Google put their flag in the ground as a foldable phone competitor with the Pixel Fold, the first transformable handset in the Pixel series. The foldable phone market has come a long way, leading to a competitive space in the smartphone world for contenders to stake their claim.
So, how well does this phone compete for the crown? Let’s find out in our comprehensive Google Pixel Fold review.
If the Pixel Fold is the phone for you, pick it up today with a minimum 512GB storage space.
A review of any foldable phone has to start with how well it executes that core design feature. Being a bit later to the party has given Google time to build the Pixel Fold with valuable feedback in mind. We see the fruits of their labour in this handset’s premium and durable construction, serving up a phone/tablet hybrid that shouts quality across every inch.
Where some early foldable phones stumbled is with the hinge, and the inevitable crease that can disrupt the middle of the screen. The Pixel Fold has no such issues; the screen is clear, with little evidence of a crease.
Make no mistake, this is a very tough device, and it needs to be to ensure there are no breaks when it folds. All phones of this type will prioritise durability, but the Pixel Fold has a weight and density to it that reassures you by saying “I won’t break easily”. At 283g, this is undoubtedly one of the heaviest phones on the market, so be prepared for the Pixel Fold to feel slightly cumbersome when first using and storing it.
Having two panels on top of each other means that, when folded, these handsets can be quite thick. The Pixel Fold is certainly one of the denser foldable phones available, given that you’re essentially stacking together two 5.8” smartphones. This trade-off is worth it, however, as it ensures you’re getting a full, uncompromised outer screen experience, absent of any screen size reductions to keep the thickness down.
When observing and holding the Pixel Fold, there’s little doubt that this is a truly premium product. Everything from the polished aluminium frame, IPX8 water-resistant body, to the Gorilla Glass Victus screen, is of the highest quality.
We mentioned previously that the Pixel Fold is like holding two 5.8” phones, and this is the screen size you’re getting on the handset’s outer display. The width is immediately eye-catching at 79.5mm, which presents more space to use apps, watch videos and play games.
When unfolded, the Pixel Fold extends out to a 7.6” tablet-style display, which is where this phone’s true potential comes into fruition. The screen real estate that is unlocked is hugely significant for a wide variety of uses, including widescreen gaming, using Google Maps to navigate, watching films or editing a photo. Having the freedom to go from a large display to a traditional smartphone form factor is the ultimate goal of any foldable device, and the Pixel Fold achieves this with unbridled confidence.
Things get even more exciting when looking at the technology underneath. The front cover screen on the Pixel Fold is a crisp 1080p OLED panel, and the level of detail you get from this is fantastic. OLED technology ensures every pixel is crystal clear, down to the pores on a person’s face. It really shines in the lighting department; bright environments are accurately lit, rather than washed out or overly saturated, and dark areas are rendered with appropriate inky black colours.
This high level of quality is improved further in unfolded mode, with the resolution increasing to 2208 x 1840. Visual performance here is a gamer or movie-lover’s dream, not just because of the brilliantly detailed resolution, but with how much screen there is to enjoy. Add on top the inclusion of a silky 120Hz refresh rate and HDR support for a final dazzling flourish.
Being a foldable handset, the Pixel Fold can be used in several unique ways depending on your needs. If you’ve ever had to balance your phone against an object when taking a photo or watching a video, the Pixel Fold’s Tabletop mode is perfect for you. With it, the handset can be tilted at 90 degrees to take selfies, attend video meetings or stream a film, all without needing to awkwardly position the phone.
You can also set the Pixel Fold up at 45 degrees and position it like a tent. This mode is great for using the Fold’s outer screen to watch Netflix, and when you unfold the device, the video will switch to the full main display.
It’s clear that the Pixel Fold is a remarkable multitasker. Not only can its shape be changed to accommodate a range of uses, the unfolded screen has tons of space for utilising apps together. Need to read notes in a work meeting? Put the video call and notes apps side-by-side, enabling you to look at both with ease.
Our camera phone recommendations often contain a Pixel handset or two, owing to their consistently fantastic photography tools. The Pixel Fold stakes its own claim on this list with a versatile camera array, at least 500GB space for storing photos, and some of the best image processing technology available.
Headlining the Pixel Fold’s range of cameras is a 48MP wide lens on the back, alongside 10.8MP ultra-wide and telephoto cameras. In folded mode, there’s also a 9.5MP lens for selfies, finishing with an 8MP camera above the main screen when unfolding the phone.
Each camera within the Pixel Fold’s array can take high-quality, detailed photos, but it’s the flexibility of how you can use them that is most impressive. Use the 90 degree mode to easily position the phone for group selfies, or see the full extent of a wide-angle photo from the main unfolded screen.
Many of the best image processing tools from across the Pixel range made their way to the Pixel Fold, including Photo Unblur to sharpen up blurry, distorted images, and Magic Eraser for removing unwanted subjects.
Long Exposure is also included, which is a useful technique for creating photos that isolate a subject in detail, while leaving the remaining subjects as blurred trails. The effect on moving cars or busy city centres is particularly striking, emphasising their motion whilst everything else remains still.
If you’re a fan of taking night-time astrophotography, the Pixel Fold is also a game-changer. By positioning it at 90 degrees in Tabletop mode, you can aim the phone at the starry sky and take incredible photos, without the need for holding it.
At the heart of the Pixel Fold is the Google Tensor G2 chipset, a powerful processor that has handled computing tasks across several Pixel devices, including the 7 Series. Performance on the Pixel Fold, therefore, is broadly the same story: a smooth experience when gaming or swapping between apps, with any stutter kept to an absolute minimum.
The beauty of the Tensor G2 chipset is how well it handles a multitude of uses, be it gaming or something more productivity-focused, such as photography. It makes the Pixel Fold feel like a highly capable jack-of-all-trades, albeit one that can handily change its shape.
Speaking of changing its shape, the Pixel Fold’s modifiable form factor, combined with the fast processing power of the Tensor G2, provides a gaming experience that is unlike anything else on smartphones. When loading up a game in unfolded mode, that extra screen space is prominent, giving you a panoramic view of the action.
The operating system of choice on the Pixel Fold is Android 13, optimised to make full use of the device’s folding capabilities. Alongside its many personalisation options, Android 13 feels right at home on the Pixel Fold, with apps able to be utilised seamlessly on the front or main unfolded screens. It’s hugely enjoyable to use Android 13’s applications without them ever feeling unsuited to a particular form factor on the Pixel Fold; everything works naturally and smoothly.
Google packed in a 4821mAh battery into the Pixel Fold, which is more than a match for anything thrown at it. Even after playing a few games at High settings, watching a video and using it throughout the day connected to 5G, this phone had enough power left to keep going a while longer. Power efficiency on the Tensor G2 chipset also plays its part, enabling the Pixel Fold to optimise how much battery life it uses over time.
Recharging the Pixel Fold is also fast and convenient, thanks to its wireless charging capabilities, and 21W wired charging speed. 30W is also possible with the separately-sold Google charger.
There’s something remarkable about combining old phone designs with modern technology, and ending up with a totally unique experience. The Pixel Fold is exactly that: a foldable phone that takes learnings from its peers and pushes others to follow suit. It’s undoubtedly a premium device, but it’s one that is of exceptional quality from top to bottom.
You now know everything the Pixel Fold has in store. If this handset is the next one for you, but you’re unsure on how to move your data across, our expert guide also has you covered.