With Pixel Fold, Google may have beaten Samsung at its own game | First impressions

Google’s first stab at a foldable looks promising.

google pixel fold quick review
Google Pixel Fold starts at $1,799 which roughly translates to Rs 1.5v lakh.

Google launched its first foldable, the book-style Pixel Fold, last night at Google I/O 2023 developer conference. The Pixel Fold is coming after months of leaks and while most of them turned out to be spot-on, it’s always nice to see the thing in flesh. And before you ask, it’s not coming to India anytime soon, make of it what you will. Together with the Pixel Tablet— which was announced alongside and is also not coming to India— Google is clearly rooting for Android on large screens, once again, experimenting with multiple form factors.

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But while Google has dabbled with tablets before, this is the first time it’s dipping its toes into foldable waters, one where Samsung has gone literally uncontested for many years. The Pixel Fold has been announced at a very strategic time, a couple of months before Samsung releases its fresh batch, aka, Galaxy Z Fold 5.

Google’s first stab at a foldable looks promising

Looking at the whole package, the Pixel Fold could have its work cut out which is to say that it’s looking really good on paper. Even more so for a first attempt. Samsung still rules the roost –it would so appear— when it comes to productivity chops, both in hardware as well as in software. Like say for instance, the latest-gen Fold supports stylus and lets you play around with multiple windows (3 in split-screen and more through floating windows). The Pixel Fold does not support a stylus for some reason (the Pixel Tablet does, though) and it can only run two apps in split-screen. But Google’s promise of a clean, unadulterated experience (plus, it’s promising good app support and features like seamless app continuity, at least in-house) is a great sell.

The package itself takes a slightly different approach to what Samsung is doing. The Pixel Fold’s outer screen has a wider aspect ratio which translates into a more landscape inner folding display. The approach is more comparable to the Oppo Find N2. The hinge, too, is such it leaves a “gapless” design which is more elegant than Samsung’s. You will be able to prop it on a surface, say, to watch a YouTube video at the top half as controls move out of the way to the bottom, much the same way as Samsung lets you with the Galaxy Fold.

google pixel fold quick review
The Pixel Fold is Google’s first foldable.

But perhaps an even bigger deal are the overall dimensions. The Pixel Fold ranges anywhere from 5.8mm to 12.1mm between its unfolded and folded state. It weighs 283g. The Z Fold 4 goes up to 15.8mm when closed (though it weighs 20g less). In other words, the Pixel Fold is more pocketable and easier to hold with an outer screen that is more usable as a regular smartphone display without any awkward compromise. The Pixel Fold is also IPX8 water resistant like the Fold 4.

The sepcs are top-tier. The Pixel Fold’s outer display is a 5.8-inch 1080p AMOLED with a 120Hz refresh rate and up to 1,550nits of peak brightness. You get Corning Gorilla Glass Victus on top. The inner display is a 7.6-inch OLED (same as the Fold 4) with 1.8K resolution, 120Hz refresh rate and up to 1,450nits of peak brightness.

The chip inside is Google’s top-shelf Tensor G2 while RAM and storage can go up to 12GB and 512GB respectively. Running the show is a 4,821mAh (a hairline bigger than the Fold 4’s 4,400mAh) battery with 30W fast wired charging.

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Despite the folding shenanigans, Google has been able to fit flagship cameras in the Pixel Fold including a proper 10.8MP 5x periscope telephoto which is easier said than done.

Now, there’s no way of telling how the Pixel Fold will hold up in time but that’s largely true for the Samsung Galaxy Fold as well, or any foldable from x, y, or z brand for that matter. But what the Pixel Fold surely does is opening a window of possibilities breaking monopoly and –hopefully— pushing Samsung to step out of its comfort zone and do more, like it should with all the first-mover advantage it has. The foldable wars, it seems, have only just begun and we can’t be more excited for what’s to come.

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First published on: 11-05-2023 at 17:49 IST