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I just can't put down the Google Pixel Fold
Open. Close. Open. Close. The Google Pixel Fold is the world’s most expensive fidget toy in my hands. But I can’t help myself; it’s just addictive.
Two weeks ago, the Android Authority team’s Pixel Fold made it to me. My first impressions were both better and worse than I expected. Based on the images I’d seen, I expected the Fold to feel cheaper, but the matte back and the all-around metal actually feel quite premium. But coming from the Pixel 7 Pro and the even more refined Pixel 8 Pro, the Fold looked and felt very clunky. Especially the inner display’s bezels.
To add insult to injury, this particular Pixel Fold unit has been through the wringer. There’s a tall scratch on the outer display and many smaller scratches on the camera bump — thankfully, nothing on the lenses. Plus, dust is clearly starting to accumulate around the inside of the hinge.
The worst part is some form of bump below the crease. Thanks to its shiny UTG cover, the Pixel Fold’s crease is already quite noticeable; this bump breaks its uniformity and bounces light differently so the crease is unmissable and clearly distracting from certain angles.
To be fair, though, the display is still fully functional. There are no dead pixels or green lines or any issues with it whatsoever.
After inspecting the Pixel Fold for a few minutes, I put it aside and thought I’d come back to it another day. See, I was smack in the middle of my Pixel 8 and 8 Pro test, and I really didn’t have time for one more phone, let alone one more Pixel. Yet, against my better judgment, which kept reminding me that I really should work on the two hotter and more timely phones, I found myself grabbing the Fold again and setting it up “for scientific purposes,” of course.
In retrospect, I should've known that the Pixel Fold would be my kryptonite.
A few harmless switches between the outer and inner display later, I was done for. Open. Close. Open. Close. In retrospect, I should’ve known that the Pixel Fold would be my kryptonite. I love larger screens, but I don’t like carrying them around. A foldable phone is the solution to a dilemma I never knew I had.
A few days later, the Pixel Fold was beginning to unceremoniously accompany me everywhere around home. By my bed for late-night and early-morning reading. In the kitchen to video call my parents and in-laws while cooking. On the couch to catch up on my football feeds while watching a Real Madrid game on the TV. Even in the bathroom for random surfing and social media.
Everything about Android is much more enjoyable on larger displays.
It’s amazing how much a larger screen can change your experience. I’ve already explained why I’m starting to prefer Android on tablets compared to phones, and the same is true here. Android is much more powerful and enjoyable on a larger screen, be it a foldable or an Android tablet.
Features like multi-window and landscape mode, which are absolutely clunky on a regular smartphone, take another dimension on a larger canvas. Optimized apps look gorgeous, display more information, and often offer a better experience on larger screens. From Gmail showing a dual-pane to Chrome letting you open two side-by-side tabs, to third-party apps like WhatsApp, Spotify, Feedly, 1Password, Todoist, Plex, and Obsidian; it’s all nicer to use and better for productivity.
This is my first time testing a bookstyle foldable for more than five minutes and I’m hooked. I keep opening the Pixel Fold, staring at that big display, and closing it. And I keep reaching for it whenever I have the tiniest excuse. So much so that I sometimes end my day with 75% remaining battery on my Pixel 8 Pro and a nearly empty Fold! Logic says one of them is a novelty to me, the other an iteration, but I feel that there’s more to it than that. I really feel more at ease with Android on a larger display.
Once I started looking at my content, the bezels disappeared.
And no, to be absolutely clear about it, the large bezels aren’t as horrendous as I thought. They disappear when you actually use the phone — any phone — and anyone who tells you otherwise is spending more time staring at bezels instead of the content on their display. When it’s your photos, your personal chats, your parents on a video call, your favorite YouTube creator’s video, your current book, or your own notes and writings on the display, the bezels should be the last thing on your mind.
Does this mean Google shouldn’t make the bezels smaller in the next generation? Of course not. I’d love to see a more refined foldable, hinge, and crease from every Android company, Google included. HONOR has already leapfrogged Google and Samsung’s hardware with the sublime Magic V2, while the OnePlus Open is one of the most perfect foldables we’ve seen yet — especially in Western markets.
Things should move forward software-wise too. We need more software innovations from Android makers. More answers to the still-relevant “Why a foldable?” question. More productivity features and interesting use cases that take this new form factor to a new level. Pixel UI on top of Android 14 is nowhere near perfect for foldables and I can already count several Samsung One UI and OnePlus Oxygen OS improvements I’d love to see in stock Android for everyone to use.
The Pixel Fold has convinced me I want a foldable at some point in the future, but maybe not this one now. Because as much as I can’t put the Fold down at home, I have yet to use it outside. My Pixel 8 Pro is my “real world” phone. For one, I’m clumsy and foldable cases are all still absolutely horrendous. I would never use a case-less foldable outside, let alone one that is the team’s property, and risk dropping it. The other reason is that I take tons of photos and I prefer the better camera on the Pixel 8 Pro.
For now, the Pixel Fold is a cool window for me to keep peering into this wonderful new foldable world. Cool things are happening there and that’s a change from the rather stagnating smartphone landscape.