What you need to know
- Google has finally introduced the Pixel Fold in all its glory.
- The company's first foldable phone is powered by Google's Tensor G2 SoC with a Titan M2 security coprocessor.
- Google claims it's the thinnest foldable phone, with a depth of 12.1mm when folded and 5.8mm when unfolded.
- The handset also has an IPX8 rating for water resistance, making it one of a few foldable devices with such protection.
After briefly teasing its first folding phone a few days ago, Google officially revealed the Pixel Fold in full today at its I/O 2023 conference.
The Pixel Fold has an in-folding design similar to Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold lineup, but Google has pulled out some tricks to make it slimmer. When folded, the phone is 12.1mm thick and 5.8mm thick when unfolded. The Galaxy Z Fold 4, on the other hand, is at least 14.2mm thick when folded and 6.3mm thick otherwise. Samsung's latest foldable, meanwhile, stands 155.1mm taller, while Google's contender is only 139.7mm tall. But with a full width of 158.7mm, the Pixel Fold is wider than the Z Fold 4.
Like Samsung, Google uses a layer of Ultra Thin Glass, which should help with the Pixel Fold's screen durability. On the front, there's a 5.8-inch FullHD+ OLED display with a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. Unfold the phone, and you’ll be greeted by a 7.6-inch OLED screen with a 2208 x 1840 resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. Both screens feature Corning Gorilla Glass Victus cover glass.
The phone has a squarish folding panel on the inside with a slightly landscape 6:5 aspect ratio, unlike the taller Z Fold display when unfolded. This eliminates the need to rotate the phone 90 degrees to watch videos at a larger size.
The external screen is more akin to a standard smartphone than the Z Fold's. With an aspect ratio of 17.4:9, it’s actually usable, except that it's twice as thick as a regular phone when folded. Otherwise, it would feel like the compact Android phones of old that nobody makes anymore.
When you first open the Pixel Fold, you'll notice that its Android interface differs from the standard UI. This is because, like the recent Galaxy Z Fold models, it populates a taskbar at the bottom. It allows you to launch apps in split screen mode by tapping and dragging an app icon from the taskbar onto a portion of the screen. When you finish using the taskbar, it will automatically disappear from view.
Beyond its folding capabilities, the Pixel Fold rocks flagship specs. There’s Google's Tensor G2 processor and a Titan M2 security coprocessor, paired with 12GB of RAM and up to 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage.
The battery has a capacity of 4,821mAh and can be charged at a rate of 30W. There’s also wireless charging and standard Qi support. A fingerprint sensor is located in the power button for security.
Google also mentions that the hinge is made of multi-alloy steel and can support different postures thanks to its "custom dual-axis, quad-cam synchronized mechanism Fluid friction" across the entire range of its folding motion.
You'll also be pleased to learn that the device has an IPX8 rating, making it one of the few non-Samsung foldable phones with water resistance at the moment.
There are three cameras on its rear: a 48MP primary shooter with OIS, a 10.8MP ultrawide, and a 10.8MP telephoto with 5x optical zoom and Super Res Zoom up to 20x. Both the inner and outer displays have hole-punch cameras with 8MP and 9.5MP resolutions, respectively.
Like many of the latest and greatest Android phones from Google, the Pixel Fold is set to receive five years of software updates.
Its connectivity features include Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6E, NFC, and Google Cast. The foldable device will be available in Obsidian and Porcelain colorways.
Naturally, the Pixel Fold is set to receive Android 14 once the next-gen OS iteration hits stable release. At today's event, Google teased a few software tricks coming to the foldable phone when Android 14 becomes public later this year, including a Dual Screen interpreter mode that uses the inner and outer screens to translate live conversations.
Foldable phones promise to replace our current slab-shaped handsets in the future. However, the challenge is to create a foldable handset that includes everything users expect from a modern device. With its expanding Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip lineups, Samsung may be leading the way in this regard, but with Google joining the fray, the competition is heating up.
The Pixel Fold is now available for preorder in the United States, and it comes with a free Pixel Watch. The phone has a starting price of $1799.
Preorders are now open
The Google Pixel Fold is the company's first foray into the foldable market. It boasts a compact design while giving you a tablet-like experience when unfolded, and it promises a beefy performance thanks to Google's Tensor G2 chipset. Combine that with everything else that's good about the Pixel phone's imaging capabilities, and you have the most compelling foldable yet.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.