Search results for

All search results
Best daily deals

Affiliate links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.

google pixel fold internal display
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
aa2020 recommended

Google Pixel Fold review: Google finally enters the fold

It's so perfectly Pixel — for better and for worse.
By

Published onNovember 12, 2023

aa2020 recommended

Google Pixel Fold

Google's first entry into the foldables race is a strong one. Modest battery life and iffy thermals aside, the Pixel Fold sticks its hardware landing and delivers the software features that longtime Pixel fans have come to expect, plus a camera setup that takes foldable phone photography to the next level. It may be equally pricey and not quite as polished, but the Google Pixel Fold is the strongest Samsung Galaxy Z Fold challenger to date.

What we like

Excellent cameras
Polished design
Comfortable displays
Smooth, well-supported software
Pixel-exclusive features
Solid RAM and storage options

What we don't like

Lack of optimized apps
Mediocre battery life
Tensor G2 continues to run hot
Quite heavy
Expensive
aa2020 recommended

Google Pixel Fold

Google's first entry into the foldables race is a strong one. Modest battery life and iffy thermals aside, the Pixel Fold sticks its hardware landing and delivers the software features that longtime Pixel fans have come to expect, plus a camera setup that takes foldable phone photography to the next level. It may be equally pricey and not quite as polished, but the Google Pixel Fold is the strongest Samsung Galaxy Z Fold challenger to date.

When you think of a book-style foldable phone in the US, you probably think of the Galaxy Z Fold. After all, Samsung has had several years to refine (or rinse and repeat) its larger offerings with no real opposition. Now, there’s finally some competition as Google has its sights set on the Galaxy Z Fold with the Pixel Fold, the Big G’s first stab at bringing the Pixel formula to foldables. Does a first-generation foldable stand a chance against a Samsung juggernaut gearing up for its fifth iteration? Find out in our Google Pixel Fold review.

Update, November 2023: We’ve updated this Pixel Fold review with new software information and updated foldable competitors.

Google Pixel Fold review: At a glance

google pixel fold standing multitasking
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
  • What is it? The Google Pixel Fold is Google's first entry into the foldable Android phone segment, taking on book-style competitors with a landscape-oriented 7.6-inch internal display and a stout 5.8-inch cover screen. The Pixel Fold packs an in-house Tensor G2 chipset, 12GB of RAM, up to 512GB of storage, and a hefty 4,821mAh battery.
  • What is the price? The Google Pixel Fold with 256GB of storage starts at $1,799 in the US, or you can upgrade to the 512GB version for $1,919. Google's Pixel Fold is also available in the UK, Germany, and Japan.
  • Where can you buy it? The Pixel Fold launched for pre-orders at the Google Store on May 10, following the Google I/O keynote. It's also available from select US carriers, including T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T. Google later opened the Pixel Fold for wider sales at the end of June 2023.
  • How did we test it? I tested the Google Pixel Fold for seven days on Verizon's 5G network. The review unit was supplied by Google.
  • Is it worth it? Pixel fans no longer have to sit on the sidelines and watch the foldable phone race with envy. The Google Pixel Fold is exactly what you'd expect from the search giant's first foldable, with excellent cameras, smooth software, and a distinctly Pixel design. It's not cheap, the Tensor G2 chipset still runs warm, and plenty of apps outright ignore the quirks of the form factor, but the Google Pixel Fold is an exciting foldable nonetheless.

What I like about the Google Pixel Fold

google pixel fold on a phone call
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

If you’ve read any of our recent Pixel reviews, you know we’re fans of Google’s current design language (and considering I wrote a lot of them, that includes me). The camera bar stands out amongst a sea of corner-mounted bumps, and Google’s penchant for colorful finishes makes its Pixels a little more fun. Although the Google Pixel Fold ditches the latter (your color options are Porcelain or Obsidian), the rest of the foldable’s style cues make up for the boardroom-inspired color choices.

For starters, the Google Pixel Fold is the only foldable phone I’ve ever unboxed that ships folded. Others, like the Galaxy Z Fold series, arrive unfolded so you can marvel at the expansive internal display, but not the Pixel Fold. Instead, Google’s first foldable has its matte back panel staring up at the sky. That’s right — glossy is gone; Google has finally embraced fingerprint-resistant matte Gorilla Glass Victus. It’s more tactile than the glossy finish on the Pixel 8, and it offsets the shiny aluminum frame nicely.

The Fold’s lightly textured rear panel is marked only by Google’s G logo and the camera bar, which is now an island rather than a bridge from one side to the other. Personally, I like the change, though it means we probably won’t see another one of Google’s beloved two-toned finishes for a while longer.

Matte Gorilla Glass Victus and glossy aluminum make the Pixel Fold one of Google's most stylish designs to date.

Once you flip the folded footprint, the Pixel Fold offers a stout cover screen that makes me think the small phone crowd might be onto something. The 5.8-inch, 120Hz panel adopts a wider aspect ratio that feels more like a traditional phone than Samsung’s tall, thin Galaxy Z Fold 5 cover. It’s much easier to reach either thumb across the compact panel, and I never found myself swiping into one-handed mode to snag a notification or tap the quick settings. In fact, I’d have no complaints whatsoever if Google somehow found a way to bring back a sub-6-inch Pixel.

Of course, the cover screen isn’t the point of Google’s first foldable phone, but we have to talk about the hinge before we open it up. Google skipped right past Samsung’s gapped design, creating a Pixel Fold that sits perfectly flush when closed, and the hinge itself is tight enough that you can’t even slip a business card in the middle. I haven’t had a single issue with dust or debris getting in the middle — not something I can say for the previous Galaxy Z Fold or Flip models. If you do get anything in the hinge, make sure to clear it out before you close your Pixel Fold, lest you shatter the very, very expensive display.

Google’s tight hinge is perfectly positionable, too. It stays rock-steady at any angle I choose, as comfortable at around five degrees as it is at just under 180 degrees. That said, the trade-off with Google’s sturdy hinge is that it’s tough — if not impossible — to open the Pixel Fold perfectly flat. It comes close, but you have to apply quite a bit of pressure to get the Pixel Fold to within a few degrees of flat, and the pressure is enough that you might feel like you’re going to snap the hinge.

Now, for the feature that most people are buying a Pixel Fold to use — the sweeping 7.6-inch, 120Hz internal display. Yes, it has sizable bezels above and below the display, but there’s no reason to complain about them. They make it much easier to hold the Pixel Fold and to shift your hands around the display as needed. Rather than risk the dreaded accidental like on Instagram because you fat-fingered while scrolling, you can just grab the Fold by its bezel. Said bezel also houses Google’s internal selfie camera, an 8MP shooter that easily beats Samsung’s 4MP under-display option.

What sets the Pixel Fold apart from most of its foldable competition (save for the similarly-styled, China-exclusive OPPO Find N2) is its landscape aspect ratio. Google opted for a 6:5 setup, which gives apps on both sides of the crease plenty of room to breathe. I’ve taken to multitasking on the Pixel Fold any chance I get, mainly because I can comfortably interact with full-featured apps on either side. Multitasking is also a clever way to get around the laundry list of apps that haven’t been optimized for the landscape form factor — though rotating your Pixel Fold 90 degrees accomplishes the same task.

I’ve had plenty of time to test out popular pairings, though I find myself coming back to a productivity one-two punch of Asana and Slack so that I can free up some real estate on my laptop during the day. Otherwise, the Pixel Fold runs just as smoothly if I’m balancing my Telegram group chats with Mealime recipes when dinner rolls around.

google pixel fold standing weather app
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

I’ll come back to some of Android’s continued shortcomings on larger screens in a moment, but it’s nice to see Google take its first-party optimizations at least a little bit seriously. My colleague Rita first noticed Google’s revamped weather app on her Pixel Tablet, and it’s soared to the top of my weather app power rankings now that it’s also on the Pixel Fold (pictured above). I can grab all the information I need, including hourly and daily forecasts, without scrolling from the main display.

Other apps like Gmail, YouTube, and Messages take to the Fold like fish to water, as expected. I’ve gotten used to responding to an email on one side of the Pixel Fold while scrolling through YouTube Shorts on the other side, and I’m not sure how I’ll adapt to life with one screen again when my time with the Fold ends.

Google's wider form factor makes multitasking on the Pixel Fold a dream.

However, the best use I’ve found for the Pixel Fold is as a personal tour guide. The wide aspect ratio makes it easy to open Google Maps on one side, pick up walking directions, and research your destination while on your way. Realistically, this probably works better if you have a subway or a bus to hop onto, but walking is just as good. I used this layout to ramble my way through Central Park, stopping at the fountain from John Wick (Bethesda Terrace for the rest of you), breezing through the snowball fight scene from Elf, and finding one precious spot in New York City where you can’t see any buildings or hear any cars.

While the Tensor G2 doesn’t always keep up with the best and brightest chipsets on paper (read: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2), I never found myself disappointed by the Pixel Fold’s RAM or storage options. Our review unit arrived with 256GB of storage right out of the box, and I never came close to that during my week of testing. Google’s 12GB of RAM is also more than adequate and lines up with what you’d expect from flagship Android devices.

What I don’t like about the Google Pixel Fold

google pixel fold search feature
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Google does quite a lot right with its first-generation Pixel Fold, but this is still a new product for the maker of Android. As expected, there are still plenty of wrinkles to smooth out, and none is more noticeable than the lack of optimized apps. Google’s landscape-oriented internal display means that even some apps that play nicely with the portrait-oriented Galaxy Z Fold 5 won’t take so kindly to the Pixel Fold. It makes multitasking across two halves of the larger screen a must, or you’ll have to get used to sliding an app to one side or the other while ignoring plenty of dead space.

It’s not fair to lump all of the optimization issues on Google’s plate, but it’s still an important point to consider when you’re shelling out almost two grand. At $1,800, it’s more than fair to want a polished software experience, and balancing empty space with constant multitasking doesn’t feel very polished. Using a single app and ignoring the Pixel Fold’s ample dead space at times feels like you’ve just paid twice as much money for a Pixel 7 Pro — or that you’d be better off using the phone while closed, which I’ll admit that I spent a lot of my time doing.

The Pixel Fold’s quirky app optimizations get worse if you decide to rotate your phone in the middle of multitasking. Sure, some apps like Spotify and Gmail can handle the sudden switch, but others, like Instagram, tuck into tiny windows and refuse to move. The image below shows exactly what I mean — Instagram in a window that small is cute on the front of the Motorola Razr Plus but a waste on the Pixel Fold.

google pixel fold multitasking instagram and spotify bad layout
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Another one of the Pixel Fold’s fatal flaws is one that we’ve seen from the last few generations of Pixel. The chipset that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and Google still hasn’t overcome the thermal issues of the Tensor G2. The Pixel Fold runs warm under any load, and its battery life drops like a stone — only the problems are magnified thanks to the additional power needs of the vast 7.6-inch internal display. I had a sinking feeling that the Pixel Fold would struggle in the battery department when it was revealed, and I’m not happy to have been proven right.

Google boasts that its Pixel Fold is ready for “beyond 24-hour battery life” and up to 72 hours with Extreme Battery Saver, and both estimates are pretty generous. I imagine that beyond 24 hours of use requires the careful deployment of Battery Saver, as I found myself charging the Pixel Fold almost daily. Even if I made it through a day of use across Spotify streaming, multitasking my way through work and social media, and the occasional prolonged Google Maps navigation, I was immediately reaching for a charger following my morning alarm. This could improve as Adaptive Battery starts to learn my usage, but the initial tests suggest this is a power user-centric phone without power user-grade endurance.

Google's lofty battery claims seldom ring true on the Pixel Fold.

Unfortunately, the Tensor G2’s thermal issues are just about enough to outweigh all of its useful smarts like Now Playing and Recorder transcriptions. It doesn’t take much to get the Tensor G2 hot and bothered, either — no more than 20 minutes of continuous use, and the Pixel Fold is a cozy hand warmer. Over a full day, you’ll probably find yourself dipping into Battery Saver early and often, just like I had to do to keep my phone chugging along on a day that started with a 10-mile run with some friends. The Pixel Fold had no problems tracking the length of my run on Strava (I forgot to swap my Pixel Watch for a trusty Garmin), but it wasn’t nearly as calm or collected for the hourlong drive home with Spotify and Google Maps running in parallel.

When you inevitably tick the 4,821mAh battery down to empty, the Pixel Fold isn’t the fastest to fill back up, either. It follows in the footsteps of the Pixel 7 Pro by claiming the fastest speeds from Google’s 30W charger, though the actual rate is closer to 21W. It takes about 90 minutes to get the Pixel Fold back up to speed — at least as long as you have a USB Power Delivery PPS charger on hand. I found myself opting for Google’s Adaptive Charging feature while I slept, ensuring that I was ready to go for the day in time for my morning alarm. The Pixel Fold is Qi-certified for wireless charging, too, though that keeps the phone feeling a bit warmer for the duration of its two hours on a charging pad.

It’s fair to say that the Pixel Fold performs much like a Google Pixel 7 Pro with a bit of extra real estate to throw around. It’s loaded with the same Tensor G2 chipset, 12GB of RAM, and storage options, which results in almost identical benchmarking performance. The Pixel Fold matches its slab-style sibling almost down to the digit in Geekbench 6, PC Mark’s Work 3.0, and a single run of 3DMark’s Wild Life test but sits well behind its Qualcomm-powered competition.

Samsung’s Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1-powered Galaxy Z Fold 4 beats the Pixel Fold by nearly 60% in a single run of 3DMark’s Wild Life test. The Pixel Fold comes closer to matching Samsung’s performance with its Work 3.0 score, though it’s still a bit behind. Google’s performance issues worsen during stress tests, with the Pixel Fold falling behind even its Tensor G2-powered siblings in 20 Wild Life runs. Despite identical RAM configurations, it stayed above 6,000 for just two of its loops, eventually settling around 4,000 — over 1,000 points lower than the Pixel 7 Pro. To an extent, Tensor G2’s shortcomings are forgivable when Google is undercutting the competition on price. That’s not the case with the Pixel Fold, which matches Samsung’s more performant foldable dollar for dollar at full price. The gap will only widen with the Galaxy Z Fold 5 due mere months after the Fold’s launch, and while the Pixel-exclusive features that rely on Tensor’s AI processing are genuinely great, there’s still a worry the Fold won’t keep up with the competition after it hits its promised three years of OS updates, let alone the five years of security patches.

Finally, the Pixel Fold might be polished to the nines in terms of design, but it’s a bit of a brick. It’s made of glass and aluminum, but a brick nevertheless. The Pixel Fold tips the scales a whole 20 grams heavier than Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4, and you’re not likely to forget the extra heft in your pocket. Everyone I’ve let hold the phone since it arrived has been surprised by the weight, especially given its small footprint. I haven’t been terribly impressed with the Pixel Fold’s speakers, either. They’re not all that loud at full volume and often feel like they’re pointed toward the cover display rather than the internal one.

Google Pixel Fold camera review

google pixel fold cameras close up
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Rear cameras tend to feel like afterthoughts on foldable phones — important features that often get overlooked in favor of perfecting the hinge and maximizing battery life within the constraints of the form factor. However, Google built the Pixel name on the back of its brilliant cameras, and anything less from the Pixel Fold would be a disappointment. Thankfully, someone at Google agreed because the Pixel Fold has the best cameras I’ve used on a foldable phone — bezel-mounted selfie shooter and all.

Rather than copy and paste its trio of lenses from the Pixel 7 Pro, the Pixel Fold packs a 48MP primary camera as the star of its show. It’s flanked by two 10.8MP lenses — one wide and one ultrawide — the latter with 5x optical zoom. Google’s telephoto selection lets you punch in for up to 20x Super Res Zoom, while the ultrawide shooter bumps out to 0.6x zoom. As for selfie snappers, the Pixel Fold’s front-facing punch-hole selfie camera offers a resolution of 9.5MP, while the inner-facing option offers 8MP tucked away in the top bezel.

This is usually part of the review where I’d run through camera samples until your head spins, making comparisons and picking out flaws until I’m blue in the face. This time, my colleague Rob has graciously done the heavy lifting for me. I’ll add some of the shots below, but you can check out our analysis and a full comparison between the Pixel Fold, Pixel 7 Pro, and Pixel 7a right here. Just be sure to come back so I can break down the foldable phone’s software haves and have-nots.

Google has slowed down slightly in terms of new software-based camera features, though it’s finally picked up one that other OEMs have had for a while — palm-based photodetection. Now, rather than tapping your timer button and running to get back in place in less than 10 seconds, you can position yourself and hold up the palm of your hand to start the countdown. It’s a neat feature, though the need to toggle the timer before showing your hand feels like an unnecessary step. Google explained that this decision was made to prevent accidental triggers, but it already takes a second or two for the Pixel Fold to identify your palm, so I’m not sure that jumping through the extra hoop is necessary.

Other Tensor-powered shooting modes and editing tricks are back on the Pixel Fold, too. You can toggle over to long exposure to get sweet, soft shots of fountains and streams, but Action Pan is nowhere to be found. Essentially, Google kept the feature that can be replicated with a long shutter time but got rid of the one that’s much harder to pull off with a smartphone camera, and I’m not sure why. On the bright side, long exposure still works great, as do editing options like Magic Eraser, Real Tone, and Image Unblur.

google pixel fold using cameras
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Overall, there’s not much to pick apart when it comes to Google’s camera app — it’s mostly the same affair that it’s always been. All of the buttons and settings are in familiar places, and there’s still no manual mode to fuss with, but there’s one setting that’s come to bother me: the Pixel Fold’s default aspect ratios give me a headache. If you’re using the rear cameras with the Pixel Fold closer, you can choose between 4:3 and 16:9 (Wide Crop) images. Open the Fold all the way, and the camera swaps to either 3:4 (which Google calls Immersive Crop) or 4:3. Then, if you close the Pixel Fold halfway so the camera controls are flat in front of you, the aspect ratios swap back to 16:9 or 4:3.

Google's Tensor G2 chipset gives the Pixel Fold the best camera experience of any foldable phone I've used.

I completely understand that most people shoot videos and images in different aspect ratios, but I’m not sure why Google won’t let you choose from all three layouts at any given time. If you want to swap your aspect ratio, open or close your Pixel Fold rather than toggle a setting, potentially risking losing the shot.

Mentioning video features, the Pixel Fold can capture 4K resolution in either 30 or 60fps from the rear and outer selfie cameras. Google’s internal selfie camera lags with just 1080p resolution at 30fps, but you’re more likely to capture video with one of the other two setups anyway. All of the Pixel Fold’s cameras default to 16:9 (or 9:16) for video, though you can hop over to 4:3 if you use the Fold wide open. The results are pretty good, and I’ve taken to using the Pixel Fold half-open for better stability.

Google Pixel Fold specs

Google Pixel Fold
Display
Exterior:
- 5.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED
- 120Hz refresh rate
- 2,092 x 1,080
- 408ppi
- 17.4:9 aspect ratio
- Gorilla Glass Victus cover
- Up to 1,550 nits brightness
- HDR support

Interior:
- 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED
- 120Hz refresh rate
- 2,208 x 1,840
- 380ppi
- 6:5 aspect ratio
- Ultra-thin glass cover with plastic protection
- Up to 1,450 nits brightness
- HDR support
Processor
Tensor G2
Titan M2 security coprocessor
RAM
12GB LPDDR5 RAM
Storage
US, UK, DE:
256GB or 512GB UFS 3.1 storage

JP:
256GB UFS 3.1 storage

No microSD card support
Power
Minimum: 4,727mAh
Typical: 4,821mAh

21W wired charging
7.5W wireless charging
Cameras
Rear:
- 48MP wide main sensor (ƒ/1.7, 1/2-inch sensor, 0.8μm, 82° FoV, OIS, CLAF)
- 10.8MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.2, 1/3-inch sensor, 1.25μm, 121.1° FoV, Lens correction)
- 10.8MP telephoto (ƒ/3.05, 1/3.1-inch sensor, 1.22μm, 21.9° FoV, 5x optical zoom)

Front:
- 9.5MP wide (ƒ/2.2, 1.22μm, 84° FoV, Fixed focus)

Internal:
- 8MP wide (ƒ/2.0, 1.12μm, 84° FoV, Fixed focus)
Video
Rear:
- 4K (30/60fps), 1080p (30/60fps)
- 10-bit HDR

Front:
- 4K (30/60fps), 1080p (30/60fps)

Internal:
- 1080p (30fps)

Formats:
- HEVC (H.265) and AVC (H.264)
Audio
Spatial audio support
Stereo speakers
Triple-microphone
Software
Pixel UI
Android 13
3 Android updates
5 years of security updates
IP rating
IPX8 certification
Biometrics
Power button fingerprint scanner
Face unlock (out display)
Ports
USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
Dual-SIM (Single nano-SIM + eSIM)
Connectivity
All countries:
Bluetooth 5.2
Ultra-Wideband chip
NFC

US, UK, and DE only:
Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax) with 2.4GHz + 5GHz + 6GHz

JP only:
Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax) with 2.4GHz + 5GHz
Bands
US, UK, and DE only:
- GSM/EDGE: Quad-band (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
- UMTS/HSPA+/HSDPA: Bands 1,2,4,5,6,8,19
- LTE: Bands B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/14/17/18/19/20/21/25/26/28/29/30/32/38/39/40/41/42/46/48/66/71
- 5G Sub6: Bands n1/2/3/5/7/8/12/14/20/25/28/30/38/40/41/48/66/71/75/76/77/78/79
- 5G mmWave: Bands n257/n258/n260/n261

JP only:
- GSM/EDGE: Quad-band (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
- UMTS/HSPA+/HSDPA: Bands 1,2,4,5,6,8,19
- LTE: Bands B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/14/17/18/19/20/21/25/26/28/29/30/32/38/39/40/41/42/46/48/66/71
- 5G Sub6: Bands n1/2/3/5/7/8/12/14/20/25/28/30/38/40/41/48/66/71/75/76/77/78/79
- 5G mmWave: Bands n257/n258/n260/n261
Dimensions
Folded:
- 139.7 x 79.5 x 12.1mm

Unfolded:
- 139.7 x 158.7 x 5.8mm
Weight
283g
Materials
Gorilla Glass Victus (external display)

Ultra Thin Glass with protective plastic layer
(Internal folding display)

Hinge:
Mirror-polished, multi-alloy steel construction
Custom dual-axis
Quad-cam synchronized mechanism
Fluid friction across the full 180° range of motion
Colors
Obsidian
Porcelain

Color availability varies by region and channel.
In-box contents
USB-C to USB-C cable (USB 2.0, 1m)
Quick Start Guide
Quick Switch Adapter
SIM tool

Should you buy the Google Pixel Fold?

google pixel fold standing
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Sorry, Samsung, but there’s a new foldable in town. The Google Pixel Fold is instantly one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had on a foldable phone, mainly thanks to features that Google’s been hanging its hat on for years. It swooped in to grab the foldable photography crown thanks to an experience that nearly matches that of the Pixel 7 Pro, and software features like Now Playing, Call Screen, and Live Caption make day-to-day life easier. Material You widgets and themes shine on the large internal display, and multitasking is a joy with the wider aspect ratio.

More importantly, Google stuck the hardware landing on its first try. The Pixel Fold might be among the heaviest foldables, but it’s well-polished, and the choice of matte glass over the usual gloss is Google’s best look in years. Although the Pixel Fold is tough to open to 180 degrees, the gapless hinge brings welcome reassurance that the internal display is protected, and I love the ability to pose the Fold at any angle I choose.

Google's excellent first entry into the foldable phone race is a tide that will lift all ships — and finally put some pressure on Samsung.

That said, the Google Pixel Fold’s flaws are familiar for fans of foldables. The lack of apps optimized for the form factor means you’ll have to multitask or at least get creative to avoid dead space, and there are plenty of quirks when it comes to saving your multitasking pairings. There’s also the lack of dust resistance and the crease to deal with. There are legacy Pixel concerns too. Google’s Tensor G2 continues to run warm enough to heat a small island nation, which is bad news for battery life, especially given the just-okay 21W charging options.

What might be the final nail in your Pixel Fold coffin is the price. There’s no getting around the fact that $1,799 is a mountain of cash for a smartphone. Yes, it’s right in line with Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4, but Google’s recent success has been thanks in part to its ability to undercut competitors on price. Had the Pixel Fold launched at $1,599, it would have been easier to excuse flaws like the Tensor G2’s heat, but it’s not as easy when going dollar-for-dollar against Samsung.

If you decide you’re not ready to trust a first-generation Google product, finding foldable competition in the US might be tricky. The most natural foe is Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4 ($1180.25 at Amazon), which has the benefit of age on its side. Samsung’s foldable is not only on its fourth generation, but it’s been on the market for almost a year, giving the company ample time to roll out software updates and fix bugs. I prefer Google’s Pixel UI to One UI, as well as the Tensor G2’s image processing chops. However, the Galaxy Z Fold is arguably the better bet for stylus users, mainly because it actually supports an S Pen. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is also portrait-oriented rather than landscape-oriented, meaning that apps don’t have to tweak their formatting as much when held upright. Further, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 ($1799.99 at Samsung) brings a new generation of power and refinement, closing the display gap and jumping to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy processor. Outside of those changes, however, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 has a lot in common with its predecessor, so both are still worthy alternatives.

Thankfully, though, there are finally a few other book-style foldables to pick up in the US. Perhaps the most important one is the OnePlus Open ($1699.99 at Amazon), which just might be the best foldable phone you can buy right now. It’s taller than the Pixel Fold, meaning that apps default to their natural portrait orientations, and the Open manages to force certain apps like Instagram into tablet mode. It also offers Hasselblad-tuned cameras, a nearly invisible crease, and a unique approach to multitasking called Open Canvas. Sure, you have to get used to Oxygen OS again, but the Open is all-around excellent.

You might also consider a clamshell-style foldable if you’re after something a little smaller. Motorola’s Razr Plus ($649.99 at Amazon) currently offers the largest, most functional cover screen in the segment. It supports full-featured apps from the 3.5-inch OLED panel, meaning you could even tap into demanding 3D games like Asphalt 9 on the tiny display if you wanted to. Motorola’s new Razr Plus is its first foldable to come stateside in a few years, and it’s equipped to match Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 4 ($944.45 at Amazon) blow-for-blow. Both offer the same Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipsets, 8GB of RAM, and two rear cameras. However, Samsung offers a better commitment to software updates, while Motorola gets the edge for slightly faster wired charging. Of course, Samsung has a newer alternative in the Galaxy Z Flip 5 ($999.99 at Samsung), which picks up some of the same upgrades as the Razr Plus, including the larger cover display and a more powerful overclocked Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy processor.

At the end of the day, Google taking its big-screen Android experience seriously is good for the Pixel Fold’s rivals, too. It means we might see developers take optimizing their apps seriously, both for clamshell and book-style displays alike. Whether you prefer iron sharpening iron or a rising tide lifting all ships, the Google Pixel Fold might be one foldable uniquely positioned to push the rest of the competition forward.

Google Pixel FoldGoogle Pixel Fold
AA Recommended
Google Pixel Fold
Excellent cameras • Comfortable displays • Pixel-exclusive features
MSRP: $1,799.00
Google enters the fold
Google is hitting the foldables market in style with the Google Pixel Fold. The pricey book-style phone brings Google's elite photography smarts to the folding form factor, plus the Tensor G2 chip, an IPX8 rating for water resistance, and a huge 7.6-inch AMOLED 120Hz internal display.

Google Pixel Fold review: FAQs

The Google Pixel Fold isn’t truly waterproof, though it does feature an IPX8 rating, meaning it can be submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes.

No, the Google Pixel Fold doesn’t have a stylus, nor has Google mentioned plans to launch one.

No, the Google Pixel Fold comes with either 256GB or 512GB of fixed storage.

Yes, the Pixel Fold supports dual-SIM in the form of a single nano-SIM and downloadable eSIM.

Yes, the Pixel Fold has a visible crease when opened, but it’s not worse than any other foldable.

You might like