra spot for a dynamically changing suggestion, and it has a split-screen feature that lets you use two apps at once, instead of toggling back and forth. Split-screen feature is handy for doing things like dragging and dropping a photo from your Photos library into an email or text message. The dock feature is a great addition to the Pixel Fold, and it makes the device even more versatile. However, if you close the Pixel Fold, even if you do not interact with the outer display before unfolding the device again, whichever app was inactive will disappear, leaving you with a single application when you reopen. This is expected behavior, and there is no way to change it. Overall, the dock feature on the Pixel Fold is a great way to multitask, and it is perfect for people who need to be productive while on the move.
The Pixel Fold has a triple-camera setup that includes a 48MP with pixel binning primary camera, a 10.8 MP with a Dual Pixel autofocus ultra-wide camera, and a 10.8MP telephoto camera. Cameras are clearly well above average, and they take great photos in a variety of lighting conditions. However, they are clearly not great compared to Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 pro. The device also has Google’s Magic Eraser, which allows you to remove unwanted objects from your photos.
Pixel Fold has a 4,821mAh battery, which is decent for a device of this size. It supports fast charging, but Google isn’t including any charger in the box. The battery life is okay, and it should last you through a full day of use with average phone interactions.
The Pixel Fold is not a device that is easy to repair. The manufacturers use a lot of adhesive to hold the internals together, and it is difficult to open up without damaging the device. Its battery is also difficult to replace, and it is not user-replaceable. If you need to get your device repaired, we recommend you take it to an authorized repair center.
The Verdict… So Far
The Google Pixel Fold is a very good first-generation foldable phone from Google. It is a well-built device that feels solid in the hand, and it has a great display. Software under the hood is smart and intuitive, and it takes advantage of the folding capabilities of the device. The cameras are clearly well above average, and they take great photos in a variety of lighting conditions. The battery life is good, and it should last you through a full day of use. However, the device is expensive, and it is difficult to repair. Overall, the Google Pixel Fold is a great device, but it is not for everyone. If you are looking for a premium foldable phone, and you will pay the price, then the Pixel Fold is definitely worth considering.