In the realm of foldable smartphones, Google has emerged with its first-ever entry, the highly anticipated Pixel Fold.
As an enthusiastic adopter of this cutting-edge technology, I must say that the Pixel Fold has left an indelible impression on me.
While I hold great respect for Samsung, Huawei, Motorola, and Royole, the pioneers who paved the way for foldable devices with their groundbreaking releases back in 2018, I must confess that I tend to be a bit clumsy with my gadgets.
Even with the option to use protective covers, the price tags of these phones, especially the book fold variants, often exceed £1,500. This makes me hesitant to entrust myself with their delicate frames, especially when I’m out for a run along uneven cobblestone paths.
Nevertheless, my initial encounter with the Pixel Fold was nothing short of captivating. The device boasts a clean, lightweight design that exudes style and sophistication. Its intuitive interface adds to the overall appeal, making it a joy to use.
At first glance, the Pixel Fold presents a 5.8″ external display, crafted from Corning Gorilla Glass, which offers enhanced durability against accidental drops.
With an impressive peak brightness of 1,550 nits and an aspect ratio of 17.4:9, the folded device assumes a form factor slightly shorter and wider than the popular iPhone 12/13.
When unfolded, the Pixel Fold unveils a magnificent 7.6″ display, presenting a 6:5 aspect ratio and an exceptional peak brightness of 1,450 nits.
The phone opens effortlessly to a perfect 180 degrees, albeit with a slight wobble when laid flat due to the protruding camera bar. Yet, this minor inconvenience is forgivable, considering the remarkable capabilities of the three exceptional cameras housed within.
The primary camera, a 48MP marvel, boasts an impressive f/1.7 aperture, optical image stabilization, and an expansive 82-degree field of view. It captures stunning 4K videos and offers 1080p footage at both 30 and 60 frames per second.
Complementing this powerhouse is a 10.8MP ultra-wide camera with an f/2.2 aperture and an expansive 121.1-degree field of vision.
The Pixel Fold delights photography enthusiasts with its 10.8MP 5x optical zoom and 20x Super Res Zoom telephoto lens, complete with an f/3.05 aperture and a 21.9-degree field of vision.
As if that weren’t enough, the Pixel Fold also features a 9.5MP front-facing selfie camera and an 8MP inner selfie camera, ensuring that no moment goes uncaptured.
While my time with the device prevented me from testing the acclaimed Night Sight mode for captivating astrophotography, courtesy of London’s pervasive light pollution, the Pixel Fold still offers a plethora of other exciting features.
From long exposure and time-lapse capabilities to stunning panoramas, the phone is a playground for creativity. Not to mention Google’s ingenious Lens function, which never fails to impress.
Although the camera performance is commendable, I did encounter occasional hiccups with the camera app itself, which would occasionally get stuck in a crash cycle when switching between the front, inside, and back cameras.
Similarly, the inside screen would occasionally experience a temporary grey-out when swiping upwards to access apps. Nevertheless, navigation remains remarkably straightforward. Setting up the Pixel Fold, as with all Google devices, is a seamless process, especially when linking it to your primary Google account—an aspect not exclusive to the Silicon Valley giant.
While there have been reports of screen breakages, including one experienced by a reviewer, one of the standout features of the Pixel Fold lies in its home repairability—an absolute game-changer.
According to information shared by Google via 9to5Google, Pixel Fold owners will have access to comprehensive repair guides and the option to order replacement parts, such as batteries, displays, and even cameras.
Google has partnered with iFixit to offer repair kits equipped with all the necessary tools, empowering users to fix their devices in the comfort of their own homes.
In a world grappling with the dual challenges of soaring living costs and mounting electronic waste, this development represents a significant step forward.
Of course, users shouldn’t expect to repair a £1,700 phone on their own within the first week, but the option itself is truly commendable.
Now, let’s dive into the specifications.
Fueling the Pixel Fold’s incredible performance is Google’s Tensor G2 chip, supported by the Titan M2 security chip. This dynamic duo ensures blazing-fast responsiveness and robust security measures to safeguard your valuable data.
With the separately available 30W charger, the Pixel Fold offers the convenience of hours of usage with just minutes of charging. Google claims a battery life surpassing 24 hours, further extended to a staggering 72 hours with the Extreme Battery Saver mode.
In terms of memory and storage, the Pixel Fold impresses with 12 LPDDR5 RAM and options for 256GB or 512GB UFS 3.1 storage. To top it off, the phone boasts IPX8 water resistance, providing peace of mind even in damp or accidental water encounters.
While I wasn’t able to conduct exhaustive battery tests during my limited time with the device, I can attest to its reliability.
Attending a panel, I managed to record a full hour of voice notes on low power mode, and the phone confidently assured me of an additional five hours of usage.
The real game-changing moment came when I returned to the office and found the entire transcript at my fingertips. As someone who has long relied on a trusty dictaphone, this instant transcription was a revelation.
Although not flawless—given the circumstances of sitting towards the back of a crowded room—the results were impressive. In a closer test, the accuracy approached nearly 100%, with only occasional mix-ups such as mistaking “medical” for “magical.”
Behind it all, the AI driving this technology is undeniably powerful, evolving its interpretation as it gains more context. While it’s true that AI may one day disrupt the field of journalism, for now, it undoubtedly simplifies and enhances our lives.
But let’s return to the pièce de résistance—the inside screen. Boasting ample size without being overwhelming, the Pixel Fold’s interior display offers a comfortable grip and a delightful typing experience once you acclimate to its split keyboard.
I must admit that the key distribution, with its preponderance of “g” and “v” keys, struck me as a bit peculiar. Most users will likely find the ergonomics well-designed and suitable for their needs.
Whether you’re working or indulging in entertainment, the tabletop mode of the Pixel Fold proves to be a game-changer. Gone are the days of propping up your phone with random objects while enjoying videos, as the device flawlessly maintains an upright position.
The split-screen functionality enhances multitasking capabilities. Selfie enthusiasts will also appreciate the design, although I must confess that I am not among their ranks.
In summary, the Google Pixel Fold marks an exceptional foray into the foldable smartphone landscape by Google. While minor refinements may be warranted, the device exudes quality in both its appearance and functionality, providing users with a delightful and seamless experience.
There are a few complaints to be had, but one lingering annoyance is the need to press the enter key after entering the passcode—an idiosyncrasy that continues to irk me. Nonetheless, the Pixel Fold stands as a remarkable testament to Google’s commitment to innovation and user satisfaction.
The Pixel Fold is available for pre-order, with deliveries expected to commence in late August. The 256GB variant is priced at £1,749.