In the world of high-end smartphones, the stakes are high and the competition fierce. The Google Pixel Fold, with its hefty $1,800 price tag, is the latest entrant into this battleground, vying for supremacy against its equally pricey competitor, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5. After spending two weeks with the Pixel Fold, one thing is clear – this device is not without its merits. However, for a product that demands a premium price, it falls short in its quest for perfection, especially in comparison to its Samsung counterpart.
The Pixel Fold’s design choice of a shorter, wider style for a folding phone, a contrast to the Z Fold 5’s tall and thin shape, has proven to be a double-edged sword. While this design offers a more immersive viewing experience when watching videos or playing games, it poses significant challenges when it comes to handling the device. The phone’s wider build and additional 30 grams of weight, compared to the Z Fold 5, make it less comfortable to hold and operate with one hand, leading to an ergonomic shortfall that’s hard to ignore.
The Google Pixel Fold: A Comprehensive Review
After spending two weeks with the Google Pixel Fold, an $1,800 smartphone that competes with equally priced models, a comprehensive review of its features, capabilities, and shortcomings is necessary. Despite its price tag, the Pixel Fold boasts various aspects that users will love. However, it is far from perfect, and its competitor, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, presents a compelling alternative.
Comparing the Pixel Fold and Z Fold 5
Coming from the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, the Pixel Fold’s design is noticeably different. The Z Fold 5’s tall, thin shape is more user-friendly compared to the shorter and wider Pixel Fold. This difference is most noticeable when holding the phone. The Z Fold 5, when closed, fits comfortably in one hand, allowing the thumb to reach buttons easily. On the other hand, the Pixel Fold’s wider design requires two hands for optimal use.
The Pixel Fold’s weight, at 283 grams, adds to the difficulty of holding it, especially compared to the Z Fold 5’s 253 grams. Despite being slightly thinner, the Pixel Fold’s extra 15mm width and 30 extra grams of weight make it less comfortable to hold for long periods.
The Pixel Fold as a Media Device
Despite its drawbacks, the Pixel Fold shines in certain areas, like watching videos. The wider, shorter style of the Pixel Fold makes it ideal for viewing content. Google’s "Flex Mode" enables video controls to appear on the lower half of the screen, creating a more enjoyable viewing experience than the Z Fold 5.
When partially folded, the Pixel Fold is more stable, and its larger viewing area makes it more inviting for longer viewing sessions. Additionally, the on-screen controls and physical volume controls are well-placed, enhancing the overall user experience.
Design Drawbacks of the Pixel Fold
One major design flaw of the Pixel Fold is its inability to fold completely flat. Unlike its competitor, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, the Pixel Fold’s hinge stops a few degrees short of being fully flat. This doesn’t affect its usage, but it does detract from the overall aesthetic and feel of the phone.
The Pixel Fold’s frame around the screen, once opened, is also noticeably wide. While it does prevent accidental touch inputs, it gives the phone an unattractive look. These issues, combined with the non-flat fold, make the phone feel like a first-generation product.
Pixel Fold’s Camera Capabilities
The Pixel Fold does redeem itself with its excellent camera. Photos taken with any of its cameras – main, wide-angle, 2x or 5x zoom – are colorful, detailed, and sharp. Compared to the Apple iPhone 14 Pro, the Pixel Fold excels in exposure, white balance, and contrast levels, showing off Google’s computational expertise.
Despite the improvements Samsung has made with the Z Fold 5’s camera, it doesn’t instill the same level of trust as the Pixel Fold’s. The Pixel Fold’s camera is reliable and consistently produces good results, making it the best camera on a folding smartphone.
Despite its flaws, the Pixel Fold is not a device I regret not buying. While it doesn’t surpass the Z Fold 5 in a significant way, it does present different issues. The only aspect that is truly compelling about the Pixel Fold is its camera.
The big-screen smartphone is still a work in progress, and there is currently no one-size-fits-all design. However, the variety of designs available means there’s a suitable choice for everyone. Despite the Pixel Fold’s shortcomings, its unique features make it a worthy contender in the foldable phone market.