The long-awaited google pixel fold has finally arrived, and it’s a device that has captured the attention of many tech enthusiasts. As Google’s first foray into the world of foldable smartphones, the Pixel Fold offers a unique and unusual experience. Having had the opportunity to use and test the phone for about a week, I have plenty of thoughts to share. In this hands-on review, we’ll delve into the design, performance, software experience, camera capabilities, and overall impressions of the Pixel Fold.
Design of Google Pixel Fold:
The Google Pixel Fold’s design stands out with its thin and passport-shaped form factor. The front screen measures 5.8 inches diagonally, featuring curved edges and thin bezels. The stainless steel rails and hinge contribute to the phone’s slim profile, which is slightly thicker than regular phones at around 12 millimeters. The absence of an air gap in the middle enhances usability, making it the most convenient foldable phone to use when closed. Unlocking the device is quick and seamless using the fingerprint reader integrated into the side power button. The 120Hz OLED display is vibrant and visible even in bright outdoor conditions, adding to the premium experience of the outside screen.
Display of Google Pixel Fold:
Upon opening the phone, you’re greeted with a 7.6-inch folding AMOLED display that boasts a 120Hz refresh rate and a peak brightness of 1450 nits. The crease, although visible, does not pose a significant issue as it runs through the middle of the screen and is not felt when swiping or interacting with content. However, the phone does not unfold completely flat, falling slightly short of a flat position due to the camera bump on the back. The top and bottom bezels on the inside screen may seem slightly larger compared to other foldable phones, but this does not hinder the overall user experience.
Performance and Battery Life:
The Pixel Fold delivers impressive performance, surpassing other Pixel phones in terms of speed and consistency. Powered by the Tensor G2 chip, which is also found in the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, the phone feels buttery smooth and responsive. With 12GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage, the Pixel Fold offers a seamless user experience. However, the battery life has been underwhelming during the testing period, providing approximately four hours of screen-on time. The 4800mAh battery, though generous for a foldable phone, struggles to meet the demands of the large inner display. It’s worth noting that the battery performance may improve over time as Google’s adaptive battery feature kicks in.
Being a Pixel device, the software experience on the Pixel Fold is one of its strengths. Google has made significant software optimizations for the folding form factor, including tablet-optimized apps that adapt well to the phone’s larger inside screen. Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, and other apps are designed to take full advantage of the screen real estate. The new dock feature enhances multitasking capabilities, allowing for effortless app switching and quick access to frequently used apps. However, one peculiar limitation is the inability to set up different home screens on the outside and inside screens, which restricts customization options.
Camera of Google Pixel Fold:
The Pixel Fold has a lot of potential for future iterations. It’s clear that Google has put effort into making the device usable and optimizing its design. The thin and passport-shaped form factor is appealing, and the outside screen is practical for everyday use. The 5.8-inch curved OLED display with thin bezels and stainless steel rails feels premium and offers a great viewing experience.
When you unfold the phone, you’re greeted with a 7.6-inch folding AMOLED display. The crease is noticeable but not overly distracting, and you can feel it slightly when you touch the screen. However, since it runs through the middle of the screen, it doesn’t interfere much with regular usage. The bezels on the inside screen are slightly larger than some other folding phones, but they become less noticeable when you’re engrossed in content.
One unique aspect of the Pixel Fold is that it doesn’t unfold completely flat. There is a small gap when you place it on a table, which gives it a slightly tilted appearance. While it can be forced to lie flat, it doesn’t feel comfortable to do so. Additionally, the camera bump doesn’t extend to the edges, maintaining the overall Pixel aesthetic.
In terms of performance, the Pixel Fold impresses with its smooth and fast performance. It is powered by the Tensor G2 chip, similar to the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, but it feels even smoother and more consistent. The inclusion of 12 GB of RAM and 256 or 512 GB of UFS 3.1 storage contributes to its excellent performance. However, it’s important to note that past Pixel devices have faced issues with accelerated aging, so it remains to be seen how the Pixel Fold will hold up over time.
Software-wise, the Pixel Fold offers a unique experience. Google has optimized its apps for the larger screen, and the new dock feature makes multitasking seamless. However, one notable limitation is that the home screens are mirrored on both the outside and inside screens. You cannot set up different layouts or widgets specifically for the inside screen, which could be disappointing for users who want to maximize the foldable experience.
As for the camera, the Pixel Fold has a total of five cameras, including the front hole-punch camera, an inside camera, and three primary cameras on the back. The camera quality is reminiscent of the Pixel 7A, with a similar contrasty style and slightly muted colors. While the photos are decent, they are a step down from the flagship Pixel devices. Video quality also suffers from noise in darker areas. Nonetheless, the folding form factor makes it more convenient for shooting.
In conclusion, the Pixel Fold is a promising first-generation foldable device from Google. It makes several thoughtful design choices, such as the thin form factor and optimized software for a larger screen. However, it also has some limitations, including average battery life and camera quality compared to flagship Pixel devices. As a first-gen device, it sets the stage for future improvements, and it will be interesting to see how Google refines the Pixel Fold in future iterations.