What you need to know
- It turns out the Google Pixel Fold's built-in speakers already have spatial audio support, but Google doesn't mention this feature widely.
- The same capability was introduced to the Google Pixel 6, 6 Pro, 7, and 7 Pro earlier this year, but it required compatible headphones.
- At the moment, the Pixel Fold is the only Google-built smartphone that has this feature.
Users typically experience that immersive, 360-degree sound feature known as spatial audio using any of the leading earbuds that support it, but it turns out the Google Pixel Fold's built-in speakers have been hiding this capability for some time.
This was discovered by a Telegram user who provided a screenshot of the foldable phone's spatial audio support for its speakers, which Android sleuth Mishaal Rahman shared on Twitter.
The Pixel Fold supports spatial audio over wired headphones just like the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series do, but unlike those devices, it also supports spatial audio over the phone speaker! Image credits: SageSushi on Telegram pic.twitter.com/mPf6M7ky2TAugust 9, 2023
Google stated as much on a Pixel Phone support page, noting that it's a Pixel Fold-exclusive feature. Interestingly, this information is not found anywhere else, including the Pixel Fold’s store listing, as per 9to5Google.
You can enable spatial audio by opening your phone's settings menu and then navigating to Sound & vibration > Spatial audio. The image below shows a toggle in the Pixel Fold's settings menu that allows you to enable spatial audio for wired headphones, phone speakers, or both.
The Pixel Fold has stereo speakers, making for way better sound than most phones. On the other hand, most traditional handsets only have one speaker, which is usually on the bottom. The Fold's two speakers are on opposite sides of the phone when it's unfolded, so you get a much wider soundstage.
For the uninitiated, spatial audio is a cool feature that adds a sense of depth to the sound, so it feels like you're surrounded by the music or action. Some high-end earphones can even track the movement of your head, so the audio repositions itself as you turn your head. This can be really cool, but it's not for everyone. Some people find it a bit disorienting.
Google introduced spatial audio to the Google Pixel 6 and 7-series phones in January, but the feature still requires compatible wired and wireless earphones. In any case, only certain kinds of audio are optimized for spatial audio, so you might not get the full experience with all content.
The Google Pixel Fold is the foldable phone you've been waiting for. It has the most gorgeous, sleek build of any foldable on the market, with a huge display that gives you plenty of room to run apps comfortably side-by-side. And of course, it has the famous Pixel camera, which is still one of the best on the market.
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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.