December 7, 2023
Andy Boxall / Digital Traits

A few of what you’re about to learn goes to make it sound like I hate the Google Pixel Fold, however this isn’t the case. I’ve spent about two weeks with the telephone, and there are a number of parts I actually like (and even love). Nonetheless, that is an $1,800 smartphone, and when one thing prices that a lot, it wants to return near being precisely proper — particularly when there’s a actually unbelievable competing product promoting for a similar value.

By the top of my time with the Pixel Fold, I had reached a stunning, however very completely happy conclusion.

My most controversial opinion on the Pixel Fold

A person holding the Google Pixel Fold.
Andy Boxall / Digital Traits

It has solely been a short while since I used the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, however coming virtually instantly to the Pixel Fold taught me one factor: The Z Fold 5’s tall, skinny form is extra hand-friendly than the shorter and wider model of a folding telephone. I had that feeling once I used the Z Fold 5 for my evaluation, however the Pixel Fold actually solidified the thought in my thoughts.

Why? It’s all about holding the telephone. Closed, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is extra snug to make use of as a result of my hand can shut round it, that means my thumb can attain probably the most sensibly positioned buttons with out having to make use of two fingers. That is a lot tougher to do with the Pixel Fold, as my hand doesn’t get near reaching round it.

A person holding the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, showing the cover screen.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 Andy Boxall / Digital Traits

The difficulty is exacerbated by the Google Pixel Fold’s weight. It’s 283 grams ocompared to the Z Fold 5’s 253 grams, and fatigue units in far earlier if you’re holding it. The Pixel Fold could also be ever so barely thinner than the Z Fold 5, however any benefit is negated by the extra 15mm width and 30 grams of additional weight. The no-gap fold and tall, skinny form of the Z Fold 5 make it ergonomically superior to the Pixel Fold.

Not everybody will agree with this, with some seeing the extra conventional telephone width of the Pixel Fold as being the perfect foldable format, nevertheless it actually isn’t the case. Does this imply I feel the Z Fold 5 is right? No, as I’m about to elucidate.

Now I’m going to be opposite

A video playing on the Google Pixel Fold, with the screen half open.
Andy Boxall / Digital Traits

Watching video on the partially open Google Pixel Fold is best than it’s on the Galaxy Z Fold 5, and a number of it’s as a result of wider, shorter model. Annoying, proper? It’s uncomfortable to make use of when closed, however higher if you wish to watch movies with the telephone performing like its personal stand. What’s extra, Google has carried out its personal “Flex Mode,” the place video controls present on the decrease half of the display screen, not not like what you get on foldable Samsung telephones. Besides this works higher on the Pixel Fold than on the Z Fold 5.

Partially folded, the Pixel Fold is extra steady than the Z Fold 5 too, and since the viewing space isn’t as compacted because the Samsung telephone’s, it’s a extra inviting viewing expertise, and I’ve watched for much longer on the Pixel than on the Z Fold 5. Not solely are the on-screen controls expertly laid out, however the bodily quantity controls are sensibly positioned on the highest fringe of the system, not like on the Honor Magic Vs.

A game running on the Google Pixel Fold's open screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Traits

I’m not a lot of a cellular gamer, however taking part in Pocket Metropolis on each large folding telephones has been nice. You must rotate the Pixel Fold to view the sport full-screen when the telephone is open (in case you don’t, it appears like a regular display screen cellular app), and together with watching movies, it’s this sort of expertise that makes me love big-screen folding smartphones. Whichever you purchase, video and video games are extra enjoyable and extra involving than on a non-folding telephone, and also you’ll must watch out as each these gadgets will make you play and watch extra.

Why doesn’t it fold flat?

A person holding the Google Pixel Fold showing how it doesn't fold flat.
Andy Boxall / Digital Traits

Each single time I open the Pixel Fold, I’m wondering why it doesn’t fold flat. It’s shut, however just like the Honor Magic Vs, the hinge appears to surrender just a few levels earlier than it will get there. It doesn’t notably have an effect on the use, nevertheless it does feel and look a bit odd. I don’t like the best way it makes me attempt to flatten it out, which in all probability isn’t all that good for the hinge, and even once I do put some strain on it, the telephone nonetheless doesn’t get fully flat.

The issue is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 does open fully flat, and it appears and feels unbelievable when it does. That is the worst a part of the Google Pixel Fold’s hinge, although, because it’s completely silent, the movement is easy and linear, and it has a really safe magnetic locking system when it snaps shut. The rounded chassis makes it simple to open after getting the knack, which is to carry the highest and backside of the closed telephone and pull it aside. In any other case, the pull of the magnets is a bit of too sturdy to comfortably pry the sections free.

As soon as the Pixel Fold is open, I’m greeted by a really huge, very noticeable body across the display screen. Sure, it helps you maintain the telephone with out touching the show, nevertheless it’s actually unattractive. Mixed with the best way the telephone doesn’t fold fully flat, all of it feels a bit first era.

It’s considerably comprehensible, because it is a first-generation folding product from Google, however there’s at present no cause to place up with it as a shopper when the Galaxy Z Fold 5 exists — and is superior.

Sure, the digital camera is excellent

A person holding the Google Pixel Fold, showing the camera module.
Andy Boxall / Digital Traits

The digital camera on the Pixel Fold is superb, and I like how dependable it’s. No matter which digital camera I take advantage of — the principle, wide-angle, 2x or 5x zoom — the photographs it takes are colourful, punchy, and detailed. I can take it out of my pocket, able to take a photograph and be assured the outcome will probably be good. If it’s not fairly proper, the superb enhancing suite within the Google Images app ought to be capable of repair it.

I haven’t been in a position to straight examine the Pixel Fold in opposition to the Galaxy Z Fold 5, however have taken photographs with it in opposition to the Apple iPhone 14 Professional. The iPhone continues to wrestle with publicity, white stability, and distinction ranges, which isn’t a difficulty for the Pixel Fold, highlighting Google’s computational experience and the way effectively it assesses a scene. You possibly can see examples of the 2 within the gallery beneath, together with different photographs taken with the Pixel Fold.

Samsung has improved the Galaxy Z Fold 5’s digital camera, however principally if you take 3x zoom photographs, with the remaining being fairly just like the Galaxy Z Fold 4. I by no means felt I may depend on it in the identical method because the Pixel Fold. Whether or not it’s the Google Pixel 7a or the Pixel Fold, Google’s cameras simply haven’t disenchanted this 12 months. It’s positively one of the best digital camera I’ve used on a folding smartphone too.

Do I remorse not shopping for the Google Pixel Fold?

A person holding the Google Pixel Fold.
Andy Boxall / Digital Traits

I purchased the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 as an alternative of upgrading to the Galaxy Z Fold 5 this 12 months, so has utilizing the Pixel Fold made me want I purchased it as an alternative? No, I nonetheless assume the Z Flip 5 is the present folding smartphone for me. The Pixel Fold doesn’t enhance over the Z Fold 5 in a significant method. If something, it principally simply introduces completely different problems with its personal that also put me off. Solely the digital camera would push me towards it.

Nonetheless, as I mentioned in the beginning, I don’t hate the Pixel Fold. Utilizing it has proven me the big-screen smartphone remains to be a piece in progress, and there’s no single, one-size-fits-all design answer but. Tall and skinny, brief and huge, and even inward or outward folding screens all have their benefits and drawbacks. This might change because the know-how and designs are refined, however I virtually don’t need it to. I want seeing options, because it’s clear one merely gained’t match into everybody’s life.

My conclusion? For now, there’s a real, lifelike selection for everybody in big-screen foldables, and there’s actually no proper or mistaken one to purchase. What a terrific place to be in.

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